Madeira

Funchal Churches - Igreja de Sao Pedro


Older than the cathedral and a wonderful Baroque interior and azulejo tiles


Work began on Igreja de Sao Pedro in 1590, in what was a new parish to the west of Funchal. It predates the Se Cathedral. Although complete in   six years, it was 1749 before all the alterations, extensions and improvements were completed.  

The noble families began to move away from the old town and the church reflects their wealth at that time. Its tall bell tower with coloured tile roof and small cockerel at the top, must have dominated the surroundings. Like other churches in Madeira, the stark exterior is a contrast of white and dark. A flight of steps leads up to the double doors. It is a typical Mannerist style building with single nave and chancel with three small chapels off the nave.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal      igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal
 
There is a simple baptistry in a small vestibule at the back of the church.

 igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

The rest of the inside is a complete contrast, with C17th blue and white azulejo tiles covering the walls, crystal chandeliers and paintings in gilt frames.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

There are long narrow wooden balconies along either side of the back of the nave.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

The nave ceiling is painted.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

The chancel arch with its two side altars dedicated to Our Lady of Candelaria and Santa Luzia and chancel are Baroque architecture at its finest.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal      igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

The main altar and reredos cover all of the end wall of the chancel and are magnificent with its gilt covered carving and particularly impressive tabernacle behind the figure of Christ crucified. The altar cloth is hand embroidered.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

The chancel ceiling is painted and the walls are covered with paintings

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

There are side chapels off the nave also with highly decorative Baroque altars.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal     igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

The chapel at the back of the north wall is later and lacks the azulejo tiles. It is surrounded by an arcade of pillars supporting round arches and the reredos is almost plain in comparison with the others in the church.

igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

There is a small sacristy on the north side of the chancel, which is also used by the flower arrangers.
 
igreja de Sao Pedro, Funchal

This must be one of the best Baroque churches in Funchal. Being away from the town centre it is a lot quieter than Igreja do Colegio. It is definitely worth finding. 

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