Destination Rio de Janeiro, the second travel to the former capital of Brazil.
Images of Igreja São José, a church in the center of Rio.
Day 2, 10.30 a.m.
I left Igreja Nossa Senhora de Bonsucesso. But I did not leave, before I had lit three little candles in a covered space. I took the same road back, back to the historical center of Rio, following my intuition. Again I walked along the Ministry of Treasury, and the Tribune for Work-Related Conflicts. In front of me, I noticed a number of towers, often in pairs. I did not have the intention to visit them all that day, but I was interested in seeing them from the inside. More decorations? More gilded ornaments? Another, and deeper dive into the history of Rio? I followed the shortest route to the nearest towers. I still lacked a city plan…
I neared these two towers. I had to walk through a narrow alley that was decorated with a large number of potted tropical plants. Some of these plants contained a little card with the price on it. There was a small flower stand at the end of this alley. The owner had used ample space to demonstrate all his flowers. For me it was quite obvious to notice many balconies and roofs decorated with potted plants. I hadn’t observed this phenomenon in large numbers in other Brazilian cities, such as Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, São Paulo, Salvador or Recife.
First impression of this church
A metal plaque of Riotur was positioned in front of the church. It was named Igreja São José, the Saint Joseph Church. From the outside, this church resembled to those I had seen before in cities as Ouro Preto. Apparently simple from the outside, with two towers in front. According to this plaque, this church is one of the oldest in Rio. Parts of this church date back from 1630. The church was rebuilt in 1643. A great part of the historical documentation about this church was destroyed during the French invasion, led by admiral René Duguay-Tourin, in 1711. The city had to surrender, and to pay large sums of money.
The altar, with the statue of São José
(behind, picture taken without flash)
The church was rebuilt in the 19th century, the reconstruction took 18 years. The carillon is the best known and most beloved in the city of Rio. At certain hours, melodies such as the Brazilian hymn and well-known Brazilian music is played. Unfortunately, I did not hear this carillon playing during my visit.
I entered the church. Immediately, my eyes caught the pale yellow light that was emitted by a number of large chandeliers. Thanks to this dimmed light, the inside of the church appeared to be covered with a golden glow. There were many people in the church, a mass was going on. An adhesive issued the warning that it was not allowed to use the flash when taking pictures. I had to stabilize my camera as much as possible, in my hand. The church appeared to be in a similar decorative style as the Nossa Senhora do Bomsucesso. Light colored panels covered with gold leaf. An enormous statue of Saint Joseph, with a baby in his arms, was positioned behind the main altar. This statue was flanked by numerous candles. An ocean of dimmed light…
I restricted myself to the back of the church, and observed the decorations, made some pictures. The priest did not look up, the believers – with a few exceptions – kept on fixing their attention upon the priest and the altar. My presence did not interrupt the mass; the mass continued unperturbed while I left the church silently…
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom
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- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (23). Igreja Nossa Senhora de Bonsucesso (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- COLORFUL BRAZIL: Igreja da Candelária, Rio de Janeiro (RJ) (adrianoantoine.wordpress.com)
- COLORFUL BRAZIL: Igreja São José (St. Joseph Church), Ouro Preto (MG) (adrianoantoine.wordpress.com)
- Travel in Brazil: RIO DE JANEIRO (22). Real Gabinete Português (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)