The current building does not correspond the date of the Church’s foundation, which is documented since 1091. In 1220’s “Inquirições” [administrative enquiries], the Church is referred to as ecclesia de Arães, in the “Julgado” [jurisdiction] of Felgueiras.
There are records made by Francisco Craesbeeck, in 1726, of the existence of an inscription at the pulpit, now missing, referring to the year of 1184.
The Church’s patronage suffered consecutive transfers, already belonging to the Crown in 1394, which in turn assigned it to the Order of Aviz. In 1517, it became a commendation of the Order of Christe.
However, the later aspect of some elements of its construction points to a building from the late 13th century or even the beginning of the 14th century.
The successive changes that the Church suffered changed its initial character. The renovations it was subject to between the 13th and 14th centuries brought in architectural elements and decorative grammar inspired by the Gothic.
It was pursuant to this campaign that the interior of the Church was refurbished, presenting three naves. Later on, the Baroque movement adds to the chancel a coating with tiling panels, the centre altar and gold gilding sacrarium.
The full perception of the building’s history and artistic aspects includes the understanding of relevant data, such as the fact that it was an important commendation of the Military Order of Malta in the Early Modern Period, becoming the parish Church only in 1834, after the extinction of religious orders in Portugal.
In 1726, the Chapels of Saint Maurus, Our Lady of the Assumption and Our Lady of Nazareth, as subsidiaries, depended on the Church of Saint Mary of Airães. Moreover, it is known that, nearby the Church, there were several stately buildings inhabited by deans and commanders.