Nunes Barreto, João

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Patriarch of Abyssinia; b. Porto, Portugal, date unknown; d. Goa, India, Dec. 22, 1562. He entered the Society of Jesus as a priest in 1544 and was sent to Morocco, where he labored to redeem and care for Christian slaves. Ten years later he was called to Rome; and at the counsel of St. Ignatius Loyola and King John III of Portugal, he was named patriarch of Abyssinia by Paul IV. With Melchior Carneiro and Andrew Oviedo, chosen to be his coadjutors, he traveled to Lisbon in 1555 and after their consecration there sailed for Goa. King John, like his predecessors, dreamed of establishing communications with the descendants of prester john, medieval Christian monarch in Asia whose legend began in the 12th century. He also wished a firm alliance against the Muslims. Nunes sent Bishop Oviedo to win the favor of Negus (Emperor) Claudius (Calāwēdōs) of Abyssinia, but after much hardship the mission was not fruitful. In 1557 Pedro Paez, SJ, converted Negus Susenyos, but by 1633 the Jesuits were expelled due to the suspicions of Negus Fasilidas.

Bibliography: c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932) 5:184041. e. cerulli, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 7:1070. p. tacchi venturi, Storia della Compagnia di Gesù (2d ed. Rome 1950) 2.2:559565. l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon: Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Paderborn 1934); photoduplicated with rev. and suppl., 2 v. (Louvain-Heverlee 1962) 1316. s. delacroix, ed., Histoire universelle des missions catholiques, 4 v. (Paris 195659) 1:230231. r. streit and j. dindinger, Bibliotheca missionum (Freiburg 1916) v. 15.

[e. d. mcshane]