The church of Lapa belongs to the Venerável Irmandade de Nossa Senhora da Lapa (The Venerable Brotherhood of Our Lady of Lapa), created in Porto in the 18th century by the Brazilian priest Ângelo Sequeira. Its construction started in 1756 but political turmoil in the city and shortage of resources extended it for more than 100 years. One of the architects in the project was José de Figueiredo Seixas. Its towers date from late 19th century and were designed by José Luis Nogueira Júnior. During the 20th century, the famous Porto architect Marques da Silva signed the project for the contiguous house, belonging to the Brotherhood of Lapa.
The church holds, since 1835, the heart of Dom Pedro, delivered to the city as a token of his recognition, devotion and love for the city. The heart is deposited in a mausoleum, 7 metres high, on the left side of the main altar, in a niche covered by a bronze plaque, which is only open in special ceremonies or for conservation purposes. The five keys to open the mausoleum are permanently stored in the Office of the Mayor of Porto. This monument holds the symbols of the Portuguese Royal flag and the Brazilian flag, and engravings written in Latin, celebrating the king’s courage and bravery. For decades, the yearly celebration of Dom Pedro funeral ceremonies maintained the memory of the values that King Pedro IV symbolizes.