Above: Map of the New World (1596), by Theodor de Bry
Image in the Public Domain
ANTONIO VALDIVIESO (1495-FEBRUARY 26, 1550)
Roman Catholic Bishop of Leon and Martyr
Antonio Valdivieso, born at Burgos, Spain, in 1495, was a Spanish Dominican priest and a disciple of Bartolome de Las Casas (1474/1484-1566), who also defended the rights of indigenous people. Valdevieso arrived in Nicarague in 1544. He confronted the governor and other colonial officials who oppressed the native people. Our saint went so far as to return to Spain and express his concerns to King Charles I/Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1516-1556) in person. The monarch made our saint the Bishop of Leon and sent him back to Nicaragua in 1545. Valdivieso suspected that this was effectively a death sentence. He was correct. Our saint continued to oppose the governor and his administration in person. Valdivieso, based at the cathedral in Leon, made himself a thorn in the side of officialdom. On Ash Wednesday (February 26), 1550, the governor and some henchmen killed our saint and two other Dominicans. Valdivieso became the first bishop in the Americas to die for the rights of indigenous people.
He was one of many Roman Catholic clerics to lay down their lives for that just cause.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
DECEMBER 10, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF PAUL EBER, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF HOWELL ELVET LEWIS, WELSH CONGREGATIONALIST CLERGYMAN AND POET
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN ROBERTS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR
THE FEAST OF ROBERT MURRAY, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER
Ever-loving God, by your grace and power your holy martyr
Antonio Valdivieso triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death;
strengthen us with your grace that we may faithfully witness to Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
2 Chronicles 24:17-21
Psalm 3 or 116
–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 680-681