Henriques, Henrique

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HENRIQUES, HENRIQUE

Missionary; b. Vila Viçosa, Portugal, 1520; d. Punnaikâyal, South India, Feb. 6, 1600. He entered the Society of Jesus, and was ordained at Coimbra probably in 1545 or 1546. That same year he sailed to India, where he worked six months in Goa; then he was sent by Francis Xavier to the Fishery Coast, where he worked for 53 years. He succeeded Antonio criminali as superior of the mission from 1549 to 1576. His zeal was highly esteemed by Xavier, who described him as "a very virtuous person and of great edification, who knows how to speak and write Malabar [Tamil] and is loved by the Christians in an amazing manner" (Epitolae S. Francisci Xaverii 2.13). He founded a number of hospitals for the sick. Henriques, probably the first European to write a Tamil grammar and vocabulary, spent many years improving them. Among his works are a catechism, printed in Tamil characters, dated 1578, Quilon, India; a translation of the catechism of Marcos Jorge, printed in Tamil, dated 1579, Cochin; the Flos sanctorum, also printed in Tamil (only known copy in Vatican Library), dated 1586; and numerous letters.

Bibliography: j. wicki, Studia missionalia (Rome 1943) 13 (1963) 113168; ed., Documenta indica (Monumenta historica Societatis Jesu 70, 72, 74-; Rome 1948-).

[j. wicki]