Aldeias Históricas de Portugal

Villages

Baptistries

Idanha-a-Velha

Idanha-a-Velha

In the mid-6th century, the old Roman town, under the dominion of the Suebi, thereafter called Egitânia, was raised to an episcopate, which continued with the Visigoth annexation. The baptismal pool, found north of the Santa Maria Church, may belong to that remote period. Previously, another baptismal pool had been found on the opposite end of the church. This baptistry – in the early Church , the term was used both for the pool as well as for the structure that housed it – of a more complex typology, cruciform, is also more recent, although it has not been assigned a precise date. However, both are liturgically close and functionally identical: a small pool with steps; one would enter on the western end and after dipping three times – symbolising the purification ritual of immersion – leave using the opposite side. Research in recent years has concluded that this baptistry does not have any architectural ties to the building that became Santa Maria Church, traditionally identified as a Visigoth cathedral.