Parish Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Laranjeiras, Sergipe, Brazil
In 1790, the residents of Laranjeiras asked Queen Maria for permission to build a chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When, in 1824, the population requested that Laranjeiras be separated from the parish of Our Lady of Help, one of the justifications given was that this was a decent and rich chapel built at the people’s expense and with sufficient assets to serve as a parish church. The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was eventually created on 6th February 1835, with the one-time chapel becoming the parish church. A document dated 1843 indicates that it was unfinished, but already needed repairs. It was so small that not even a tenth of the population of the then town of Laranjeiras could fit inside. Before becoming the parish seat, the church was administered by the Brotherhood of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, but with the new function it began to deteriorate. As the site was considered the best place for the parish seat, there were plans to expand it by occupying part of the adjacent burial ground. Only in 1905 was the building renovated and enlarged. On this occasion, arcades were opened in the central nave, adding the old side aisles and thus enlarging the inside space. The present-day floor plan comprises the central nave and side aisles, the chancel flanked by two sacristies and a parish hall at the back. Perpendicular to the central nave, to the left of the altar, is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, entered through a rich wood and glass door. The internal adornment denotes the period when the church was enlarged, with paintings on the walls of the central nave and in the chancel, and iron railings in the choir and tribunes. The main façade is framed by two towers with bulbous cupolas and tile facing. Its central body is marked by a cornice arching over a small oculus in the centre. A voluted pediment crowns this façade. Due to its historic and architectural value, this church was listed by IPHAN in 1943, along with all its contents.