Funchal Cathedral (Sé)

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Funchal

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption (Sé Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Assunção) was not the first church on the island: there had been places of worship since the early 15th Century. Population growth - away from the south-west of the island which was the first area settled - meant that the early provision was inadequate.

Work on the cathedral was begun in the late 15 Century but it took the intervention of the King, Manuel I, to ensure its completion, though it seems to have been in use before the work was complete. It formally became a cathedral in 1517 when the Bishop of Funchal became head of the largest diocese in the world as its territory included all of the Portuguese overseas territories.


The building is constructed in a Gothic style from volcanic stone and has an ornate cedar ceiling with clear influences of Portugal's Islamic history.

Cathedral Interior
The king donated a number of significant items to the church, including the font - which is still in situ - and a silver processional cross that can be seen along with other treasures from the cathedral in the Sacred Art Museum (Museu de Arte Sacra) which is a short distance away in the old Episcopal Palace (Rua do Bispo, 21).

A statue outside commemorates the visit of Pope John Paul II to Madeira in 1991.

Getting there

The cathedral is located at the eastern end of the Avenida Arriaga in the centre of Funchal.