Pilgrimage of S. Bentinho de Ermelo

Pilgrimage of S. Bentinho de Ermelo

Associated with the Monastery of Ermelo, there is a pilgrimage to São Bento (or São Bentinho: São “Bieito” in Galicia, also very popular) that takes place on July 11th, the day of the liturgical feast of São Bento, saint of great devotion throughout Minho and protector of the municipality of Arcos de Valdevez.

It is a centuries-old tradition by which pilgrims arrive at the sanctuary before dawn and, inside the church, they see the hat with the image of Saint Benedict, polychromatic and gold. As one of the typical pilgrimages of Alto Minho, it is still possible to see some of the oldest rituals of promise, such as walking on your knees through the sanctuary, the vow of silence during the entire pilgrimage on foot or whenever you see the sanctuary, entering the church barefoot. … and ex-votos, offering donations in cash, gold coins or food, etc.

The celebration takes place in Ermelo, a small village 20km from Arcos de Valdevez. The saint is a healer of “evil evils”, especially warts, flesh excretions and even cancer. In return, the person needs to bring eggs and carnations. The promise, as long as the women bring him red carnations and the men, white ones. And the eggs, never less than 3, according to the miracle received. Walking, on the other hand, should be done along paths. And the devout, once in the temple, takes the promised turns (always odd), prays and places the offerings. Not forgetting to give him a kiss on the famous hat to the saint. A whole world of rituals, traditions and beliefs.


Monastery of Ermelo. Ermelo, Arcos de Valdevez.


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Legends / Linked Stories

The curative powers of the saint, and so much intangible heritage around the figure of São Bento, still survives in the popular imagination.

Information of interest

Main pilgrimage celebrated on July 11th. Free access to the church.


Brás, A. M. S., (2009) – A igreja e o Mosteiro de Ermelo – património cisterciense esquecido no tempo. Faculdade de Teologia. Braga: Universidade Católica

Dias, G. J. (1986) O Alto Minho em tempo de festas. Humanidades e Teologia. U. Do Minho.




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