This was an initiative of the Assistance, Development and Professional Training Foundation to create an architectural motif aimed at a union between the various religions that exist in the world.
According to Jaime Ramos, the idea came after visiting countries with different religions. Project approval took six years to complete. The building took a year to build. Jaime Ramos told The Portugal News that the inauguration of the Temple was made on 11 September 2016 as "a tribute to all victims of fundamentalism and religious wars throughout the centuries."
The Temple itself is shaped like a pyramid with a quadrilateral base with a height of 13.4 metres, to invoke the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, while it can also be related to the pyramids of Egypt. The corners of the building are oriented according to the four cardinal points: North, South, East and West. On the façades, the initials of the words Bondade (B) (kindness), Moral (M) (moral) and Verdade (V) (truth) are in capital letters.
Observatory of Religions
Inside the temple, there is an Observatory of Religions, where visitors can find chronological data on the 15 religions with the most followers in the world. Inside the Observatory, visitors can read the history of religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, among others. Visitors can also enjoy an area dedicated to the history of warfare, or not, of a religious nature and dedicated to religious intolerance. The historical information contained in the Observatory was provided by the Science of Religions department at Universidade Lusófona.
The Temple aims "to promote the freedom to those who believe or not in God, tolerance and respect for others, as the basis for creating peace in the world." In the central area of the Temple, it is possible to find an area free of religious reasons to promote “spiritual reflection” so that each visitor can pray according to their faith.
The emphasis given to religions is the same as that given to atheists, as all views regarding the personal view of religion are respected and included in the Universalist Ecumenical Temple. The space is consolidated outside the temple, in a rectangular space with a chess floor that alludes to Masonic temples, which refers to a speech by Pope Benedict XVI, who called for the inclusion of atheists and agnostics in the religious debate.
Also, on the outside, there is a stone cube revolving on water, in homage to Galileo Galilei's theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around, as was previously believed. The play tries to explain that truths are not absolute and used Galileo's theory as an example, which eventually led to the scientist being condemned by the Inquisition more than four centuries ago. The cube is also intended to represent that religious belief cannot negatively influence science.
Ticket prices vary between €9 and €14, depending on the age of the visitor. Jaime Ramos emphasises that “the majority of workers are people with disabilities or mental illness”, so visitors have the opportunity not only to reflect the messages read in the Temple but also to support a social integration project, with the purchase of the ticket.