Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graça - Sagres

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graça
© feworave
Igreja de Nossa Sra. da Graça
© Lusitana / CC BY-SA 3.0
Altar of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça
© Georges Jansoone / CC BY-SA 3.0

Sagres Fortress Chapel

The small, whitewashed Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graça (church of Our Lady of Grace), in the precinct of Sagres fortress, was built in the 1570s on the site of a chapel first erected by order of Infante D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator). 

The church interior is pleasingly simple, with a single aisle and a gold-painted wooden altar believed to date from the 17th century which has an image of Our Lady with the Christ Child in the centre. On either side of the altar are two statues, both believed to have been salvaged from the Franciscan convent at the Cape of St Vincent.  One of the statues depicts St Francis, and the other (shown holding a ship) depicts St Vincent, one of the patron saints of Lisbon.  The story goes that in 12th century, Afonso Henriques vowed to find the remains of the martyred saint if he was able to conquer Moorish occupied Lisbon. When the triumphant King sent his troops to search for the saint’s remains, they were found in a cave at the Cape of St Vincent, guarded by a flock of crows.  From here they were taken to Lisbon Cathedral, where, the story goes, they are protected by crows to this very day.

Adjacent to the church is a stone standard, replicating those used by explorers in the Age of Discoveries when claiming newly found territories for Portugal.

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