Holy Week in Braga
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The Commission

Current members of the Lenten Commission and Solemnities of Holy Week in Braga

The Commission

Official Commission of Holy Week in Braga

The actions of Lent and Solemnities of Holy Week in Braga are prepared each year by the Commission established by seven promoters — Cabido da Sé de Braga, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Braga, Santa Cruz Brotherhood, Braga Municipal Council, Entity of Tourism of Porto and North of Portugal, Commercial Association of Braga and by the Industrial Association of Minho.


Its mission is to plan, organize and promote the cultural and religious program of Holy Week in Braga.


It is presided over by the representative of the Cabido, the main promoter, and is made up of the members that represent the other sponsoring institutions, added in partnership, and also by some personalities, individually and currently are the following:

  • Rev. Cónego Avelino Amorim
    Presidente da Comissão da Semana Santa
  • Luís Rufo
    Provedor da Irmandade de Santa Cruz
  • Rev. Cónego Abílio Brito
    Cabido da Sé de Braga
  • Bernardo Reis
    Provedor da Misericórdia de Braga
  • Conceição Queiroga
    Irmandade de Santa Cruz
  • Lídia Dias, vereadora da Cultura da CMB
    Representante da Câmara Municipal de Braga
  • Marco Sousa, administrador da PNP
    Representante da Porto e Norte de Portugal
  • Rui Marques, diretor-geral da ACB
    Representante da ACB
  • Fernanda Barbosa, técnica superior de museu
    Secretária da Comissão
  • Gastão Sequeira, economista
    A título individual
  • Gil Carvalho, dirigente associativo
    A título individual
  • João Paulo Martins, empresário
    A título individual
  • João Pires Braz, maestro
    A título individual
  • José Castro, empresário
    A título individual
  • José de Sousa Ribeiro, diretor industrial
    A título individual

Entities that make up the Commission

  • Cabido da Sé de Braga

    Deão: Rev. Canon Dr. José Paulo Leite de Abreu



    The Metropolitan and Primatial Bracarense, or Cabido da Sé de Braga, is a corporation of priests that exercises, within the Archdiocese of Braga, the ecclesial services assigned to it by the Code of Canon Law or committed by the Diocesan Prelate.

    Cabido da Sé de Braga is an advisory body based in the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Braga. It has liturgical functions in the Cathedral. It is also responsible for ensuring the heritage, conservation and decorum of the Cathedral, promoting initiatives aimed at the evangelization of culture.



  • Irmandade da Misericórdia

    Provider: Exmo. Mr. Bernardo José Ferreira Reis



    Founded in 1513, it was founded by Archbishop D. Diogo de Sousa in 1558, dedicated to the provision of services, for the well-being of the whole person, as a priority for the most unprotected and promoting the quality of life. support the most disadvantaged in the practice of the 14 Works of Mercy.

    Its area of social intervention is provided in its establishments of services of Third Age, Childhood and in the support to the accomplishment of activities aiming the quality in the provision of services, in the ambit of the social economy in cooperation with the State. Santa Casa – Established in 1513, and constituted a Brotherhood by Archbishop D. Diogo de Sousa in 1558, dedicated to the provision of services, for the well-being of the whole person, primarily of the most unprotected and promoting the quality of life, assuming the commitment to support the most disadvantaged in the practice of the 14 Works of Mercy.

    Its area of social intervention is provided in its establishments of services of Third Age, Childhood and in the support to the accomplishment of activities aiming the quality in the service provision, in the scope of the social economy in cooperation with the State.


    Message from the Provider of the Misericórdia de Braga


    The Holy House of Mercy of Braga has for centuries integrated the solemnities of Lent and Holy Week. Doing so in today’s times may be an opportunity to warn that the Passion of Christ is not over.


    Since medieval times he has performed with great solemnity the Lord’s Ecce Homo Procession, opening with the farricocos and fogaréus, unavoidable figures of the penitential call, warning Christians to live in tolerance, understanding and indulgence. This Institution also incorporates the Procession of the “Burial of the Lord”, which has already organized in the past. Inside the Cathedral, on Good Friday, the Theophoric Procession is also accompanied by the Brothers of Mercy. In partnership with religious and civil entities, the Institution carries out other initiatives, such as the Lausperenes in the Churches of Misericórdia and the Hospital of San Marcos, a concert, several exhibitions and visits to the churches, in addition to the ancestral ceremonies of the Brotherhood in its renaissance church.


