Chapel of Senhor da Pedra (Vila Nova de Gaia) (**)

The small temple votive Mr. Stone is built on a rocky outcrop about 280 million years in Miramar Beach. The populations of the Douro Litoral locations here abound in May or June, on Sunday of the Holy Trinity and transform the beach into a huge party yard. This worship of the Lord of Stone, in this case Jesus Christ, It is the greatest manifestation of religiosity and spirituality of this region. In winter it is a lonely place and, with the tides, becomes a Leixão beaten by the foam of the waves.
There are many mysteries surrounding this building. Here are some.
Who built the Chapel of Senhor da Pedra?
The date of construction of the Senhor da Pedra chapel is not consensual. In the façade is a tile panel that indicates how the building year 1686, there not yet any document justifying the adoption of this date.
second Costa (1983), in the parish file Gulpilhares, there is a document dating 1794, where you can read the following: Says Francisco Caetano de Sousa Sacramento Abbot Golpilhares Gaya, there 40 years was erected by Abbot Jose Barbosa Pereira his predecessor, the chapel of the miraculous Lord of stone by the sea that parish with the proceeds of the alms of the faithful ". According to the cited document, the date of construction of the second half chapel and not 1686, which does not cease to be in perfect harmony with the architectural style and with the rococo carving of the chapel inside the altarpieces.(1)

Inside of the Lord of the Stone Chapel, there are three altarpieces in rococo style carvings, which made school in Portugal between the years 1750 and 1800, although altarpieces may have been subsequently put to early altarpieces, can, including, dating from the late nineteenth century, once, in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Portuguese Decorative Art breathed one revivalist environment; who have never seen in our cities or cemeteries neo-Manueline, neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance?

Chapel of the Lord of the village Stone Nova de Gaia
Chapel of Senhor da Pedra in Vila Nova de Gaia

Furthermore, no known documentary evidence that the chapel existed before the second half of the eighteenth century. According to the Catalogue of Port Bishops, edited in 1742, in its list of parishes and their respective parish churches and chapels of the Diocese Portucalense, It does not make any reference to the chapel of Senhor da Pedra. We will therefore classify as being built in 1754 in the time of King Dom João V.
"The historical and aesthetic context of the time was certainly not alien to this project. then I lived in the Baroque, period characterized by a great rhythm and religious buildings reconstructions, which it was not indifferent to the abundance of riches, including gold, that arrived from Brazil. On the other hand, Baroque was also a current aesthetic of which the Catholic Church has served as a reaction to Protestantism. Through great works, beautiful, ricas e ease, it was intended to capture the attention and loyalty of the faithful effective. The Baroque is also, so even, a scenic art par excellence, will which associates a great development of processions, of festivals, the pageantry of religious acts, the exuberance and richness of liturgical vessels sheeted by priests… a time also for the construction of churches and chapels of great scenic impact. in hermitages, our sanctity mounted (that the most paradigmatic example in northern Portugal is the "Bom Jesus" Braga), and also on the coast…as is the case of the "Lord of the Stone."(2)
Legends and mysteries of the origin of the Lord of the Stone Chapel
The reason for the construction of the chapel at this location remains uncertain and there are several quirky stories and legends around the small monument, fed, further by enrolling in a tile that concerns have been a pagan altar, the absence of any trace material or documents of such a claim, before being converted into Catholic worship space.
1ª Legend of the origin of the Lord of the Stone Chapel
The chapel was built in the form of thanks, following a miracle that saved one group of fishermen at risk of sinking (or it was just a fisherman as read in other articles).
What have led the parish priest of that parish gaiense to gather alms among his parishioners to build such a religious building? This legend of the Lord of the Stone could have been true. There are so rare monuments, shrines or chapels, landlocked, They were sent to build in fulfillment of promises made, in times of distress, on the high seas and the pastor would have executed the will of the castaways.
2ª Legend of the origin of the Lord of the Stone Chapel
The second legend tells us that when populations began with the construction on land often appeared a light volatear on outcrops. The inhabitants interpreted this flash as a sign of God and, therefore, They decided to build a chapel on the rocks, and not in space initially thought.
Curious and interesting is that very close there is a simple chapel that people call the Lord's Chapel of the little stone, installed on an artificial island, replacing the cult when the chapel of Senhor da Pedra is surrounded by sea.
3ª Legend of the origin of the Lord of the Stone Chapel
The image of Christ was to stop the chapel by the sea. According to people there is a recorded a rock belongs to a bento ox - the animal that warmed the baby Jesus in the manger - that there has.
Where is this footprint that I had difficulty in discerning? It will be the outcrop in the western sector? Several visible some natural marine lunchbox.
We can not rule, however, the possibility of, with this chapel, the parish priest of Gulpilhares also have wanted to Christianize ancestral traditions and pagan cults associated with these rocks.
There is a litolátrico phenomenon in the Chapel of Senhor da Pedra?
"Some coastal outcrops are associated, probably since ancient times, a magical background, mystical and religious. Not only case. On the contrary. It is very common the association of this type attributes to large marine rocks that stand out in the landscape. Why stand, isolated, in the immensity of sand, or because they stand out from the surrounding by its forms or by their coloring and / or identifying geological formation.
Is famous, in neighboring Galicia, the case of the great rock that rises, isolated, the vast sandy beach Corrobedo, identified as a Moorish castle that a curse petrified, there imprisoning a beautiful Moorish princess who is still waiting for those who break such exorcism.
Much closer were also famous huge rocks that, starting from the beach of Matosinhos, They stretched and rose, off the mouth of the river Leça, forming for centuries a natural haven. These rocks - the "leixões" - would serve as the rest, in the late nineteenth century, for the settlement of the giant piers that transformed this natural harbor on the artificial harbor that took them the name.
But leixões, beyond its geo-morphological characteristics, always also had, the prominence it had in the landscape, a magical and religious dimension. It is no coincidence that, according to tradition, Image of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos appeared among these rocks…
Now, devotion to Lord Stone will be fit, therefore, this ancestral background litolátricos services.
And the truth is that, despite all devotion and fervor Catholics that this temple did occur many, in fact this chapel and these rocks continue, even in our days, to arouse and capture huge practice of magic and witchcraft, and obvious phenomena of religious syncretism.
And for many of those who travel to the top of these cliffs it is so important to get inside the chapel to observe the image of Our Lord as peering between the outcrops the "intriguing" (or magical?) brands they boast. Among them are, however, two which, by its dimensions, parallel location and rounded shapes, They have been noted over time. Several popular explanations, cristianizadas, explain the origin of these "footprints". For some these are the marks left by Boi Benedict (the same: which stroked the baby Jesus in the manger manger) who here has a clear association will devotion to Our Lord. for others, however, these marks are the result of passing through this rock of Our Lady burrinha, and Child, during a leak to or Egypt.
For some, however, these footprints belong no more, nothing less than the horse's "Desire". According to this version, there are many, years, a foggy morning, D. Sebastian even loomed the Portuguese coast. It was here: in Senhor da Pedra! Your horse dug and recorded his paws on the rock. But not so D. Sebastian stayed here. "
At Present, still see, with some frequency, people to perform rituals. Rituals those who are seen as "witchcraft" or "sorcery", ie phenomena or else other religious services to Christian faith.
The Chapel of Senhor da Pedra is a prominent geological site
In such a small space outcrop granitic rocks about 280 millions of years with veins and aplite-pegmatite typical aspects masses of magmatic flow structures defining characterized alignments or by alternating biotite dark bands with lighter bands This can be explained by crystallization more or less simultaneous two immiscible melts with different viscosities and different chemical composition. For those who like geology is truly spectacular, will this spectacle will not influence the human being to establish here a syncretic phenomenon litolatria?
The current chapel of Senhor da Pedra
The Baroque chapel, situated at a height between six and seven meters above the average level of the sea is framed by staircase and was built in granite.
Planimetry centered hexagonal chapel form has caused the appearance of many opinions, some wilder than others. The adoption of a plan focused on the implementation of any building aims, especially, achieve strictly utilitarian goals as defense, in this case the cutting, winds or even prevent the accumulation of sand around the building.
The location of the chapel itself, based on a rock, a beach where strong winds are from the North, It seems to justify the chapel of the plant from the pragmatic point of view.
Another feature to defend the winds should be the location of your door facing his back to the sea and said to be unique in Portugal. Also the port location protected the interior of the chapel flood tides and waves clash.
The main entrance with wooden door, where are recorded iconographic symbols of Christ's Passion is flanked by the two tile panels mentioned above. This entire assembly is framed by a single galley.
The interior of the chapel, paved with granite slabs has a high choir and, in its continuity, a simple pulpit, wood accessible by a spiral staircase.
Inside the chapel highlights three altarpieces of gilt and polychrome carving, imitation marble. In the central altarpiece, there is the image of Christ Crucified, Lord Stone.

