The Church of Santa Teresa D'Ávila is located in Pátio do Carmo and is part of the sacred reef, right next to the eponymous Basilica.
Next to the Basilica in Carmo in Recife, we find a beautiful church, whose architectural design of the pediment resembles the same Basilica, is the Church of Santa Tereza da Ordem Terceira do Carmo – Built between 1700 and 1837. One of the most beautiful baroque churches Pernambuco.
Overshadowed by its famous neighbor and hidden at the end of a corridor of beautiful palm trees, it unfortunately goes unnoticed by most of the passersby who rush through the center of Recife.
The construction work of the Church of Santa Teresa D'Ávila of the Third Order of Carmo was completed in 1710 (consecrated only in 1835) after ten years of initiation.
If we compare it with the eighty years of the Basilica of Carmel, we can say that it took a very short time to be ready. This only happened thanks to the willingness of the members of the Third Order of Carmel to spend all the necessary resources to build it in the shortest possible time and with the maximum amount of luxury.
It is noteworthy that they were merchants, planters, etc.
The Third Order of Carmel is made up to this day by lay people, that is, people who are not part of the priesthood (there are no nuns or friars).
Video History and Architecture of the Church of Santa Teresa D'Ávila of the Third Order of Carmel
Its patron saint, Santa Teresa D'Ávila (or Santa Teresa de Jesus), was born in the province of Ávila, Kingdom of Castile (Spain), and lived between 1515 and 1582.
She had a life of exemplary dedication to prayer, played a key role in the reform of the Order of Carmel, and was one of the most notable writers on church-related themes.
Gifted with an outstanding talent, she described her own personal experiences to explain the four steps of prayer: the withdrawal, the quiet, the union and the rapture.
Despite such dedication, Santa Teresa D'Ávila was persecuted by the Inquisition of the Catholic Church for the way she expressed her ideas and for talking about the “spiritual orgasm” in her writings. There are indications that she was not killed due to her father's strong influence with the king.
Visiting the Church of Santa Tereza D'Ávila of the Third Order of Carmo (holy name!) gives us the opportunity to discover the largest collection of paintings in honor of the saint in the world.
Like the other churches of this time, its architectural style is Baroque in its final phase (full of the typical refining of Rococo).
The paintings in the nave of the Church of Santa Teresa D'Ávila of the Third Order of Carmo are by João de Deus Sepúlveda (XNUMXth century), while those in the entrance are by the freed slave from Pernambuco Manoel de Jesus Pinto. The church was not allowed to be attended by black people.
The church's nave also houses a rare crystal chandelier, but its main highlight are the paintings on the church's ceiling. There are a few rarities, like a painting of Santa in underwear (for the time, of course) and two more of the “bad thing”. Are you looking for it?
The side altars represent six steps from the Passion of Christ. There is an important detail in the gilding technique.
Unlike the Golden Chapel, where the application of gold leaf was used, here they “blew” gold dust onto the fresh paint.
In the center, the main altar displays images of Jesus Christ and Nossa Senhora do Carmo, on the right side São José “in boots” (rarity) and the patron saint Santa Teresa on the left.
Did you notice something different in the image of Jesus? He has his head to the right and his features are quite pained in the last moment of his life. There are only two images portrayed in this way in the world (the other is in Ouro Preto).
The side niches feature images of St. Elias, spiritual father of all Carmelites, and his follower St. Elisha.
It is difficult to distinguish the two images due to the similarity (St. Elijah is the one on the left right next to Jesus). The smaller images in the lower part are of John Paul II and Santa Terezinha.
The left side of the altar features a painting with one of the most important passages in her life: the transverberation of the heart of Saint Teresa.
The sacristy of the Church of Santa Teresa D'Ávila of the Third Order of Carmo is closed to visitors, but it's worth insisting on visiting. In addition to the XNUMXth century colonial furniture, there are beautiful images of Santa Teresa de Jesus, Nossa Senhora da Soledade and São José (from left to right) …… and reproductions of the most important passages in the life of Santa Teresa D'Ávila.
Finally, the area next to the church is occupied by tombs of important members of the Third Order of Carmel, such as the Baron of Casa Forte and others.
Recife, Pernambuco and Northeast Tourism and Travel Guide
Religious Tourism and Sacred Recife
Bahia Tourism Guide