The first building on this site was the Hermitage of Our Lady of Hope, or more popularly St. Lazarus, established in 1570 to serve lepers. At the same time a settlement for lepers was built outside the old city walls. (This was transferred to D. João Island in 1882 and to Coloane in 1947, where it is today).
The present St. Lazarus was rebuilt in 1885. In the forecourt is the Cross of Hope from the original chapel.