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São Sebastião | by Frans Harren
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São Sebastião

Saint Sebastian


Saint Sebastian (died c. 268) was a Christian saint and martyr, who is said to have been killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows. This is the most common artistic depiction of Sebastian; however, he was rescued and healed by Irene of Rome before criticising the emperor and being clubbed to death.


See: Saint Sebastian


Metropolitan Cathedral of Belém


The Metropolitan Cathedral of Belém or simply Sé Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Belém, the city of Belém do Pará and an integral part of the complex religious and historical old town, called Feliz Lusitânia.


The first church of Belém was built into the Fort and it was dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. A few years later was transferred to the current Largo da Sé, a poor construction. In the following century, in 1719, the Diocese of Maranhão is broken at the request of D. John V and Bethlehem is to host the newly created Diocese of Para, earning the right to honors its Episcopal Cathedral church.


The works of the current building, built in the same place of the primitive church, started in the year 1748. Dates from this time the plant's general church and the lower levels of the façade, including the main portal of feature Baroque Pombal. After several interruptions, the direction of the works was taken over in 1755 by José Antonio Landi, architect Italian arrived in Belém in 1753, which left vast work in the region. Landi finished the facade, adding the two towers and pediment. The towers, similar to the Belém Church of Mercy, also designed by Landi, have no parallels in the Luso-Brazilian world and are inspired by models Bologna, region of origin of the architect. The stately pediment, flanked by neoclassical pyramidal spiers, has a profile more Baroque-Rococo and contains a niche with a statue of Our Lady. The building was fully completed in 1782.


In 1882 the interior of the church has undergone a radical reform, ordained by Bishop Don Antonio de Macedo Costa, when the cathedral has undergone a major change. The original altarpiece, written by Landi, was embodied in character and a rococo painting of Our Lady of Grace by the painter of eighteenth-century Portuguese Pedro Alexandrine de Carvalho. As far as painting the altarpiece are now lost and are only known through drawings.


The current main altar was created in Rome by Luca Carimini in the nineteenth century, while the paintings that decorate the interior were made by the Italian Domenico de Angelis and Giuseppe Capranesi. The great organ, the workshop of the French Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, was installed in 1882, being the largest organ in Latin America.


The Sé Cathedral of Bethlehem was elevated to the seat of the archdiocese in 1906.


The cathedral is an important part of the traditional celebration of the Círio de Nazaré, the largest procession in the western world. After a mass at the cathedral, the statue of Our Lady of Nazaré in the procession to the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Nazaré, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of people.


After several years without being subjected to serious measures of conservation, which deteriorated quite a few aspects of its structure and artistic, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Belém was finally subjected to restoration in 2005, and reopened to the public on September 1, 2009.


Part of the architecture of the cathedral is attributed to Italian architect Antonio Jose Landi, as the facade with the crowning of the two great towers, the Cathedral watches are imported from Europe and were installed in the temple in 1772. The Sé Cathedral possess beautiful drawings made by architect Landi, also holds beautiful canvases created by renowned European artists of the eighteenth century, located on ten lateral altars, and 28 bronze chandeliers, stained glass religious and possess great artistic value has a beautiful nineteenth-century French organ, a true treasure of the history of Belém.


See: Catedral Metropolitana de Belém

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Taken on March 30, 2012