Today is a place located in an excellent quality summer beach, very close to the mouth of a river, with a magnificent landscaping and visited by numerous people, mere tourists, many more happy boyfriend, here I told in just over an hour, at dusk and already cold 7 happy couples kissing, as a part of a ritual already established in the collective unconscious, because these sites make people happier and accompanied happiness is a friend of white passions.
Popular religiosity, sometimes quite ambiguous calls for help the mysterious forces want the good or evil, the problem healing, often health or to other measures, as human fertility and Agriculture, in return for offerings to the gods. Here is another example in this Chapel of Senhor da Pedra, because according to Mr. José Bernardo, cafe owner in front, It says here heal blackheads skin. But attention dear readers, usually the healing of carnations are associated with the cult of Saint Benedict, as in the case of St. Benedict's Open Door and why the healing of carnations is so important to take the busy São Bento? And where is St. Benedict in the Chapel of Senhor da Pedra? I do not understand!

Here the cult of Mr. Stone,as in all places of this kind, besides the liturgical feasts, It characterized by festivals and promises, religious way to 'pay' or fulfill the promises was fulfilled, two basic human needs: joy and healing health problems.

The Chapel of Senhor da Pedra has a fellowship that takes care of it.

First Bath Year
What started as a joke friends, there 46 years, that, “after the year-end dinner”, they decided “take a dip in the sea” when the party starts to wane and boredom to intertwine the prayers of these men, It is now a tradition. So says José Bernardo, cafe owner in front, which was one of 22 people to participate in the first dive. Since then, always celebrated until very recently.
Mr. Joseph, “now, this is a pilgrimage”. And this pilgrimage the sartorial bastardization is full with men – thong and stockings garters.
After talking to Mr. José Bernardo, I was willing to go to spend the end of the year the Lord of the Stone, but as I have legs, although beautiful, I will not hairy lady bather dress.
There is also a year of the bath in Carcavelos beach in the Lisbon region.
Additional References:
1-Travel with Me
2-SNPCultura

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