General Information
Church of the Saviour of Aveleda 
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  • Name: Church of the Saviour of Aveleda
  • Typology: Church
  • Classification: Public Interest Building, by Decree No 95/78, DR 210 of 12th September 1978
  • Municipality: Lousada
  • Patron Saint´s Day: Divine Saviour - 6th August   
  • Worship Hours: Sunday - 10.30 am; Saturday - 6.30 pm   
  • Visiting Hours: By appointment   
  • Support Services:
  • Telephone : +351 255 810 706 / +351 918 116 488 
  • Fax: +351 255 810 709 
  • E-Mail: rotadoromanico@valsousa.pt  
  • Web: www.rotadoromanico.com 
  • Location:
    Lugar da Igreja, Aveleda, Lousada, Porto
  • Geographic Coordinates: 41° 16' 46.51" N / 8° 15' 10.95" W 
History
History
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Church of the Saviour of AveledaThe first references to the Church of the Savior of Aveleda date back to 1177, when Vela Rodrigues donates to the Monastery of the Savior of Paço de Sousa (Penafiel) the property he had inherited in Lousada from his father, Rodrigo Viegas and his grandparents, Egas Moniz and Teresa Afonso. The Church’s devotion appears in the document of 1218, as well as in the "Inquirições" [administrative enquiries] of 1258.
 
The current building, despite these references, does not date that way back, having been reformed in the Modern Era, retaining only the nave and western façade of Romanesque features.

The Church of the Savior of Aveleda is thus a late Romanesque building, whose interior was object of a decorative campaign during the eighteenth century.

Historical Figures
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Vela Rodrigues
Vela Rodrigues, son of Rodrigo Viegas, born of the first marriage of Egas Moniz, schoolmaster and governor of King D. Afonso Henriques, with D. Dórdia Paes de Azevedo.

Legends and Curiosities
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The Church of the Saviour of Aveleda presents in one of the steps that separate the nave of the Church's chevet, a rectangular decorative piece, in granite, in which two motifs were carved. The edges feature six-petal rosettes framed in circles and, in the middle, a diamond.

By the motif carving technique in this piece, it is possible to find similarities with the friezes found in the Church of Saint Torcato in Guimarães, or in Saint Fructuous of Montélios in Braga. This piece may have been influenced by the architecture of the Visigothic or Mozarabic periods, which may correspond to an older building.

Chronology
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12th century - Reference to the Church of Aveleda;

Late-13th and 14th centuries - Rebuilding of the Church;

17th and 18th centuries - Reconstruction of the main chapel and placement of the altarpieces, sacristy, bell tower and interior renovation: gilding and painting;

18th century (2nd half) - Painting the triumph arch and nave ceiling and placing of the collateral altarpieces;

19th century - Main altarpiece;

1982-83 - Conservation and restoration works; roofing, cleaning of the paint in ceilings and cross arch, restoration of the gilding, new pavement, construction of granite stone steps in the triumph arch to separate the nave from the main chapel, application of coating to the interior, opening a span in the main chapel to access the sacristy;

1998 - The Church of the Saviour of Aveleda is included in the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa;

2004 - Works for the general preservation of roofing, exterior walls and spans;

2004-2005 - Preservation of the back surface of the ceilings of the chancel, nave and sacristy;

2005 - Works of general preservation, improvement works in the sacristy and electrical wiring;

2011 - Archaeological excavations in the surroundings of the Church;

2013-2014 - Works for the general conservation of the Church, mostly at the levels of the roofs, external walls and churchyard, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque;

2014-2015 - Works on the surrounding area of the Church, under the scope of the Route of the Romanesque.

Specialities
Architecture
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Of religious architecture, this Church is an example of very late Romanesque, composed of longitudinal plan, a nave and chancel, covered with wooden roofs.

Plan of the Church of the Saviour of Aveleda

The portal has colonnettes sitting on a wide shoe and the decoration of the capitals presents features of the Romanesque dialect of the Tâmega and Sousa basin.

