Portugal Issued Stamps on Jesuits

portugal stampsThe arrival of the Society of Jesus in Portugal, in 1540, was one of the most significant events in Portuguese culture. The Order of Saint Ignatius had a significant influence on Portuguese culture and society, educating figures who would leave behind significant works in various fields and help mould a true Portuguese identity. Five of these figures are highlighted below.

Saint Francis Xavier is particularly worthy of mention. Originally from Navarre, he became the first great missionary to the East during the time of the Padroado Português do Oriente (Portuguese Patronage of the East), and he is venerated in both Portugal and Asia. Xavier was a leader who attracted a multitude of followers. The great “Apostle of the Indies”, as he was known, was fundamental in spreading Christianity to Asia and, notably, was a pioneer in the evangelisation of Japan. A founding member of the Order, he was central to the construction of an institution whose mission was global right from the outset.

Saint John de Brito was a 17th century missionary and martyr who lived in the Indian subcontinent. He developed a method of evangelisation that was based on acculturation, meaning he sought to adapt the Christian message to the local culture. Today there is a notable college in Lisbon that bears his name.
Father António Vieira also rose to prominence in the 17th century, in the New World. Dividing his time between the jungle and the court, he built bridges between the European and Amerindian civilizations. He became the great missionary of the Americas, his sublime preaching skills attracting large crowds. He also left a vast body of work of great literary value, with ideas ahead of his time. These works have just been published in 30 volumes by Círculo de Leitores. As well as elevating the Portuguese language to a level of perfection never before seen in prose (Fernando Pessoa had no doubts in bestowing him with the status of “Emperor of the Portuguese Language”), his prophecies, his political, social, and ecclesial reform projects, and his protests against the excesses of the Inquisition and the slave trade, continue to resonate even today.

A notable figure of more recent times is Father Manuel Antunes, director ofBrotéria and professor at School of Humanities of the University of Lisbon, whose extraordinary classes were attended by thousands of students over the years. Considered one of the foremost Portuguese thinkers of the 20th century, he left behind a vast and varied body of work, which was recently collected and published in 14 volumes by the Gulbenkian Foundation. In his essays, he debated with great contemporary thinkers, modernising the language of culture in a manner that was both clear and profound. After the 1974 revolution, his book Repensar Portugal (Rethinking Portugal) made him an educator for the new Portuguese democracy.

Lastly, the late Father Luís Archer, also director of Brotéria and professor at the School of Science and Technology of the New University of Lisbon, who was a leading figure in Portuguese science. He was a pioneer in the teaching and research of molecular genetics and genetic engineering. He set up and directed the first Gulbenkian laboratory in this field, having educated generations of scientists. He chaired the National Ethics Committee for several years and wrote notable works on bioethics. His complete works are being published by the Gulbenkian Foundation.

Issue Date: 18.03.2016 Designer: Design&etc Printer: BPOST Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: Stamps: 40 x 30,6 mm, Souvenir sheet: 95 x 125 mm Values: € 0,47, 0,58, 0,75, 0,80

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