Church of Senhor do Socorro

Ponte de Lima, Portugal

The Church of Senhor do Socorro  is an 18th-century Baroque sanctuary situated in the civil parish of Labruja, municipality of Ponte de Lima. The church is the centre of pilgrimages and festivals in honour of the Lord of Help/Distress, particularly on the first Saturday and Sunday of July, attracting many people from the Portuguese diaspora.

The construction of the church began in 1773. A votive offering was already occurring at the site by 1774. Work on the sanctuary continued the rest of this centre, with decoration and public artwork installed in the retable and chancel.

The sanctuary is situated on a mountain, alongside buildings that were used initially in the construction of the sanctuary (but today abandoned), used in the preparation of foods (goat and chicken) during the pilgrimages.

The frontispiece is flanked by two bell-towers, will corner pilasters and sectioned into three registers. The first register includes bay window and pediment; the second a clock; and the third register occupied by the bells. These towers are crowned by bulbous vaulted-ceiling. The church porch is open to a segmented arch topped by large window bay, with monumental shoulders bound by pediment and interrupted by a royal coat-of-arms. On either side of the large window are two niches with sculptors.

The church platform is surrounded by a wall, paced by pilasters and decorated statues, with two ponds and shelters flanking the central staircase. Behind the church, is a wavy monumental staircase, the front framed by pilasters and crowned by urns, with central fountain and statue. This area provides access to a projected series of chapels, although only one was constructed (a square plan) with corner pilasters, ranging from full arch, side windows, dome and small altar inside.

The hexagonal nave is decorated with granite wainscot and includes a triumphal arch in tile, with the barrel vault adorned by three painted medallions. On one end is the high choir, while in the opposite direction are two lateral and two collateral altars, with a pulpit with granite base, and staircase.

The interior chancel is circular with domed skylight, two carved altars, two doors and windows with carved altarpiece with painting of Jerusalem.

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Founded: 1773
Category: Religious sites in Portugal

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