10 de mar de 2014

The first worship service in Brazil

A group of Huguenots (Calvinist Protestants of French speaking) , on March 10, 1557, in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, held the first Protestant service in Brazil and, much probably, across the continent. That small group of Protestants came to Brazil as invited by the navigator Nicolau Durant de Villegaignon, who arrived two years early and then asked the Swiss reformer John Calvin to send pastors and Protestant settlers . Soon after their arrival the those believers had the worship service under the leadership of pastors Pierre Richier , who was the preacher , and Guillaume Chartier. The historian Jean de Lery and ten artisans participated. The ceremony was held at Fort Coligne on the island of Serigipe today Villegaignon. It was a Wednesday.

Monument in front of the Presbyterian Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro
Some months later, in 1558, those believers were persecuted, threatened, expelled and forced to return to France. Five of them could not flee because problems with a boat. Villegaignon, influenced by a former roman priest and because political interests, simulated a trial and strangled three of them: Jean de Bourdel, Matthieu Verneuil, Pierre Bourbon. These are the first martyrs of the persecution against Evangelicals in Brazil. André de La Fon was spared for convenience of the governor. Jacques le Balleur fled, eventually he was captured, imprisoned and finally also executed in 1567.

In the process, the four men were forced to write a confession of faith , providing incriminating evidence against themselves for their opposition to Catholic beliefs against the Scripture. The document read to reaffirm their faith, even in the face of death, is considered the first "Confession of Faith " made in Brazilian ground, and became known as "Fluminense Confession" or "Confession of Guanabara ". This document is a testament of the perseverance in the faith of men of whom this world is not worthy. It inspires us to stand firm in the face of the powers of this world and death, trusting in God's absolute sovereignty and his eternal Word.

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