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Revista Brasileira de História

On-line version ISSN 1806-9347

Rev. Bras. Hist. vol.32 no.63 São Paulo  2012 



The City of St. Sebastian: Rio de Janeiro and the commemoration of its patron saint in Jesuit writings and rites, c.1585



Vinicius Miranda Cardoso

Masters in History. ICHS – Instituto de Ciências Humanas e Sociais, Depto. de História, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro. Rodovia BR 465, km 7. 23890-000 Seropédica – RJ – Brasil.




In this article, we discuss the Jesuit practices and discourses related to the ceremonial reception of a relic of St. Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro, in the context of an official Jesuit visit, which took place between 1584 and 1585, with particular focus on the local reaffirmation of Society of Jesus' religious leadership, the idealized image of the mission in times of difficulties and the allegorical symbolism related to the construction of the city by Portuguese, Jesuits and Indians. Based on the Narrativa epistolar, by Fernão Cardim, on the dramatic theatrical work Na festa de São Lourenço theater, attributed to José de Anchieta, and other pertinent sources or evidence, this also highlights the sacramental and collective remembrance of the protection provided by St. Sebastian to the founders of Rio de Janeiro and the consecration of the saint as holy patron of the city.

Keywords: Jesuits; St. Sebastian; Rio de Janeiro.


Neste artigo discutem-se os usos e discursos jesuíticos relacionados com cerimonial de recebimento de uma relíquia de são Sebastião no Rio de Janeiro, no contexto de uma visitação inaciana ocorrida entre 1584 e 1585. Particularmente, no tocante à reafirmação local da liderança religiosa da Companhia de Jesus, à imagem idealizada da missão em tempos de dificuldades e ao simbolismo alegórico relacionado com a construção da cidade por portugueses, jesuítas e índios. Com base na Narrativa epistolar, de Fernão Cardim, no auto Na festa de São Lourenço, atribuído a José de Anchieta, e em outras fontes ou indícios pertinentes, também se destacam a rememoração coletiva e sacramental da proteção de são Sebastião aos fundadores do Rio de Janeiro e a consagração do santo flechado como padroeiro da cidade.

Palavras-chave: jesuítas; são Sebastião; Rio de Janeiro.




On December 20, 1584, a visitor from the Society of Jesus, Cristóvão de Gouvêa, docked at the city of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro. The Jesuit had embarked from Portugal the previous year in order to bring the center of the order of St. Ignatius closer to its Brazilian periphery, and provide consolation to the priests working in the 'barren vineyard' of Brazil. In addition to providing comfort, the visit also had a normative aspect, which resulted in the 1586 regimentation of Jesuit villages.1

The month of January was approaching, during which the Church would celebrate the feast of the martyr St. Sebastian, of whom the visitors brought a relic:

We brought aboard the ship a relic of the glorious Sebastian, encased in a silver arm. It remained aboard the ship so that the residents and students could celebrate it as they wished, as this city bears his name and he is its patron saint and protector...2

Serving as the narrator and official communicator for the visit by Cristóvão de Gouvêa, father Fernão Cardim goes on to provide a report, albeit brief, of the ceremony that marked the relic's arrival from Europe. In this capacity, he writes as a 'resourceful craftsman' who makes use of 'rhetorical, theological and political models that are authorized by custom and that specify the orthodox meaning of the representations at the local events.' The recipients of the message – be they indigenous peoples, settlers or the Jesuits themselves, participating in the festivities, or reading or listening to the report – become 'witnesses to the authority being represented.' Not simply in the Jesuit sense, but also in the temporal sense, in accordance with the idea of a mystical/political body. The hierarchy of this body must be recognized through the 'appropriate technical precepts,' used for both the festivities and the written report, because it was based on a conception of the world that was simultaneously theological, political and rhetorical/poetical. As such, based on the descriptions provided by Father Cardim, it is possible to see many different aspects of the feast, which, taken together, form the deep orthodox and technical meaning produced by the Jesuits, who were responsible for delivering the relic and its future guardians. It is also possible to say that both the celebration and the written report of the feast can only be analyzed through the 'filter' of representation that is present in both. The description of the event duplicates the physical and metaphysical routes planned in the processions, while the different stages of the festivities comprise the emblematic allegories, which are the images related to the discourses. As João Adolfo Hansen explains, the colonial feast has the structure of a book of emblems broken down into several parts that are put in motion, as if the procession were turning pages containing the images and discourses..."3 Let's take a closer look.

The 'authorized spokesperson' for the visit begins his report in the following manner:

On one afternoon during the octaves, an illustrious feast was held. The governor and other Portuguese citizens carried out a lustrous infantry muster, and together with their drums, fifes and flags, they went to the beach. Together with the visiting priest, the governor and the local leaders, we took a large boat, filled with flags and bouquets, in which they installed an altar and covered the quarter deck with a moquette cloak upon which they placed a predella; we were accompanied twenty well-equipped canoes, some of them painted, others curved, with oars of various colors. Among them was Martim Afonso, a servant of Christ, longtime abaetê (friend) and moçacara (a position of honor) to the Indians, a great and valiant horseman, who greatly assisted the Portuguese in the taking of this Rio. There was a major celebration, with a naval battle simulation, with drums, fifes and flutes, with shouts and celebration from the Indians; and the Portuguese on land with their infantry and also those in the fortress fired some pieces of heavy artillery and with this feast we set sail upwind and the holy relic remained at the altar, inside of a rich rotunda, with a great display of lighted candles, songs played on the organ, etc. Upon landing we embarked in procession to Misericórdia…

The 'illustrious feast' reported by Cardim thus begins with the ceremonial transfer of St. Sebastian's arm from the ship to the mainland, using a barge that slid across the waters of the bay. The prelude to the event is a 'lustrous infantry muster' with shots from the harquebus announcing the parade that, armed with fifes and drums, arrives at the beach with its flags wielded. From among the group, the narrator highlights the governor, Salvador Correia de Sá, the elder (1547-1631, grandfather of Salvador Correia de Sá e Benevides, famous for the retaking of Angola); the Jesuit visitor Cristóvão de Gouvêa, assisted by Cardim and other priests; and the 'local leaders,' which refers to the families who exercised power within the municipal assembly. The secular and Jesuit authorities boarded a barge festooned with flags and bouquets, where the quarter deck was covered with a moquette cloak and the predella.

