When the Portuguese Navy captain Theodozio Rodrigues de Faria and his crew survived a brutal storm at sea, the international explorer vowed to honor the saint who saved his life once he arrived on the shores of his destination. Today, the gilded halls of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church, home to a replica image of an original Portuguese statue of Christ, still stand as homage to one captain’s survival.
Travelers venture to the top of Sacred Knoll in search of similar modern miracles, making it a point of pilgrimage for visitors from across the globe. Services at Nosso Senhor do Bonfim blend old world Catholic traditions with the worshiping practices of West African slaves, making for a memorable and uniquely Brazilian Sunday morning.
The church is located on Largo do Bonfim and is open Mondays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Friday and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. The traditional washing of the steps takes place on the second Thursday of every month.