Church of Our Lady of the Conception (Comandaroba)
Laranjeiras, Sergipe, Brazil
When the Society of Jesus arrived in Sergipe in the late 17th century, it founded the Casa do Retiro (the Retreat). In 1731, it acquired a second house, in Comandaroba, believed to have been run previously by the Capuchines. The sites of Retiro and Comandaroba pertained to the parish of Our Lady of Help of the Cotinguiba, which also encompassed the present-day city of Laranjeiras. The Church of Our Lady of the Conception in Comandaroba was probably completed in 1734, the date indicated on the entrance to the nave. The most characteristic feature of its architecture is the veranda around the entire front and sides of the nave, opening to the outside via arcades. Access to this veranda is via the main façade’s three central arcades; the others are partly blocked, forming parapets. The main façade is markedly horizontal, accentuated by the two cornices above the arcade and the five choir windows. It has no towers, only two bell gables with round-arched openings. Between them is the pediment with slightly undulating volutes that tops the building front. The nave’s entrance is marked by an ashlar border adorned with plant motifs, beside which are two windows with a wooden balustrade. The most outstanding feature inside the small nave is the base of the pulpit, with the stylised figure of a lion sculpted in stone. Ashlar masonry is also used in the tribune borders and crossing arch, above which are images of angels exhibiting a cartouche with the inscription “tota pulcra es Maria”. In the chancel, attention is drawn to the large number of bays communicating with the two sacristies situated at the sides: there are two entrance doors, two rectangular windows with lattice screens and six tribunes. This chapel was listed by IPHAN in 1943 due to its historical and architectural value.