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Vieira, Antonio (1608–1697)

  1. Gary Macy

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1439

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Macy, G. 2011. Vieira, Antonio (1608–1697). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Antonio Vieira, Portuguese theologian, was born in Lisbon but moved to Bahia in Brazil when he was 6. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1623 and for 17 years he taught at the Jesuit College and worked in the missions. In 1641 he returned to Lisbon along with his fellow Jesuit Vasconcelos in order to assure Joâo IV, the king of the newly independent Portugal, of the loyalty of Brazil. His preaching so earned the appreciation of the court that the king appointed him tutor to the infanta and preacher to the royal court in 1644. He went on several diplomatic missions for Portugal until he was sent back to the missions of Brazil by the Jesuits in 1652. There Vieira worked relentlessly to uphold the freedom of the indigenous peoples against the exploitation of the colonists. In 1654 he returned to Portugal where he successfully argued in the defense of the indigenous peoples, resulting in a new law protecting them as well as the appointment of a new governor. Vieira returned to Brazil only to be expelled by the landowners in 1661 for his work in behalf of the natives. Upon his return to Portugal Vieira was tried by the Inquisition for his prophetic writings. Vieira traveled to Rome in 1669 to request that the papacy overturn the condemnation of the Inquisition. Not only was he successful in his own cause, but also his sermons in defense of converted Jews won a wide audience, including Queen Christina of Sweden. In 1681, he returned to Brazil where he continued his defense of indigenous rights. From 1688 until 1691, he was visitor-general of Brazil. Vieira is best known for his powerful sermons which have been collected and published, as have his letters. His prophetic works include, most notably, the Históra do futuro (History of the Future) and the Esperanças de Portugal (Hopes of Portugal).


  • Vieira, Antonio (1608–1697);
  • Portuguese theologian;
  • sermons, in defense of converted Jews