Batista, Cícero Romão (1844–1934)

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Batista, Cícero Romão (1844–1934)

Cícero Romão Batista (Padre Cícero) (b. 24 March 1844; d. 20 July 1934), Brazilian priest and political leader of Ceará. Born at Crato in Juàzeiro, in 1865 Cícero entered the seminary at Fortaleza and was one of its first graduates. Ordained in 1870, he began his clerical career as a teacher in Crato. Two years later he was appointed to the chaplaincy in Juàzeiro. In 1889, a communion wafer Cícero administered reportedly turned to blood in the mouth of one of his parishioners. This "miracle" gave him religious power, which he later converted into political strength; he became one of the most influential political bosses in the Northeast, and the village of Juàzeiro became a site for religious pilgrimages. Although the church disavowed the "miracle" and restricted his religious activities, it made no attempt to remove him, for the peasants of the interior regarded him as a saint. Although he clashed with both ecclesiastical and governmental authority, his movement did not seek to destroy political or religious order, but rather attempted to improve the social and economic conditions of his followers. Juàzeiro do Norte became the economic and industrial center of the backlands under his leadership. His followers marched on Fortaleza, bringing about the downfall of its state government. Padre Cícero continues to be regarded as an unofficial saint in the Northeast, and each year large numbers of pilgrims gather at his grave in Juàzeiro.

See alsoCatholic Church: The Modern Period .


Ralph Della Cava, Miracle at Joaseiro (1970).

Ronald M. Schneider, "Order and Progress": A Political History of Brazil (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Aquino, Pedro Ferreira de. O santo do meu nordeste: Padre Cícero Romão Batista. São Paulo: Letras & Letras, 1997.

                                       Michael L. James