    Celebrating Holy Week is also pleading with God to soften the hearts of men so that they may awaken to the reality that is the Passion of Christ in today’s time, to help those who suffer and do not suffer.


    Welcome to Holy Week in Braga, the largest in the country, and to feel in the processional silence the true Love of the Near and the Mercy of God.


    Review History


    This institution was founded in 1513 and constituted a Brotherhood by Archbishop D. Diogo de Sousa in 1558. Its administration is exercised by an Administrative Board triennially elected by its approximately 700 Brothers, constituted by 7 elements, Provider, Vice-Provider, Secretary , Treasurer and 3 Members.


    The exact date of the founding of the Confraria da Misericórdia in the city of Braga is not yet known, and Dr. Fátima Castro to carry out researches, in an attempt to find the right or approximate date of the foundation of the Holy House of Mercy of Braga. Through the Books of Provisions of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of the public and judicial clerk, João Barros Pereira of March 10, 1756 and the clerk Francisco Ventura Maciel, of May 20, 1794, the Letter of Privileges and Freedoms is known, granted by D. Manuel on May 31, 1514 so that the action of the Bra- zilian Institution could find greater success. In the letter, the Sovereign also acknowledged the very “continuous” work that the leaders of the Confraternity already had. By her we also know that there was an old “Commitment”, which rules the Confraternity of the Misericordia of Braga and that in that year of 1514 was confirmed and improved. However, there are documents from 1504 which refer to the existence of the Misericórdias of Lagos and Oporto and where, in these documents, Braga is considered the older sister of Misericórdia de Lisboa. There are also documents referring to the construction of the Chapel, called the Old Misericordia, on April 13, 1509. Admittedly, at the beginning of the archbishopric of D. Diogo de Sousa in 1505, whose functions he performed until 1532, there was already the Confraria da Mercy of Braga. With this prelate had better facilities and between 1513 and 1530 (not known the date) was wrapped in the chapel of Jesus of Mercy, which he founded in the Cathedral. In the second half of the sixteenth century other prelates are notoriously linked to Mercy of Braga. First Fr Frei Baltazar Limpo, then D. Frei Bartolomeu dos Mártires give their support to the construction of the new House, which the Confraria da Misericórdia wanted to erect in order to better provide for the poor, sick, imprisoned and other works of Mercy. The secular authorities of the city gave their consent as, indeed, it was necessary.


    Having obtained the necessary authorizations, minimally securing the material resources (some from sales of real estate and other donations) the work was carried out. With the new building for worship and services, the practice of the Misericórdia works – material and spiritual reorganized and expanded. It was necessary to increase the sources of income and simultaneously to satisfy the return of the faithful by this confraternity.


    For all this was created in 1585 the Brotherhood of the Hundred Brothers, which was the reconversion of the old confraternity into an Institution more adjusted to the reality of the time but in pursuit of the same assistance objectives. As a result, there were more people for the services that the Brotherhood provided, as well as more alms entries obtained by the admissions of new members. With these alms, with the incomes of the existing patrimony and the patrimony enlarged by the donations and inheritances, the Holy House had more means than it applied in its works. The accounting was strict, the treasurers, granaries and butlers were the main responsible for the administration of the goods. The receipt of the rent and the expenses that were applied by authorization of the Bureau were checked every year. In addition to the members of the Bureau who were free of charge for the management of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, there were people who, through a salary, provided assistance and administration services when it was necessary to collect or receive a court order.


    The year 1513 is now considered as the year of the founding of the Holy House of Mercy of Braga, and constituted in Brotherhood by Archbishop D. Diogo de Sousa, but it is hoped, through the ongoing investigations, to find a more approximate date of its foundation.