As the relic traveled through Guanabara Bay in a rich barrow ('rotunda') that rested on the improvised alter, adorned with copious amounts of candles and honored with music played on an organ, the attention turned to the inlets of the bay. There, it was not only Europeans who took part in the spectacle. The local indigenous population was symptomatically integrated into the celebration, coloring and decorating their canoes and oars with feathers, in order to take part in a simulated naval battle as part of the scenic representation in the surrounding waters. Martim Afonso Arariboia himself, with all of his prestige as an abaetê and moçacara, as well as allegedly being a member of the Order of Christ, took part in one of the canoes. There were plenty of musical instruments, such as drums and flutes, 'with shouts and celebration from the Indians' of the village, coupled with the Portuguese harquebus and cannons. This was the first part of the 'feast' involving the city and the surrounding villages of São Lourenço, without question, and, perhaps, São Barnabé. Combat was simulated among the igara canoes as the relic headed towards land amidst the breezes of the Guanabara Bay.

When the high temporal and spiritual dignitaries landed – it is not specified where – the relic of the patron saint is brought in procession to the clearing in front of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia, for the second part of the ceremony, now on land. It was up to the local officials to hold the poles of the predella that protected the relic of St. Sebastian, the city's patron saint:

Upon landing we embarked in procession to Misericórdia, which is next to the beach, with the relic under the predella; the poles were taken by the members of the assembly, leading citizens and the conquerors of that land.

Cardim's report goes on to tell that a 'theater' was mounted at the door to Misericórdia, under a makeshift shelter made from a boat's sail. There, the relic rested under a 'rich altar.' The pause in the procession was an invitation to engage the entire city in the staging of the martyrdom of their patron, St. Sebastian, whose presence was made palpable with the relic. Cardim, while writing of the consolation, emphasizes the 'many tears of devotion and joy' spilled by 'the entire city' upon seeing the representation of the arrows being fired into the young man who played the saint, in a devout dialogue. According to the description, during this third act of the relic's arrival, all of the inhabitants of the city and its surrounding areas drew in closer to the dramatization of the holy suffering:

There was a theater at the door of Misericórdia, sheltered with a sail, and the holy relic was placed upon a rich altar as a devout dialogue was performed of the saint's martyrdom, with choirs and many richly dressed figures. A young man tied to a post was shot through with arrows, which caused many tears of devotion and joy among the entire city – there was nary a woman absent from the feast – as he provided a very lifelike representation of the saint….

According to Cardim's epistolary narrative, after the 'dialogue' – with choirs and sumptuously dressed characters, capable of drawing and moving 'the entire city,' at least according to the discourse – Cardim introduces a sermon to the mixed audience. The sermon was carried out at the same location, because the Jesuit church was too small to hold all of the people, as he goes on to recount:

when the dialogue was complete, and since our church was too small, I preached in the same theater of the miracles and mercies they had received from the glorious martyr in the taking of this city. When done, the visiting priest allowed all of the people to kiss the relic and then we continued in procession and dance to our church…

When he finished his sermon, Father Cristóvão made the relic of St. Sebastian available to the veneration of 'all of the people,' who then approached to kiss the illustrious 'arm' of the patron saint. Next, the final part of the ceremony begins, when the central object is brought up Morro do Castelo (Castelo Hill), which no longer exists, to the site of the Cathedral of St. Sebastian, the fort baptized under the same name as the patron saint and the Jesuit complex, which included a rudimentary church and the partially-built school building. During the procession, the 'dance' was one of the highlights: in addition to the participation of indigenous villagers, with feathers, decorations, melodies, canoes, 'shouts' and the 'major celebration with a naval battle simulation,' at the end of there was a dance performed by indigenous children. Dressed in an earthly manner, which is to say, 'naked,' painted and adorned according to indigenous customs, the young indigenous performers entranced the Jesuit narrator.

Finally, Fernão Cardim concludes his description of the feast by reporting that close to the church [of the Jesuits, on the hill], the holy relic was placed in the tabernacle to provide consolation to the residents, who had so requested." Later, he says:

The priests here have the best site in the city … the church is small, made of old mud. Now, a new one is being built with stone and lime, with good ornamentation … a bust of the 11,000 virgins, the arm of St. Sebastian and other relics…

Based on the information of Jesuit historian Serafim Leite, it is possible that this same relic was later preserved in a statue of the saint, housed in a private chapel of the Jesuit school.4



The festivities to welcome this divine gift to Rio de Janeiro can be examined from various angles. First, in a more general sense, they were celebrating the consolidation of the village itself. The memoirist Vieira Fazenda understood the ceremony not just as a tribute to the patron saint, but also as a commemoration of the transfer of the urban center to Morro do Castelo, in 1567, and as a tribute to the victories of the past against the French and the Tamoios, during its conquest.5

As Mem de Sá reported in his official correspondence with King Sebastian I of Portugal, since the location where Estácio de Sá had founded the city (close to Sugarloaf Mountain, in 1565) could no longer be defended in times of war, in 1567 the third governor general had transferred the village to a 'more appropriate' location, in order to 'build the city of St. Sebastian.' The new location was Morro do Descanso," later called by other names, the last of which was Morro do Castelo," prior to its removal in 1922. Among other buildings, such as the 'assembly house' the 'jail' and the Church of the Priests [of the Society] of Jesus," Mem de Sá states that they had built a cathedral as large as three ships,"6 the parish church dedicated to the city's patron saint, St. Sebastian.

Sé's project halted after Salvador de Sá, the elder, left city government, in 1568. After he returned to his post in 1578, the Cathedral of St. Sebastian was finally completed in 1583 – just one year prior to the arrival of the relic of the city's patron saint. Several vestments of the old chapel would be transported to the new parish church of the patron saint, built on Estácio's orders within the 'old city,' close to Sugarloaf Mountain. The mortal remains of Estácio de Sá himself would also be transferred, bringing his coffin once again into the city, under the roof of the church that he founded in devotion to St. Sebastian."7 Salvador de Sá, while handling the coffin of the first Captain-major, who was a relative, updated his memorial and, at the same time, included it in the memory of the city, preserving his name and the reasons for this initiative in the grave that holds his remains to this day.8 The memory of the Captain-major of the expedition of 1565 would join with that of Salvador de Sá and that of the patron saint of the city; all of them cultivated in the nave of the Cathedral of St. Sebastian, raised to the summit of the Morro do Descanso, the city's preeminent sacred space.

One year after the inauguration of the new temple, the moment, the place and the proper motives came together for an urban reconciliation, under the auspices of Providence and the sponsorship of city authorities. Without question, the commemorative and memorialist context of the survival, transfer and consolidation of the city, subject to the uses of local power, became intertwined with the ceremonial reception of the arm of St. Sebastian, patron saint of that land. The festivities were conducive to that. And the Jesuits, the self-proclaimed interpreters of the Divine, would skillfully arrange all of the involved theological/political discourse and symbolisms.

