S. SIMÃO, D. Frei Francisco de (1724-1783)
18th bishop of Cape Verde.
He was born in Pena in 1724. His baptized name was Francisco de Abreu, and he was the son of Manuel Simões and Mariana Freire; he was a friar of the province of Santo António dos Capuchos and was Lente de Prima in the college of Pedreira in Coimbra; he was confirmed in 1778 and arrived at the diocese in 1781, more specifically in S. Nicolau, where he made a pastoral visit. He reached Santiago in the same year, and shortly after had a misunderstanding with diocesan chapter. Therefore, he made his residence in the distant port of Tarrafal, in the region of Ribeira da Prata, which was very far from the cathedral. This arrangement went against the will of the most prominent local residents, who wanted the bishop to live and found that institution in the residence of Trindade, located on the edge of the city of Ribeira Grande. In that port he would begin the construction of a seminary. In 1780, he painted a bleak picture of the diocese: in the diocesan chapter, there only remained nine canons, four of which were incapable, while the remaining fulfilled the offices of parish priests. He considered the cathedral similar to a rural collegiate church and unworthy of its cathedral title. Like his predecessor, he advocated relocating the cathedral to another island, a promise that had been made to him before he left, and he deemed the transfer of the cathedral to S. Nicolau to be favorable, an idea that would gain traction in the second half of the 19th century when the cathedral was finally relocated. With the alteration of the succession rules in the interim governments, the bishop was called to govern in 1781 and assumed great prominence in his post, being called upon to establish settlements on the deserted islands and to provide tutelage to the Brazilian naturalist Feijó [João da Silva Feijó, 1760-1824]. In 1782, he visited the islands of Fogo, Brava, Maio, S. Nicolau and S. Vicente. The bishop died in Ribeira da Prata in August 1783, and the diocesan chapter didn?t attend the funeral rites, which didn?t convey his Episcopal status, so his successor moved his mortal remains to the cathedral. Feijó informed the crown that the bishop had been assassinated.
ALMEIDA, Fortunato de, História da Igreja em Portugal, nova ed.preparada e dirigida por Damião Peres, vol. III, Porto-Lisboa, Livraria Civilização, 1968. BARCELLOS, Christiano José de Sena, Subsídios para a História de Cabo Verde e Guiné, tomo III, parte V, Lisboa, Academia Real das Ciências de Lisboa, 1905. REMA, Henrique Pinto, A Diocese de Cabo Verde, in História Religiosa de Portugal, dir. de Carlos Azevedo, Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, 2001, vol. II, A-C, pp. 280-284.
Autor: Maria João Soares
Translated by: John Starkey