  • Brotherhood of Santa Cruz

    Provider: Exmo. Mr. Luis Rufo



    It was in a simple pattern of stone, called Cross of S. Marcos, that originated the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz. It was erected by one of the most outstanding archbishops of Braga, D. Diogo de Sousa, and it was on this standard, installed in Rua de S. Marcos, that the schoolmaster Jeronymo Portilo and his students founded the Brotherhood, giving it the initial designation of confraternity of the “Bom Jesus da Vera Cruz”.
    It was the year of 1581. The strong religious leanings that marked the time, and the city of Braga in particular, propelled one of the most respected residents of S. Marcos street, Jeronymo Portilo, to found together with his students a youth confraternity to promote the worship, conservation and adornment of the Holy Cross of St. Mark.
    The popularity of the schoolteacher gained new momentum in 1583, when he became a member of the Society of Jesus, which led many of the city’s archbishops to become supporters of the Brotherhood, while at the same time adding patrimony to the institution. Of the many notable people who joined the Brotherhood, the Cedofeita schoolteacher, António Martins Tinoco, the Abbot of Giela, João Dias Leite, among many others contributed to the expansion of the Confraria, which saw an increase in the number of devotees and offerings to Santa Cruz.
    The adherence of the clergy and the nobility of the city to the project led to the Brotherhood being renamed: Illustrious Brotherhood of Santa Cruz in Jerusalem.
    The conditions for its installation were met. The chosen place was the extinct chapel of S.Marcos Hospital, where then lay the body of St. John Mark, one of the seventy disciples of Christ. It remained there for fifty-six years, but the meagerness of space became incompatible with the constant growth of the Brotherhood.
    The need to build a temple of its own was inevitable.


    Message from the Provider of Santa Cruz




    The beginnings of the Solemnities of Holy Week of Braga lie in times immemorial. However, it is true that the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz, at least since its founding – which is being celebrated in the year 1581 – has participated honorably and actively in these religious and cultural acts that greatly dignify the city of Braga and its people.


    The Brotherhood of Santa Cruz is a co-promoter of the Solemnities of the Holy Week and organizer of the Procession of the Transfer / Via Sacra and Procession of the Steps, as well as co-organizer of the Procession of the Burial of the Lord in what concerns the religious part.


    Regarding the cultural aspect, the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz organizes an Art and Religious Exhibition under the title “Salve, Crux Sancta” and a Musical Concert of J. Haydn’s work “As Sete Últimas Palavras de Cristo na Cruz “.


    We wish all participants in the Solemnities of Holy Week in Braga a life full of Brotherly Love.


    The Temple of Santa Cruz

    In 1617 the brothers decided to build a temple of their own to house the Brotherhood. But if everyone agreed with this urgency, there were few voices of consensus around the place. Some argued that the most appropriate place would be the old chapel of the Hospital, respecting the stone pattern, called the St. Mark’s Cross, which gave birth to the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz; others maintained that the installation should take place where Archbishop D. Diogo de Sousa had the same pattern erected.
    It required several opinions and many years until a consensus was reached – the temple of the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz would rise in Castelo Rodrigo, now Campo dos Remédios.


    In 1625 the land was acquired and the works started immediately, however, the same speed did not occur during the work. Faced with the slowness of the evolution of the construction, Archbishop Afonso Furtado de Mendonça gave permission for the workers to cut stone in the evenings of the Holy Days of Guarda. The work of mason was only completed in 1653, almost thirty years after the beginning of the work. The construction process continued to drag on in time and it was only in 1694 that the towers were completed.


    The Reconstruction

    As soon as the works were finished, early the temple gave signs of ruin. In 1731 the master Manuel Fernandes da Silva, who at the time directed the royal works of the Convent of Mafra, was invited to begin the process of recovery of the Temple of Santa Cruz.


    The rebuilding as early as it began began as it stopped, leaving part of the walls demolished and the church exposed to time.
    The unfortunate process of successive delays and stops continued. It was then that the Brothers requested royal intervention, asking King D. João VI that the sergeant-master did not prevent the master and his officers, exempt from the real works of Mafra, from following up the restoration works of the church of Santa Cruz.


    The request was granted and in 1734 were rebuilt the towers of the church, in 1738 was rebuilt the courtyard and the stairs and in 1739 finished the works on the facade. From the primitive church, today only the facade remains.



    Fusion of several Brotherhoods

    And if the history of the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz is made up of many setbacks, the Brotherhood of Bom Jesus dos Passos, which would join the first one, had the same fate. Constituted in the 1600s in the convent of Nossa Senhora da Graça do Pópulo, in the same city of Braga, the constant disagreements with the religious of St. Augustine, keepers of the convent of Pópulo, led to the Brotherhood of Bom Jesus dos Passos had to accommodate in the Chapel of Santa Ana.


    In 1739 the Brotherhood of the Bom Jesus dos Passos joined the confraternity of Santa Ana, by disposition of the Apostolic Bull of Pope Clement XII, remaining in his chapel, of the central avenue, until 1769. At that time the Archbishop of Braga D. Gaspar decided to transfer it to Senhora da Lapa due to the announced demolition of the old chapel of Santa Ana.


    The Brotherhood of Bom Jesus dos Passos was still its defendant, but the metamorphoses seemed to have no end. Finally, and because it is considered that in Lapa there were no conditions for the conservation of the Brotherhood, on February 2, 1769 the Prelate ordered the union of the Brotherhoods of Bom Jesus dos Passos and Santa Cruz.