The Romanesque architectural style prevailed until very late in the Tâmega and Sousa, a situation particularly visible in this Church. The west portal preserves very obvious Romanesque elements, although dating from a later period.

Highlight to the vegetal capitals and the outlining of the bases, similar to other examples of the region. Similarly, the absence of columns in lateral portals is symptom of late Romanesque.  Above these there is a drip course, which indicates the existence of a porch, common elements in Romanesque churches in Portugal.

The sacristy, the chancel and the bell tower are some of the elements that resulted from the architectural transformation carried out in the Modern Era.

The lateral altarpieces, of an elaborate Rococo style, and the main-altarpiece, of neoclassical lines, as well as the paintings on the ceiling of the chancel, the ceiling of the nave and transept are other elements that contribute to the beauty of this monument.

The tower, in a slightly pushed back plan, was erected in the eighteenth century, finishing in a spire.

In the lateral walls, the modillions are of particular interest. On the south side, a broken arch portal opens up and, in the middle of the façade, there is a frieze and modillions.

Inside, the main altarpiece was built in the 1670s and the coffered ceiling of the chancel in the 1720s. As for the side altarpieces, these are from the second half of the eighteenth century, as the gilding, which dates back to the end of the century.

Surroundings
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In the scope of the Study for the Enhancement and Protection of the Monuments of the Route of the Romanesque of the Vale do Sousa, in which the guidelines and framework of the subsequent development of technical projects for implementation and respective works for the enhancement and protection of the surroundings were defined, the conditions considered most relevant for the preservation and requalification of the surroundings were described.

The aim of this Study is to preserve the context in which these are integrated, namely the integration of constraints on legal provisions - such as Special Protection Areas - restricting urban interventions that may endanger the integrity of the surroundings.

Surroundings of the Church of the Saviour of Aveleda

We also proceeded to the definition of areas and interventions of general nature to take into account in the surroundings, in order to extend the planning to a wider area and allow better circulation of tourists in the region.

Finally, the Study defined the priority interventions to be carried out in the surroundings, to allow the stabilization of the territories and, simultaneously, correct and/or create structures and supporting infrastructures.

The redeployment of the new road infrastructure is a serious threat to this monument, given the dimensions of some of the roads planned for the site.

These, according to studies conducted, should be targeted for mitigation and redesign in order to preserve the countryside surrounding the property. Enhancing the priest's house, re-qualifying the most recent works of the cemetery and the toilets are other works requiring intervention. The aerial electric and lighting wiring, by its excessive weight, should be subject to replanning.

Restoration and Enhancement
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The preservation and restoration works of the Church, held in 2006, involved works on the ceilings of the chancel and nave, the decorative painting of the arch of the cruise, pulpit and back surface of the altarpiece.

On the ceiling of the chancel there is an oil painting on wood, representing a novena to Our Lady of the mid-eighteenth century, in a rococo style by an unknown author.

The oil painting on wood on the ceiling of the nave represents Christ the Redeemer, of the mid-eighteenth century, rococo style and by an unknown author.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Church of the Saviour of Aveleda

The oil painting on wood on the triumphal arch represents Christ the Redeemer, of the mid-eighteenth century, rococo style and by an unknown author.

The back surface of the altarpiece, carved wood and polychrome, is from the nineteenth century in neoclassical style by an unknown author.

The dirty surfaces were cleaned by brushing and aspiration and the polychrome surfaces were fixed by introducing an adhesive underneath the area, laying it down with a metal spatula and applying an acrylic resin solution of an ethyl methacrylate copolymer type, diluted at 10 percent with an aromatic hydrocarbon.

The pulpit, in gilded and polychrome wood, from the mid-eighteenth century, in a rococo style by an unknown author, is comprised of high quality chestnut wood boards.

