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The legend of the Holy Miracle

The legend of the Holy Miracle
It is said that during the year of 1266 a poor woman living in Santarém, who had fallen victim to her husband´s infidelity, resorted to the services of a witch to see if she could put an end to her suffering. As a cure for her unhappiness, she was told that she would have to get hold of a consecrated host. After hesitating for some time, she went to the Igreja de Santo Estevão and, during the communion, she concealed the host and then went with it to the witch´s house. On the way, blood began to run from the cloth around the host and the woman was forced to run home and hide it in a chest in her bedroom. It then happened that, during the night, an intense and mysterious light came from the chest and strangely invaded the house, forcing the woman to tell her husband the truth. They both repented and spent the night in prayer, deciding that the next day they would go and tell the priest what had happened. The news spread and the population ran to behold the miracle.

The Miraculous Host was then returned in a procession to the holy place to which it belonged, the Igreja de Santo Estevão. Since then, it has been kept in a silver gilt monstrance, which can still be admired today.

The episode is recounted in four large early Baroque (17th-century) paintings to be found inside the church, having been commissioned by a believer in the miracle. In 1653, the simple Chapel of the holy Miracle was built, on the site of the house where the woman had lived (in Travessa das Esteiras).

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