Our Lady of Penha Basilica in Recife

Basilica of Our Lady of Penha in Recife
Basilica of Our Lady of Penha

Church of Nossa Senhora da Penha located in the heart of Recife's commerce, the history of the rise of the Basilica da Penha dates back to the times of the Hereditary Captaincies, when the Count Dutch Mauritius of Nassau, then governor, welcomed the first French Capuchin missionaries to Pernambuco in 1642.

Later, the Capuchins received a donation of a vast site and built a hospice and a church.

In 1870, Capuchins from Veneto (Italy) demolished the old Church of Penha and erected the imposing and current Basilica of Penha, completing the work in 1882, led by the skillful Capuchin architect Friar Francesco Maria Di Vicenza.

Basilica Nossa Senhora da Penha in RecifeThe architect friar was inspired by the Venetian basilica of San Giorggio Maggiore, in Neoclassical style.

The Basilica Nossa Senhora da Penha is a landmark in the history of Pernambuco's architecture and an example, in Brazil, of the beginnings of neoclassicism in Pernambuco.

Different from the baroque style used in most churches in Recife, the Basilica da Penha has neo-Renaissance architecture and an architectural work of vast artistic ensemble both inside and outside.

Video “Architecture and History of the Basilica Nossa Senhora da Penha”

Our Lady of Penha Basilica in Recife

Most of the works do not have documentation indicating due authorship, leaving a gap in the historical survey of the building.

Among the few pieces of known authorship we find, on the main altar, the figures of São Francisco and Santo Antônio carved in marble in bas-relief by Valentino Besarel and low-relief on the main altar. But there are signs that several works come from the same sculptor. Also on the main altar are frescoes by Murillo La Greca.

In 1964, Dom Hélder Câmara, Archbishop of Olinda e Recife, created the Nossa da Penha Parish and elected the Penha Basilica as Mother Church.

Traditionally, on Fridays, the Basilica Nossa Senhora da Penha gathers a large flow of devotees, when the Capuchins administer the blessing of St. Felix throughout the day.

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