Bartholomew of the Martyrs

A brief biography.

Bartolomeu Fernandes dos Mártyres
was born in Verdelha, near Lisbon, Portugal, on 3 May 1514, and baptized in the Church of Our Lady of the Martyrs. He entered the Dominican Order in 1528 and made his perpetual profession on 20 November 1529. Having completed his philosophical and theological studies brilliantly, in 1538 he began teaching philosophy in the college of St Dominic of Lisbon, and then in 1540 theology in the priory of Batalha for 11 years (1551). At Évora he became the royal tutor of Anthony, son of king Joao III.

In 1558 Queen Catherine of Portugal presented him as her candidate for the Archbishopric of Braga. Pope Paul IV confirmed this appointment despite the reluctance of Bartolomeu himself by his bul Gratiae Divinae of 27 January 1559. Bartolomeu  accepted out of obedience to his provincial, Luis of Granada. O.P. On 3 September 1559 he was consecrated in the church of St Dominic in Lisbon.
On 4 October 1559, he began his apostolic mission in his vast Archdiocese maintaining his austere life style and devoting himself to the good of his priests and people. The outstanding features of his ministry were his pastoral visits; his commitment to evangelisation which led him to draft a Catechism of Christian doctrine and spiritual practices (15th edition in 1962)
In all he produced about 32 literary works. Among them the Stimulus Pastorum (22 editions) deserves mention as still being valid. It was given to the Fathers of the First and Second Vatican Councils. From 1561 to 1563 he attended the Council of Trent, urging the reform of the Church from the highest dignitaries. His teaching and example had a noteworthy influence on the decisions taken.

Pius IV and St. Charles Borromeo, with whom he was friendly, often asked and followed his advice. To put the Council's directives into practice, the Archbishop organized a Diocesan Synod in 1564 and the Provincial Council of Braga in 1566. In 1571 he began building the seminary in Campo Vinha. After repeated requests to resign from his pastoral office, his resignation was accepted in 1582, when he retired to the Dominican priory of the Holy Cross in Viana do Castello. He died there on 16 July 1590, recognized and acclaimed by the people with the title, Holy Archbishop,  father of the poor and of the sick. His tomb is venerated in the old Dominican church of Viana do Castello.Pope John Paul II beatified him in Rome on 4 November 2001.



Bartolomeu Fernandez dos Mártyres, was born 03.05.1514 in Verdelha, Portugal, archbishop of Braga (27.01.1559) and author of 32 theological and liturgical books. He died 16.07.1590 in the Dominican  priory of the Holy Cross at Viana do Castello, where he is buried.


Portugal 1990, Mi 1830, Sc 1814.



Postmark honouring the beatification of Bartolomeu Fernandez dos Mártyres (03.05.1514-16.07.1590) by Pope John Paul II in Rome on  November 4, 2001.


Italy 2001. Postmark Rome 4.11.2001.





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