It is now New Year’s Eve in Portugal, so may I wish all the blog readers a Happy New Year.
We have a bottle of Cava chilling in the fridge to celebrate the arrival of 2017. The kids have gone to Almádena to Broadie’s to tuck into a three course meal, before the bar/restaurant customers there also bring in the New Year. Here’s Broadie’s.
For my Madeleine McCann connection, I would like to cover some stories relating to the church in Luz. I happen to be an atheist, an agnostic, and a scientist. Scientific literature shows that those who believe in God live longer, recover from setbacks better, and generally are happier. Therefore, as a scientist, I believe it would be cruel to impugn the religious beliefs of moderate people who follow a faith.
For that very reason, I have never entered the church in Luz. I feel it would be akin to intruding on the special place of others.
The church serves two congregations. The first is as Nossa Senhora Da Luz, Our Lady Of The Light. This is Roman Catholic and the concept is ubiquitous in Catholic religion. This is what lead to my current location being called Luz. In modern parlance, it is ‘Luz, Lagos’, in order to distinguish it from ‘Luz, Tavira’, which is along the other side of the Algarve. I have not checked but I can be reasonably sure that ‘Luz, Tavira’ also has a Roman Catholic church called Nossa Senhora Da Luz.
I don’t have any brilliant photos of our local Nossa Senhora Da Luz to regale you with, but it doesn’t matter. If you are interested in the case of Madeleine McCann, you will have seen many a photo of Nossa Senhora Da Luz, as Kate and Gerry McCann attended the Roman Catholic services.
The church is (time-)shared with the Anglican community, when it is referred to as St Vincent’s. I do have some interesting photographs of the interior of St Vincent’s. Let me stress again, I have never been inside the church. These are photos deliberately published by others on the Internet. There are lots of people in them, but I have no reason to believe any of them is connected to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The photos are all much more recent than 2007.
The first is a graphic showing what St Vincent’s had planned for the festive season of 2016. I note that the ‘Said Eucharist’ is scheduled for 8am tomorrow morning. Perhaps that is for the early risers, while the ‘Choral Eucharist’ at 11am is for those who stayed up to see in the New Year.
The next photo, which is of the interior of St Vincent’s, comes from a site that organises weddings. Let me stress again, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that anyone in the picture has anything to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. I am simply trying to give an idea of the interior layout of the church.
The viewpoint of the photo taker is elevated. Each pew holds about 4 people on average, with 2 pews per row. Have a look at the light sources, because there are not a lot of windows in view. From this angle, it is man-made lights in the main. There is an altar in the background, in the east end of the church. The music facilities are small-scale. There is a guitar on the left hand side and on the right hand side sits the organist. There is a door on the right hand side, the south. Perhaps that is how one gets into the bell tower.
The final photo looks west towards the doors into the church. The people are unimportant, apart from giving some idea of what the ex-pat Anglican community looks like. It seems the capacity is roughly 100. The main source of light appears to be the wide open front doors. And now you can see how the previous photo could be taken from an elevated position. There is what is called a ‘minstrels balcony’ if it was in a house. I don’t know if it has another name within a church.
And there you have it. The best I can give you of a Luz Tour of a place I have never entered.
Now you have to make up your mind, based on the evidence you have seen, about the lurid tales surrounding the church re Madeleine McCann.
The most gruesome is probably the story alleging Madeleine was concealed after dark in a coffin already destined for cremation. I have no idea where a coffin is placed in a service of such a type. But run this idea past what you now know about the church layout and the lighting and decide for yourself as to the feasibility of sneaking into the church at night to stuff a body into someone else’s coffin.
Then there is the story that a tunnel runs under the church to the sea. Clearly, the photos above do not show 100% of the interior, so there could be a crypt or tunnel entrance in a nook or cranny. Quite why one would worry about a tunnel that runs from the church 30 or 40m to a large rocky area near the sea is beyond me.
Happy New Year!