General Information
Igreja de Santo André de Telões  
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  • Name: Church of Saint Andrew of Telões
  • Typology: Church
  • Classification: Public Interest Building, by Decree 129/77, DR 226 of 29th September 1977
  • Municipality: Amarante
  • Patron Saint´s Day:  Saint Andrew - 30th November 
  • Worship Hours: Saturday - 4.30 pm; Sunday - 9.30 am 
  • Visiting Hours: By appointment   
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : 255 810 706 / 918 116 488   
  • Fax: 255 810 709   
  • E-Mail: rotadoromanico@valsousa.pt    
  • Web: www.rotadoromanico.com   
  • Location:
    Lugar do Mosteiro, Telões, Amarante, Porto.
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 18' 36.54" N / 8° 6' 28.73" O 
History
History
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Church of Telões (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)Located on a hill overlooking the valley, the Church of Telões seems to confirm its origin in the Royal Estate legend says was taken from the grandson of the Moorish king in the skirmishes of the Reconquest.

The anonymous narrator further tells that, being the pious nobleman Rodrigo Froiaz one of the masters of the said estate, he commissioned the building of a monastery in that same place, where he put as first abbot D. Gusmão Pais, all in 887.

Although the date coincides with the strategic advancement of King Afonso III of Asturias (848-910) till the line of the Douro, there is no documentation to confirm the foundational act or even indicate who the first abbot really was.

However, given the persistent interference, in the following centuries, of manorial power in Telões, we can integrate it into the series of churches or family monasteries abundantly established to the north of the Douro until the 11th century.

Although the “Inquirições” [administrative enquiries] of King Afonso II (1220) and Afonso III (1258) present the Monastery of Telões allocated to the “Terra” or “Julgado” [Jurisdiction] of Basto, a little less than a century and a half later, in 1320, royal collectors refer to it as belonging to the Terra de Sousa, bearing the name of Church of Tolões.

In the mid-16th century and despite the title of Monastery that João de Barros grants to the edification, the parish condition of the Church was fully consolidated, dispossessed of any monastic space - although nominally the memory of the latter would linger on.

The Church of Telões was, throughout its existence, profoundly transformed, its chevet holding the main traces of Romanesque times.

The changes are visible in the vestments of the nave, in the construction of the galilee, in the sacristy, or in the rectangular large windows on the side walls of the body and the apse opened during the Early Modern Period.

But it was in the 16th century that one of the most significant transformations in this Church occurred, resulting in an extended campaign of mural painting. Currently, of this campaign, small sections are still visible on the front wall of the nave and on the apse.

In the first, a Nativity scene, overlapping a previous layer, which has been attributed to the workshop identified with the one belonging to the Master Delirious of Guimarães. Meanwhile, on the back wall of the apse and its adjacent, at the centre of the composition, the figure of Saint Andrew, of which we can still see on the bottom his bare feet, part of his robe and the cross of his martyrdom, topped by angelsholding wreath-arranged beads, is hidden by the neoclassical altarpiece.

It turns out, however, that in the 17th and 18th centuries these paintings were replaced with new altars with their altarpieces, thus reflecting the new invocations required and which still persist in part: in the altarpiece, on both collaterals (of previous chronology and in the Mannerist-style) and on both sides, built-in on open arches in the vestment (the one in the north side in national style and the other one in Johannine-style).

Chronology
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By the 11th century - Likely chronology for the foundation of the Monastery of Telões;

13th Century - Telões was allocated to the “Terra” or “Julgado” [Jurisdiction] of Basto;

13th Century (1st half) - Possible chronology for the edification of the Romanesque Church based on the remaining traces;

1269 - Domingos Pais, canon of the Cathedral of Porto, left a series of lamps to the Monastery of Telões for lighting and decoration of the altars of Saint Lawrence and Saint Mary Magdalene;

1320 - The Church of Telões in the Terra de Sousa is referred to as contributing with 1200 crusaders to the Crusades;

1475 - The patronage of the Monastery of Telões is transferred to the Collegiate of Our Lady of Oliveira (Guimarães);

16th Century (early) - First campaign for mural paintings in the Church;

1510-1580 - Several interventions in the Church are documented, recommended by diocesan “visitadores” [inspectors];

1782-1784 - Construction of the side altars as the “visitadores” [inspectors] indicate;

19th Century - Implementation of a fifth altarpiece for the Church of Telões;

1831 - The devotees in Telões request larger bells;

1864 - The Church of Telões is deemed to be in a reasonable state of preservation;

1972-1977 - Process for the classification of the Church of Telões as Building of Public Interest;

1980 - Lowering of the tow high-choirs that existed over the main door;

80s - Several works of conservation and restoration were carried out in the Church;

2005-2009 - Action for the safeguarding of the construction of Telões, including its movable assets and the reformulation of the area for the Eucharistic celebration;

2006 - Discovery of the mural paintings in the Church of Telões;

2010 - Integration of the Church of Saint Andrew of Telões in the Route of the Romanesque;

2015 - Improvements to the surrounding area and conservation of roofs, walls and openings of the Church, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque.

