Editor’s note: This article appeared in Portuguese language newspaper Fatima Missionaria and was translated by eastbayri staff, who felt readers – many of whom hail from the region – would have interest in the piece.
A previously unknown religious complex, possibly dating back 600 years, was discovered recently in an area of dense vegetation on the island of São Miguel, Azores, announced historian José de Almeida Mello.
The temple had never been mentioned in historic records, nor is it known who had it built, although there is a legend that points to spanish origin, reported Portuguese newspaper Fatima Missionaria on July 26.
‘We are facing a Cenobite place, which means that it is a complex that may be the end of the 16th, early 17th century,'” Mr. Mello told the paper. In addition to a “small hermitage of evocation unknown” with vaulted ceiling and altar, the facility also has a patio, stone columns, a dining area with table and two “not very deep” caves.
the lost temple is located in the parish of Covoada, on private property, next to a water source, at an altitude of 600 meters, according to Mr. Mello, who is working with the land owner, the parish council, the authors of the discovery and the University of the Azores to determine the discovery’s value, according to a local translation of the report.
“This is a religious complex of reduced dimensions, which is divided into two distinct parts,” Mr. Mello said, adding the site contains “various symbols” engraved on stones, including crosses Caravaca, rare in the Azores.
The discovery has significant historical value for the county and for the archipelago, according to Jose Manuel, mayor of Ponta Delgada.
“We have to value at present this historic Ponta Delgada. Once exposed, it can not return to abandonment. That would be a crime that harms culture,” Mayor Manuel said. The University of the Azores, the land owner, the parish council, the discoverers will work together on the preservation, Fatima Missionaria reports. They have begun to clean the temple by removing dirt and vegetation.