Algarve's Tourist Guide - Monuments, Historical sites and architecture and heritage of the Algarve
Tourist Guide Loulé - Monuments, Historical sites, architecture and heritage of the Municipality
Tourist Guide Almansil - Monuments, Historical sites, architecture and heritage of Almancil
Church of San Lorenzo de Almancil
In early 18th century there was a small late medieval church on this place. It was basically a ruin though. Its doors were destroyed after centuries of usage and the roof was in awful condition.
On September 1722 the inhabitants were desperated due to a severe shortage of water. They decided to dig the earth, looking for fresh water, and promised to build a new temple if the attempt was sucessfull. They found a strong source of the precious liquid and so was started the church of São Lourenço of Almancil..
Since then the brotherhood of São Lourenço (St. Lawrence Chapel) has grown in importance, and begin to have as Judge Protector one of the leading figures in the Algarve region, Dr. Manuel de Sousa Teixeira, Vicar General of the Bishopric.
With the contribution of local citizens the construction was firmly developed, special attention given to the
decoration and aesthetics of the new church. The best craftsmen were contracted. The inside was covered with blue tile artwork which is still the main attraction.
The two Borges brothers, natural of Lisbon, Antão, master mason, who lived in Faro and Manuel, master tile, residing in Lisbon, should be undertaken to build the church, since then, with the purpose of the tiled.
These two artists were responsible in the Algarve for several works, which stand out in Faro, flooring tiles of the Church Order of 3rd St. Francisco and the construction of the choir of the Cathedral
In November 1729 these builders have committed with Dr Manuel de Sousa Teixeira to arrange the tiles for the new temple and seat them as soon as possible.
The carved altar and the rest must have been designed and implemented, around 1735, by the best artist in the region, the master Manuel Martins.
The gilding contract was only assumed on February 16, 1742 by the Algarve painters, Clement Velho de Sarre and Francisco Correia.
The earthquake of 1755 almost did not damage it, only five tiles fell from the top of the dome.
In 1849 was removed the parish of São Joã Batista (St. John the Baptist) and established the parish of Almancil. The headquarters of the parish was then transferred to the Church of São Lourenço (St Lawrence), with the designation of São João Batista (St. John Baptist) de (of) Almancil.
On the side walls of this temple there are eight figurative panels depicting the life of São Lourenço (St. Lawrence). Both of ousia represent the Saint delivering for the poor the goods that the church trust him for
this purpose and a miracle doned near the Tiber river, restoring sight to two blind men.
The six panels of the nave of the church are presented in chronological order, beginning with the letter side, next to the chapel and elongate the side of the gospel from the door.
1 - São Lourenço talks to Pope Sixtus, when it would be martyred, lamenting not go with him. The Pope encourages him by saying that "three days later it's your turn".
2 - The Saint was arrested and charged of possession of great wealth, but it's the goods that Pope Sixtus sent him to distribute to the poor.
3 - São Lourenço presents to the Roman emperor, Valerian, the treasures of the Church, namely the poor.
4 - The Saint was is intimidated to abandon faith in Christ and accept the Roman gods.
5 - Sâo Lorenço is placed on a grid to be burned over a slow fire to be his greatest punishment, hoping to divest before the pain.
6 - The Saint is comforted in is martyrdom by an angel of God who takes is soul to heaven.
The faithful people, in the middle of the eighteenth century, was much flocked to the chapel of São Lourenço two days before and the day before the feast of the Sain -10 August.
More than two or three thousand people was moving on pilgrimage not only for seeing the devotion to St. Lourenço, as the greatness of their festival and fire blazing in the night of the Holy and besides the many dances and the harp of the people who help thee there.
In a book manuscript with the music and lyrics of the hymns sung in praise to the patron, highlights the illumination of the Saint, ascending to heaven with several angels. It is likely to have been held in the 2nd quarter of the eighteenth century by an artist of Faro, perhaps, Clement Velho de Saarre.
The tiles of the dome of the nave and the chancel, including the dome, were made in 1730 by Policarpo de Oliveira Bernardes.
However, the notarial contract was concluded between the Judge of the Brotherhood and the brothers Manuel and Antonio Borges, committing them to give by his account, all the tiles needed to tile the chapel of São Lourenço, both walls and the half orange and base all the tiles with all the perfection and the best possible paints that could be.
It is noteworthy in the scene of the coronation of St. Lawrence, the subject of the central dome of the nave, a technical feature of Policarpo in the shadows and brands are loaded with blue obtained by crossing noticeable different strokes.
The decoration of the sacristy was also part of the remodeling done in this temple in the 2nd quarter of the eighteenth century. The walls were lined with a great square of tiles with baroque motifs: acanthus leaves, Albarradas, etc...
In the middle was placed the most interesting baroque chest of drawers throughout the Algarve region, highlighting the ornamentation carved doors, drawers and the backs. The latter housed the image of the saint.
As the carving of the church, the great chest and the Processional image of São Lourenço must have been made by the master carver and sculptor of Faro, master Manuel Martins.