Between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, it was mainly the bishops who sponsored the worship of saints, becoming, much like the invisible patrons, the visible patrons of the flock, with all of the inherent political/religious consequences. As the promoters (impresarios, in Latin) of the worship of the Christian 'invisible companions,' the church leaders accumulated and fostered the recognition of their authority and their status. They positioned themselves as the benefactors of the community, conceding the benefits attained through the patron saints, expecting, in return, the respect and affection of their fellow citizens. The very idea of the patron saint of a city is inseparable from these episcopal theological efforts and the promotion, by the church leaders, of the worship of martyrs as patrons that would, symptomatically, quickly occupy altars as urban patron saints throughout the West during the Middle Ages.9

In the Portuguese America of the late-sixteenth century, however, the local secular clergy was still meager and fragile. It was the Jesuits who had called for the establishment of an episcopal see in Portuguese America, denouncing the excessive liberties and bad habits of the clergy. The first bishopric in Brazil was introduced in Salvador in 1554, whose first bishop was the ill-fated Pero Fernandes Sardinha. A prelature was established in St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro by papal brief on July 19, 1575, giving more ecclesiastical autonomy to the region, while submitting it to the general authority of the bishopric of Salvador. But the prelature did not achieve good relations with the local noble elites: the first prelate, Father Bartolomeu Simões Pereira, would perish, possibly having been poisoned, in 1598. His successors would be persecuted, suffer attempts on their lives or would recuse themselves from taking the position. The presence of the prelates represented a threat to lax behaviors and the enslavement of indigenous peoples, widely practiced by the settlers.

In this context, even though the Jesuits might have had problems with the settlers, they were well-established locally and supported by metropolitan authorities. Thus, with the transfer of the arm of St. Sebastian and his reiteration as the local patron saint, the Jesuits allowed a glimpse of 1) their rivalry – healthy or not – with a secular clergy considered insufficient or inoperative, by taking upon themselves the role of protagonist in conducting the worship of the city's patron saint, traditionally an episcopal or municipal duty; 2) the use of ceremony, of the relic and of the veneration for the protecting martyr as an attempt to impose a reality and a shared meaning, i.e., appropriating the event as symbolic capital that might have (or tended to) strengthen their symbolic power. If, during Late Antiquity, the bishops were the impresarios and perhaps the main beneficiaries of the worship of patron saints, in the early days of Rio de Janeiro, it was the Jesuits, much more than the secular prelates, who played that role. This can be seen in the fact that the delivery of the relic and the direction of the ceremonies are related to Gouvêa's visit, registered by Cardim; and the artifact was held for safekeeping at the Jesuit school. Cardim's report proves this: the arm is brought to the top of the city's main hill on its way to the priests' compound and it is placed in the tabernacle of the Jesuit church, and most likely subsequently preserved within a statue of St. Sebastian, as was already noted.

As the carriers and keepers of the relic of the patron saint, the Jesuits upgraded their self-image as privileged agents, capable of providing the city with the true presence of the saint. In this conception, it was through the merit of the Jesuits, in their ability to mediate with the divine, that the mercy of a heavenly protector was obtained for the community. Likewise, it was through merit of the bishops that, under the Christian traditions of Late Antiquity, they were able to pass on to the city their image as protectors, bringing with them the presence of glorious advocates (Brown, 1981, p.94-95). Naturally, this does not mean that there was necessarily a consensus with respect to the interpretation of the meanings in the Jesuit message by the settlers, the indigenous peoples, the mestizo villagers, etc. This was merely their objective. But, for the Jesuits and, perhaps, for the religious population of the city, the status and authority of the Society of Jesus were reinforced or, at least, it was believed that they ought to be, as a result of the undertaking.

Considering the form and official motivations behind the event described, the festivities to receive the relic perhaps should be framed in what Belgian historian Annick Delfosse classifies as the 'collective consecration' of a heavenly patron or protector. According to Delfosse, much like the 'election' of a patron saint, their 'consecration' involves extraordinary ceremonial practices in which drama plays an essential part. It was a 'high point' of urban life, articulated independently from the cycles and dates of the liturgical calendar. Such consecrations allowed for heightened expressiveness and a vibrant inventiveness. With respect to hierarchies, they proclaimed the strength of local powers in guaranteeing civil and religious order in the urban space.

Similarly to the case examined in this article, in the Spanish Netherlands in the early seventeenth century, particularly during the belligerent time of the Phillips, the Jesuits exercised an enormous influence over the judges, counsels and governors; including when it came to the 'public' interest in enshrining local patron saints, with the Jesuits becoming the main organizers of these ceremonies, according to Delfosse. The climate of political and religious war, the advance of Protestantism and the longing for divine protection would lead several Catholic cities in the Netherlands to choose any invocation of the Virgin, the guardian angel, St. Francis Xavier or another saint to protect them. The justifications for the consecration of a patron saint rested in the need to ensure peace and order for the general good of the city. The consecration of a heavenly patron saint would defy the armed assault of hostile forces, drive away the whips of war, warn of neighboring attacks and ensure liberation from an enemy's yoke.10

This does not seem to stray too far from the conception of the festivities for the relic of St. Sebastian organized by the Society of Jesus in Rio in the sixteenth century. There wasn't any astonishment at the fact that the Jesuits appropriated the worship of a patron saint. The Jesuits themselves may have influenced in the selection of the patron saint, at the time when the city was founded (1565-1567), suggesting, designating or confirming him, although there is no concrete evidence beyond the letter from José de Anchieta referring vaguely to the choice of St. Sebastian as the city's patron saint.11 However, this documentary gap is not fortuitous. Even though the idea of a city's patron saint is longstanding and established, it was only in 1630 that the papacy made an effort to regulate, and recognize through papal documents, the selection of patron saints, through the Sacred Congregation for Rites. Until then, the selection, proclamation and consecration of patron saints were scattered, poorly documented efforts, with total autonomy for the local secular and ecclesiastical authorities.12 However, this systematization was not yet in place at the time, and the disciples of St. Ignatius, striving to be the leaders of a reformed Catholicism, did not hesitate to intervene in the local traditions with respect to patron saints, as Delfosse demonstrated in the case of the Netherlands.

The main point of the consecration of a patron saint, in the cases studied by the historian, was the proclamation of a vow of eternal commitment between the city and the saint, sometimes symbolized by the offering of a key to the image of the patron saint. In exchange for divine and special protection, particularly 'in times of war, pestilence and famine' (which were generally associated), the authorities solemnly promised the reverence of the entire city to the saint for eternity. The procession, the victory wagons, the scenic representations, the cannon fire, the lights and allegorical symbols were all inseparable from the ceremonies, always affirming the passage from the chaos of war to order, brought by the tutelary saint. Participating in these events were judges, officials, governors, the secular and regular clergy, as well as the students of the Jesuit schools, 'richly dressed' and occupying prominent positions. The Jesuit chapels generally served as the departure or arrival points for the processions and, sometimes, the places where the official proclamation of the vow would take place. The religiosity expressed in these consecrations was 'passionate,' aimed at igniting hearts in order to demonstrate the strength of the guardianship of the new patron saint, visibly powerful and effective," and which brought joy to the city by reuniting it with peace. Such ceremonies were intended to exalt a solid civil and ecclesiastical power, capable of marshaling resources in order to ensure peaceful order, while demonstrating the vitality of the settlement. Or, rather, prophesizing the stability to come. For Annick Delfosse, the Jesuit priests were interested in these ceremonies not simply to catechize, but also mainly to celebrate, with the population, the relentless strength of the urban community." In other words, their goal was to celebrate the triumph of the city" (Delfosse, 2009, p.9-16).

