The thousand and such painted wooden ceiling boards, the altarpieces, the altars, everything was removed from the Church of Nossa Senhora das Ondas, to be restored with the utmost care at the Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Foundation, in a work that took two years, from 2012 to 2014.
After the building itself was restored, these true, and at times disconcerting, works of art returned to their original place.
Last week, the Church officially dedicated to São Pedro Gonçalves Telmo, patron saint of seafarers in Tavira, was returned to worship, after a blessing mass, presided over by the Bishop of Algarve, D. Manuel Neto Quintas.
At the ceremony, Jorge Botelho, mayor of Tavira, recalled that, before this profound intervention, the temple had been closed for years, due to the accentuated degradation. But "a church that has great historical value, especially because it is so linked to the fishing community, did not deserve to have a huge hole in the roof, which is what we found."
“As the grandson of a fishing family, I am delighted to see this church open again,” said the mayor.
In total, the intervention in this church classified as a Monument of Public Interest cost close to 430 thousand euros. The works were carried out on the roof and ceilings, coating of interior and exterior walls, covering of spans, masonry, integrated heritage, electrical installations, as well as, in a second phase, in the high choir, chancel arch and in the structure that supported the ceiling of the nave of the church. The investment was financed under the OP Algarve21.
The result is spectacular. Even the Bishop of Algarve, who admitted not having known the church before the works, praised the beauty and quality of the work.
The church was owned by Social Security, which inherited the assets of the former Casas dos Pescadores, in turn, in the case of Tavira, heiress of the Confraternity of São Pedro Gonçalves Telmo, formed by fishermen and seafarers. For this reason, it was also known as the Church of the Maritime Commitment.
Also during Macário Correia's term in Tavira, Botelho was head of Social Security in the Algarve. of the building and its beautiful interior.
The mayor also announced that the rehabilitation of the neighboring Compromisso Marítimo building, where Social Security services functioned until recently, is currently open for competition. "Any day this entire building, the church and the Compromisso, will be recovered," he guaranteed.
But, since Tavira is known as the «Rome of the Algarve», due to the fact that it has dozens of churches, the City Council is also intervening in the Ermida de São Roque, together with the Municipal Firefighters, recalled Botelho.
Here, it is an investment of around 224 euros, which includes works on the roof, walls and openings, as well as the structural and exterior restoration of the building.
In addition, the municipality had already promoted the restoration of the paintings in the Igreja do Carmo.
«Tavira is the city of churches, but we want them to be open churches, waiting for visitors, attracting tourists. In summer, we will have 12 churches open, but we also want that to happen for the rest of the year».
Four seafarers honored on Fisherman's Day
The reopening and blessing of the Church of Nossa Senhora das Ondas, of São Pedro Gonçalves Telmo or of Mareantes took place on Fisherman's Day. Therefore, three representatives of the fishing community offered the church symbols of their activity – a murejona, a bucket and a pot.
After unveiling a tombstone on the temple's façade, the ceremony in honor of four seafarers continued inside, as a way of recognizing and valuing their dedication to the sea.
They are José João da Conceição Romão (Cabanas), 68 years old, who was known as “Capitão Tormenta” and still goes fishing today, João da Cruz Sebinho Romeira (Santa Luzia), who, as a child, preferred fishing to school , hiding in the bow of the boat so that his father would only discover him when they were already at sea, José Daniel de Sousa Cabrita (Tavira), the youngest of all, aged 56, and also Francisco do Carmo Marcelino, aged 78 .
In addition to them, Leonardo Diogo, president of the Association of Fishermen and Shipowners of Tavira, was also honored, who, in his speech, spoke of the projects implemented within the scope of Promar, namely the winch and the cradle installed on the ramp on the left bank of Gilão .
Leonardo Diogo lamented the lack of "dredging the bar and access channels to the fishing communities of Santa Luzia, Cabanas and Tavira", as well as stressed that "the fishing port for Tavira is not forgotten".
In response, Jorge Botelho said that "we have not abandoned the fishing port project", but that, while it does not progress, "we are working with Docapesca to improve the working conditions of fishermen".
The mayor also announced that «the dredging, expected for more than 15 years, will start on June 9th, through the Cabanas channel, then on to Santa Luzia and finally to the maneuvering area of Quatro Águas».
“These works are more than necessary. If we don't give conditions, any day there won't be any young person who wants to be a fisherman», warned the mayor of Tavira.
A little history of Igreja das Ondas
The Church of Nossa Senhora das Ondas, in Tavira, built in the first half of the XNUMXth century by the Confraternity of São Pedro Gonçalves Telmo (also known as Compromisso Marítimo), is a building that gathers in itself memories of great importance to Religious History and Local, as it is a living testimony of the maritime activity in Tavira, and of the social group that underlay it – the fraternity of fishermen and seafarers, whose patron was S. Pedro Gonçalves Telmo.
From an aesthetic perspective, and in the formal plan, the temple is inscribed in the architectural style of the first Renaissance, evidenced in some elements (main portico, triumphal arch and altarpiece in the chancel), which testifies to the important role played by the artists who worked at the time. in the city of Tavira and which helped to establish the role that this city played as the center of a highly active regional school of renaissance architecture.
The damage caused by the 1755 earthquake led to the rebuilding of the temple, which was entrusted to Diogo Tavares de Ataíde, the most important master mason of the Baroque period in the Algarve.
In the interior decoration of the Church of Nossa Senhora das Ondas, the painting in perspective that decorates the ceiling deserves special mention, considered as the oldest painted ceiling in this technique in the entire Algarve region.
The rest of the decoration is composed almost exclusively of pieces from the XNUMXth century Baroque, and it is worth noting, in addition to the aforementioned ceiling, the carving - five altarpieces -, the painting on canvas - which integrates the altarpieces and which is of great quality - and the sculpture - five wooden specimens, one of them representing Nossa Senhora das Ondas.
Also noteworthy is an organ dating from the end of the XNUMXth century.
This entire set contributed to the realization of the concept of Total Art conveyed in the Baroque period.
Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues/Sul Informação