    As the Brotherhood of Bom Jesus dos Passos was already part of the confraternity of Santa Ana, with this merger, the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz began to represent the three institutions, maintaining its initial designation.



    Title of nobility attributed by D. João VI

    The reign of King João VI was one of great achievements for this Brotherhood. On October 11, 1822, he was granted the title of Royal Brotherhood, enjoying a special protection from the monarch who granted him all the honors and prerogatives enjoyed by the Mercies of the kingdom.


    In order to better understand the relevance of this distinction, it is important to note that at the time there was a very demarcated division of the type of actions that were allowed to the Brotherhoods and the Misericórdias, and the field of action of the Brotherhoods was much more limited.
    With the attribution of the forum of nobility, the institution has widened its horizons of action as well as its heritage.



    Private Hospital

    In 1852 the eminent Fernando d’Oliveira Guimarães, commander of the Order of Christ, left to the institution two houses in Field of the Remedies, for there to be founded a Private Hospital of the Brotherhood for the treatment of his confreres. Thus began the activity of helping the most debilitated, which is currently developing in the form of support for the elderly.


    With the appearance of the Hospital S. Marcos, the services of the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz are no longer sought. It was then decided to transform that space into a Home for the Elderly, destined for Brothers with economic difficulties or without family rear. Thus began to outline what today is the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz, with support to Childhood and the Third Age.



    Historical Dates

    1581 – Foundation of the Brotherhood designated Confraria do Bom Jesus da Vera Cruz.
    1585 – Drafted the first statutes of the Brotherhood.
    1625 – Launching of the first stone of the Temple of Santa Cruz.
    1769 – The Prelate ordered the union of the Brotherhood of Bom Jesus dos Passos (which integrated the Confraternity of Santa Ana) and the Brotherhood of Santa Cruz.
    1822 – D. João VI attributed the title of Nobility, becoming a Royal Brotherhood that would enjoy the same statutes as the Mercies of the kingdom.
    1852 – Inauguration of the Hospital of the Brotherhood.
    1936 – Acquisition of two houses that flanked the Hospital of the Brotherhood to enlarge the building.
    1971 – Archbishop Primate of Braga approved the statutes that are currently in force.
    1974 – Beginning of works of adaptation of the primitive building for Home for the Elderly.
    1988 – Inauguration of the Santa Ana Nursery.



  • Braga Municipal Council

    President: Exmo. Mr. Ricardo Rio



    The Municipal Council of Braga is the executive body of the Municipality that aims to ensure the pursuit of public interest and the satisfaction of the Municipality. In this sense, the policies defined and implemented by the different services that comprise it, are aimed at promoting sustainable territorial development in Braga, ensuring quality of life, social cohesion and economic attractiveness, responding to the satisfaction of the needs and expectations of the different without compromising the future of future generations.



  • Porto and Northern Portugal

    President: Exmo. Mr. Dr. Melchior Moreira



    The Regional Tourism Authority Porto and Norte Portugal, is the public body responsible for the promotion and dissemination of tourism in the Region.

    Its mission is to enhance and develop the tourism potential of Northern Portugal and the municipalities that integrate it, as well as the integrated management of the destination in the framework of regional tourism development

    The Delegation of Braga of TPNP, is responsible for the dynamization of Religious Tourism.

  • Commercial Association of Braga

    President: Exmo. Mr. Dr. Domingos Macedo Barvosa



    The Commercial Association of Braga (ACB) was founded in 1863, is a collective person of private law, non-profit and public utility.

    It is a business association with multisectoral and multi-centered character. It adds and represents the economic agents of this region of northern Portugal, predominantly linked to the tertiary sector of the regional economy and with a sense of its constant development and collective destiny.

    Its registered office is at Rua D. Diogo de Sousa, n. 91, in the parish of Sé, in the city of Braga, between Arco da Porta Nova – one of the doors in the city walls of the 16th century. XVI-, and the beautiful Largo do Paço.

    It aims to guarantee the development and activity of promoting business and associative initiative in the geographic area constituted by the counties of Amares, Braga, Terras de Bouro and Vila Verde, Póvoa de Lanhoso and Vieira do Minho.

    In 2005, with the aim of broadening its scope, ACB was approved at a general meeting to broaden its sphere of influence and it became possible to welcome associates residing in any place of the country and abroad, provided that they exercise a activity of an enterprise or related nature, represented by it.