Church of Saint Mary of Jazente – Amarante

Memory has left us little on the history of this Church. Scarce testimonies have come to us besides what can be told by the stones of the building itself. Therefore, information on this Church prior to the 18th century is scarce.

Evidence suggests that it would be a Church belonging to a religious institution, with subsidiary chapels, but without sacrarium or an epigraphed tomb. It was, then, part of the county of Gestaçô.

Another fact is its connection to the so-called abbot of Jazente, real name Paulino Cabral, known for his mundane life in the city of Porto, where he participated in gatherings and parties.

In 1864, in response to the survey conducted by the Director of Public Works of Porto, who sought to know the condition of the churches in the diocese of Porto, the clergyman of Jazente claimed the Church to be in good condition.

Already in the 30s of the 20th century, several conservation works were carried out, certainly at the expense of the parish: these works included the removal of the plaster on the interior and exterior vestments, the cleaning of the vestments on the Church’s façade, on the inside and outside of the chancel and in part of its body.

In the 60s and after several reminders by the priests of the parish, DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments] opened the process for the classification of the Church, which was concluded on September 29th, 1977 with the classification of the Church as a Building of Public Interest.

History

950 – According to Domingos Moreira, the toponym Jacenti de Tamecha is already referred;

1258 – Abbess Margarida bears witness to the “Inquirições” [administrative enquiries] of King Afonso III;

1623 – The Church features no sacrarium;

1719, May 6th – Paulino António Cabral, future abbot of Jazente and Arcadian writer is born in São Pedro de Lomba,

1726 – Craesbeeck states that the Church has no sacrarium and it is then the abbey of the ordinary of Porto, abbot Bernardo Vieira de Macedo;

1752 – Paulino Antonio Cabral enters the service of the parish of Jazente;

1789 – Paulino António Cabral, writer and abbot of Jazente, dies in Amarante;

1930-1960 – Works are carried out on the Church’s interiors and structure;

2010 – Integration of the Church of Saint Mary of Jazente in the Route of the Romanesque.

Architecture and Furniture

The data that persisted over time allow us to consider that we have found a Church built in the late 13th century, if not already in the 14th century, thus integrating itself in what has been called the “românico de resistência” [resistance Romanesque], widespread in this region of the Tâmega and Sousa.

Consisting of a single nave and rectangular chevet (the latter being lower and narrower than the nave), the Church of Jazente stands out for the homogeneity of its construction, little changed over time

Consisting of a single nave and rectangular chevet (the latter being lower and narrower than the nave), the Church of Jazente stands out for the homogeneity of its construction, little changed over time.

The main façade is dominated by the main portal, consisting of two slightly broken archivolts that rest directly on the height of the wall.

It tympanum is supported by corbels that rest on a sort of pillar decorated with vertical grooves. This tympanum is perforated by a large cross with a central disc, with another cross along the lintel.

Still on this façade, a narrow crevice is surmounted by the belfry and, on top of this, a small cross.

The south lateral portal is structured with five cross-positioned circular apertures and surrounded by a double circle.

Over the portal, remains a drip-course which, coupled with the protruding corbels, confirms the existence of a porched structure, but could not reach our times. Immediately upon the drip-course, two narrow crevices, of Romanesque flavour.

In the nave’s front wall there is also a narrow crevice, over its gable, a terminal pattée cross.

In turn, the north façade is, in general, identical to the south one, except in the absence of signs of a drip-course ever had existed.

The interior of the Church of Jazente is marked by simplicity: the granite in vestments is interrupted only by narrow crevices, much to the Romanesque taste, slightly illuminate the interior.

Noteworthy is its triumphal arch that, despite being broken, seems to be more of a depressed arch. However, the presence of two pilasters with Tuscan capitals, one on each side, leads us to believe that, between the 17th and 18th centuries, the intention was to transform this arch, dignifying it and increasing the opening of its span.

Regarding the altarpieces, these do not correspond to the usual interventions carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries and which changed the inner aspect of medieval churches: these are contemporary altarpieces of the 1930s and 1960s.

In the nave, close to the main entrance, on the Gospel side, we have the font, certainly of the late Romanesque. The base and bowl are both polygonal.

Regular guided visits

By appointment.

Opening times

Celebrations: Saturday – 5.30 pm (winter) or 6.30 (summer); sunday – 8 am.

Building

Church of Saint Mary of Jazente
Rua da Igreja, Jazente
Amarante
Portugal