Several of the points raised by Delfosse are evident in the description provided by Father Cardim. There is no mention of a proclamation of the vow, which may have been made official in 1565 or 1567, the foundational period of the settlement; but the entire event exposed in the epistolary narrative seems aimed at renewing the eternal commitment with St. Sebastian, patron saint and guardian. The upper echelons of the city lead the festivities, which include a procession, theater performances on land and sea, decorations, dances, music, sermons, kissing the relic and a pilgrimage to the Jesuit church. The context studied by Annick Delfosse is clearly different, and it took place later in time, but Rio also had reasons to celebrate and predict order: the Tamoios had been definitively pacified and the remaining French had been expelled, through the efforts of Antonio Salema in Cabo Frio, in 1575. The city of St. Sebastian was consolidating itself in Morro do Descanso and the surrounding seaside. Peace and order seemed to have finally arrived in the Guanabara region and the captaincy of Rio de Janeiro was able to provide, through the 'Catholic policy' – represented by priests, governors, judges, the king, the pope and other authorities of the mystical body (Hansen, 2001, p.740) – what could be translated as the 'triumph of the city' of St. Sebastian.

Similar events took place in Spanish America. According to Pierre Ragon, in the early days of colonial America, military victories were the main context for the first elections of the patron saints of cities. Under the New World reinterpretation of a renewed warrior impetus for conquests, St. Hyppolytus was designated as the first patron saint of Mexico City, by virtue of the Aztec surrender in Tenochtitlán on August 13, 1521, the day of the soldier martyr. St. Michael, who featured angelic and warrior strains, was declared the patron saint of Puebla de Los Ángeles and Guadalajara. More than offering protection, these saints, according to Ragon, expressed the identity of these cities. Their annual feasts were genuine 'civic festivals, where the whole community would come together to commemorate their origins, while celebrating the stability of their order and their inclusion in the Hispanic World, praying for their perennial existence.' The festivities and processions were representations of a supposedly immutable and universal order, with the year's elected regent playing a fundamental role in conducting the ceremonies. In Mexico City, the processions led to the Church of St. Hippolytus, which was erected, according to local memory, at the site of the aqueduct where allied conquistadors and indigenous peoples drowned during the tragic Noche Triste.13

This relationship between the festivities and places of remembrance from the European conquest can also be found in the case of Rio de Janeiro. Through Cardim's description, it is possible to see the attempt to capture the divine influences in the city, referring to the prestigious time of its origins. By receiving the vestige of its patron saint, the city was renewing and upgrading the original protective forces that were at work during the first establishment of Rio de Janeiro, particularly the protection St. Sebastian provided to the founders. Thus, it provided a possibility for a rite of renewal or 'return' to the 'strong' and 'prestigious' times of its origins, connected to the cosmogony (creation of the world) and the sacred demiurgical beings manifested in profane space (temporal, secular) in order to create, allow or renew human existence.14 Not just because the saint was the patrimony of the city, since 1565, but also mainly because it was believed that he intervened as a soldier in the conquest of the Guanabara region from the French Calvinists and the savage Tamoios, as Fernão Cardim himself would preach during the festivities.



As the arm of St. Sebastian was resting on a 'rich altar,' a devout dialogue of the regarding the suffering of the patron saint, 'with choirs and many richly dressed figures,' was taking place. The narrator highlights a single scene: how St. Sebastian, played by a young man, was 'shot through with arrows' in a performance that moved 'the entire city.' The end of the performance becomes an occasion for a sermon from Fernão Cardim himself. In the same improvised 'theater,' sheltered by a ship's sail, the priest who was serving as an assistant to the visiting Jesuit Cristóvão de Gouvêa preaches about the 'miracles and mercies' that the listeners had received from the glorious saint in the 'taking' of Rio, i.e. the conquest of the Guanabara Bay and the founding of the city.

There is no precise record of the dramatization of St. Sebastian recounted by the commentator of this Jesuit visit. Perhaps there is some vague excerpt, a short textual fragment that might have been part of the dialogue cited by Cardim.15 However, another source can satisfactorily bridge this documentary gap: the dramatic theatrical work Na festa de São Lourenço (At the Feast of St. Lawrence), written one or two years before Gouvêa's visit, probably in 1583, which was the longest and most well-known of Anchieta's theatrical works. In it, St. Sebastian is one of the characters included in a long dialogue written in Tupi. Even though he is clearly not the principal saint in the drama, given its title, the Martyr of Narbonne is nonetheless featured and linked to historical aspects of the conquest of Rio de Janeiro: the struggle of the Portuguese and the Temiminós (also known as Maracajás, after the Margay cat) against the French and Tamoios. It should be pointed out that in these Jesuit theatrical works, the subject is always provided beforehand and familiar to the audience. It is the construction and the ordering of the topics and allegories according to the occasion, the speakers, the festivities, the directives of the Society of Jesus and the monarchy, which contribute to the effectiveness16 expected by those working to establish harmony.

As Isadora Telles has suggested, the theatrical work Na festa de São Lourenço can be classified as a 'written foundation' of Rio de Janeiro, which explains, for example, the participation of St. Sebastian, the city's patron saint, in the dialogues. The theatrical work is a founding allegory of the conquest of Rio against the alliance of the French 'Calvinists' and the 'savage' Tamoios. Given the colonizing, legitimizing and perpetuating character of the Jesuit text, which organizes time, space and the indigenous memory, and is analogous to the Holy Scriptures, the discourse present in the theatrical work establishes the city on another level. According to Telles, dramatic and dialogic genres, such as these dramatic theatrical works, as well as tragedies and comedies, are particularly recurrent in the representations of the various types that compose and participate in a city, as well as the speakers expected in these types of performances. The theatrical work Na festa de São Lourenço – upon triggering the types and topoi of the foundation of Rio de Janeiro and directing them at the inhabitants of the city and the surrounding villages – institutes, models and projects a Portuguese Catholic city (St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro) as opposed to a 'heretic city' represented by the 'French Antarctic' and its aftermath. In other words, for Telles, the discourse that is written, proffered and staged through the cited theatrical work is a colonizing, founding and sacramental practice that 'reveals' the hidden designs of Providence with regard to the Catholic Christianization of Rio de Janeiro, the extirpation of the heretical/diabolical forces and the leading of the nonbelievers of the Guanabara region to the mystical/political body of the 'Portuguese empire.' The alleged authorship by Anchieta, believed to be a thaumaturgist and future saint, further assisted the theatrical work carry out its role to sacralize – and, by extension, legitimate –the foundation of Rio de Janeiro that, in its discourse, perfectly united Jesuits and Portuguese authorities against the rare confluence of obstacles to the conquest and Christianization of the territory (Telles, 2004, particularly p.91-92).

