Century XVII/ XVIII
It is an extremely simple, vernacular building in architectural terms.
The exterior façade is of one single panel, where a straight wing portal is opened, in the centre, topped by a quadrangular window. At the centre on the top, a stone bell, in a perfect arc, bears a small cross. On the west side, a cross is featured and the year 1671 is engraved on its base.
Inside, there is a single neoclassical gilded altarpiece with the image of the patron saint, Saint Maurus, flanked by the images of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Sylvester I (33rd Pope). Next to this altarpiece, the images of St. Blaise, on the right side, and St. John the Baptist, on the left side, are displayed on columns.
The side walls exhibit older ex-votos in wood, more recent ex-votos in wax, offered by people who have been healed, as a token of gratitude and devotion.
Winter, third Sunday of the month, 14h30-16h00
Summer, third Sunday of the month, 15h00-17h00
Festivities: Third Sunday after January 15, 09h00-19h00.
St. Maurus was a disciple of St. Benedict and one of his greatest followers. Also called Maur, he joined St. Benedict at the age of 12. He was so helpful and dedicated to his master that he soon became an example to all the monks who followed St. Benedict.
A fantastic story is told about Placidus, as proof of his connection with St. Benedict. The young Placidus, future St. Placidus, was drowning in the Subiaco dam when St. Benedict, sensing the disaster, spoke in thought to Maurus: “Brother Maurus, go quickly and find Placidus who is about to drown!” Soon Maurus left and ran over the waters, without realizing, he brought Placidus back to the shore by the hair. Seeing the miracle, he attributed it to his master, St. Benedict. According to tradition, it was Saint Maurus, who replaced Saint Benedict, when the latter founded Monte Cassino, the first monastery.
Legend of St. Maurus
“Legend has it that in the time of the dynasty of King Afonso of Portugal, there lived a hunter in Belinho, who had been a novice in the convent of St. Romain. Nobody knew his name because, with such ability to handle bow and arrow, he was known as the “Hunter of Belinho”. One day, he went up the hill to hunt, towards a wood tree that looked like a spinning top (the hill where the peak is). During his foxhunt, in an unexpected move, he fell and broke both legs. Alone, he had no one to turn to but his belief in the Holy Abbot Maurus, whom he venerated and adorned the altar during his stay at the convent. Tired of asking for help and with pains that were consuming him, he fell asleep Suddenly, a swallow’s wing touched his face and he woke up. He saw the image of a friar wearing the cucullus of St. Benedict and encouraged him to get up. He did so, rising without pain. Believing that it was Saint Maurus who healed his legs, he then decided to go to the Convent of Saint Romain and show his gratitude, before the image of the Saint.
In Belinho, he decided to erect a chapel as an offering to the generous Saint. The place where the chapel was built is the one that the “Hunter of Belinho” saw when he stood on the top of the hill, when he looked at the horizon. Months after it was built, the chapel was blessed by the Abbot of St. Romain.
Curiously, the disaster associated with the foxhunt, as it became known, happened on January 15, the day consecrated to Abbot Saint Maurus”. [BOAVENTURA, Manuel de (1971) – Jornal “O Cávado”]