The Ruins of St. Paul's refer to the facade of what was at the 17Th Century the Cathedral of St Paul, a cathedral dedicated to Saint Paul, the Apostle. Today the ruins are one of the most famous Macao landmarks. In 2005, the ruins were officially enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and included in Macao'Historic Centre.
The cathedral was built by the Jesuits from 1582 to 1602 and was, at the time, the largest Catholic Church in Asia. With the decline of importance of Macao, which was overtaken by Hong Kong, as the main port for the Pearl River Delta, the cathedral's fortune similarly decline and it was destroyed by a fire in 1835. The ruins now consist of the southern stone facade, that was carved between 1620 and 1620 by Japanese Christians in exile from mainland and local craftsmen, under the direction of the Jesuit Carlos Spinola. The carvings include Jesuit images with Oriental themes, such as a woman stepping on a seven-headed hydra. A few of the other carvings are the founders of the Jesuit Order and the conquest of Death by Jesus Christ. There are other carvings who reproduce Masonic symbolism such as the Saint protectors of Freemasonry, the prevailing of spirit over the flesh, and tools employed in Masonic perambulations. Even the so-said "conquest of Death by Jesus" may be interpreted as referring to a masonic legend included in the Third Degree ritualism and involving an historic character that had a central role in the edification of Solomon Temple in Jerusalem.
Macao was during the centuries, through which the European influence flow to the East, part of the masonic rotary. Two poets - Venceslau de Morais and Camilo Pessanha - who lived (and one them died) in Macao were respected members of the Royal Order, the latest member of a local Lodge - Luis de Camões - belonging to the Grande Oriente Lusitano Unido, the Portuguese Obedience related to the Grand Orient of France. Other remnants of Masonic presence and activity may also be found in present Macao.