In the theatrical work, while St. Lawrence is titled 'patron saint' of the village, St. Sebastian is never referred to as such in any passage of the composition. Still, his protective role over the Temiminós and the 'founders' of Rio de Janeiro is highlighted in a preemptory manner, activating the memory of local origins. His status as the city's patron saint is part is what is left unsaid; perhaps because the theatrical work sought to emphasize the specific protection that he had provided to the indigenous people of Arariboia at other times. The Temiminós were the privileged recipients of the 'second act,' in Tupi, or perhaps even the entire theatrical work, according to the very reasonable assumption that it had been performed in the Jesuit village of São Lourenço. Furthermore, it should have been rather evident, for the inhabitants of the Guanabara region, that St. Sebastian is the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro.

St. Sebastian is introduced into the plot as a 'companion in the struggle' faced by St. Lawrence. The demon Aimbirê warns the boss, Guaixará, about the protective presence of them both. Later, Aimbirê alludes to the help of St. Sebastian, who, on a different occasions, had already defeated the demon Guaixará:

197. [Aimbirê] I once watched
the battle of Guaixará.
There were many igara canoes.
Though you helped them,
O! they disbanded in flight…

202. There were not many Christians.
However, St. Sebastian
fired upon them,
causing panic. There was
nobody left for the battle. (Anchieta, 1989, p.695)

Here we have a memorialist evocation of an allegedly miraculous event that happened during the founding of Rio de Janeiro, the battle against the canoes led by the chief of Cabo Frio, Guaixará – not incidentally, the name of the chief of the devils in the theatrical work. St. Sebastian was spotted by the Tamoios, upon whom he fired, saving a group of Christians who were in trouble, including the Captain-major, Estácio de Sá. The actions of St. Sebastian, defeating Chief Guaixará in a heated battle in the early days of Rio de Janeiro, may have been one of the 'miracles and mercies' evoked by Fernão Cardim in the sermon preached at the end of the dialogue representing the saint's martyrdom.17

But it is at the end of the second act that the discourse becomes more explicit with respect to the general protection of St. Sebastian over the Temiminós and founders of Rio. An exhortation is given to the 'custodian angel' of the village, still in Tupi. The winged messenger speaks about the protection of the cited saints: St. Lawrence protected the lands of the indigenous peoples, crushed the demons and lifted the souls of the new converts. In this, he was accompanied by the warrior martyr, shot through with arrows:

593. Also St. Sebastian,
who was a soldier
and the mighty Tamoios
he once destroyed.
Their land no longer exists.

What had up to that point evoked a spiritual warfare against demons, begins to mention flesh and blood enemies. It is alleged that St. Sebastian provided protection to the Temiminós: he 'destroyed' the 'mighty Tamoios,' their immanent enemies. Sebastian, 'who was a soldier,' did away with both the Tamoios and 'their land' – which 'no longer exists.' Why does it no longer exist? It is understood to be because a Portuguese Catholic City was erected in its place. After all, the Tamoios were not only enemies of the Temiminós, but also of the Jesuits and the Portuguese. They were the ones who originally invoked St. Sebastian, not the Temiminós. But the Indians, led by Martim Afonso Arariboia, also benefited from the favorable exorcising and exterminating action of the saints. As Guaixará himself says at the start of the theatrical work: 'all of the Tamoios went/to lie burning in hell,' with the few of them who loved God welcomed into the village of São Lourenço, where they were 'permanently protected.'

The discourse becomes more explicit: it lists the destroyed Tamoio villages, seeking to make the story seem as realistic as possible. It also mentions the French who, although armed with 'firearms,' were defeated by the 'arrows of St. Sebastian' and by St. Lawrence, his 'companion in the struggle,' as was explained:

598. All of them – Paranapucu,
Jacutinga, Moroí,
Sariguéia, Guiriri,
Pindoba, Pariguaçu,
Curuçá, Miapeí,

603. the land of the Jabebiracica –
They no longer exist.

Their defenders were defeated,
side by side their corpses
lie at the bottom of the river.

608. Their French friends
brought, in a futile effort, firearms.
They were tormented by
the arrows of St. Sebastian
alongside St. Lawrence. (Anchieta, 1989, p.693; 616-617)

It is important to highlight that the realism of this passage is reinforced by the testimony of Mem de Sá in his official report, when he explains that, after the battle of January 1567 against the 'biraoaçu-merin fortress,' focus was placed on the 'parnapocu' (probably the first group cited in the theatrical work) and, after they were defeated, many of the 'principals' came in search of peace and, with that, many of the villages were pacified.18 It is likely that all of the place names mentioned in the passage above referred to former Tamoio settlements in the along Guanabara Bay and surrounding regions, submitted to 'pacification' under the orders of Estácio and Mem de Sá, between 1565 and 1567.

The saints in the theatrical work are responsible not only for providing protection from the Tamoios, who had previously expelled the Temiminós from their former lands (what is now Ilha do Governador), but also for expelling the Calvinist, heretic French. Here we see that the protection of the patron saints is not limited to the intra-Tupi war, but is also related to the overall conquest and foundation of Rio de Janeiro, with its policy of alliances between Europeans and American Indians. The 'arrows of St. Sebastian' are an allegory for the 'just war' against the aggressive Tamoios and the heretic, invading French, who were infringing upon the Portuguese right of mare clausum, conceded by the Catholic Church. In the conquest of Rio de Janeiro, St. Sebastian plays an active role in expelling the enemies – 'they were tormented by the arrows of St. Sebastian / alongside St. Lawrence.'

It is plausible that St. Sebastian would only extend his protection to the Temiminós insofar as they participated, against the Tamoios and French, in the pacification and construction of Rio de Janeiro. St. Lawrence is the patron saint of the village, a human analog of the settlement spread throughout God's city. The village is part of the broader hierarchical body of the city of St. Sebastian – the protector of the local Catholic city, a mystical and political unit in which the Indians, if they adopt good Christian customs, are able to participate, while remaining lower down the hierarchy. It was as if, by extension, the patron saint whose emblem was the arrow, in addition to protecting the city that took his name, also protected the warrior 'archers' who had defended it and would defend it in times to come. This protection from the patron saint acted against spiritual and temporal enemies, such as Tamoios, heretics and demons.

