António Vieira


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Portuguese theologian. Brought up in Brazil, he joined the Jesuits there in 1623. Returning to Lisbon in 1641, he soon won influence at court. In 1652 he was sent to refound the missions to the Maranhão and Grão Pará which had lapsed in 1649; he converted the Nheengaíbas on the island of Marajó. His attempts to uphold the freedom of the Amerindians against the colonists led to difficulties, and in 1661 he had to return to Portugal. He was arraigned before the Inquisition and imprisoned. In 1669 he went to Rome and in 1675 obtained a brief exempting him from the jurisdiction of the Portuguese Inquisition. In 1681 he went back to Brazil for the rest of his life.

His sermons are masterpieces of baroque pulpit oratory. He was a man of political acumen, but was also strongly influenced by Messianic and millenarian beliefs.

Subjects: Christianity.

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