Extravagant Colonial Church in downtown Rio de Janeiro

Today I visited the Church of Our Lady of Conception and Boa Morte in downtown Rio.  The church’s location is quite understated as the area is subsumed by large office buildings. There was also construction going on outside the front entrance obscuring the church to a degree.  Once inside one is awed by the quiet inside and the extravagance of the cathedral.  There are large  figurines of well over twenty saints positioned strategically throughout the church.

The altar is surrounded by bronze (?) fixtures and adorned above by iconic scenes that I am still trying to interpret.

It is apparent to me that this church, which dates back to 1721, had wealthy parishoners.  Down the road, more centrally located is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Benedict (The Moor), built in 1772, for slaves, free blacks,  and mixed-race persons.  Today this church has mass at 4pm daily. Throughout the day, many inner city folk stop by to pray.  This church is anything but quiet with large crowds walking around outside, cell phones ringing, and street people selling goods at the entrance.  As in the past you can witness the divergence in the intended audience of the churches!

The Altar

exterior view

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