The Jesuit ritual involving Sebastian, his relic and his festivities, in Rio de Janeiro, was complemented by the cultivation of a memory of his protection and miracles, through the sacred oratory and sacramental writing. These miracles were divine symbols that were interpreted politically and theologically as a revelation of the designs of Providence and the updating of the Holy Scriptures, helping the mission, allowing for the conversion of the nonbelievers and the disinfection of the 'Lutheran poison,' promoting devotion, conformation and cohesion to the body of the order of St. Ignatius and the colonial city under a Catholic political order. Indeed, by capturing the indigenous societies in theological and political formulas that regulated colonial expansion, the sixteenth century texts inscribe them in the European memory with a duration, space and characteristics specific to the Iberian 'Catholic policy.'"19 To some extent, the sermon preached by Cardim when delivering the arm of St. Sebastian must have reached related listeners. As was explained by father Jácome Monteiro, the secretary of a subsequent Jesuit visit, the city of Rio de Janeiro was

the invocation of St. Sebastian, because when the city was won from the French and the heretics, and the Tamoios, the cruel nonbelievers, our glorious martyr visibly helped Our Own, which is the miracle we preach every year.20



The feast was a ubiquitous element in the history of Portuguese America, always associated with an urban culture devoted to the motives celebrated by the powers that – according to their discourse – granted their existence: the Church and the Monarchy. The only legitimate participants in the feast were the king's subjects and faithful Catholics, although the numerous festivities of the political and religious calendar provided countless opportunities for a subversion of the established order and unorthodox uses.

But the perspective adopted by Fernão Cardim is primarily one of integration. His discourse, as the spokesperson for the Portuguese Jesuit Assistance, seeks to provide the direct and indirect readers with the idea of a harmonic colonial society. It is possible to note the effort the author makes to transmit the jubilation of the city during the 'illustrious feast' and show how the festivities involved a variety of social groups: the governor of the captaincy and members of the military made sure to greet their patron saint with 'a lustrous infantry muster' and, 'together with their drums, fifes and flags,' they went to the beach. Salvador de Sá, Cristóvão de Gouvêa and other priests went together to the ship to bring, in a decorated boat, the arm of the patron saint. Then, 'members of the assembly, leading citizens and the conquerors of that land,' took the predella that protected the relic once it had reached the shore. The Indians provided a battle simulation in canoes decorated with feathers, with the participation of Arariboia, the leader of the Temiminós and chief of São Lourenço village. There were European and American Indian drums, indigenous flutes, Portuguese fifes, native canoes, ships and Portuguese barges, Indian 'shouts' and prayers, organ music, dances by Indian children and Catholic processions. What Fernão Cardim seems ultimately to want to register is that the entire city and its surroundings – including the Jesuit village of São Lourenço and probably that of São Barnabé – took part in a true 'mestizo' festival marked by Catholic harmony and integration: 'there was nary a woman absent from the feast.'

Cardim's Narrativa epistolar, which was part of the spiritual goal of Gouvêa's visit – to console evangelical workers in what was still a sterile missionary land – 'emphasizes the unity of the province,' as was noted by Castelnau-L'Estoile. Particularly, the jubilant welcome received by the visitor from the priests, indigenous peoples and the Portuguese – even though they would eventually become enemies of the Jesuits. It was an 'idyllic picture of a new humanity': a unified, holy, Catholic, harmonious Christendom under the direction of the Society of Jesus. This perspective would reappear in other times and other Jesuit festivities in Portuguese America, such as the celebration of the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier in 1622, in Salvador. According to Castelnau-L'Estoile, described from a Jesuit perspective, the feast must not be understood as a simple mirror of colonial society, but rather as a Jesuit dream for that same society" (Castelnau-L'Estoile, 2006, p.45). As such, the Jesuits want to impose a vision of reconciliation onto colonial society and attempt to reaffirm their preeminence" (ibidem, p.526).

The ceremonies for receiving relics emerged during the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Peter Brown has noted that both the concern with harmony and the exercise of power must be taken into account when considering the ceremony that received the saint into the community and the annual replay of the saint's arrival, on the date of their feast, by the local residents. During the Early Middle Ages, the ceremonial festivals of the saints came to be used to both differentiate and extend the Christian community, providing space for both longstanding and newly converted Christians, transforming these festivities into moments of urban consensus. The ancient ceremonies of the Advent, from that point forward, re-signified through the worship of saints, could extend the boundaries of the Christian community by providing a place for participants belonging to the different groups that made up the city. They also provided evidence of the divine acceptance of the community as a whole: heavenly mercy encompassed all of the dispersed members, and it was capable of reintegrating those who were left out during the previous year.21

Over the long term, these Christian/Catholic ceremonies seem to have maintained this ambivalence between the affirmation of a hierarchical power and harmonious existence, expanding the foundation of Catholicism, including the incorporation of America and its native peoples. Placed in the referential context of its time, the ritual of receiving the arm of St. Sebastian seems, therefore, to be configured as one of the mechanisms for the 'artificial production of harmony.' According to Guilherme Luz, this was an inherent aspect in the Aristotelian-Thomist culture that guided the Portuguese monarchy, as well as the lay and religious agents, during the time of the conquest and colonization of parts of Brazil. This 'production' particularly took place in the 'ritual, rhetorical, poetic and imagery-based practices' that promoted a 'sense of belonging' to the 'Portuguese empire.' And it sought a hierarchical, harmonious organization, according to the criteria of just and legitimate power based upon Artistotelian ethics and a rereading of Thomistic principles. Also according to Luz, in another text, it could be said that the feasts held for the arrival of the relics were intended, in that sense, to demonstrate 'the alleged unity and harmony of all of the parts that made up the 'mystical body' of the Empire,' establishing an ideal of 'fraternal communion.' The remains and objects of the saints came following the 'mystical union between the metropolis and the colony.' As such, the representations of the saint and his relic could be considered from the perspective of a concept that is particularly relevant when discussing the Jesuit worldview: it was an allegory for harmony in the city. In Rio de Janeiro, St. Sebastian and his arm, as well as all of the festivities that occurred in their name, were an allegory for the multitude of voices herded and led together to the mystical body of Christ and the Portuguese crown by the Jesuits and the representatives of Catholic policy – the pope, the Jesuits, the king, the governors, etc. Fernão Cardim's report is in keeping with this sense, also functioning as a mechanism for the 'production of harmony.' As an allegorical personification of the city, the saint and his protection were included in the list of ritual, rhetorical/poetic and imagery-based practices that, from a theological/political standpoint, artificialized and constructed a common identity in the world that encompassed Portuguese, Jesuit and Catholic peoples from a variety of backgrounds.22

