Armenian, the man of the «seven lives», launches book on Paderne

New work traces a chronology of 800 years of Paderne's history to the present day

Armenio Aleluia Martins at the autograph session – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

«This book is another one of my idiocies», guaranteed, in good spirits, Arménio Aleluia Martins, on Saturday, during the launch, with a house full of friends and admirers, of his latest book, «De Badirna e Paderne – Longa Viagem no Time".

Over the 240 pages of the book, released by the publishing house Arandis, the author does something that, as he himself pointed out, «is not very usual»: a «historical chronology with an involvement of 800 years, from the day that D. Paio Peres Correia conquered the castle of Paderne» until the present time. National or just local historical figures, institutions, events that marked the land, all illustrated with photographs or drawings, a little of everything can be found in the work, a historical and social chronology.

With ten books published, six of which about Paderne, his homeland, Arménio Aleluia Martins, 81 years old, dean of Algarve journalists, always linked to the Padernense associative and cultural movement, a man of newspapers, radio, music, considered that, at this level too, he has “fulfilled his mission”.

«The books emerged from the presentation of many concerts at the accordion galas. One day I was given the challenge of writing a book about the accordion in the Algarve, but I refused to start, because I was involved in the work of the newspaper, «A Avezinha», of which he was director. But, as “who wants to do more than who can”, as the popular saying goes, Arménio ended up writing “The Accordion Years”. This was followed by a book on the history of the Banda Filarmónica Padernense…and other works, up to this 800-year chronology.

«This work was done with love and dedication», he added, saying that the fact that the Caixa Agrícola salon in Paderne was full of friends and admirers would serve to «alleviate the effort and fatigue of writing another book» about the village.


The mayor with Arménio Aleluia Martins – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

José Carlos Rolo, mayor of Albufeira, present at the launch session, made a point of leaving «a word of recognition» for the much that Arménio Aleluia Martins «has done for Albufeira, for the Algarve, for the country».

Alluding to the author's fragile state of health, who recently underwent yet another surgical intervention because of his heart and circulatory problems, the mayor stressed that Armenian "has seven lives like cats".

«One day, we will all leave, but a book like this is for the future», concluded José Carlos Rolo.

Nuno Campos Inácio, one of those responsible for the publishing house Arandis, classified the author as an «immortal in terms of the memory he leaves us».

David Alves, CEO of Caixa de Crédito Agrícola Mútuo de Albufeira, underlined the value of this «Padernense who, throughout his life, has been a messenger of the history of the land that saw him born».

For her part, Isabel do Vale, current director of the library of the newspaper A Avezinha, the only public library in Paderne, underlined the honor and responsibility of having been recently invited to replace Arménio Aleluia Martins in that role.

João Cabrita Guerreiro, president of the Parish Council of Paderne, recalled all the different facets of the author's life, who was his «football coach of Grupo Desportivo da Cacial, director and member of several associations and clubs in the land, journalist, photographer, speaker and writer".

Talking about his tenth book, prefaced by the Algarve historian José António Martins, the author allowed himself «the audacity to tell two small stories, which are not in the book, because I do not have the exact date of when they happened».

The first took place when Arménio was 11 years old and belonged to JAC (Juventude Agrária Católica), within which he took his first steps in journalism, as he was the correspondent for the JAC newspaper, «Grão de Bico».

«One of my first works was about an unprecedented pilgrimage to Paderne Castle, which at that time had no access, it was just a few paths, people were all scratched and suffered to get there. The Bishop was present, the music band performed, there was a cocktail party. Going down, sitting on a rock under a carob tree at the foot of the hill, I took the pad my father had given me and wrote down the news of what had happened».

The second story, «which I didn't publish either», took place «five or six years later, I was a collaborator at the Casa do Povo de Paderne, where I was responsible for presenting Portuguese books and writers. Once, we received a visit from a group, with about 50 people, from the Lisbon Geography Society and they asked me to do the reception, here in the place where the cinema esplanade used to be. In my speech, I said that Paderne Castle was of great importance in the context of Portugal because, wherever the Portuguese flag was, Paderne would be, since it is one of the seven castles that are represented there. One of the members of the Geography Society turned to the others and said: the kid is right!».

With a history of many centuries, of which eight are chronologically portrayed in the book, Armenian only regrets that Paderne does not have «today the dynamism that it should have». Even so, he praised the Albufeira Chamber for having decided “to build a neighborhood to attract people here”.

At the end, before the long autograph session, some friends of the author also spoke, such as the poet Manuel Neto dos Santos or the journalist Neto Gomes, who concluded, with his proverbial good humor: "Armenio, don't forget that you are a permanent Hallelujah!".


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação