Gaining the Heart of Prester John: Loyola's Blueprint for Ethiopia in Three Key Documents
An anonymous painting adorns the sacristy of Rome's Chiesa del Gesù, the ultimate testament to the Society of Jesus' grandeur and power in the late sixteenth century. The oil canvas portrays one of the most iconic moments in Jesuit history: Pope Paul III's (1534–1549)1 issuance of Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae, the bull that formally instituted the Society of Jesus on September 27, 1540.2 The scene is well known and celebrated in countless other artistic renderings, but this particular painting is the only one to include a black figure in the crowd surrounding Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) and Paul III. Although unconfirmed, circumstantial evidence suggests that the figure is Tasfā Ṣeyon (1510–1552), an Ethiopian monk who sojourned in Rome between 1536 and 1552. Known in Rome as Pietro Indiano (Peter the Indian) or Pietro Abissino (Peter the Abyssinian), he was a leading African personality of sixteenth-century Europe and the most prolific African intellectual of his time.3 His inclusion in the painting next to such towering figures as the pope and Loyola indicates the standing that Ethiopians enjoyed at the highest levels of the Roman Church and, it will be argued, the centrality of Ethiopia for the early years of the Society.
The mission to Ethiopia was one of the Society's first planned enterprises beyond European lands and among its most ill-fated. From their first visit to the Ethiopian emperor Galawdéwos (1540–1559) in 1557, to Fāsiladas' (1632–1667) decision to eject them from his court in 1632, the fathers relentlessly worked to Catholicize Ethiopia—and failed. By the time of their expulsion, their mission had turned into a tragic failure for the Society and a major embarrassment for the Church. In fact, the Church's Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith—created in 1622 to monitor and direct missionary activities worldwide—banned the fathers from any further initiative in the region and reassigned Ethiopia to the Capuchins.4
Eighty years after Loyola's initial directives for the country, the Jesuit mission to Ethiopia was over. Two centuries of reciprocally beneficial and peaceful relations between Ethiopians and Europeans came to a close. More important, the religious disputes that the Society had fomented saw Ethiopians taking sides with or against the Jesuits. Religious sectarianism eventually led to a civil war that marked the end of the monarchy's imperial ambitions, turning Ethiopia into a local kingdom whose sovereignty was confined, for the most part, to its newly founded capital in Gondar. For the next two hundred years, Ethiopia, weary of Catholic Europeans, allowed no European missionaries into the kingdom and redirected its diplomatic interests to the Muslim world. Not until the nineteenth century would Ethiopia establish any new relationship with Europeans.5
A vast collection of documents produced by Jesuit and non-Jesuit authors and documenting the Society's disastrous history in Ethiopia is available both in archival and published form—an abundance that probably makes Ethiopia's the best recorded early modern history in sub-Saharan Africa. Nonetheless, the Society's forays into Ethiopia remained largely understudied until recent years, especially in comparison with other Jesuit experiences around the Indian Ocean. In the past two decades, a few Ethiopianists have tackled the mission's history with commendable results, but such contributions have been overspecialized, of scarce interest to the wider public, and issued in publications and languages with limited circulation.6 At the same time, scholars of the Society have remained aloof from what was a ruinous albeit epochal mission. Recent and otherwise seminal works that focus on the Society's early history or its overseas ventures either ignore the Ethiopian mission or grant it little more than honorable mention.7 Such lack of interest is quite surprising considering the vast collection of sources resulting from the mission and the personal attention that it attracted from Loyola himself.8
Redressing the paucity and parochialism of the historiography dedicated to the mission—let alone offering an account of the mission's complex history—is beyond the scope of this article. Its goal is more modest: to dissect Loyola's directives for Ethiopia, in particular the missionary strategies that he believed could be effective tools of conversion in one of the Society's first endeavors in sub-Saharan Africa. This article will first offer a brief overview of the religious and political backdrop against which Loyola drafted his directives, then it will engage in a critical reading of three key documents.
Parsing Loyola's directives is essential because traditional readings have blamed the Portuguese assistancy for the mission's failure. In particular, the mission's collapse in the 1630s has long been associated with Afonso Mendes's (1622–1656) tenure as Patriarch of the mission. Unlike his predecessors, he unleashed a campaign of unforgiving Catholicization and turned the Society into a scourge for the Ethiopian clergy, important sections of the nobility, and most commoners.9 Mendes would eventually recommend military intervention to impose Catholic orthodoxy in the kingdom, despite Loyola's own recommendation to pursue conversion gently. However, despite Mendes' fanaticism and inability to mediate between Roman dogmas and Ethiopian reality, a thorough reading of Loyola's instructions suggests a more nuanced interpretation of why the mission failed. In part, it was doomed from its inception because of Loyola's gross misinterpretation of Ethiopia's religious tradition and his prejudice towards Ethiopians.
The emergence of Ethiopia in the Catholic mind
Jesuit interest in Ethiopia was a byproduct of the quest for Prester John—the pious, mighty sovereign of European mind, whose imagined identity conflated ideas from ancient texts, medieval legends, and contemporary hearsay.10 Starting in the High Middle Ages, the Prester was imagined as a mighty oriental sovereign and a devout Christian who could turn the tide in the Holy Land by providing Crusaders with a crucial bulwark against the otherwise seemingly unstoppable Muslim expansion.
While the myth's origin remains unclear, its emergence as an actionable idea dates incontrovertibly to the mid-1100s, when an apocryphal Letter of Prester John started to circulate within the European establishment. The letter described the Prester as a sovereign who wielded both secular and religious power and did not depend on an external religious institution for his legitimacy. In spite of the letter's ostensible oriental origin, its author can be found in the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Prester's features can be traced to myths, legends, and classical ideal types. The Prester served as an allegory of the perfect Christian king, and the letter was meant to elevate the profile of Frederick I (1155–1190), the German Holy Roman Emperor, in his ongoing tug-of-war with Pope Alexander III (1159–1181).11
Beyond its imaginative descriptions and exotic flavor, the letter's real purpose was to strike a rhetorical blow against the Church in favor of the Empire. However, once circulated, it acquired a life of its own, and the Prester became, in the eyes of many Europeans, a real sovereign. His kingdom was initially believed to be located in the Far East but in the ensuing centuries its presumed location changed repeatedly; by the 1300s it became identified with Christian Ethiopia, or Abyssinia.12 Some scholars have pointed at two papal letters signed by Alexander III and Nicholas IV (1288–1292) and addressed, respectively, to the "King of Indians" and the "Emperor of Ethiopia" as evidence that by the late thirteenth century Europeans had identified the Prester with Ethiopia.13 However, at the time, terms such as Indians and Ethiopia referred, respectively, to a variety of non-European populations and to a vaguely conceived sub-Saharan Africa. While both documents suggest a growing interest in the Prester, they were most likely nothing more than naive attempts to establish contact with a vaguely identified Christian sovereign located somewhere beyond the Muslim world.
The breakthrough in the discourse on Ethiopia and the Prester came in the 1400s, when learned Europeans started to engage with Ethiopian pilgrims and diplomats who travelled to the Italian and Spanish peninsulas looking for religious relics, indulgences, political partnership, and technology. In 1439, Eugene IV (1431–1447) was the first of many pontiffs to send a letter unequivocally addressed to "Presbytero Joanni Imperatori Aethiopum," a sovereign who was at once identified both with the mighty Prester and a little-known Christian kingdom rumored to exist somewhere in the upper Nile basin. The letter—no longer a random attempt to contact an imaginary Christian sovereign somewhere beyond the Middle East—was the result of meaningful interactions between Ethiopian travelers and their hosts, first in the Holy Land and later in Rome.14
By the late fifteenth century, Rome hosted a growing community of Ethiopian monks, and more than one pontiff desired to establish a closer relationship with the legendary Prester. In 1482, two Roman nuncios—Giovanni Brocchi da Imola (n.a.–1511) and Giovanni da Calabria—became the first European officials to reach Prester John's court in the Ethiopian town of Barāra. However, despite multiple expeditions along the Rome-Jerusalem-Barāra axis and their successful escort of Ethiopian representatives to Rome, their feat was largely inconsequential. Further west, those Ethiopians who completed the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela attracted the interest of their hosts, in particular the King of Aragon. Dedicated to strengthening his power in the Mediterranean, Alfonso V (1396–1458) looked at the exotic Christians south of Egypt as potential partners and tried repeatedly to establish a relationship with them.15 Although his attempts failed, they were a significant step in the slow but steady growth of an Ethiopian presence in Mediterranean Europe.
Portugal was first to establish a meaningful relationship with Ethiopia. Under Henry the Navigator (1394–1460), Portuguese ships had sailed into the southern Atlantic, lured by the prospects of commercial rewards and the desire to find a passage to both the Indian Ocean and the Prester's kingdom.16 Under João II's (1481–1495) and later Manuel I (1495–1521) the quest accelerated: by the early 16th century Portuguese representatives successfully reached the Prester's court and solicited the dispatch of an Ethiopian envoy to Lisbon. After an entire century of failed European attempts to establish relations with this Christian kingdom beyond the Muslim world, the Portuguese had succeeded. Thanks to more or less steady communications between Ethiopia, Portugal and Rome, the Prester's kingdom was incontrovertibly identified with Christian Ethiopia and positively located on the northeastern highlands of the now-mapped African continent.17
These contacts among Portuguese, Ethiopian royals, and Roman pontiffs culminated in the Portuguese military expedition to Ethiopia of 1541, when a four-hundred-strong company of Portuguese soldiers joined Ethiopian forces in the war against the Sultanate of 'Adāl. The expedition, best read as part of the Portuguese campaign to control trade throughout the Indian Ocean and challenge Ottoman hegemony in the region, allowed Ethiopia to defeat the sultanate. The liaison between the Portuguese and the Ethiopians was João Bermudez (1491–1570), a barber-bleeder who had sojourned at the court of Emperor Dāwit II (1507–1540) for two decades before Dāwit sent him to Rome and Lisbon to beg for military support against the Ottoman-supported 'Adāli onslaught.
Enter the Jesuits
Just when Ethiopia's engagement with Europe was deepening, Ignatius of Loyola was travelling to Rome to lay the foundations for the Society of Jesus and secure its papal approval. Soon after the Society was established as a Catholic religious order, he would dispatch some of the Society's most experienced members to Ethiopia. The when, how, and why of his interest in Ethiopia are elusive, but the available sources warrant a few considerations. First, the fascination with the Prester's kingdom as a bulwark against the Muslims led to diplomatic connections among Ethiopia, Portugal, and the Church. Much of this intercourse occurred in Rome and Lisbon, precisely where, starting in the late 1530s, the first fathers were hard at work laying the Society's foundations. As they reached into the heart of Catholic and Lusophone power, the fathers could draw from both a growing body of available Ethiopianist knowledge and a growing number of Ethiopian pilgrims and diplomats who travelled to the very same loci in pursuit of further ties. The Society's interest in the Prester can be traced to this timely intersection in Lisbon and Rome among the fathers, Ethiopian travelers, diplomats and intellectuals.
Starting in the 1510s, European printers began to issue a variety of documents dedicated to Ethiopia. In Lisbon, the Carta das novas do descobrimento do Preste Joham (1521) offered the first eyewitness account of the Eritrean coast by a European. In 1540, Francisco Álvares, chaplain of the 1520 mission to Ethiopia, published his account of the journey, the Verdadeira informação sobre a terra do Preste João das Indias. In 1533, the Portuguese court intellectual Damião de Góis (1502–1574) issued a pamphlet dedicated to the Ethiopian ambassador's visit to Manuel I (1495–1521) in 1514—the Legatio Magni Indorum Imperatoris Presbyteri Ioannis. A few years later, he produced a much more substantial account with the help of Ṣagā Za'āb (n.a.–1539), an Ethiopian cleric and diplomat who sojourned in Lisbon in the 1530s: the Fides, Religio, Moresqve Æthiopvm Svb Imperio Preciosi Ioannis, issued in 1540. In Italy, a Florentine printer reproduced the letters that Andrea Corsali—a Tuscan merchant active in the Red Sea—had dispatched to Rome; while a Bolognese printer issued an account of the Ethiopian embassy to Clement VII (1523–1534).18
More importantly, starting with the German scholar Johannes Potken's (1470–1525) publication of the Ethiopian Book of Psalms in 1513, Rome became a beacon for European orientalists interested in Ethiopia. They were attracted to a substantial community of Ethiopian pilgrims who sojourned at a church cum hospice located near St Peter's Basilica known as Santo Stefano degli Abissini. These pilgrims were willing to share their knowledge with their hosts, teach their language, and collaborate with scholars interested in their homeland.19 Although one can only speculate to what extent Loyola and his companions were acquainted with these pilgrims and this discourse, anecdotal evidence suggests that the first fathers were at least familiar with some of the texts and personalities.
In 1540, two of Loyola's closest companions, Francis Xavier (1506–1552) and Simão Rodrigues (1510–1579), reached Lisbon to establish the Society's Portuguese province. In the months prior to their arrival, two key players in the Ethiopian-European encounter had left the city for Goa: Ṣagā Za'āb had boarded a carrack hoping to return to Ethiopia, but died at sea, while Bermudez had sailed off with Joao III's reinforcements for Dāwit II.20 Had the two fathers met with either Ṣagā or Bermudez, they would have probably questioned them thoroughly as priceless sources of intelligence. Nonetheless, by 1541, Xavier was already in Goa, where he would lay the foundation of the Jesuit missions in India and the Far East. Rodrigues stayed behind at João III's behest and built the Society's presence in Portugal, which became the first Jesuit province in 1546. Portugal soon developed into one of the most important platforms for the Society's overseas activities: within a few decades, the growing network of Lusophone provinces scattered throughout both hemispheres was unrivaled by that of any other assistancy.21
In Lisbon, Rodrigues was likely intent on gathering intelligence on the Prester and his kingdom and sending this knowledge to Loyola in Rome. In fact, Rodrigues' acquaintance with Ethiopia must have long predated his Portuguese sojourn and the Society's foundation. In the mid-1530s, he had been involved in an animated theological debate with Góis, whose interest in Ethiopia was a byproduct of a larger interest in the Reformation and extra-European Christianity. So heated was the dispute that Loyola himself, having heard of it while in Venice, travelled to Padua to apologize on Rodrigues' behalf to the powerful court intellectual.22 The affair, however, did not end with the apology: several years later, a much more powerful Rodrigues denounced Góis to the Inquisition, de facto ending his prestigious career at the Portuguese court. Given Rodrigues' persistent rancor towards Góis and his determination to see him convicted, indicates that Rodrigues was familiar with Góis' scholarship, including his works on Ethiopia.
In Lisbon and Goa, Rodrigues and Xavier slowly learned about the Prester's kingdom. On the Italian front, Loyola reached Rome in 1538, when the Ethiopian presence in the city was at its apex. However, faced with the need to fend off charges of heresy and garnering formal approval for the Society, it is unlikely that Loyola considered Ethiopia as a potential mission site then. A rare document from October 1546—a letter he received from father Alfonso Salmeron (1515–1585)—seems to confirm that the Ethiopian question captured Loyola's interest only a few years after arriving in Rome.23 In the letter, Salmeron summarized the events surrounding Bermudez's visit to Rome, in particular his claims to the Ethiopian patriarchate. Salmeron offered Loyola only a cursory summary of the affair—indicating Loyola's unfamiliarity with it—and suggested that he make further inquiries with a Roman cardinal close to the Santo Stefano community. The letter confirms that, despite Loyola's own presence in Rome at the time of Bermudez's visit, his awareness of and interest in Ethiopia blossomed only later. Had Loyola already been familiar with Ethiopia, he would have been conversant with the Bermudez affair. Instead, Salmeron's letter infers that as late as 1546—several years after Bermudez's controversial visit to Rome—Loyola was oblivious to the intricacies of Ethiopian-European relations. His outlook must have changed shortly afterward, perhaps because of Xavier's missionary experience. Xavier had travelled throughout the eastern Indian Ocean and as far as Japan for an entire decade, and although he never visited Ethiopia, he harbored an interest in the country and manifested a desire to undertake missionary activity in Ethiopia.24
In a 1549 letter to a fellow Jesuit, Loyola tells of his acquaintance with Tasfā Ṣeyon, explaining that the monk "appears to be honest and has told many things of those lands" and that he "demonstrated the great need of the lands of Prester John, where many souls can be quickly rescued."25 His dealings with Tasfā and his Ethiopianist patrons must have heightened his interest in the country as a reservoir of souls awaiting salvation. Unlike other Jesuit undertakings, in which "heathens" were at the receiving end of the missionary equation, here was an Ethiopian urging intervention and volunteering to be dispatched along with the fathers to help with the mission.26 The monk would have probably been disappointed, if not remorseful, had he lived to see the unfolding and failure of the mission: instead, he passed away in 1552 and, thanks to his involvement, gained a place of honor in the Chiesa del Gesù's canvas.
Between the late 1540s and early 1550s, Loyola's interest in Ethiopia was intensifying. In 1553 he received "a book that tells the story of things there [Ethiopia]" and which can, in all likelihood, be identified as Álvares' Verdadeira.27 In the same year, as he was drafting the documents formalizing the mission, he recommended that father Diogo Miró accept the position of royal confessor to João III so that he could seek ways to develop further synergies between the Society's missionary activity in Ethiopia and Portuguese interests in the Indian Ocean.28
Almost a century and a half after Portugal's first timid steps overseas, its feitorias dotted the Indian Ocean littorals. By the early 1550s, the Portuguese were at the height of their power, presiding over most sea routes connecting the Indian Ocean basin with the Middle East.29 Goa, the administrative center of the Estado da Índia and a major commercial hub, was chosen as the headquarters of the Society's Indian Province and quickly turned into the most important training center for Jesuit missionaries in the East.30 It also became the principal gateway for Europeans and Ethiopians transiting to the other side of the world and the jumping off point for those Jesuits who were dispatched to convert Prester John.
Three key documents, all authored by Loyola between 1553 and 1556, lay out the blueprint for the Society's impending mission to Ethiopia.31 The first document, entitled Information for His Highness on the people of our Company who seem to be suitable for the kingdoms of Prester John (henceforth Information), is a letter that Loyola dispatched to King João III (1521–1557) in 1553. It contains extensive recommendations regarding the fathers to be selected for the mission and, in particular, the appointment of the Patriarch and the succession process.32
The second document, Instructions which may help to bring the kingdoms of Prester John into union with the Catholic faith and Church (henceforth Instructions) was authored in 1554, shortly after the decision to appoint João Nunes Barreto (1520–1568) as Patriarch of Ethiopia.33 This is the longest and most detailed of the three documents and can be rightly considered Loyola's strategic plan to bring Ethiopia into the Catholic fold. It includes a long list of instructions and many cautionary recommendations demonstrating an advanced yet imperfect and at times ill-informed understanding of Ethiopian history and traditions.
The third document, entitled Summary of things necessary for Ethiopia (henceforth Summary), authored in 1556, reads as a further set of instructions entrusted to those Jesuits about to be dispatched to Emperor Galawdéwos' (1540–1559) court.34 Compared to the Instructions, which is much longer and outlines both specific tactics and an overall strategy for the mission, the Summary reads more like a bullet-point memorandum. It is mostly concerned with procedural matters and practical details, such as relations between missionary and local clergy and the consecration of bishops on Ethiopian soil.
All three documents have been reproduced as part of the appendix to this article, both as photographic reproductions from the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu's originals and in English transcriptions. What follows is a concise discussion of the salient questions the three documents raise in relation to Loyola's understanding of Ethiopia, the Society's missionary strategy, and its ultimate failure.Misinterpreting Ethiopia
Loyola's documents suggest that the mission was built on questionable assumptions. Certainly Mendes was insensitive towards the delicate equilibrium that his predecessors had achieved and unwilling to compromise with entrenched traditions. Thus, he bore much responsibility for the Society's failure and eventual expulsion from Ethiopia. But Loyola's directives suggest that there was something inherently wrong with the mission itself. Loyola profoundly misinterpreted the limited but significant relationship that the Ethiopian establishment had been cultivating with the Church and a variety of European kingdoms throughout the preceding century. In particular, he mistakenly presented the mission as both timely and legitimate, in the eyes not only of the Church but also of Ethiopians. His misreading of the circumstances can be seen in three specific recommendations he laid out in the Instructions.
First, the Instructions explains that "the briefs which are written him from here will afford some help in winning over the heart of Prester John. They recall to mind the submission which his father David sent to the Holy See" (Instructions line 7). The reference is to the supposed obedience that Dāwit II (1508–1540) pledged to Clement VII on the occasion of the Portuguese embassy's return to Europe. In the letters, Dāwit II called for further collaboration with the Church and more generally with fellow Christians against what he perceived and presented as a Muslim threat to his kingdom. He asked for political and technological support and paid homage to the pontiff with a formulaic expression of deference and submission. However, the letter can hardly be read as either a formal declaration of obedience to the Roman Church or acceptance of its dogmas: to interpret it as an embrace of Catholicism would require a complete disregard for more than a millennium of Ethiopia's proud religious traditions. Perhaps Álvares, a broker between worlds interested in reuniting the Ethiopian Church with Rome and the man responsible for both drafting and delivering the letters, either manipulated Dawit II's letter or offered further oral assurances as to the sovereign's readiness to submit. Perhaps the emperor, eager to elicit support from Rome and Portugal, purposely misrepresented his own intentions in order to lure his interlocutors to Ethiopia without thinking too much of the consequences. Perhaps the Roman Church, besieged by reformers, saw claiming the renewed allegiance of Christians on the other side of the world as an excellent way to gain legitimacy in the European context. Last but not least, the claim was also in Loyola's interest, as it provided the Society and the fathers with both the legitimacy and confidence necessary to undertake the mission. Whatever its cause, this episode was only the first layer of what was about to turn into a painful disappointment for the Society.35
Further feeding Loyola's hopes of a warm welcome in Ethiopia was the Bermudez affair. Bermudez had presented himself in Rome as Patriarch of Ethiopia, appointed to the position by his dying predecessor, the Egyptian Mārqos (n.a.–1530). For several reasons, the claim was preposterous and naïve. First, Bermudez was European, Catholic, and lacked any clerical training. Furthermore, his assertion was contrary to centuries of ecclesiastical tradition according to which appointing the 'abuna—the head of the Ethiopian Church—was an exclusive prerogative of the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria and the chosen patriarch was always an Egyptian cleric. While Bermudez had never been either appointed or accepted as such in Ethiopia, his claim seems to have been partially acknowledged in Roman circles. The pontiff never confirmed him as Patriarch, but years later Bermudez was referred to as Ethiopia's pseudopatriarch, that is, someone who had indeed been appointed Patriarch of Ethiopia in Ethiopia but was not worthy of papal confirmation.36
This reading of the Bermudez affair, which became widely accepted among Catholic circles, struck a chord with Loyola. In his eyes, Bermudez's claims represented another clue to Ethiopia's positive predisposition towards Rome. Loyola could not have been any more explicit in this regard than he was in the Instructions: "they received a pseudopatriarch who went to them in the name of the Apostolic See. It would appear, therefore, that they are ready to give a good reception to the patriarch and, consequently, to his teaching" (Instructions line 169). Once again, there is no way to determine whether this line of reasoning was sincere; regardless, it served the purpose of justifying the mission.
Third, Loyola had learned from Álvares' writings, and possibly other sources, of two Ethiopian prophecies concerning the country's relationship with Europe. One told of a faranğ king who would one day come to Ethiopia's rescue and defeat its Muslim enemies.37 The other presaged, at least in Loyola's reading, the union of the Ethiopian Church with Rome after the death of the one-hundredth Patriarch from Rome.38 These prophecies provided the Society with increased legitimacy, in the eyes of both fellow Europeans and Ethiopians, and reasons to be optimistic about the mission's outcome. Like the Bermudez affair and Dāwit's alleged declaration of obedience, however, the prophecies would carry little weight in the unfolding encounter, although they did help legitimize the mission from Rome's perspective and offered more than a modicum of optimism for its outcomes. In other words, previous diplomatic ties, enterprising brokers between worlds, and prophecies all told Loyola that Ethiopia was ripe for the Society.Imagining the Mission
In the Information, Loyola asked João III to select a Patriarch along with two assistants capable of succeeding him in case of death or impairment. The precaution could have not been more far-sighted as, once in Goa, the selected Patriarch, João Nunes Barreto (1520–1562), decided to stay behind and dispatch his second, Andrés de Oviedo, to Ethiopia, making him de facto the mission's leader even before a formal succession occurred at the time of Barreto's death. The arrangement spoke to the Society's advanced understanding of communication and logistical limitations, especially when compounded by distance. In the fifteenth century, the perilous journey from Lisbon to Goa alone could take six months, and the trail from the Eritrean coast to the Ethiopian highlands was no less demanding. Loyola explicitly referred in the Summary to "distance and the difficulty of the journey" (#3) to waive some of the obligations for which the dispatched fathers would otherwise be responsible.
Given the prevailing limitations, the Society's provinces were independent and self-reliant and coordinated with the Roman headquarters primarily through correspondence. Letters between Rome and Goa could take up to four years to reach their recipients, if they made it at all, but they were preferred to in-person reporting.39 Even the assembly of provincial procurators, fathers elected in each province for the purpose of reporting to Rome, only met every four to five years.40 Therefore, members with enough authority to be independent of the Superior General were a requirement for a mission's success.41
Ethiopia presented extremely peculiar features when compared to most other lands of mission. The kingdom had its own well-established Church, strongly supported by both elites and peasants. The Jesuit mission was charged not with introducing Christianity among Ethiopians but, rather, restoring the true faith among heretics. Furthermore, while the setting in Ethiopia was reminiscent of the Society's missionary efforts in Protestant Europe, it also had distinct features that required a unique solution: unlike Reformed Christianity, Ethiopian Christianity was ancient, ecclesiastically centralized, and rich with non-conformant practices of Semitic derivation.
The fathers dispatched to the highlands of Ethiopia faced religious beliefs which could not be easily dismissed as heathenism but which, instead, required painstaking theological dissection. In other parts of Africa, the Jesuits contended mostly with ethnically based religions whose clerical apparatus typically was narrowly organized and did not extend beyond local communities. In Ethiopia, however, they faced a brand of Christianity that was just as universalist and expansionist as its Catholic counterpart and that represented an integral part of Ethiopia's longstanding imperial ambitions. The vast network of monasteries that stretched throughout the highlands testified to that. Because the Society in Ethiopia was dealing with a highly organized Church whose power and legitimacy were deeply intertwined with the monarchy, Loyola was keen to dispatch missionaries invested with an authority superior to that of their Ethiopian interlocutors. In particular, the head of the mission, if he were to have any chance of success, had to be invested with an authority superior to that of the highest Ethiopian cleric, the Coptic Patriarch traditionally dispatched to Ethiopia by the Alexandrine Church and known as 'abuna.'
Only if invested with the authority of a Patriarch appointed by the Roman pontiff himself could a Jesuit make inroads in Ethiopia by claiming the authority of a Roman appointment that overrode the Alexandrine one. This context led Loyola to make the only exception in the Society's early history by appointing a Jesuit as Patriarch of Ethiopia. No other Jesuit would be appointed to such a high ecclesiastical office until the late 1500s. For the position, Loyola suggested a list of personalities of Portuguese and Castilian ancestry, adding that his coadjutor and the other missionaries "were taken from Italy, Castile and Portugal. We will send five from here [Rome] and three from Castile who are adequate, [...] and another four from Portugal" (Information line 49). The issue of nationality was a delicate one: the mission took place under the patronage of the Portuguese crown and was clearly instrumental to Portuguese expansion. However, in order to obtain support, not only in Lisbon but also in Rome, Loyola needed to present the mission as a multinational project rather than an exclusively Portuguese undertaking.
