Famous for the movie Keeper of Promises, the church reopens its doors and the tower with panoramic view to the Historic Center
After 16 years closed and another three and a half years of an intense process of restoration, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament of Passo Street was reopened on February 5, 2018. Today, whoever looks at the imposing church with blue doors – unique in the Historic Center of this color – can not imagine the complex work that has involved several professionals, with the goal of preserving it.
Built in 1736 to be the headquarters of the parish created 18 years earlier, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament of Passo Street takes its name due to its location on Passo Street, which traditionally is the Jesus’ seven steps procession way, carried by the Carmelites during Holy Week, on Good Friday. The first symbolic step of the seven steps of Jesus’ reflection to the Calvary is done in front of the church.
Located theoretically where “Pelourinho and Carmo meet,” the Church of Passo became worldwide known after having its access stairs as the main setting for the movie “Keeper of Promises”, recorded in the year 1962. The drama, written and directed by Anselmo Duarte and based on Dias Gomes’ play of the same name, tells the story of a man carrying a cross from his home in the interior of Bahia to the Church of Santa Bárbara in Salvador, where he will offer it to the local priest.
The curious thing is that Church of Passo is not Santa Barbara’s church, but it is known as if it were. The movie great success, the good relationship of the team and the correlation that the visitors made with the saint after it, made the film production stuff donate an image of Santa Bárbara to the church. Today it is beside the altar. Another interesting fact is that on the second floor of the Church the original camera used in the filming is exposed, in addition to other objects and the Director Anselmo Duarte’s chair.
“We have a relationship with Santa Barbara. Before [the church] was closed for nearly 20 years, there was a feast of St. Barbara here. Maybe it has been chosen [for the film] exactly for that reason. Besides that, on the 4th of December, when the saint is celebrated, in addition to the festivities throughout the Historic Center and the traditional Mass in the Church of Our Lady of Rosary of the Black People, there is also a Mass here in Church of Passo, at noon”, explains Igor Bahia, Church of Passo’s administrative assistant.
An unforgettable view from the top of the Historic Center
In the improvement process of this bi-secular church, the tower where the building bells are has also been open to the public’s visitation. From there, you can see, among many other things, the Lacerda Elevator, Largo Terreiro de Jesus, the Jorge Amado Foundation, the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black People, a big part of Baixa dos Sapateiros, the Churches of Carmo, Boqueirão and Santo Antonio, besides a wide view of All Saints Bay. The sunset seen from there is really blessed.
From the top of the tower, Igor says: “Whoever doesn’t come up here, hasn’t visited Salvador! Here we have a different city experience. From here, we see everything at the same time. When the visitor comes up, he has all the experiences he has lived separately walking in the Historic Center, in a unique way”, he says, pointing out everything that can be seen from above on the horizon.
The staircase that connects Passo Street and Ladeira do Carmo – a space of traditional cultural events in Salvador – has also been restored. In addition, integrated goods and sacred images have been restored, and universal accessibility solutions were promoted, such as elevator installation, ramps and platform for wheelchair users.
In Neoclassical style with Baroque details, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament of Passo Street is in stone and brick masonry, it has basement (crypt), ground floor (main chapel and sacristy) and upper floor (tribunes and choir). Inside the temple, the ceiling painting stands out, of imprecise authorship, in baroque illusionist perspective, of Italian origin. In the middle of 1750, the church receives the Portuguese tiles in the main chapel.
Because the time of construction took place amid the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the Protestant Reformation, the Church has been built as a monument to the affirmation of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Like most churches, Passo also took many years to be complete, having thus different styles influences. On the presbytery’s floor, there is a beautiful Moslem technique of marble fitting in different colors. The main altar is by the Bahian Vitoriano dos Anjos, a carving master and professor who became known for making the carving works of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Conception in the city of Campinas, São Paulo.
After almost 20 years, Church of Passo will celebrate its patron saint
Walking down the second floor, several old objects are exposed. They were discovered during the restoration. Researches in ancient church books report the feasts to the Blessed Sacrament associated with the festivities of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Seeking to rescue this memory, to fill Salvador Historic Center with people and to add to Bahian’s faith, the Church of Passo started again to celebrate, in 2019, the feast of the Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart of Jesus. After a Solemn Novena, the festive procession takes place with the entire Apostleship of Prayer and faithful devotees, leaving from Largo Santo Antônio Além do Carmo towards Church of Passo, where a Festive Mass takes place. More information at this link.
Caption: Safe chest of the Blessed Sacrament of Passo Brotherhood.
Caption: The Brotherhood Noble Hall.
Church of the Blessed Sacrament of Passo
Address: Rua do Passo, 52A, Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, Salvador – Bahia. 40301-408.
Visitation time: Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Holy Masses: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.
Holy devotional Masses to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: first and last Friday of each month at 9 a.m.
Visits to the Church during office hours: R$ 5,00 per person
Guided visit to the Church Steeple with panoramic view from the tower windows: R$ 5,00 per person.
Phone #: (71) 3241-6277
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Igreja do Santíssimo Sacramento do Passo. Santo Antônio Além do Carmo. Salvador, Bahia. Foto: Amanda Oliveira.