Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Santa Cruz Church, Matriz of Vila da Praia da Vitória, Terceira Island

The Santa Cruz Church is one of the oldest in Terceira and Azores, built by Jacome de Bruges, in 1456, and remodeled several times, in special after the earthquakes that damaged its structure - 24 May 1614; 24 Jun 1810; 15 Jun 1841 and 1 Jan 1980.
Batalha da Praia da Vitória (11 de agosto de 1829) and Detail showing Santa Cruz Church on the top of the hill. Circa 1830 Source: Palácio de Queluz. D. Pedro d'Alcântara de Bragança, 1798-1834. Lisboa: Secretária de Estado, 1986.

In March 2013, I went to Terceira Island and visited the places where my ancestors lived, married, had their children and prayed. Santa Cruz Church, located in Vila da Praia da Vitoria, has a very special place in my family history as it was there that the only child of Francisco Ferreira Drummond and Maria Theodora, Adrianna Emilia, my 2nd. Great Grandmother, was baptized.

The Church is also very meaningful in Francisco’s own life as besides being an historian and paleographer; he was a musician as well and started working there as an organist with only 15 years old, in 1811. I can see him, as a young man, going to Vila da Praia da Vitoria, to play the organ in Santa Cruz Church when the resident families met there for worship - masses, baptism and marriages. For more than 45 years he was the one responsible for playing the organ in the religious ceremonies of Santa Cruz Church.

Photos and collage by Isabella Baltar, Interior of Santa Cruz Church, Matriz of Praia da Vitória, Terceira, Azores. 2013.

I’m sure it was there he met Maria Theodora, the mother of his only daughter. When Adrianna Emilia was born, Maria Theodora was 24 years old and Francisco was 26 years old. This was the year of 1822. They never married, but Francisco recognized the paternity some years later and was very present in the life of Adrianna Emilia, as I was able to verify on all the religious documents celebrating the birth of his grandchildren from her marriage with Joao Machado Valladao, a teacher from Vila de Sao Sebastiao. He was always present as a Godfather or as a testimony.


- Correia, Virgílio. Os Portais da Matriz da Vila da Praia da Vitória. in: Memorial da Muito Notável Vila da Praia da Vitória, no Centenário da Acção de 11 de Agosto de 1829. Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, 1929.