Loyola shortlisted, and eventually appointed, high-ranking Jesuits for the position of Patriarch to Ethiopia: none were first fathers. Loyola explained that primero professos were "[...] not named because of illnesses or other reasons that render them other than ideal for these purposes." (Information line 53). Clearly, Loyola had studied the reports on Ethiopia and recognized the environmental as well as theological challenges that the mission posed. In the Information he described the ideal Patriarch as someone "middle aged, strong, with a decent physical appearance" (Information line 58). He was determined to send to Ethiopia the Society's very best: fathers who were as experienced as possible without being impaired by age—a choice that suggests the importance of the Ethiopian endeavor in the Jesuit global strategy.
In addition to selecting a suitable Patriarch, Loyola dedicated much thought to devising a strategy that could help "win the Prester's heart" ("para ganar el animo del Preste" Instructions lines 5, 9, 12). The strategy encompassed a variety of tactics and practical tricks that speak to both his advanced understanding of Ethiopian interests and his cynical outlook on non-Europeans. As indicated in most letters and embassies which Ethiopian sovereigns had dispatched to Europe, Dāwit II's being the latest example, procuring technology as well as political support had always been at the forefront of their concerns. Although the Ethiopian-European encounter was based on a shared Christian identity, its main purpose, at least for the Ethiopians, was not transcendental. For them, the purpose was eminently practical; they saw the faranğ first and foremost as bearers of military and technological capital that could be put to good use in their kingdom.
Loyola directed the Patriarch to play along with Ethiopian desires and advised the fathers to be accompanied by "some men of practical genius to give the natives instructions on the making of bridges, when they have to cross rivers, on building, cultivating the land, and fishing. And other officials too, even a physician or surgeon, so that it may appear to the Abyssinians that their total good even bodily good, is coming to them with their religion" (Instructions line 164). Loyola seems to suggest that faith and liturgy alone can impress Ethiopians only so much; the ability to show power over nature was equally or even more important. By the same token, in order to win the Prester's heart, the Patriarch should take good care to manifest both his religious and political clout. He was supposed to carry not only papal letters but also letters from João III, and he should possibly be accompanied to Ethiopia by a "a special ambassador [... who] will call on Prester John and present the patriarch, the coadjutor bishops, and the other priests, and explain the order that will be followed, so that it will be no longer necessary to take patriarchs from Moorish lands or from schismatic Christians. The more solemnly this presentation is made on the part of his highness, the more authority it seems the patriarch will have for God's service" (Instructions line 13).
Style and spectacle were therefore central to the mission's success: Loyola explained to his companions that "the exterior appearance of the bulls or briefs should be as beautiful to the eye as possible" (Instructions line 51), and he suggested they "Take along some good books, especially pontificals, and others which explain the external rites of the Church" (Instructions line 158). Loyola believed that the mission's success depended more upon displaying impressive rituals and relics of saints more than on theological arguments.42 These policies were grounded on a rather racist reading of the Ethiopian mind. Technological and medical superiority, complex rituals, and eye-catching prompts were recommended because "people are much given to ceremonies" (Instructions line 114)" and because liturgy "is a branch of learning which they best understand there, and they have for this reason a higher esteem for it than for other branches that are more subtle, of which they understand nothing" (Instructions line 166). In Ethiopia, as in other missionary contexts, the Society displayed an undeniably racist policy that considered the local population not only less skilled in socio-economic development but also of limited intellectual potential.
Xavier and Rodrigues—the Society's forerunners in the East—both considered non-Europeans, creoles, and even diasporic Europeans unfit to become fathers.43 Another prominent Jesuit, Alessandro Valignano, active primarily in Japan, thought Africans "a very untalented race [...] incapable of grasping our holy religion or practicing it [and] because of their naturally low intelligence unable to rise above the level of the senses [since] they lack any culture and are given to savage ways and vices, and as a consequence [...] live like brute beasts."44 In Ethiopia, both Mendes and Jerónimo Lobo (1595–1678), another prominent member of the Ethiopian mission, looked down on Ethiopians and other non-Europeans. During his sojourn in Goa, Mendes bitterly opposed the elevation of the Indian Matheus de Castro (1594–1677) to bishop and referred to him as "a bare-bottom Nigger."45 Ethiopians and other non-Europeans, save for the Japanese, were not considered worthy of membership in the Society.46
In addition to attracting Ethiopians through pomp and technological offerings, the fathers were also expected to pressure the Ethiopian elites into embracing Catholicism out of political convenience. Loyola invited João III to convey to the Prester that once they accepted reunification, then "God will give him the grace to overcome the Moors, so far as this will be for God's greater service" (Instructions line 21). What had been for decades the ultimate threat to Ethiopia's independence was being turned into an opportunity for the Society: the fathers were offering the Ethiopian establishment not only salvation but also leverage against their foes. The Society's missionary strategy was a holistic one, geared towards offering not only a different brand of Christianity but also a long list of what were likely to be perceived as practical benefits.The Top-Down Approach
In Ethiopia, as in any other Jesuit mission, the conversion effort was primarily geared towards the elites: as Loyola's instructions make clear, the fathers were expected first and foremost to make inroads with the Prester and his entourage, implementing the top-down strategy that would become the Jesuit trademark. The Instructions' opening paragraph is perhaps the most telling: "Since, humanly speaking, the principal factor in this undertaking will be found primarily in Prester John, king of Ethiopia, and secondarily in the people, a few suggestions will be offered which may be of help in winning over Prester John" (Instructions line 3). The Ethiopian project reflected the grand Jesuit strategy of courting the target society's elites first, in the hope that their conversion would trickle down to the masses, through either emulation or prescription.47
Specifically, the Instructions suggests to "win over men of influence who have great weight with Prester John, or, on the other hand, if you can get him to make the [Spiritual] Exercises and give him a taste for prayer and meditation and spiritual things, this will be the most efficacious means of all to get them to think less of and even to abandon the extreme views which they entertain concerning material things" (Instructions line 35). Furthermore, Loyola suggested that to deal with what he regarded as heretical practices, the best strategy was to "first try to bring over Prester John and a few individuals of wider influence, and then, without making a fuss over it once these are disposed of, see what can be done about calling a meeting of those in the kingdom who are held in high esteem for their learning. Without taking away from them anything in which they are particularly interested or which they especially value, try to get them to accept the truths of Catholicism and all that must be held in the Church, and encourage them to try to help the people to come to some agreement with the Roman Catholic Church" (Instructions line 64).
Loyola's instructions clearly conveyed that an elitist strategy would be thoroughly followed in the ensuing years. The Jesuits established themselves at the Ethiopian court and, despite several difficulties, eventually succeeded in securing the support and public conversion of Prester John when, on November 1, 1621, Emperor Susenyos (1607–1632) publicly accepted Catholicism.48 Alas, following Mendes's advice, Susenyos engaged in a policy of reckless persecution of non-Catholic practices, which resulted in the alienation of the local clergy, the Ethiopian peasantry, and a substantial part of the Ethiopian nobility. Although from its very onset the mission's purpose was the eventual abandonment, by the Ethiopian Church, of practices contrary to Catholic orthodoxy, Loyola had warned of the need to proceed "con suavidad" [gently]—an expression that he used repeatedly in the Instructions to qualify his directives (lines 71, 139, 154).
In the theological and liturgical realms, Loyola was much more pragmatic than the fathers who eventually led the mission and antagonized their interlocutors. He suggested that "after having removed the more substantial abuses [...] it would be better to begin, with the support of Prester John, to remove or lessen other abuses if it can be done. If this cannot be done, try at least to make it as plain as possible that there can be no obligation to observe such practices and that, even though they are tolerated, it would be better not to observe them" (Instructions line 69). The purpose was to "take them little by little to our system" (Summary # 8), through an incremental strategy, and to skirt imposition: the reduction was supposed to be achieved "without any violence to souls long accustomed to another way of life" (Instructions line 154). The recommendations for Ethiopia were in line with the Society's general strategy of accommodation, as detailed in the founding documents of the order and the fathers' correspondence.49 Loyola's directives for Ethiopia can be easily compared to Xavier's suggestion for dealing with the local population in India in "tender fashion and not to be rigid and trying to control others by instilling a servile fear."50Conclusion
Soon after the dispatch of the mission to Ethiopia, the Jesuit fathers, disappointed by their failures to make any inroads at the Ethiopian court, began to ignore Loyola's recommendations and to propose more aggressive policies. In 1556, one of the first fathers to set foot in Ethiopia headed back to Goa and attempted to convince Barreto to petition the Estado's authorities to provide a military escort for the mission.51 In 1563, another father suggested "to envoy to the kingdom [of Ethiopia] numerous Portuguese soldiers who could serve not only the purpose of driving away the Turks [...] but also introducing the Catholic faith."52 In 1567, Patriarch Oviedo wrote letters to Pius V (1566 –1572) and Sebastião I (1557–1578) begging them to organize a military expedition and arguing that "with your coming we would hold great hope of bringing back these lands to the union with the Catholic faith and of converting the heathens."53 In 1583, another father wrote to his superiors in Goa arguing that a military intervention was the only action that would lead to Prester John's conversion.54 Such calls for the deployment of violent means were not an exception in Jesuit history: in the 1560s, a father pleaded to Sebastião I for similar interventions in China, Brazil, and Angola.55 Neither the Portuguese Crown nor the papacy heeded any of these requests, which forced the fathers to pursue their missionary goals without external military support.
By the 1620s, with Mendes's appointment to the patriarchate and with Susenyos' public conversion to Catholicism, whatever was left of Loyola's original compromising spirit had vanished. The Patriarch abandoned any caution and, with the now-Catholic Prester, he engaged in a policy of overzealous Catholicization, with ruinous consequences for the fathers. Among other measures, he forbade circumcision, a highly entrenched and sensitive practice, which Loyola had explicitly mentioned in the Summary, warning the missionaries against hasty initiatives (#17).56 The vast majority of the peasantry, much of the Ethiopian nobility, and the Ethiopian Church refused to abide by Susenyos' new faith, and they resisted conversion. After years of bloody civil war, Susenyos abjured Catholicism in 1632 and abdicated in favor of his son Fāsiladas: he expelled the Society from court, and by the end of the decade no father was left in the country. Nevertheless, even from his exile in Goa, Mendes dreamed of a comeback: the undaunted Patriarch still continued to contravene Loyola's advice and repeatedly called for military intervention.57
For the Society, the mission to Ethiopia was, in hindsight, one of few failures in an otherwise long and fruitful missionary history, while the religious conflict it engendered tore Ethiopia apart. The three documents reviewed here represent little more than a drop in an ocean of treatises and correspondence that deserves further attention, but they are highly significant. They show a relatively well informed Superior General but also the limits of his knowledge about the country and its rulers, its previous relations to Europe and the Roman Church, and substantial prejudice towards Ethiopians. However, the prejudice and misinformation were somewhat balanced by Loyola's belief in the necessity to proceed con suavidad. Unfortunately for the Society, most of the fathers shared Loyola's prejudice but not his careful outlook towards the Catholicization process. They failed to heed his call for accommodation and unsuccessfully tried to impose orthodoxy, with disastrous consequences for both their own mission and the country.
Appendix: Gaining the Heart of Prester John: Loyola's Blueprint for Ethiopia in three Key Documents
Document 1: Information
Archival Reference: Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, GOA 39, Fol.15-1658
Information for Your Highness [João III, 1521–1557] on the individuals in our Company who would seem suitable for the kingdoms of Prester John and other individuals that it has occurred to us to suggest as candidates who might represent Your Highness, who has requested this information, in the name of Our Lord.
First, having entered into this undertaking with many educated individuals and cardinals and prelates who have a great deal of experience, we believe that it would behoove Your Highness to appoint, without the Patriarch, two assistants who would succeed the Patriarch by order of Your Highness. If his days were to pass and one of the assistants were to die as well, there would be sufficient time for notification so that Your Highness would have another assistant that Your Highness feels would be better suited for that position.
Furthermore, as it would seem best for the Patriarch to have the broadest authority and for him to be able to communicate through this Apostolic See ad edificationem, it would seem that four individuals who are close to him should provide assistance in the form of counsel and order an apostolic commissary in India who would communicate with the Patriarch and the members of the council by letter and visit them from time to time as deemed suitable. The commissary would have complete authority over the Patriarch and council members to request reports and justification, etc. when visiting even if he is just passing through and cannot stop in those places for a great deal of time and in no case would serve as the Patriarch or have any position in those places.
Your Highness may wish to select one of the individuals from the following list to serve as Patriarch and two as assistants.
Among the Portuguese
The first is Father Juan Nuñez [João Nunes Barreto, 1520–1568], who is in Tituan, regarding whose goodness and doctrine and prudence there is a great deal of information in Portugal.
The second is Father Cornelio [Cornelio Gomes], who went to the Congo, regarding whose goodness and prudence and skill in handling important matters there is also a great deal of information. Though he is not as educated as one might wish a Patriarch to be, if other men of letters serve on the council, he might be able to compensate for this failing with other gifts from God Our Father.
The third is Father Melchior Carnero [Melchior Carneiro, 1516-1583], whose virtue and education and aptitude for governance have been so widely discussed in Portugal because he has served as the Dean of the University of évora and the University of Lisbon.
Among the Castilians
The first is Doctor Miron [Diego Miró], who is currently Provincial, and regarding whose life and doctrine there is a great deal of information. He has many good attributes for this position. More specific information about this individual can be provided to Your Highness if Your Highness wishes, but due to some of his ailments, there were doubts about his candidacy unless he were to enter into the service of Your Highness within the kingdom.
The second is Doctor Andres de Obiedo [Andrés de Oviedo, 1518–1577], a person with a very exemplary life and very proven virtue who is also well-educated and experienced in matters of government, as he served as Dean of the University of Gandia and has continued in his career after that post and is now at our University of Naples. After the first twelve professors, none came before Doctor Miron and this candidate.
If Your Highness decides that it is not acceptable to remove either of the first two of the five candidates from their current posts, Your Highness could appoint one of the other three Patriarch and one or two assistants.
It would seem that the commissary, who has been mentioned, should be Senior Father Gaspar [Gaspar de Leão Pereira, n.d.–1576] , who left Senior Father Francisco [Francisco Cabral, 1529 –1609] as Dean at Goa and his replacement in India. He could do his work where he is right now, and when he is ready he could go to Ethiopia to visit the Patriarch. It would seem to be suitable for him to have some apostolic authority to appoint someone to replace him when he is unable to carry out his duties.
The other candidates, up to the number that Your Highness ordered, were taken from Italy, Castile and Portugal. We will send five from here and three from Castile who are adequate, which is why Master Nadal [Jerónimo Nadal, 1507–1580 is written as commissary, and another four from Portugal. The first fathers, Doctor Arao [Antonio de Araoz, n.d. –1573] Father Francisco de Borja [Francisco de Borja, 1510–1572] and Doctor Nadal, are not named because of illnesses or other reasons that render them other than ideal for these purposes. Doctor Torres is not named partly due to his illnesses and partly due to a problem with his eyes. Father Luys Gonçalez [Luis Gonçalves da Câmara, 1519–1575] to is not named either because he is nearsighted and weak and in poor health.
Finally, we consider the attributes that the Patriarch should have. He should be middle aged, strong, with a decent physical appearance and a great deal of faithfulness, zeal, discretion and enough education, etc. for the greatest divine service. As such, these are the candidates that we believe to be capable of representing Your Highness.
Document 2: Instruction
Archival Reference: Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, GOA 39, Fol. 9-1359
Some suggestions which may help to bring the kingdoms of Prester John into union with the Catholic faith and Church.
Since, humanly speaking, the principal factor in this undertaking will be found primarily in Prester John, king of Ethiopia, and secondarily in the people, a few suggestions will be offered which may be of help in winning over Prester John. They will be followed by others which may help in dealing with the people and Prester John conjointly.
For the king
Besides the bulls which the pope addresses to him, the briefs which are written him from here will afford some help in winning over the heart of Prester John. They recall to mind the submission which his father David sent to the Holy See and contain certain recommendations of those who are sent and accredited to him. They also make other friendly advances. But the principal and final help, after that of God our Lord, for winning the heart of Prester John must come from the king [ João III, 1521–1557]. Not merely letters from his highness, but, if he will agree to it, a special ambassador will be required, who on the part of the king will call on Prester John and present the patriarch, the coadjutor bishops, and the other priests, and explain the order that will be followed, so that it will be no longer necessary to take patriarchs from Moorish lands or from schismatic Christians. The more solemnly this presentation is made on the part of his highness, the more authority it seems the patriarch will have for God's service. It may be good to see whether his highness thinks that some presents should be sent, especially of things that are held in esteem in Ethiopia; and in offering them he could indicate that a true union of friendship will exist among Christian princes when they all hold the one religion. When this is recognized, he could send him every kind of official he desired, and God will give him the grace to overcome the Moors, so far as this will be for God's greater service.
Some letters from the king to individuals will also be of help, especially to those who are closer to Prester John and with whom he consults and whom he holds in esteem, notably the Portuguese. Other letters, if the king agrees, could be brought unaddressed, the proper addresses being supplied in Ethiopia. But whether by letter or otherwise an effort should be made to make such men friendly. The viceroy of lndia [Afonso de Noronha, 1550–1554] likewise could do much to add to the authority of the patriarch with Prester John, by letter or a personal representative, if the king does not send one.
The patriarch and those with him should try to be on familiar terms with Prester John and gain his good will by every honorable means. Should he be receptive and the opportunity present itself, give him to understand that there is no hope of salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church, and whatever she determines about faith or morals must be believed if one is to be saved. If you succeed in convincing Prester John of this general truth, you have already gained many particular points which depend on this fundamental truth and which can little by little be deduced from it.
If you can win over men of influence who have great weight with Prester John, or, on the other hand, if you can get him to make the Exercises and give him a taste for prayer and meditation and spiritual things, this will be the most efficacious means of all to get them to think less of and even to abandon the extreme views which they entertain concerning material things.
Remember that the Ethiopians have a prophecy to the effect that in these times a king from this part of the West (apparently they have no other in mind than the king of Portugal) is destined to destroy the Moors. This is an additional reason for a closer friendship with him, and this in turn will be recommended by a closer uniformity. For if there is no opposition in the matter of religion, there will be a closer union of love between them.
You should also remember that up to this [time] Prester John holds both ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction. Consider whether it would be good to let him know that kings and great princes of the Catholic Church usually have the right of presentation to important positions, but that the actual conferring of the dignity is done by the supreme pontiff and by bishops, archbishops, and patriarchs in their respective spheres of authority. Conforming himself in this matter with the Roman Church and her princes could be of much help to him.
Take along with you the amplest faculties and see that you are able to explain them. The exterior appearance of the bulls or briefs should be as beautiful to the eye as possible. It will be all the better if they are translated into Abyssinian.
To the best of your ability you should have ready the proofs for the dogmas against which they err, with the definition of the Apostolic See or the councils when there is any. For if they can be brought to admit this one truth, that the Holy See cannot err when it speaks ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals, it will be easy to convince them of the others. You should be well prepared, therefore, to prove this thesis and you should approach this matter in a way that is accommodated to those people, or the understanding of anyone.
Concerning the abuses which exist, first try to bring over Prester John and a few individuals of wider influence, and then, without making a fuss over it once these are disposed of, see what can be done about calling a meeting of those in the kingdom who are held in high esteem for their learning. Without taking away from them anything in which they are particularly interested or which they especially value, try to get them to accept the truths of Catholicism and all that must be held in the Church, and encourage them to try to help the people to come to some agreement with the Roman Catholic Church.
After having removed the more substantial abuses—those which are in conflict with a sincere belief, such as the obligatory observance of the Old Law—it would be better to begin, with the support of Prester John, to remove or lessen other abuses if it can be done. If this cannot be done, try at least to make it as plain as possible that there can be no obligation to observe such practices and that, even though they are tolerated, it would be better not to observe them. In this way they will lapse, especially if some of the leading men can be induced to give the example. The austerities which they practice in their feasts and other corporal penances might be gently moderated, it seems, and brought within a measure of discretion. This could be done in four ways. The first would be to quote the testimony of Holy Scripture, to praise spiritual exercises over those that are corporal, since these latter are but of little avail. But you should not withdraw your approval from external exercises, which are necessary up to a certain point. Thus if they lose that esteem for things which they now hold in honor, these things will fall of their own weight, since they are rather repugnant to the flesh anyway. The second is rather to praise and prefer a golden mean to its extremes. The third means is taken from reason, which will convince them that it is against charity and the common good so to weaken themselves for good works by their fasting that their enemies invade their lands and put them to the sword, with so many offenses against God our Lord. This is an argument which will readily appeal to Prester John, and others too who have more than ordinary intelligence. The fourth means is that of example, which could be given by some of those whom they regard as holy, once you convince them that they should so act for God's greater service. It is quite likely that they will do so. Observe too that God calls some individuals to a life of penance and austerity; and when He does, praise what they do in this matter. But in general a measure of discretion is necessary if such austerities are to be praised.
Perhaps some exterior feasts would be a great help in getting rid of certain abuses. I am thinking of Corpus Christi processions and others which are in use in the Catholic Church. These would replace their baptisms, and so forth. Our own people, who are not so coarse, are helped by these feasts.
Be very careful that public services such as Mass and Vespers are conducted in a way that will be edifying to the people. The recitation should be slow and distinct, since they do the opposite, and think that our way is more perfect. If the king approves having a choir with organ, this might be a help in the beginning. But let them be in charge of some non-Jesuits, as it is foreign to our rules.
Vestments of priest, deacon, and subdeacon, altar ornaments, chalices, altar stones, and equipment for making hosts ought to be of the best quality. Try to get them into the habit of making hosts for the Blessed Sacrament as they are made here. In bringing them to Communion let them know that confession should precede, and that Communion is not distributed any day one comes to the church. In the case of the sick who cannot come to the church, see that the Blessed Sacrament is brought to their homes.
It would be good to instruct them in the ceremonies of baptism. It must be conferred but once and not many rimes, accustomed as they are to baptize every year.
As they have never made use of confirmation, it ought to be administered to all the people after they have been prepared for the sacrament. You should also introduce the practice of extreme unction, as they know nothing about it here.
At first you could hear the confessions of those who can understand you. For the others, it would be good for you to bend your efforts to learn the Abyssinian language. The confessors they have among them could be instructed in the proper procedure by means of interpreters. They should be told of reserved cases, which are restricted to bishops and patriarchs; and very severe penalties should be meted out to confessors who reveal matter of confession, something which they say is done there. Lastly, see that the abuses regarding these sacraments are diligently corrected.
With regard to holy orders, some reform is necessary with respect to age, integrity, competence, and other aspects in the candidate for orders, as far as circumstances which prevail there permit.
As to matrimony, and generally speaking the same must be said of all the sacraments, give heed to the form which must be observed. Ceremonies can be introduced gradually, in the measure in which they contribute to greater edification. These exterior rites should not be few in number, considering that the people are much given to ceremonies. It would be a great help for the complete conversion of those lands, both at the beginning and throughout the rest of the time, to open a large number of elementary schools there, and secondary schools and colleges, for the education of young men, and even of others who may need it, in Latin and in Christian faith and morals. This would be the salvation of that nation. For when these youngsters grow up, they would be attached to what they have learned in the beginning and to that in which they seem to excel their elders. Before long the errors and abuses of the aged would lapse and be forgotten. If it appears hard to the people of that kingdom, habituated as they are to their old ways, to see their children properly trained, think about the advisability of Prester John's sending abroad a large number of those who have talent. A college could be opened in Goa and, if circumstances called for it, another in Coimbra, another in Rome, another in Cyprus, on the opposite side of the sea. Then, armed with sound Catholic teaching, they could return to their lands and help their fellow countrymen. If they came to love the practices of the Latin Church, they would be all the more firmly grounded in her ways.
The patriarch could, by himself or through an interpreter or someone else, begin to give discourses and exhortations to the people within the limits of their capacity. The bishops and others could do likewise. Teaching the catechism in many different places by good teachers would also be of great importance. Those among the native population who excel in talent and exercise some influence by reason of their good lives should be won over by making much of them. They could be given some ecclesiastical revenues and dignities, but only under the probability that they would turn out to be faithful ministers. You could even have some of these preach.
Some Portuguese who are acquainted with the Abyssinian language would be good as interpreters, should any of our [Fathers] preach, and for conferences, after the manner of the Abyssinian preachers. Some could even be brought from Goa or other parts of India; and if there were children's catechism classes in India, they could serve as a beginning for a children's school in the kingdom of Prester John. This would seem to be very much to the point.
Take thought of beginning in the course of time some universities or liberal arts courses. Consider the abuses or disorders which can be corrected gently and in a way that will give the people of the country a chance to see that a reform was necessary, and that it begins with them. This will furnish you with authority for the reform of other abuses.
Since Ours have to lessen the esteem for corporal penance which the Abyssinians have, in the use of which they go to extremes, set before them charity in word and example. To this end it would be good to establish hospitals where pilgrims and the sick, curable and incurable, could be gathered, to give and cause others to give public and private alms to the poor, to arrange for the marriage of young girls, and to establish confraternities for the redemption of captives and the care of exposed children of both sexes. They would thus see that there are better works than their fasts. It seems that Prester John, who is generous with his alms, should if possible have a finger in all these pious works.
In works of spiritual mercy also the people of the country should behold in you a tender solicitude for souls. This would be shown in teaching them virtue and their letters, all of which should be done without charge and for the love of Christ. These works should be praised in sermons and conversations and supported with texts from Holy Scripture and the example and sayings of the saints, as we indicated above. Although you are ever intent on bringing them to conformity with the Catholic Church, do everything gently, without any violence to souls long accustomed to another way of life. Try to win their love and their respect or your authority, preserving their esteem of learning and virtue, without harm to your humility, so that they will be helped in proportion as they esteem those by whom they are to be helped.
Take along some good books, especially pontificals, and others which explain the external rites of the Church, such as decrees of the Apostolic See and the councils with which they have to be made acquainted. They should know the number of bishops attending the councils (in Ethiopia much importance is attached to this point), and all this will be a very efficient help.
You should also take along some lives of the saints, and be well acquainted with them, especially the life of Christ our Lord and His miracles, for the reason given. You should have some calendars of the feasts. And lastly, it would be good for you to be well-versed in matters ecclesiastical, even the smallest items, because it is a branch of learning which they best understand there, and they have for this reason a higher esteem for it than for other branches that are more subtle, of which they understand nothing. It will also be a help for you to go well supplied with church ornaments for the altars, and vestments for priests, deacons, subdeacons, and acolytes; chalices, crosses, vessels for holy water, and other items which are used in external worship.
You might think over and suggest to his highness in Portugal whether it would be a good idea to send along with you some men of practical genius to give the natives instructions on the making of bridges, when they have to cross rivers, on building, cultivating the land, and fishing. And other officials too, even a physician or surgeon, so that it may appear to the Abyssinians that their total good, even bodily good, is coming to them with their religion.
You should think also of the propriety of taking along with you a few well-chosen books on law and civil relations, so that they may have a sounder policy in their government and in the administration of justice.
Think also of the advisability of taking along some relics of the saints for the devotion of the people.
Recall that, according to their prophecies or traditions, their patriarchs were expected to come from Rome after a hundred had come from Alexandria. The Alexandrian line ended in Abimamarco [ Abuna Marqos n.d.-1529], and so they received a pseudopatriarch who went to them in the name of the Apostolic See. It would appear, therefore, that they are ready to give a good reception to the patriarch and, consequently, to his teaching. Be sure that you are informed in every respect of all that is known of the history of those kingdoms. It will be good to know this, for it will protect you from dangers and enable you to give greater help to the people.
Consider whether it would be well if the patriarch were able to dispose of abbeys and other revenues which become vacant, as a reward for the good ministers among them.
The bishops should set aside all pomp and circumstance and, as far as possible, personally discharge the office of pastors. They and their assistants should avoid all appearance of avarice.
The patriarch should have his council, which he should consult on matters of importance. After hearing their opinions he should come to a decision. The council should consist of four, and for the present among them shall be the two coadjutor bishops. As a rule they should live together, except for temporary separations which may be required by some affair of importance, especially in the beginning. If one happens to be absent for a short time, the three, together with the patriarch, ought to choose another in his place.
If one of the four chosen in Portugal should die or be necessarily absent, the patriarch and the others of the Society who were sent with him ought to choose as a substitute him who receives the largest number of votes.
Once the dioceses are set up, consider who of the natives would be suitable as bishops and archbishops. If there are any such, they could be consecrated. But if there is none, write to the king of Portugal and to Rome for others to be sent from here.
It also seems good to set up benefices for priests, and give them to persons of good lives and sound learning, as far as possible. Revenues should be assigned and conferred by the election of the bishops with the approval of the patriarch.
You will have to be very expert if you are going to neutralize the authority of the Book of Abtilis, which, so they say, contains the canons of the apostles. It is the source of their abuses and excesses, and because they look it as part of the canonical Scriptures, from which there can be no dispensation, their errors, up to the present, have been as it were irremediable.
Consider whether it would not be better to eat apart by yourselves. The people, being much given to fasting, do not ordinarily eat before night. This will avoid giving them a bad example or making them suffer.
The churches of canons should be visited and also the monasteries of both monks and nuns. Find out what is in need of reform and make what provisions are possible.
Everything set down here will serve as directive; the patriarch should not feel obliged to act in conformity with it; rather [he should follow] whatever will be dictated by a discreet charity, considering existing circumstances and the unction of the Holy Spirit, who must direct him in everything. Thus with your own prayers, with those of the whole Society and the faithful everywhere, we must urge our petitions before the throne of God's kindness and goodness, so that, having compassion on these nations, He will deign to lead them back to the unity of His holy Church and the true religion and the way of salvation for their souls, to His honor and glory.
Document 3: Summary
Archival Reference: Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, GOA 39, Fol. 560
Summary of Things Necessary for Ethiopia
1 The dates in parenthesis indicate the years of birth and death, with the exception of sovereigns, in which case they indicate time in office.
2 John W O'Malley, The First Jesuits (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), 35.
3 On Tesfā Ṣyon, see "Tesfa Syon," in Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Dictionary of African Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); James De Lorenzi, "Red Sea Travelers to Mediterranean Lands: Ethiopian Scholars and Early Modern World-Building in Europe, 1500–1668," in World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination, ed. Allison B. Kavey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 173–200; Renato Lefevre, "Documenti e Notizie Su Tasfa Seyon e La Sua Attivita Romana Nel Sec. XVI," Rassegna Di Studi Etiopici 24 (1969), 74–133; S. Euringer, "Das Epitaphium Des Tasfa Sejon," Oriens Christianus (3rd Series) I (1926), 49–66, and Alastair Hamilton, "Eastern Churches and Western Scholarship," in Rome Reborn, ed. Anthony Grafton (Rome: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1993), 225–49.
4 Teodosio Somigli, Etiopia Francescana Nei Documenti Dei Secoli XVII e XVIII Preceduti Da Cenni Storici Sulle Relazioni Con l'Etiopia Durante i Sec. XIV e XV, vol. 1 (Firenze: Quaracchi, 1928), cxii–cxvi. For a discussion of Franciscan activities in Ethiopia, see Matteo Salvadore, "Muslim Partners, Catholic Foes: The Selective Isolation of Gondärine Ethiopia," Northeast African Studies 12, no. 1 (2012), 51–72.
5 The literature on the post-Jesuit Gondarine era in Ethiopian history is limited. See M. Abir, "Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa," in The Cambridge History of Africa, ed. Richard Gray and Richard Gray (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 537–577; LaVerle Bennette Berry, The Solomonic Monarchy at Gonder, 1630–1755 (Boston: Boston University, 1976); Donald Crummey, Land and Society in the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: From the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000); Donald Crummey, "Ethiopia in the Early Modern Period: Solomonic Monarchy and Christianity," Journal of Early Modern History 8, no. 3/4 (December 1, 2004), 191–209; Salvadore, "Muslim Partners, Catholic Foes"; and Andreu Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "Conquistadores, Mercenaries, and Missionaries: The Failed Portuguese Dominion of the Red Sea," Northeast African Studies 12, no. 1 (2012), 1–28.
6 Eduardo Janvier Alonso Romo, "Andrés de Oviedo, Patriarca de Etiopía," Penisula, Revista de Estudos Ibéricos no. 3 (2006), 215–231; Haile Getatchew, Aasulv Lande, and Samuel Rubenson, The Missionary Factor in Ethiopia (New York: P. Lang, 1998); Andreu Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Birth of a Mission: The Jesuit Patriarchate in Ethiopia," Portuguese Studies Review 10, no. 2 (2003), 1–14; Andreu Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Jesuit Patriarchate to the 'Preste': Between Religious Reform, Political Expansion and Colonial Adventure," Aethiopica 6 (2003), 54–69; Andreu Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Selling of the Negus: The Emperor of Ethiopia in the Portuguese and Jesuit Imagination," in Varia Aethiopica. In Memory of Sevir B. Chernetsov (1943–2005), 2005, 161–173; Hervé Pennec, Des Jésuites Au Royaume Du Prêtre Jean, Ethiopie: Stratégies, Rencontres et Tentatives D'implantation, 1495–1633 (Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2003); Leonardo Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632) (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009).
7 See, for example, O'Malley, The First Jesuits; Thomas Worcester, The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Dauril Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996); and Luke Clossey, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
8 In published form, in addition to the Ethiopia-related content in the multi-volume collection Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu, it is worth noting Camillo Beccari's fifteen-volume collection of sources dedicated to the Ethiopian mission: Camillo Beccari, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a Saeculo XVI ad XIX (Roma, 1903). The best starting point for further research is Leonardo Cohen Shabot and Andreu Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Jesuit Mission in Ethiopia (16th–17th Centuries): An Analytical Bibliography," Aethiopica 9 (2006), 190–212.
9 For a valid introduction to the Jesuit mission in Ethiopia for non-specialists, see Philip Caraman, The Lost Empire: The Story of the Jesuits in Ethiopia, 1555–1634 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985).
10 The myth of Prester John is probably one of the most complex mythologies in world history. It included classical notions of Aithiopía—a term vaguely identifying either Africa south of the Sahara or, more specifically, the upper Nile Valley—along with wishful thinking pertaining to Saint Thomas's Christians of the East, the Romance of Alexander, and the veneration of the biblical Magi that started in the 12th century. For a discussion of medieval attempts to establish relations with imaginary Christian kingdoms, see B. Hamilton, "Prester John and the Three Kings of Cologne," in Prester John, the Mongols and the Ten Lost Tribes (Aldershot: Ashgate Variorum, 1996), 177-191; M. E. Brooks, "Prester John: A Reexamination and Compendium of the Mythical Figure Who Helped Spark European Expansion" (Toledo: The University of Toledo, 2009); and C. Beckingham, Prester John, the Mongols, and the Ten Lost Tribes (Aldershot Hampshire: Variorum, 1996). For an overview of ancient and medieval geographical notions about Ethiopia, see Rainer Voit, "Aithiopía" and "Abyssinia," in Siegbert Uhlig, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: A–C (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003), 162–165, 59–65; and Jan Nederveen Pieterse, White on Black: Images of Africa and Blacks in Western Popular Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 23–27. On the geographical confusion that reigned among early modern Europeans concerning Africa, see Francesc Relano, The Shaping of Africa (Burlington: Ashgate, 2002).
11 Hamilton, "Prester John and the Three Kings of Cologne," 183–189. For the Letter of Prester John, see Friedrich Zarncke, Der Priester Johannes (S. Hirzel, 1879). For Alexander III's reply, see Osvaldo Raineri, Lettere Tra i Pontefici Romani e i Principi Etiopici (Rome: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2003), 23–26.
12 For most of the early modern era Abyssinia was the common designation for the historical kingdom of Ethiopia, while the term Aethiopia was used as a vague reference to Africa south of the Sahara. See "Abyssinia," in Uhlig, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica.
13 Raineri, Lettere Tra i Pontefici Romani e i Principi Etiopici, 22–29.
14 Ibid., 30. For an introduction on the Ethiopian-European encounter, see Matteo Salvadore, "The Ethiopian Age of Exploration: Prester John's Discovery of Europe, 1306–1458," The Journal of World History 21, no. 4 (2010), 593–627.
