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Mattheus Pinna da Encarnaçao

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A writer and theologian, born at Rio de Janeiro, 23 Aug., 1687; died there, 18 Dec., 1764. On 3 March, 1703, he became a Benedictine at the Abbey of Nossa Senhora do Montserrate at Rio de Janeiro, where he also studied the humanities and philosophy under the learned José da Natividade. After studying theology at the monastery of Bahia he was ordained priest 24 March, 1708, and appointed professor of philosophy and theology. Along with Gaspar da Madre de Deus (died about 1780), Antonio de São Bernardo (died 1774) and a few others, he was the most learned Benedictine of his province and his contemporaries considered him the greatest theologian in Brazil. He was likewise highly esteemed for his piety and charity towards the poor, the sick, and the neglected. In 1726 he was elected abbot of the monastery at Rio de Janeiro, but soon after his election incurred the displeasure of Luiz Vahia Monteiro, the Governor of Brazil, who banished him from his monastery in 1727. Soon afterwards he escaped to Portugal, became very influential at Court and was restored to his monastery by Cardinal Motta in 1729. He held the office of abbot repeatedly thereafter; both at Rio de Janeiro (1729-31 and 1739) and at Bahia in 1746. In 1732 he was elected provincial abbot, in which capacity he visited even the most distant monasteries of Brazil, despite the great difficulty of travel. He was again elected provincial abbot in 1752, but this time he declined the honour, preferring to spend his old age in prayer and retirement. His works are: "Defensio S. Matris Ecclesiæ" (Lisbon, 1729), an extensive treatise on grace and free will against Quesnel, Baius, Jansenius, etc.; "Viridario Evangelico" (Lisbon, 1730-37), four volumes of sermons on the Gospels ; "Theologia Scholastica Dogmatica", in six volumes, which he did not complete entirely nor was it published.


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