In the triumphal arch the wooden boards of the painting were lifted, thus allowing access to the interior of the back surface and its cleaning. In addition to the disinfection and the disinfestation of the purlin and back surface of the triumphal arch, the closing of the access to the back surface and the revision and structural reinforcement, the oxidation on the nail surfaces was mechanically removed, with the stabilization of this process by applying tannic acid, dissolved in distilled water and ethanol and protected with antioxidant varnish.

A ceiling finishing frame was placed in the junction points with the transversal walls, manufactured in plywood and secured with stainless steel screws.

The aged mortar was removed and the gaps were filled with elastic dough, consisting of an inert watery mass and fibber glass, suitable for filling rebel joints.

Restoration and Enhancement of the Church of the Saviour of Aveleda

In the nave of the Church, there were large  joints between boards, 1 to 5 cm wide, and so polyurethane foam ninth expansion component, of professional quality, was applied.

After the application, these were levelled by means of a x-acto knife, upon which the dough for the levelling of the surfaces of the acrylic plaster fillings.

The polychrome surfaces were subject to chemical cleaning with acetone mixed with ethanol in equal proportions, through plasters and cotton swabs soaked in the solvent.

The polychromy gaps were subject of reintegration, for which colour abstraction techniques were used. Finally, a protection layer based on acrylic resin of copolymer type of ethyl methacrylate dissolved in trichlorethylene was applied, by brushing and in a three percent concentration.

Regarding the back surface the altarpiece, the support, with removal of large amounts of dirt and accumulated debris, was cleaned. The rotting and irreversibly recoverable woodwork was also removed.

After disinfection and disinfestation against xylophagous insects and micro-organisms by spraying an insecticide / fungicide, an acrylic copolymer-type  of ethyl methacrylate, dissolved in solvent with average volatility and increasing concentrations of 8, 16 and 25 percent, was applied by brushing.

In the pulpit, one began by superficially cleaning the dirt, by brushing and aspiration, followed by the fixation of polychrome surfaces in accordance with the same technique used on the ceilings of the chancel.

The polychrome gaps were filled with multicoloured acrylic plaster and the surfaces was levelled with 150 grit sandpaper, proceeding to the chromatic reintegration according to colour abstraction techniques and mimicry, resorting to pigments bonded in Arabic resin.

Finally, a protection layer based on acrylic resin of copolymer type of ethyl methacrylate dissolved in trichlorethylene was applied, by brushing and in a three percent concentration.

Gallery
  • +Nave of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Roof of the nave of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Roof of the nave of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Main altarpiece of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Pulpit of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Roof of the chancel of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Retábulo lateral da Igreja de Aveleda

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  • +Lateral altarpiece of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Church of Aveleda

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  • +Base of the column of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Base of the column of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Detail of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Base of the column of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Church of Aveleda

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  • +Lateral façade of the Church of Aveleda

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  • +Capitals of the west portal of the Church of Aveleda

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Know More
Bibliography

ALMEIDA, Carlos Alberto Ferreira de; BARROCA, Mário Jorge – História da Arte em Portugal: o Gótico. Lisboa: Editorial Presença, 2002.

ALMEIDA, J. A. F. – Tesouros Artísticos de Portugal. Lisboa: Selecções do Reader´s Digest, 1976.

AZEVEDO, José Correia de – Inventário Artístico Ilustrado de Portugal. Lisboa: Edições Nova Gesta, 1992.

BRANDÃO, Domingos de Pinho – Obra de talha dourada, ensamblagem e pintura na cidade e na Diocese do Porto. Porto: Oficina Gráficos Reunidos, 1984. Vol. I.

LOPES, Eduardo Teixeira – Lousada e as suas freguesias na Idade Média. Lousada: Câmara Municipal de Lousada, 2004.

ROSAS, Lúcia (coord.) – Românico do Vale do Sousa. Lousada: Comunidade Urbana do Vale do Sousa, 2008.

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