15 On the Kingdom of Aragon and its Ethiopian connections, see Alan Ryder, Alfonso the Magnanimous: King of Aragon, Naples, and Sicily, 1396–1458 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990); F. Cerone, "La Politica Orientale Di Alfonso d'Aragona," Archivio Storico Per Le Provincie Napoletane 27 (1902), 3–93; and Constantin Marinescu, La Politique Orientale d'Alfonse V d'Aragon, Roi de Naples (1416–1458) (Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalans, 1994).
16 For an excellent introduction to Portuguese expansion that touches upon the Ethiopian events, see P. E. Russell, Prince Henry "the Navigator": A Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); M. D. D. Newitt, A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400–1668 (London: Routledge, 2005); and J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance (New York: New American Library, 1964).
17 On Covilhã, see Francisco Manuel de Melo Ficalho Melo Ficalho, Viagens de Pedro Da Covilhan (Lisboa: A. M. Pereira, 1898); and Francisco Alvares et al., The Prester John of the Indies; a True Relation of the Lands of the Prester John, Being the Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520 (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, 1961).
18 Renato Lefevre, "L'Etiopia Nella Stampa Del Primo Cinquecento," Quaderni d'Africa no. 3, (1966), 15–24, 52; De Lorenzi, "Red Sea Travelers to Mediterranean Lands: Ethiopian Scholars and Early Modern World-Building in Europe, 1500–1668," 179; and Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Birth of a Mission: The Jesuit Patriarchate in Ethiopia," 5–6.
19 De Lorenzi, "Red Sea Travelers to Mediterranean Lands: Ethiopian Scholars and Early Modern World-Building in Europe, 1500–1668," 179–181.
20 On Ṣagā Za'āb, see ibid., 173–190. On the journey to Goa, see Miguel de Castanhoso, João Bermudes, and Gaspar Corrêa, The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1541–1543 as Narrated by Castanhoso (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1902), 134; and Gaspar Correa, Lendas da India (Lisboa: Academia Real das Sciencias, 1858), vol. IV, 108.
21 Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750, 24–28. For a discussion of the Society's complex administration, see ibid., 8–10; and Clossey, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions, 22–30.
22 Elisabeth Feist Hirsch, Damião de Gois; the Life and Thought of a Portuguese Humanist, 1502–1574 (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1967), 96.
23 Alfonso Salmeron, Epistolae Alphonsi Salmeronis Societatis Jesu. Tomus Primus (Matriti: Typis Gabrielis Lopez Del Horno, 1906), 33–36.
24 See in particular a 1544 letter in which Xavier expressed his desire to travel to Ethiopia, quoted in Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Birth of a Mission: The Jesuit Patriarchate in Ethiopia," 8. On the Jesuits at the Portuguese court, see Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750, 24–40.
25 Lefevre, "Documenti e Notizie Su Tasfa Seyon e La Sua Attivita Romana Nel Sec. XVI," 97, discussed in Pennec, Des Jésuites Au Royaume Du Prêtre Jean, Ethiopie: Stratégies, Rencontres et Tentatives D'implantation, 1495–1633, 54–57.
26 Lefevre, "Documenti e Notizie Su Tasfa Seyon e La Sua Attivita Romana Nel Sec. XVI," 97.
27 Jean Aubin, "Le Prêtre Jean Devant La Censure Portugaise," Bulletin Des Etudes Portugaises et Brésiliennes Paris 41 (1980), 208.
28 O'Malley, The First Jesuits, 149; and Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Birth of a Mission: The Jesuit Patriarchate in Ethiopia," 10.
29 Newitt, A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400–1668, 130–138.
30 Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750, 47.
31 For a discussion of the documents' authorship, see Camillo Beccari, Notizia e Saggi Di Opere e Documenti Inediti Riguardanti La Storia Di Etiopia Durante i Secoli XVI, XVII e XVIII (Roma: Casa Editrice Italiana, 1903), 229–231; and Pennec, Des Jésuites Au Royaume Du Prêtre Jean, Ethiopie: Stratégies, Rencontres et Tentatives D'implantation, 1495–1633, 58–71.
32 Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, GOA 39, Fol.15-16. "Informacion para su Altesa de las personas de nuestra Compañia, que para los reynos del Prester Joan paracen convenir y de otros recuerdos que en el Señor Nuestro nos occuren para representar a S.A., que asi lo ha mandado." A Spanish transcription, along with an Italian translation can be found in Beccari, Notizia e Saggi Di Opere e Documenti Inediti Riguardanti La Storia Di Etiopia Durante i Secoli XVI, XVII e XVIII, 231–235.
33 Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, GOA 39, Fol. 9-13: "Recuerdos que podran ajudar para la reduction de los reynos del Preste Juan a la union de la yglesia y religion catholica."The English translation of the document in the appendix is reproduced from in William Young, ed., Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1959). The translation has been reproduced without any substantial change with the exception of the document's title. Given Loyola's role in the Society, it seems more apt to translate recuerdos with "instructions" rather than "suggestions." The same translation is also available in John Patrick Donnelly, Jesuit Writings of the Early Modern Period: 1540–1640, ed. John Patrick Donnelly (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2006). A Spanish transcription, along with an Italian translation, can be found in Beccari, Notizia e Saggi Di Opere e Documenti Inediti Riguardanti La Storia Di Etiopia Durante i Secoli XVI, XVII e XVIII, 237–254. On the document's dating, see Pennec, Des Jésuites Au Royaume Du Prêtre Jean, Ethiopie: Stratégies, Rencontres et Tentatives D'implantation, 1495–1633, 60.
34 Archival Reference: Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, GOA 39, Fol. 5. "Sumario delle cose necessarie per l'Ethiopia." The third document was neither published nor translated in its entirety, but partial quotations accompanied by useful commentary can be found in Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Birth of a Mission: The Jesuit Patriarchate in Ethiopia."
35 Dawit's letter to Clement VII was printed in a short pamphlet, the Legatio David Aethiopiae Regis (Bologna: Iacobum Remolen Alostensem, 1533), and later included in Ramusio's Navigationi et viaggi (1550), the vehicle through which the myth of obedience spread and endured for centuries. Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Delle Nauigationi et Viaggi (In Venetia: Appresso i Giunti, 1606), 258–260.
36 For more details on the Bermudez affair and its relevance for the Jesuit mission, see Martinez d'Alos-Moner, "The Jesuit Patriarchate to the 'Preste,'" 60–66.
37 In sixteenth-century Ethiopia the term faranğ designed foreigners of European descent and, in particular, Roman Catholic.
38 Alvares, The Prester John of the Indies, 254.
39 O'Malley, The First Jesuits, 63.
40 See Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750, 231–235, 298–308.
41 Newitt, A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400–1668, 73. For a discussion of the logistical limitations the Society faced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see Clossey, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions, 45–50.
42 For a discussion of the Jesuit attitude towards music, see O'Malley, The First Jesuits, 159–162. For the use of music and other art forms in Ethiopia, see Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632), 154–156.
43 Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750, 258.
44 Quoted in ibid., 56.
45 Ibid., 259.
46 O'Malley, The First Jesuits, 60; Thomas M. Cohen, "Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Society of Jesus," in The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits, ed. Thomas Worcester (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 205–207. Cohen's chapter is an excellent introduction to the issue of the Society's attitude towards non-Europeans.
47 Nicolas Standaert, "Jesuits in China," in The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits, ed. Thomas Worcester (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 172; Clossey, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions, 30.
48 For a detailed discussion of Susenyos' steps towards Catholicism, see Pennec, Des Jésuites Au Royaume Du Prêtre Jean, Ethiopie: Stratégies, Rencontres et Tentatives D'implantation, 1495–1633, 227–234.
49 For an introductory discussion of the issue of accommodation, see Standaert, "Jesuits in China," 172–179.
50 Quoted in O'Malley, The First Jesuits, 81; see also 38–39.
51 Beccari, Rerum aethiopicarum, vol.10, 78–81.
52 Quoted in Pennec, Des Jésuites Au Royaume Du Prêtre Jean, Ethiopie: Stratégies, Rencontres et Tentatives D'implantation, 1495–1633, 99.
53 See the letters in Camillo Beccari, ed., Relationes et Epistolae Variorum, vol. 10, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a Saeculo XVI ad XIX (Rome: C. de Luigi, 1910), 215–220; Camillo Beccari, Historia Aethiopiae. Liber 3 et 4, ed. Petrus Paez, vol. 3, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a Saeculo XVI ad XIX. 3 (Rome: C. de Luigi, 1906), 71–75; Manuel Almeida, Historia Aethiopiae. Liber 1 et 4, ed. Camillo Beccari, vol. 5, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a Saeculo XVI ad XIX. (Rome: C. de Luigi, 1907), 427–432.
54 Beccari, Relationes et Epistolae Variorum, vol. 10, 332–334.
55 Alden, The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, Its Empire, and Beyond, 1540–1750, 76–77.
56 Cohen, The Missionary Strategies of the Jesuits in Ethiopia (1555–1632), 25.
57 Somigli, Etiopia Francescana Nei Documenti Dei Secoli XVII e XVIII Preceduti Da Cenni Storici Sulle Relazioni Con l'Etiopia Durante i Sec. XIV e XV, vol. 1, cxiii–cxiv.
58 Transcription by Camillo Beccari; translation by Kate Goldman.
59 Excerpt from Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola selected and translated by William J. Young, S.J. (Loyola Press, 1959). Reprinted with permission. Visit www.loyolapress.com for more Ignatian resources.
60 Transcription by Elia Italo Salvadore; translation by Silvia Vaccino.
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