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São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro

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The ecclesiastical province of Rio de Janeiro, the third of the seven constituting the Brazilian episcopate, was first created a bishopric, as a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of São Salvador da Bahia, by a Bull of 22 Nov., 1676. It was raised to an archbishopric in 1893, its jurisdiction comprising the Dioceses of Nietheroy (1893) and Espirito Santo (1892) and the Prefecture of Rio Branco. The total Catholic population of the whole province in 1910 was 2,051,800, and that of the archdiocese proper, 800,000. The jurisdiction of the latter extends over the whole territory of the federal district in which Rio de Janeiro, the capital of the republic and seat of the archdiocese, is located. There are in the federal district 20 parish churches, 59 chapels, various monasteries and nunneries, and 63 Catholic associations prominent among which are: the "Irmandade do Sanctissimo Sacramento da Candelaria", founded in 1669 and in charge of the bureau of charities caring for nearly 1000 indigent persons, and of the Asylum of Our Lady of Piety for the education of orphan girls; the "Irmandade da Santa Casa da Misericordia", operating since 1545 and maintaining a general hospital, a foundling asylum, an orphan asylum, and a funeral establishment for the burial of the poor. These benevolent associations, known in Brazil as irmandades (brotherhoods), do a highly charitable and eminently Christian work, assisting the poor and caring for the orphans and the sick, by the maintenance of hospitals, asylums, savings banks, schools, etc. There are also several associations of St. Vincent of Paul, performing similar work. Of religious orders, there are in the archdiocese Jesuits, Franciscans, Carmelites, Lazarists, Dominicans, and Benedictines ; of female orders, there are Sisters of Charity, Ursulines, Carmelites, Poor Clares, and others. The archdiocese maintains at Rio de Janeiro the Seminary of St Joseph. Among other Catholic institutions of learning are: the College of the Immaculate Conception for girls; the Jesuit college ; the College of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ; the College of the Sacred Heart of Mary for girls. Mention should also be made of the "Circulo Catholico", a large association founded on 15 Sept., 1899, for the propagation of the Faith, and to provide young men with moral recreation. The organ of the Church in Rio de Janeiro is "O Universo" (Rue Evaristo Vega No. 61).

Rio de Janeiro was the first spot in the New World where a colony of Protestants settled. A little island in the bay was colonized and fortified by Villegaignon under the patronage of Admiral Coligny in 1555. This Huguenot settlement was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1566, and the name of the island changed to São Sebastião. The city of Rio de Janeiro was proclaimed the capital of Brazil in 1763. After the empire was established, the imperial chapel near the palace was selected for a cathedral, which building is at present being reconstructed. Adjacent to it is the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Both are small structures, but preserve to a wonderful degree the effects of Latin-American architecture. The most noteworthy place of worship in Rio de Janeiro is the Church of the Candelaria. The corner-stone was laid about 1780, the funds having been donated by a pious Brazilian lady in gratitude for her rescue from a great peril at sea. The building was planned by a Brazilian architect, Evaristo de Vega. Its two towers, surmounted by glittering domes, are among the first objects to attract the eye on entering the Bay of Rio de Janeiro; they rise to a height of 228 feet above the street, but, unfortunately, the narrowness of the thoroughfare prevents a good impression of the size and beauty of the structure. The three bronze doors, with relief work showing extraordinary artistic detail, and the interior, finished in marble, with fine wall and ceiling paintings, are among the best of their kind in Latin-America. The present Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro is His Eminence Joaquim Cardinal Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, born 18 Jan., 1850, elected 26 June, 1890, transferred to Rio de Janeiro, 24 July, 1898, and created cardinal on 11 Dec., 1905. (See BRAZIL, THE UNITED STATES OF.)

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