But there is also another dimension to the co-memoration of St. Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1580s. As the messages communicate in the theatrical work of St. Lawrence, the effectiveness of the patron saint and protector of Rio de Janeiro was notable from the time of the city's foundation, during the battle of the Portuguese and Temiminós against the French and the Tamoios. The intervention of the city's patron saint was seen by the Jesuits not simply as a metaphor, but as something real and miraculous. Due to his intercession, his favors and his appearance, the Tamoio villages were destroyed, their members decimated or placed under submission, the heretics expelled or exterminated. The protection of the patron saint was not limited to the Portuguese and the Jesuits, who had invoked him, but also the Temiminós, who later settled in São Lourenço. If we take as our base the representations identified in this article, it was potentially this possible passage from the discourse that echoed in the sermon by Fernão Cardim, after the 'dialogue' with the young man shot through with arrows. It was the role of the Jesuits, architects of the feast and impresarios of St. Sebastian's patronage of Rio, to recognize, interpret and translate for the entire city, including the indigenous villagers, the protection or patrocinium of St. Sebastian, through collective and sacramental recollection – co-memoration – of his miraculous interventions in its conquest and foundation.

In the West, the saints were mainly celebrated for their miraculous, warrior-like and civilizing roles. Jacques Le Goff, for example, in his analysis of St. Marcel and the dragon, suggested that the legend behind the sainted bishop and its draconian symbolism should be regarded as a kind of founding myth of Paris or an attempt to construct an 'emblem' for the city, outlining the protective and civilizing role of the patron saint against the chaotic forces of nature and the 'public enemy,' represented by the dragon. The foundational, protective and civilizing function of the representation of Rio de Janeiro's patron saint also appears in the theatrical work about St. Lawrence, which attests to St. Sebastian's defense against demons, hostile Indians and the French, allowing for the Christianization of the lands formerly held by the Tamoios. St. Sebastian was also the central character in the representation that took place in front of Misericórdia. It is likely that in this dialogue and in the sermon that followed, preached by Cardim, of which there are no known records, the message consecrated the Jesuit theological/political discourse, over those of the Protestants and non-believers, proposing a Catholic ideal for the city. There may have also been indications of the providential, miraculous and protective role of the patron saint, victorious over and superior to the city's enemies, similar to the theatrical work about St. Lawrence, his contemporary. Therefore, in the 1580s, St. Sebastian already constituted the emblem or allegory of Rio de Janeiro's construction by the Portuguese, the Jesuits and the Temiminós, in a material and spiritual conquest sacralized by the Society of Jesus. The relic, the processions, the dialogue, the sermon and the surrounding circumstances, by commemorating the city's patron saint, reinforced the associations between its Catholic identity, the Portuguese crown, the Jesuit rites and the memory of the origins of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro – or, as it was known in the early days, The City of St. Sebastian."23





1 Ver CASTELNAU-L'ESTOILE, Charlotte de. Operários de uma vinha estéril: os jesuítas e a conversão dos índios no Brasil – 1580-1620. Trad. Ilka Stern Cohen. Bauru (SP): Edusc, 2006. p.37-94.         [ Links ]

2 CARDIM, Fernão. Informação da Missão do P. Christóvão de Gouvea às partes do Brasil – Anno de 83 ou Narrativa epistolar de uma viagem e Missão Jesuítica ... escrita em duas Cartas ao P. Provincial em Portugal. In: _______. Tratados da terra e gente do Brasil. Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia; São Paulo: Edusp, 1980. p.169.         [ Links ]

3 HANSEN, João Adolfo. A categoria 'representação' nas festas coloniais dos séculos XVII e XVIII. In: KANTOR, Íris; JANCSÓ, István (Org.) Festa: cultura e sociabilidade na América portuguesa. v.II. São Paulo: Hucitec, Edusp, Fapesp, Imprensa Oficial, 2001. p.736-739, 753. Grifo do autor.         [ Links ]

4 CARDIM, 1980, p.169-170; sobre a última informação, cf. LEITE, Serafim. História da Companhia de Jesus no Brasil: século XVI – o estabelecimento, t.I. Lisboa: Portugália; Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1938. p.393-394.         [ Links ] Sobre as aldeias de São Lourenço e São Barnabé, ver ALMEIDA, Maria Regina Celestino de. Metamorfoses indígenas: identidade e cultura nas aldeias coloniais do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Arquivo Nacional, 2003. p.82-84ss.         [ Links ]

5 Cf. FAZENDA, José Vieira. Antiqualhas e memórias do Rio de Janeiro, v.I. Revista do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro: IHGB, t.86, v.140, p.158-159, 1919.         [ Links ]

6 SERRÃO, Joaquim Veríssimo (Ed.) O Rio de Janeiro no século XVI, v.2: documentos dos arquivos portugueses. Lisboa: Comissão Nacional das Comemorações do IV Centenário do Rio de Janeiro, 1965. p.69; ou Instrumento dos serviços prestados por Mem de Sá, Governador do Brasil. Annaes da Bibliotheca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, v.XXVII, p.135, 1906.         [ Links ]

7 Cf. MAURÍCIO, Augusto. Algo do meu velho Rio. Rio de Janeiro: L. Ed. Brasiliana, 1966. p.107-108.         [ Links ]

8 "Aqui jaz Estácio de Sá, Primeiro Capitão e Conquistador desta Terra e Cidade e a Campa mandou fazer Salvador Correia de Sá seu primo Segundo Capitão e Governador Com suas Armas e esta Capela acabou o Anno de 1583". Cf. BELCHIOR, Elysio de Oliveira. Conquistadores e povoadores do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Brasiliana Ed., 1965. p.411.         [ Links ]

9 Cf. BROWN, Peter. The cult of the saints: its rise and function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981. p.18; 36-39; 94-98; BEAUJARD, Brigitte. Cités, évèques et martyrs en gaule à la fin de l'époque romaine.         [ Links ] In: LES FONCTIONS DES SAINTS DANS LE MONDE OCCIDENTAL (IIIe-XIIIe siècle). Actes du colloque organisé par l'École française de Rome avec le concours de l'Université de Rome "La Sapienza". Rome, 27-29 oct. 1988. Rome, 1991. p.178-179. Sobre os bispos como santos padroeiros citadinos ou seu papel na promoção de tais cultos, ver ORSELLI, Alba M. L'immaginario religioso della città medievale. Ravenna: Ed. del Girasole, 1985.         [ Links ]

10 Cf. DELFOSSE, Annick. Élections collectives d'un "Patron et Protecteur". Mises en scène jésuites dans les Pays-Bas espagnols. In: DOMPNIER, B. (Dir.) Les cérémonies extraordinaires du catholicisme baroque. Actes du colloque international du Puy-en-Velay (27-29 oct. 2005). Clermont-Ferrand: Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2009. p.1-3 Disponível em:, autorizado gentilmente pela autora; Acesso em: 2 maio 2009. Para a tese publicada da historiadora, ver DELFOSSE, Annick. La "protectrice du Païs-Bas": stratégies politiques et figures de la Vierge dans le Pays-Bas espagnols. Turnhout: Brepols, 2009.         [ Links ]

