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Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte [Our Lady of the Mount], Olinda PE

Has the oldest documentation proving its existence: a certificate dating from the 16th century, reiterating the donation of land by Brites de Albuquerque, the widow of the aforementioned grantee.

Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte [Our Lady of the Mount], Olinda PE

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 15/10/2015

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - N/I

According to chroniclers, Duarte Coelho, the first Grantee of Pernambuco, had a small temple dedicated to Our Lady of the Mount erected in wood and clay on the grounds of Olinda Hill.

Thus, the Church of Our Lady of the Mount has the oldest documentation proving its existence: a certificate dating from the 16th century, reiterating the donation of land by Brites de Albuquerque, the widow of the aforementioned grantee.

In 1596, the temple was administered by Benedictine monks. Because of its distance from the urban centre of Olinda, this building was not damaged by the great fire of 1631 caused by the Dutch. It is worth noting that the Benedictine brothers, with their vegetable gardens and farms, turned the place into a kind of hospice. When the Dutch were expelled from Brazil, the monks left the church, and it remained in the care of residents and pilgrims.

Since the 19th century, the temple has undergone a series of reforms. In the 20th century, it was handed over to the nuns of the Order of St Benedict. They arrived from Germany in 1903 with the purpose of caring for the Church and the Misericórdia [Mercy] Hospital and set up the Santa Gertrude’s Academy in the surrounding area. The nuns also produced embroidery for religious vestments, as well as liqueurs and biscuits.

In the church of Our Lady of the Mount, there are two altar niches framed by arches of pilasters of Tuscan order on each wall at the bottom of the nave. The tribunes are carved in wood; the pulpit contains floral motifs and is supported by stone dogs.

On the walls of the main chapel are panels and in the sacristy is a carved limestone washbasin. The temple has some very old features like the 17th century entrance door, and its façade is flanked by a dwarf steeple, also from the same historical period.



Recife, 5 December 2003.
(Updated on 22 November 2007).
Translated by Peter Leamy, November 2016.

sources consulted

BARBOSA, Antônio. Relíquias de Pernambuco. São Paulo: Ed. Fundo Educativo Brasileiro, 1983.

FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife. Recife: Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977.

GUERRA, Flávio. Velhas igrejas do Recife, Olinda e Igarassu. [Recife?: s.n.], [196?].

________. Velhas igrejas e subúrbios históricos. Recife: Fundação Guararapes, 1970.

MENEZES, José Luiz da Mota. O Recife e as construções religiosas. Arrecifes: Revista do Conselho Municipal de Cultura, Recife, ano 3, n. 2, p. 27-31, 1987.

MUELLER, Bonifácio. Olinda e suas igrejas: esboço histórico. Recife: Livraria Pio XII, 1945.

SILVA, Leonardo Dantas. Pernambuco preservado. Recife, 2002.

how to quote this text

Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte, Olinda, PE. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Acesso em: dia  mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009