Pilgrimage in Caldeireiros
Pilgrimage in Caldeireiros
Pilgrimage in Caldeireiros

One of the most prominent icons of devotion of the Vitória’s inhabitants (but not only!) is located on the upper end of Caldeireiros Street. People still venerate the image of  “Senhor da Boa Fortuna” (Lord of Good Fortune), and make an annual festival to the location – Pilgrimage in Caldeireiros (The Lord of Good Fortune)

The party is set up at the site of the ancient “Olive grove” which nowadays became the streets of Martires da Liberdade, Trás, Caldeireiros and S. Bento da Vitória. It is at the upper end of  Street of Caldeireiros (Boilermakers), once called Ferraria de Cima, that the big Cross of “Senhor da Boa Fortuna” laid. The Cross probably resided in this location since old and immemorial times, and was located in the middle of the street by the end of the 19th Century, but nowadays is part of the main front of a building.

The reader is probably asking: how was a huge cross, made of heavy stone, transferred from the middle of the street to the front façade of a building? Lets try to explain.

Lord of Good Fortune

Since ancient times, devoted people placed granite Crosses in certain streets of Porto. Only in Bonjardim Street there were 14. These were all different and bear distinct patterns. The Cross of Padrão das Almas had the figure of Christ carved into the stone; The Reguinho, in the nowadays non-existing in Largo Reimão, contained the invocation of the Senhor dos Aflitos (Lord of the Afflicted), and was flat and bore the image of Christ, but with painted colors.

The Cruises were true symbols of popular devotion and were venerated by the locals, but also by the pedestrians. The Reguinho, for example, was much revered by farmers from Campanhã, Valbom and S. Cosme, on their journeys to Porto to sell the products of their farming. They were often adored and illuminated at night and decorated with the flowers at the base during the day. Obvious, by then, the annual celebration was very popular and crowded.

By the mid-nineteenth century, the character of devotion of Porto inhabitants changed. The church bells no longer rang at night, and when the Viaticum went out; the Senhor de Fora “the Lord of Away” was no longer accompanied by hymns; the houses no longer lit the balconies or windows for the passage of the Blessed Sacrament. On the other hand, Porto city recovered from the injuries caused by the Civil War and from the Patuleia. Porto was in great development, and as a consequence opened up new streets and squares. The trade was flourishing, traffic substantially increased on the streets of the city, and the Crosses, which in most cases, were found implanted in the middle of the arteries began to be a serious obstacle.

In May 1869, the Civil Governor of the city suggested the Mayor that the Crosses should be removed, with the pretext that they obstructed the normal traffic development. The Governor advised the President that before taking any resolution, they should speak with ecclesiastical authority, to avoid misunderstandings.

(Picture)

It is known that the Mayor spoke the Bishop and these made an appointment to the city priests  whom, in turn, heard the population. The result was a resounding “no”. That is, the inhabitants of the boroughs of the Crosses, opposed to their removal. The Mayor determined that the issue was closed, but in reality it was only postponed.

Indeed, a few months later, still in 1869, the Mayor had withdrew from the Crosses from the streets of Porto except three that were removed by citizens in advance and hided them in their homes. One of them was the Cross with the invocation of Senhor da Boa Fortuna (Lord of Good Fortune). This is situated in front of the chapel of Senhora das Dores e S. José (Lady of Sorrows and St. Joseph) near of Postigo do Sol, which is one of doors of the Muralha Fernandina, that in turn are the old doors of the city; nowadays a University (Universidade Moderna).

The second Cross was located in Bonjardim Street and the third Cross saved by the population devotion, was the one on the upper part of the Street of Caldeireiros, also devoted to Senhor da Boa Fortuna and is the Cross that the population of Victoria uses for the annual festival  – Pilgrimage in Caldeireiros.

It only remains to be said that the Mayor was not overly concerned with these isolated acts. The case came to be reported to the Chamber House that dealt with the matter in a plenary hall. The decision made was, incidentally, very curious, and the following “… there was no reason to proceed against those who withdrew the Crosses from the public strees, because they had just completed the order that the Chamber had in mind… ” The former Cross of Senhor da Boa Fortuna who stood at the entrance of the Ferraria de Cima Street (now Rua dos Caldeirerios), is now represented by an image that was worshiped in between the wall of the house that makes the street corner of the Caldereiros with Travessa do Ferraz. That is where the party takes place today.

The party of Senhor da Boa Fortuna – Pilgrimage in Caldeireiros

In the ancient Olive Grove is nowadays the most representative pattern of its millennial age, the building of the old prision Cadeia da Relação and is still evident too, fact still noticeable on half a dozen houses in S. Bento da Vitória and the Caldereiros (one of them is YOURS Building). This place was also called Largo, Terreiro and Praça of Porta do Olival (names of streets and squares) and was also where the Porta do Olival was located (Olive Gate or door of the ancient city walls).

Who passed through this Doors or Gate from the outside of the wall found itself on a large yard, that intersected several streets: Rua de Trás (before Rua da Lage then Ferraria de Cima) currently the Rua dos Caldeireiros; Rua de S.Miguel (before Rua de S. Bento dos Frades currently Rua de S.Bento da Vitoria and Rua das Taipas). A Rua das Taipas was previously known as Rua do Olival or Rua da Porta do Olival das Taipas.

The designation  of Martires da Liberdade to this Cordoaria was made is 1835, in honour of the memory of 12 Liberals who were hanged in Praça Nova during the darkness and totalitarian regime of D. Miguel. One of them is Antonio Bernardo de Brito e Cunha and lived exactly at the entrance of Rua das Taipas, in a building that still bears the coat armor of the Britos e Cunhas family.

Note: This article is an adaptation of an article from JN, published on 2004/08/29, http://www.jn.pt/PaginaInicial/Interior.aspx?content_id=457810

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