Parish Church of Our Lady of the Candles
Itú, São Paulo, Brazil
The present-day parish church of Itú is located on the land where Domingos Fernandes ordered the building of the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Candles in 1610. Due to the population growth in the settlement, it became necessary to build a new church to better meet the needs of the community, becoming a parish as early as 1653. According to Percival Tirapeli, based on the Itú historian Francisco Nardy Filho, the first parish church of Our Lady of the Candles was built in 1669 and the old chapel became known as the Chapel of the Good Jesus. The year 1780 witnessed the inauguration of a new church, an initiative of Father João Leite Ferraz. The builder José de Barros Dias, from Sorocaba, had a hand in its construction. The building has since undergone several remodellings. The construction of the belfry at the centre of the frontispiece dates from 1831. The belfry’s structure was remodelled again in 1843 when lightning struck and damaged the tower. The tower and frontispiece underwent repairs in 1888, supervised by the engineers Ramos de Azevedo and António Francisco de Paula Souza. The high altarpiece and the two altarpieces of the transept were gilded in 1896. Its structure was subjected to several remodellings in the early 20th century. The interior of the parish church of Our Lady of the Candles has some perfect examples of São Paulo-style wood carving, done between the 17th and 19th centuries, mainly on the altarpieces, pulpits and tribunes. The carving of the high altar is extremely interesting. Also noteworthy is the painting on the chancel ceiling, restored in 2002, which is the work of José Patrício da Silva Manso and his apprentice, Jesuíno Francisco de Paula Gusmão, known as Friar Jesuíno do Monte Carmelo, who also worked on the parish church between 1771 and 1795. It was listed by iphan on 26th December, 1938, and by CONDEPHAAT (ex officio) on 4th August, 1982.