Specialities
Architecture
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Despite its undisputed Romanesque origin, whose main remains are most revealing in the chevet, the Church of Telões saw its early edification be profoundly transformed over the centuries, stressing an evident desire for an aesthetic upgrade and adaptation to new liturgies.

With a rectangular plan, the apse of Telões was certainly designed to be vaulted as shown by the exterior buttresses, finishing well below the cornice, and arranged in the side vestments and back wall.
Plan of the Church of Telões (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)

Considering their shape, Manuel Real associated them to an Asturian tradition. Although the author claims the early character of this Romanesque specimen, which places it in the first half of the 12th century, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de Almeida states a more recent chronology to the set of Romanesque traces found in Telões.

Thus, the stylistic elements of the cruise arch provide evidence of a late chronology: the bulb-shaped bases are evolved, the imposts seem late and the robust capitals feature botanic themes already quite attached to the basket.

Moreover, the main portal, sheltered by the Modern Era galilee, takes us to the “românico de resistência” [resistance Romanesque]: composed of three broken archivolts with sharp edges and no ornamentation, does not bear any columns, so these sit directly on the wall. With a flat tympanum, the fluted corbels stand as the single decorated element of the ensemble.

The vestments of the nave, where simply or plainly decorated modillions can be found, identical to those of the apse, confirm this quite late chronology, while showing a considerable number of scars, thus reflecting the experiences that the primitive edification of Telões went through.

Also the flower design of the oculus, which in the main façade hangs above the portal, corroborates this quite late chronology. This should not be a surprise to us if we remember that, in the close region of Vale do Sousa, Romanesque architecture features an identical overview in terms of its chronological definition.

Restoration and Enhancement
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There is a gap of more than a century regarding the information left by the contemporary period about Saint Andrew of Telões. This might be explained by the fact that, in 1864, the rector Manuel Carvalho Coutinho informed the director of Obras Públicas do Porto [Public Works of Porto] that "this Parish Church" was still showing "the necessary decency and was well built". Therefore, we only find further institutional information about this building in the early Seventies of the following century.

Restoration and enhancement of the Church of Telões (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)In late December 1972, the DGEMN – Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments] was requested by the4.ª Subsecção da 2.ª Secção da Junta Nacional de Educação [4th Subsection of the 2nd Section of the National Board for Education] to organize a "documentary process with a view to a possible classification of the Romanesque Church of Telões together with its contents, in Amarante.” A memorandum from April 4th, 1973, mentions the "primitive elements that should be considered," despite the fact that the building underwent "continuous adulterations".

These elements were the "corbels, the east and west rose windows, the capitals and columns from the chancel arch and the primitive elements from the pavement, which are still not visible". Besides, there are a few "crevices on the wall, covered by the intrusion of built-in altars". Some aspects of the Modern Period's construction were also taken into account, such as the "wooden trough ceiling", the "Lord's Supper" and, "among its rather sober external elements, we highlight the bell tower and the covered churchyard, which works as a connecting element between the former and the Church's body."

Restoration and enhancement of the Church of Telões (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)Although the Secretary of State for Education and Culture had determined the classification of this monument as a Public Interest Building in 1973, the truth is that the Decree that definitely classified Saint Andrew of Telões was only published on September 29th, 1977.

Two years later, over a century after the 1864 information, the "Fabriqueira" Commission of Telões reports the state of ruin shown by the galilee and the choir, given that "both places are threatening to collapse at any moment due to their precarious state of repair, which will cause, furthermore, expensive material damages."

In June 1980 the tender procedure for a building work contract regarding the "demolition of the two choirs that were improperly built in different periods, but in an inappropriate way, as well as the consolidation and repair of the galilee's roof" was already being officially prepared. It was estimated that, with an amount of 250,000$00 [former Portuguese currency unit], it would be possible to carry out "the most urgent works in the church's area, which are posing danger to the lives of those who use it to attend the celebration of divine worship". In the following year, several works were carried out in the galilee and in the sacristy.

Restoration and enhancement of the Church of Telões (Photo: © SIPA – IHRU)Between 1988 and 1991, the property underwent several restoration actions, focusing mainly on the building's roofs. In the early 21st century, between 2005 and 2007, it was again subject to a series of extensive conservation interventions that were not just focused on its architectural structure, but also included the protection of its mobile assets, namely the main altarpiece and the collateral altars, the pulpit and the bas-relief illustrating the Last Supper of Christ plus the design of new furniture for the presbytery.

In 2010, Telões became part of the Route of the Romanesque and, like many other monuments from Amarante, it will the subject of a protection and valorisation project. Its implementation includes the rehabilitation of the Church's exterior and its surrounding area, of the churchyard and its surrounding area.

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Bibliography

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