A Mummy in Porto – Padre Moura of Foz

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Padre Moura da Foz do Douro

Born on the 29th of April of 1839, José dos Santos Ferreira Moura, known as Padre Moura, could not imagine the life he’d have after death.

In 1873, Padre Moura became Abbot of Foz, and he was surely one of the most popular and beloved Ministers of the small fishing village. He was dedicated to charity and social causes, having perpetuated his legacy by funding the Associação dos Socorros Mútuos da Foz do Douro (Association of Mutual Aid of Foz do Douro) and also the Banda Marcial da Foz (Foz’s Marcial Band), the latter still exists today.

Padre Moura succumbed to pneumonia in 1887, at 48 years of age, and was buried in the cemetery of Foz do Douro.

A series of unexpected events happened a few decades after his death and lead to the discovery of a disquieting phenomenon. In 1924, during building works made in the cemetery, there was the need to move the coffin of Padre Moura. When the men were lifting the coffin, they found the uncorrupted body of Padre Moura, buried for 37 years. Imagine the fright.

Due to the Abbot’s popularity in the region, the news quickly spread amongst the population, which took the phenomenon as a miracle, and something that could only happen to a kind and pious man like Padre Moura. In a struggle of doubt and belief, a report was requested to understand which were the causes of the body’s mummification. Surprisingly, the report deemed the cemetery’s conditions as unfit for the occurrence of mummification, the body should not have remained without signs of decomposition. Alas, after 40 years of burial, the body was submitted to a lime test to see if it decomposed, but it did not.

It was all too obvious for the population: Padre Moura’s body was so well preserved because he was a Saint. Due to a will of the population, the body was placed in a special mausoleum, in a marble tomb topped with a crystal display case, where he can be visited and admired daily.

127 years after the death of Padre Moura, his body remains without signs of time, waiting to be visited by the devout and the curious.

Cemitério da Foz do Douro

Rua de Corte Real, 4150-235 Porto

Padre Moura da Foz
Padre Moura da Foz

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