11 Cf. ANCHIETA, José de. Carta ao padre Diogo Mirão, da Baía, a 9 de julho de 1565. In: Cartas: informações, fragmentos históricos e sermões. Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia; São Paulo: Edusp, 1988. p.264.         [ Links ]

12 Cf. SALLMANN, Jean-Michel. Santi patroni e protezione collettiva. In: _______. Santi barocchi: modelli di santità, pratiche devozionali e comportamenti religiosi nel regno di Napoli dal 1540 al 1750. Lecce: Argo, 1996. p.84-87.         [ Links ]

13 RAGON, Pierre. Los santos patronos de las ciudades de México central (siglos XVI y XVII). História Mexicana. México (DF): v.52, n.2, p.361-389, out.-dez. 2002. p.363-364. Disponível em; Acesso em: 9 jan. 2011.         [ Links ]

14 Cf. ELIADE, Mircea. Mito e realidade. 6.ed. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2002. p.25-39.         [ Links ]

15 Quem o propõe é o padre Armando Cardoso, em ANCHIETA, P. Joseph de. Teatro de Anchieta. Trad. P. Armando Cardoso. São Paulo: Loyola, 1977. p.190-192; veja-se também a edição mais segura de Maria de Lourdes Martins: ANCHIETA, José de. Poesias. Manuscrito do séc. XVI, em português, castelhano, latim e tupi. Transcr., trad. e notas de Maria de Lourdes de Paula Martins [1954]. Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia; São Paulo: Edusp, 1989. p.584-585. Tratamos detalhadamente do polêmico 'excerto de São Sebastião' em nossa dissertação de mestrado.         [ Links ]

16 Cf. TELLES, Isadora Travassos. A 'fundação escriturária' do Rio de Janeiro: um estudo de caso do auto Na festa de São Lourenço (c.1583) de José de Anchieta. Dissertação (Mestrado em Teoria e História da Linguagem) – Unicamp. Campinas (SP), 2004. p.70. Disponível em:; Acesso em: 22 jan. 2010. Sobre os índios Temiminó, antigos 'índios do gato', e as alianças entre europeus e indígenas na conquista da Guanabara, ver ALMEIDA, 2003, p.62ss.         [ Links ]

17 Ver, por ora, RODRIGUES, Pero. Vida do Padre Jose de Anchieta da Companhia de Jesu. Quinto provencial q. foy da mesma Companhia no Estado do Brazil [conforme a copia existente na Bibliotheca Nacional de Lisboa, 1606]. Annaes da Bibliotheca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro, v.29, 1907. Rio de Janeiro: Officinas de Artes Graphicas da Bibliotheca Nacional, 1909, p.214;         [ Links ] BERETTARI, Sebastiano. Vida del Padre Joseph de Ancheta..., traduzida de latin en castellano por el padre Estevan de Paternina de la misma Compañia. Salamanca: en la emprenta de Antonio Ramirez Viuda, 1618, p.114-117;         [ Links ] e VASCONCELLOS, Simão de. Chronica da Companhia de Jesv do Estado do Brasil ... tomo primeiro... Lisboa: na oficina de Henrique Valente de Oliveira, 1663, p.352-355. Existem outros escritos que remetem ao evento, mas daqui suprimidos em razão do espaço. Tratamos mais detidamente da questão na dissertação de mestrado e em "Favores do glorioso mártir: a tópica da intervenção de São Sebastião na fundação do Rio de Janeiro e sua construção na memória jesuítica. séc. XVII" (texto inédito em vias de publicação).         [ Links ]

18 Cf. SERRÃO, 1965, v.2, p.69-70. Jacutinga, por exemplo, se localizava onde hoje é o município de Belford Roxo, na Baixada Fluminense.         [ Links ]

19 HANSEN, J. A. A servidão natural do selvagem e a guerra justa contra o bárbaro. In: NOVAES, A. (Org.) A descoberta do homem e do mundo. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1998. p.348.         [ Links ]

20 Escrevendo, por volta de 1610, sobre a missão do padre Visitador Geral Manuel de Lima, de 1607. MONTEIRO, Jácome. Relação da província do Brasil, 1610. In: LEITE, Serafim. História da Companhia de Jesus no Brasil. v.VIII. Suplemento Biobibliográfico – Escritores Jesuítas no Brasil, I (Da letra A a M). Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Nacional do Livro, 1949. p.397. Ênfase nossa.         [ Links ]

21 Segundo Brown, tais cerimônias eram conscientemente modeladas nas entradas (adventus) dos imperadores romanos, momentos de ideal concórdia e união dos membros da comunidade. Cf. BROWN, 1981, p.98-100.         [ Links ]

22 Cf. LUZ, Guilherme Amaral. Produção da concórdia – a poética do poder na América portuguesa. Varia Historia, Belo Horizonte, v.23, n.38, p.543-560, jul.-dez. 2007, p.549-551ss. Disponível em:; Acesso em: 1º mar. 2010;         [ Links ] LUZ, Guilherme Amaral, DUARTE, Stela Beatriz. A representação do martírio no "teatro jesuítico da missão": exemplificação das virtudes na busca pela extinção dos vícios. Horizonte científicoa revista eletrônica da Propp, Uberlândia (MG), v.I, n.10, 2009. p.6ss. Disponível em:; Acesso em: 22 jan. 2010.         [ Links ]

23 LE GOFF, Jacques. Cultura eclesiástica e cultura folclórica na Idade Média: S. Marcelo de Paris e o dragão. In: _______. Para um novo conceito de Idade Média: tempo, trabalho e cultura no Ocidente. Lisboa: Estampa, 1997. p.221-261;         [ Links ] ver também FRANCO JR., Hilário. Cristianismo medieval e mitologia: reflexões sobre um problema historiográfico. In: _______. A Eva barbada: ensaios de mitologia medieval. São Paulo: Edusp, 1996. p.64. O artigo aqui apresentado é uma parte adaptada e sintetizada de nossa dissertação de mestrado, na qual estudamos a construção jesuítica do patrocinium de são Sebastião no Rio, entre a fundação da cidade (1565) e meados do século XVII. A pesquisa contou com apoio da Capes, em seu início. No trabalho, abordamos outros aspectos pertinentes e aqui forçosamente ausentes. Ver CARDOSO, Vinicius Miranda. Emblema sagitado: os jesuítas e o patrocinium de São Sebastião no Rio de Janeiro, sécs. XVI-XVII. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) – Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro. Seropédica (RJ), 2010.         [ Links ]

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