Anthroponyms seta TORRES, Cosme de (1510-1570)

Clergy of the Society of Jesus who worked mostly in Japan. He was born in Valencia in 1510 and died in Shiki on 2nd October, 1570. He studied Theology at his homeland, was ordained priest in 1535, and taught grammar in Majorca, Valencia and Ulldecona. In March 1538 he left for New Spain, where he remained for four years as the chaplain of the vice-Roy, D. António de Mendonza. In 1542 he was a member of the Philippines and Moluccas expedition lead by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos. In 1546 he met Francisco Xavier at Amboino and joined the Society of Jesus in Goa in 1548. He was one of the missionaries who accompanied Francisco Xavier on his voyage to Japan, having disembarked in Kagoshima on 15th August, 1549. From 1551 on, after the departure of Xavier, Torres became the leader of the mission, a position he held until 18th June, 1570. In Japan he built up missions in Kagoshima in 1549-1550, moving then to Hirado, where he stayed between 1550 and 1551. Between 1551 and 1556 he founded a mission at Yamaguchi but with the town?s destruction he moved to Bungo. He remained there until 1562, having started a mission in Funai (Oita). Then he went to Yokoseura (1562-1563), Takase (1563-1564), Kuchinotsu (1665-1568) and Omura. He was one of the persons responsible for the foundation of the port and town of Nagasaki. He had a solid knowledge of Latin, of the canons and of the Examen of Consciousness, and his knowledge of the Japanese language allowed him to carry out a basic conversation and preach the catechism. Nonetheless, he had a more or less extensive knowledge of Japan and of the Buddhist sects.

Bibliography:
FRÓIS, Luís S.J., Historia de Japam, vols. I-II, Lisboa, Biblioteca Nacional, 1981-982; Bourdon, Léon, La Compagnie de Jésus et le Japon, 1547-1570, Paris, Centro Cultural Português da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkien ? CNCD, 1993. COSTA, João Paulo Oliveira e, O Cristianismo no Japão e o Episcopado de D. Luís de Cerqueira, dissertação de doutoramento em História apresentada à Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, 1998 (texto fotocopiado). Diego Pacheco S. J., El hombre que forjó a Nagasaki. Vida del Padre Cosme de la Torres S. J., Madrid, Editorial Apostolado de la Prensa, 1973.

Author: Helena Rodrigues
Translated by: Maria das Mercês Pacheco


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