The Jesuit Patriarchate to the Preste: Between Religious Reform, Political Expansion and Colonial Adventure

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Martínez D'Alòs-Moner, Andreu (2013)
  • Publisher: Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
  • Journal: Aethiopica (issn: 2194-4024, eissn: 1430-1938)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.15460/aethiopica.6.1.371
  • Subject: Ethiopian Studies | Jesuit Mission; Portuguese Influence; Christianity; History; Patriarchate; | ddc:230 | ddc:320 | ddc:380 | ddc:900 | ddc:910 | ddc:960

In this paper I analyse the reasons that lead Portugual to send a Jesuit Patriarch to Ethiopia. Such a mission represented a radical break from the tolerant attitude the Lusitans had been showing vis à vis this African Church; the embassies that for decades flowed between Ethiopia and Portugal were suddenly replaced by a one-way attempt of conversion that deeply affected Ethiopian Christian society for more than a century. This mission is placed at the crossroads of both a process of spiritualization that the Portuguese court, under the influence of the Jesuit fathers and the cardinal infantes, endured, and of the political stagnation of the Indian colonial project. But the Catholic Patriarchate would only come to the fore, I contend, at the outcome of the Bermudez affair. This episode, which has largely been underestimated by historiography, was crucial for pushing forward the King João III, the Pope and the Jesuits in the Patriarchal adventure.