Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Conceicao – Antonio Dias Church


Antonio Dias church, as Marcelo calls it, was built by the father of the master artist, Aleijadinho. The parish is one of the oldest in the city dating from 1707. Both the father and Aleijadinho are buried in the church, and the Museum of Aleijadinho is also here. If you go into the church, the first altar on the right is where Aleijadinho is buried.

“Antonio Dias is a very important church as well, it was the first Matriz, no, the Matriz is the most important church in the region. And the architect was the father of this cripple one. He was a Portuguese guy, was his father, and Aleijadinho was not taken in the order there. And this was special, no, because he loved that order and he could not be taken because he was not a pure white person. But then, when he died, he was buried there, no, into the church. Into that church that his father built, you know, this Antonio Dias church. And this Antonio Dias church, the biggest party ever took place in this town, it was the Eucharistic Triumph that was in 1752.”

As we mentioned at Pilar church, the Eucharistic Triumph procession, the biggest ‘party’ Ouro Preto had ever seen, occurred when the Blessed Sacrament was moved from its temporary housing in the Church of the Rosary chapel back to the newly renovated Do Pilar Church. Apparently, some of the pieces from this procession can be found in the museum here.

“And they have all the jewelry that they dressed the saints [in], there was a big procession.”

On odd numbered years the Easter procession leaves from this church and heads towards Our Lady of the Rosary church, Nossa Senhora do Rosario. In even numbered years it leaves from São Francisco de Assis church. The procession goes for over 4kms, and the streets on the route are covered in ‘carpets’, beautiful walking paths created along the road the night before the procession using natural elements like coloured woodchips and sands. The carpets depict religious themes and the procession comprised of participants dressed as angels.

Our next stop is steeped in good old gold heist history, the Oratory of the Vira Saia. To go there continue to follow the road you used to reach this church, out of town, through the intersection with the large fountain. Keeping to the left, continue onto the next intersection where you will see a high wall with a small niche or shrine with a virgin up high on your right.