São Pedro Association










The Monte Church  (Igreja do Monte)

This mountain region is of spectacular beauty where the spacious countryside can be glimpsed through masses of luxuriant foliage. The Church sits at an altitude of about 1,800 feet, on a road that runs halfway between the warm sea of Funchal and the loftiest mountains of the island.
Going through the Park, either walking with care along the slopes, or on the narrow road that leads to Babosas, you will reach the Church  of  Monte (Igreja do Monte).
Completed at the end of the year 1818, it was constructed over the ruins of the original house of worship that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1748. The church, with its baroque façade, rises high above a wide basalt stairway which the pilgrims cerimoniously climb on the evening of the important festival of Monte - August 15th. In accordance with ancient tradition, thousands of people gather from every corner of the island to pay homage to Our Lady of Monte, The Patron Saint of Madeira. The gala celebration reaches its height on the night of August 14th, and continues into the small hours of  the morning for, in addition to the deeply religious aspect, the fête is a popular Madeiran festa. There is dancing, regional songs sung, and typical dishes consumed - like  "espetadas" (meat cubes on a skewer), "bolos do caco" (round, flat loaf made uniquely and only in Madeira), and other native dishes, all washed down with the local red wine. During the evening you may want to visit the church where hundreds of lamps and candles illuminate the images of  saint, and highlight the details of religious paintings.

'Terreiro da Luta' e 'Nossa Senora da Paz'
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Igreja de Sao Pedro
Similar to what happened regarding the development of the São Pedro parish itself, also the construction of the parish church was very much delayed due to many impediments. The order for construction was already given in 1590 and the church should have been finished six years later, but due to all alterations, extensions and improvements having been made to the original plans, the end of the construction drew out far into the 18th century. The entire complex of the São Pedro’s mother church was born from a big church with a single nave with three lateral chapels and two collateral altars. Glazed tiles from the 17th century cover almost all the interior walls from the bottom to the top, not only from the nave and the chancel but also those from the sacristies. Paintings, jewellery and furniture from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century complete the interior decoration.
This church boasts another interesting feature, which is easily to be missed if you don’t know from where to look! Go a little bit further up the ‘Calçada de Santa Clara’ and look back. From here you will be able to get a perfect view onto the church tower and the magnificent work done in colorful tiles, on top of which you will find a rooster!
São Pedro (Portuguese meaning Saint Peter) is a parish in the district of Funchal in the Madeira Islands. The population in 2001 is 7,681, its density is 5,155/km² and the area is 1.49 km². It is located E of Funchal and SW of Santa Cruz and Machico. The main industry are businesses. It is connected with a road linking Monte and Machico. The Atlantic Ocean is to the south. The parish is one of the smallest in the Madeira Islands. The parish of Santa Cruz lies to the east. The mountains are around the parish including the forests. Agriculture used to dominate the area around the parish. The developments came in the mid to late-20th century

Madeira - "Perola Do Alantico"

When the Infante Dom Henrique, better known in English as Prince Henry the Navigator; gathered together the finest cartographers and navigators of Portugal at the beginning of the 15th century, his plan was to extend the knowledge of the coast of West Africa. Armed only with square-rigged ships, compass, hourglass and astrolabe, the initial sea captains were severely handicapped in their endeavors. But in the course of their ventures, the finest hour of Portuguese maritime history, luck brought greater riches than the purities of science and logic.

Two young sea captains, Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira, were blown off course on their journey around the African coast and after many days at sea found land on a small island that they named Porto Santo - the very first of the many discoveries made by Henry's school of navigation. On reporting to Henry they were promptly ordered to return and colonize the island. The year was 1419.

Seductive as are the charms of the golden sands of Porto Santo it seems somewhat incredible today that it took a further year before the next discovery was made. The captains had reported a dark mass of clouds visible on the southern horizon. They were now encouraged to explore this foreboding mass. As theories to whether the world was flat had yet to be completely disproved, it took an enormous leap of faith to cross the traverse.

As they approached, the huge Atlantic rollers breaking along the north coast and the boiling turbulence of the cross currents at the Ponta de Sao Lourenco cannot have eased the concern of the superstitious sailors. But on rounding the headland they discovered the bay of Machico, the threshold to the heavily forested island that they named Madeira. Prince Henry immediately organized the colonization of the island, with the first families coming from the Algarve region of Portugal.

Today the statue of Zarco looks down on the descendants of the first colonizers as they navigate the corner in front of the Bank of Portugal building in downtown Funchal. As the Portuguese overseas possessions have shrunk, so the relative significance of this first of the great discoveries has gained in importance. To find a needle in a haystack can be trying, but to find Porto Santo in an Atlantic storm was a lucky prize indeed.

It seems that after God created the world,
He sat back and admired His handiwork, and
having been pleased with what He had done, kissed the world tenderly.
And where He placed the kiss, Madeira was born.