Lamego, one of the oldest cities of our Country and a bulwark of Portuguese nationality, welcomes this year the celebrations of the National Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities.
In the most decisive hour of the confirmation of our independence, it was to ancestral Lamego and to the nearby venerable church of Santa Maria de Almacave, upon which we called.
Appealing to the Lamego Law provided formal support to the deepest ambitions of our people in the 1641 Parliamentary Assembly. It was there, according to Father Antonio Vieira, that the second foundation of Portugal became a fact. In his own words:
“Born anew to the Portuguese was hope, to the Kingdom Freedom, and to Portugal its own Self.”
An age old Diocese, Lamego has in its prelates the essential part of its historic patronage. The tribute we paid this morning to Bishop D. Miguel of Portugal is that exact recognition.
Chosen by King John IV to assert with the Pope the dynastic legitimacy of the restoration of the independence, a difficult mission was assigned to this notable Bishop, which he heroically performed, thus gaining the respect and the gratitude of his fellow citizens.
The dedication of D. Miguel of Portugal to the Nations sake, his serenity when facing misfortune, the courage with which he fronted adversity, without ever giving way, is a lasting example of moral greatness and of devotion to serve.
The result of the combined efforts of the diplomatic representatives of D. John IV was the assertion of a continental Portugal, comprised in the concurrence of European nations.
An idea which would only become visible in its entire dimension, more than three centuries later, with Portugal’s adhesion to the European Communities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Erstwhile nomadic peoples settled in these majestic mountains, in these deep valleys. This location was the setting of a meeting of cultures and a vein of transition between the North and the Centre, between the Littoral and the Interior.
This is the appropriate place to reassert our commitment with the cause of territorial cohesion, a cause that should muster all generations in order to discover and exploit the latent possibilities of our interior and for these to become opportunities for development.
We cannot cancel the differences inherent to geography. But we must recognize the progress achieved in the last 30 years to overcome interiority.
We must chart the endogenous values of each interior site, muster entrepreneurs, encourage entrepreneurialism and attract investment, in order that the use of community funds pertaining to the Portugal 2020 Programme achieves an effective reduction of territorial asymmetries.
I am certain we can count on the active intervention of our Country’s local authorities, considering that, in current times, in order to strengthen territorial dynamics, it is indispensable to work jointly, as in a network, in supra-municipal and regional structures.
The municipal scale is not large enough to settle the larger issues. Lamego’s strategic dimension is the Douro region, that is, the Inter-municipal Douro Community, and the urban axis Lamego, Régua, Vila Real.
The Mayor, when abandoning, as he stated, the rationale of the small city, allowed Lamego’s perspective be that of its insertion in the Country and in the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are in the heart of the Douro region, nowadays a world Heritage, in lands which can testify that man’s incessant labour may befriend nature.
Here, in Lamego, we meet History everywhere – from the millenary rocks of São Pedro de Balsemão to the marvels of renowned artists such as Grão Vasco and João Lopes, the Elder, viewing the unique works of Nasoni, whose baroque gave Lamego a new symbol with the imposing stairway of the Sanctuary of Our lady of Remédios.
Each of the golden eras of Lamego’s history was marked by a will to build and to assert itself as a city of great monuments.
These streets, this stonework, these towers that impress us, tell us that the past is still alive in Lamego. But they leave us with yet another and more relevant impression: Lamego does not live in the past. It preserved and consolidated its heritage. And was able, whenever possible, to renew itself and follow ahead.
“We have met in Lamego, in the Church of Santa Maria de Almacave” – thus commence the Minutes of the Lamego Parliamentary Assembly.
We have met, today, in Lamego. On this day, Portugal fulfils a centuries’ old debt. A debt to the city-museum and to the city that knew how to renew itself, opening up to the future.
This city of streaming standards which welcomes us today is an ambitious city, determined, which is holding a party and is deserving of it.
I am indeed grateful to Lamego County Council, and to its Mayor, for the distinction which it decided to award me and for the reception which has been given us in these days when the festivity that brings us here transforms Lamego in the capital of Portugal.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The experience of these interior lands is a lesson for the Country: we have to overcome difficulties, to raise our heads and to follow on regardless.
Each of us is proportionally responsible for the building of our collective future. We are well aware that not everything depends from us. But, inspired in the example of tenacity and loyalty of Bishop D. Miguel of Portugal, it is our duty to do all in our power to achieve success.
In this day of celebrations, in addition to exalting the glories of our past, we must breach the course for the coming Portuguese generations. A path of ambition and trust in this common project that is Portugal.
Thank you very much.
© 2006-2016 Presidency of the Portuguese Republic
You have gained access to the records of the Official Site of the Presidency of the Republic from 9 March 2006 to 9 March 2016.
The contents available here were entered in the site during the 10 year period covering the two mandates of President of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva.