Among the multiple manifestations of devotion to Bom Jesus do Monte, the creation of his brotherhood is certainly one of the most important and significant, both for its long duration of about four centuries, and for the number of faithful who throughout that time moved. It was as a result of this impetuous movement of devotion, of parenthesis, that involved all the social strata of Portuguese flock, from the highest dignitaries to the most humble people, not only from Braga and its end, but from the whole country that, in order to to give institutional reality to a high competition of faithful to the hermitage of Bom Jesus do Monte, they decided to institute a brotherhood designed to promote devotion to the Holy Cross.
It all started in 1629, when a handful of devotees from Braga energetically took the decision to found a brotherhood, under the invocation of Bom Jesus do Monte, to rekindle the extinct devotion to the Holy Cross. No names of these well-deserving citizens have come to us.
A constituição da confraria trouxe um enorme entusiasmo àquela instância. Um grupo de fiéis tomou a tarefa de restaurar o culto com o intuito do engrandecimento deste centro de peregrinação, mudando a designação de Monte da Santa Cruz para Bom Jesus do Monte.
The formation of the confraternity brought enormous enthusiasm to that instance. A group of the faithful took on the task of restoring the cult in order to make this pilgrimage center a bigger place, changing the name Monte da Santa Cruz to Bom Jesus do Monte.
The royal tutelage and sponsorship from 1822 onwards is a sign of the suitability of an administrative and assistance action, of a motto of religious inspiration, of an action based on works of mercy, which then functioned as an engine, stimulus and protection.
The king, D. João VI, when granting the royal provision of July 29, 1822, equating the brotherhood with mercies, possessing, therefore, the honors, privileges, rights and prerogatives enjoyed by the country’s counterparts, was sensitive to feeling and at the request of the brothers and the confraternity table, alleging the large number of pilgrims who travel on pilgrimage and the many poor, pilgrims and sick people who seek the services of the brotherhood.
This achievement motivated the placement of the Royal Arms on the Cruzeiro da Capela-Mor and others on the facade of the temple, in the center, on the cornice, above the large window. In this way, the sanctuary bears the coat of arms of D. João VI, the royal arms of Portugal and Brazil, ordered to be executed on January 14, 1824, in honor of the monarch who granted the sanctuary honors and prerogatives of mercies. and placed him under his “ Real and Immediate Protection ”.
Also D. Miguel I, on April 17, 1833, signed, at the Palace of the Archbishops of Braga, a term in which he declared himself Perpetual Judge of the Brotherhood and Protector of the Royal Sanctuary, while the Infantas offered themselves to “aias” do Bom Jesus do Monte.
Other documents and events ennoble the history of this brotherhood.
By ordinance 6536, of December 9, 1929, published in the Diário da República of December 12, in view of the highly meritorious functions performed by the confraternity in the socio-charitable plan, the rights and prerogatives of the Houses of Charity were granted and declared a Public Utility Institution.
The confraternity was also awarded the commemorative medal for the jubilee year of Portuguese tourism for its 75 years of activity in the tourism sector (1986). The medal was presented at the Sala Portugal of the Geographical Society of Lisbon, with the presence of the President of the Republic Dr. Mário Soares.
The Braga City Council, on February 5, 1998, unanimously approved the favorable opinion for the granting of public utility status to the Confraria do Bom Jesus do Monte.
President – P. Adelino da Silva Costa
Vice-President – P. Mário Martins Chaves Rodrigues
Secretary – Dr. Varico da Costa Pereira
Treasurer – Dr. Luís Carlos Lopes Fonseca
Vogal – Dr. Mário Paulo Afonso Pereira
Vogal – Engº Abel Pereira Barroso
Vogal – Dr. Domingos Rodrigues Lopes
Vogal – Aristides José Ribeiro da Silva
Vogal – Dr. Vicente Craveiro Martins
Cult Vendor – Cónego Manuel Azevedo Tinoco