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Page traduced by Fernando P. de Oliveira.

Partial view of the Chapels

There are images narrating Jesus Christ's Via Crucis in the six chapels located below the Basilica Church. In these chapels are 66 sculptures in cedar, created by Aleijadinho (The Cripple One) and his assistants, between August 1, 1796 and December 31, 1799.
Located at the bottom of the ramp, it is the largest of the chapels as well as the oldest of the whole complex. It depicts Jesus' Holy Supper with His aplostles and two servants; more specifically it shows the very moment when Jesus says " In truth I tell you that one of you will betray me", the apostles appearing disturbed. All pieces are close to life size, most of them made out of one single block of wood except for the hands, which are movable. The only finished sculptures are the two servants and the first four apostles, more visible.The remaining ones, half bodied, are leaning on supports behind the round table.. Step of the Supper
Step of the garden To the left of the ramp and at a short distance from the Supper is the chapel showing Jesus' agony and prayer in the Garden of the Olives, initial milestone of the Passion. The figure of an angel, hanging on top of the chapel, holds in his right hand a chalice that represents the gall that must be drunk:"Father, if it pleases You, turn this chalice away from me." The
angel used to hold a cross in his left hand, but it has been removed since 1957 in order to better protect the statue. The images, in perfect finish and excellent workmanship thus form a harmonious set composed by the angel, Jesus sitting in prayer, plus the apostles Peter, James and John, asleep.
It is at the right hand side of the chapel of the Supper. Eight characters make up this group: Jesus, Peter, Malco, Jude and four guards. In an instinctive move of defense for the Master, Saint Peter cuts off the guard Malco's ear. Christ calms Peter down and walks towards the injured man in order to heal him. At this exact moment in the scene Christ has Malco's ear in His hand. This set of images is the most homogeneous of all, by far. The figures are made in excess of 2 meters tall. Step of the imprisonment
The works were halted for near half a century after completion if the chapel of the imprisonment. Construction of the Chapel of the Scourging and the Thorns Crowning began in 1864. The decision to build only 6 chapels instead of the planned 7 was made at that time.Thus, this chapel stores only two steps. Some say that building only six chapels had to do with the Crippled One's superstition regarding the number 7. However, this cannot be farther from the truth, since the chapels were erected years after his death. Both scenes are independent from each other, separated by a wood beam. The lack of room gives an impression of disorder and confusion.
Step of the scourging  
The Christ of the Scourging is depicted standing up with the hands tied together, while being whipped by two guards, In the background a guard holds the tunic.

Step of the thorns crowning

The group of the Thorns Crowning is made up of eight figures but only the three ones in the foreground participate in the scene.Christ is seated down, crowned by thorns. A kneeling guard hands Him the reed, while another, to the left, holds the sign INRI.
Only the two images of the Christ are attributable to the Aleijadinho (Crippled One).

Built between 1867 and 1875. Depicts Jesus' ascent to Calvary, carrying the cross on his back, Aleijadinho (The Crippled One) chose the episode "meeting with the daughters of Jerusalem" as narrated by Saint Luke. In this scene one finds two instances of image transferring: a boy with a carnation in his hand, transferred in the restoration of 1957 from the crucifixion chapel and one of the figures of a guard, easily identified by similar polycrony to the guards in the scourging. Originally 9 images, with the transferring becoming 11. The only figures of said group entirely attributable to Aleijadinho (the Crippled One) is Christ's and the woman drying tears. Step of ascending to calvary
Step of the crucifixion The last chapel is made of 11 images, split into three points of interest.At the center, the figure of two executioners nailing Christ to the cross and Magdalene weeping. At Christ's left hand side two guards throw dice, gambling for Christ's robe.At His right hand side two thieves with tied hands.Three other guard figures watch the scene, one being different due to his clothing. Mary Magdalene's image was projected to be seen from a profile angle totally chiseled at one side and roughly finished at the other.
The Rosary Church

The Rosary Church

The Rosary Church (photo) is the oldest in town, built by slaves towards the end of the XVII Century, before the arrival of the first miners in the area. It keeps the simplicity of that time to this very day.

Cathedral of our Lady of the Conception

This church has the facade made by the Crippled One and paintings by the best "Mineiros" artists of the epoch, It became a church in November 6, 1749. The facade was built in a Jesuit style XVIII, having two front towers with volute and bells thrush connected to the church, proper. The Cathedral nave is one of the largest in Minas, forming a single unit, with no hallway. The main altar houses the image of the patroness, Our Lady of the Conception.

Celebrations of Our Lady of the Conception

Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Saint Joseph's Church

Saint Joseph's Church

Rich in its sculptures, Saint Joseph's Church was built in 1817. In the main altar, an image of Saint Joseph's. The church is located at a street   bearing the name of the saint and it leads to the Basilica Church. Mentioned street, made by slaves, can only be traveled on foot due to the enormous stones which serve as its pavement.

Church of Our Lady of Help

Located in the District of High Maranhao, this church was built in 1746. The main altar used to be home to a historic image of Our Lady of Help until a few years ago. The original image was stolen and has been replaced recently but the current image, in comparison with the first one, possess no historic value. This kind of crime has become too frequent in historic cities, affecting not only the cultural heritage of the place but also the heart of the faithful.

See more photos

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profet31.gif (1944 bytes) In order to really appreciate how grandiose is this complex and for you to understand the detailed riches which form the works achieved here, it is a must to visit Congonhas. Only then it can be properly evaluated. Come visit us and see it all with your own eyes.