Above is the Church of Saint Gonsalo Garcia and Saint George, in the corner of Alfândega Street with Square of Republic.

Hi, folks! Lately I´ve been gathering the references to catholic saints that occur in some tile sets in some Rio´s North Zone residences – most of them owned by portuguese natives. I intend to publish them some day, when the “collection” increases.

In the meantime, and due to the proximity of Saint George Day – April, 23rd -, a Rio de Janeiro official holiday in praise of one of its most popular saints – today´s post is a simple tribute to this military saint, Patron of England and Portugal, with the picture of a tiny tile set lying in the façade of 59, Piranga Street, in the neighbourhood of Meier.

But first things first.

As I mentioned above, Saint George – Ogum for religions like african Candomble and brazilian Umbanda – born in Capadocia[1] in the third century, is a saint that deeply lives in the hearts of the cariocas. His party attracts thousands of people, who in the first hours of April, 23rd lie steady in front of the temples consecrated to the saint[2].

And what´s so interesting to see in this small tile set? The old iconography has always depicted the saint dressed in a military armor, riding his white horse and performing the action of killing a spitting-fire dragon with his spear.[3] Here Jorge of Anicios[4] is watched at a distance by Princess Sabra, who according to the legend was saved by the knight from the animal´s terrible fury. Note that the work is signed M. J. DE OLIVEIRA.

59 Piranga Street, Meier.

A final notice: the initial idea was to post a single set of tiles, but I couldn´t resist to show some more. Below there are two more examples of an extremely devoted Rio.

154 Engenheiro Julião Castelo Street, Meier.
176 Adriano Street, Meier. This set, formed by 56 tiles, is signed CELINO. R. E. FRAZÃO DECORAÇÕES. AV. SALVADOR DE SÁ, 173 – GB.

Have a nice Holiday – at home!

[1] Part of present Turkey.

[2] The Church of Saint Gonsalo Garcia and Saint George, located at the corner of Alfândega Street with Republic Square, is the oldest temple in activity of the Venerável Confraria dos Gloriosos Mártires São Gonçalo Garcia e São Jorge (Venerable Brotherhood of the Glorious Martyrs São Gonçalo Garcia e São Jorge), originated in 1854 by the merge of the two saints´ brotherhoods. The temple, erected by saint Gonsalo Garcia´s devotes, dates from 1758. Another church that uses to receive thousands of believers in Saint George´s Day is the Church of Saint George, in Clarimundo de Mello Street, in Quintino. Also Rios´s Metropolitan Cathedral on April 23rd celebrates messes and procession in homage to the saint.

[3] Jorge Campos Tavares, in his Dicionário de Santos (Dictionary of Saints), explains that the dragon represents the evil forces in judeo-christian tradition, but that Saint George had indeed faced and won a powerful animal – the aurochs, an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe.

[4] Saint George´s baptism name. He must have died on April 23rd, 303.

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