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HOMEM, ANTONIO:

Jewish martyr; born in 1564 of Neo-Christian parents at Coimbra, Portugal; suffered death at the stake in Lisbon May 5, 1624. His father's name was Vaez Brandão; and his mother was a granddaughter of Nuñez Cardozo, called "the rich Jew of Aveiro." Like many secret Jews who, in order to escape from the snares and persecutions of the Inquisition, caused their sons to embrace a clerical career, the parents of Antonio had him educated for the Church. He entered a religious order and studied at the university of his native town. On Feb. 22, 1592, he took his degree as doctor and "magister," and after having served the Church in various offices he was appointed deacon and professor of canon law at Coimbra University. He aroused the suspicion of the Inquisition and had to appear before its tribunal (Feb. 1, 1611), but as the author of some theological works he was acquitted. His colleagues closely watched him, however; and in 1619 a secret synagogue was discovered in Lisbon in which Homem conducted the services and preached. On Dec. 18 of that year he was brought before the tribunal of the Inquisition and condemned to death; and five years later at an auto da fé at Lisbon he was burned alive. His house was demolished, and in its place was erected a pillar bearing the inscription "Præceptor infelix."

Bibliography:
  • Kayserling, Gesch. der Juden in Portugal, pp. 291-292.
D. S. Man.
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