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What’s the connection between Good Friday and the Convent of the Capuchos?

20 Mar 2024

On Good Friday, we remember the sequence of events in the life of Jesus Christ, termed the Passion of the Christ, from the last supper to his death on the cross. The term “Passion” comes from the Latin “Passio”, which means “suffering”, in allusion to the martyrdom of Christ, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


Being an event that defines the principles of Christian rituals and the friars who inhabited the Convent of the Capuchos being followers of the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, who established the rigorous emulation of the life and teachings of Christ as a fundamental rule of his life, the Passion could not fail to be represented in the symbolic language of the decorative elements of this convent.


On the entrance Porch you can see, on the wooden cross fixed to the back wall, a crucified man wearing the brown Franciscan habit, with a pointed hood. The cord at the waist has three knots that symbolise the vows that the Franciscan friars professed: poverty, obedience and celibacy. It represents Saint Francis of Assisi, precursor of the Franciscan order, also known as “Alter Christus”, or “Another Christ”. In the painting, three other attributes can also be distinguished: the crucified man has a blindfold over his eyes, a padlock on his mouth and a cross drawn over his heart, indicating that inside this convent people lived in introspection and dedication to the teachings of Christ.


To the right of the cross, there is the Chapel of the Passion of Christ, decorated with blue and white tiles characteristic of the 18th century. It is possible to observe in the tiles representations alluding to this event in the life of Jesus Christ and the objects that played a relevant role in it, such as the scourge, the crown of thorns, the spear and the nails used in the crucifixion, known as “the instruments of the Passion”.


With a humble beauty and full of symbolic language that invites interpretation, the Convent of the Capuchos awakens in everyone introspection and contemplation of the forest that surrounds it. Easter is the perfect time to visit.

H6A5869©PSML José Marques Silva