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Prayer of exorcism in Latin (16th or 17th century)

Prayer of exorcism in Latin (16th or 17th century)

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300 or 400 years ago, a scholar wrote a long prayer in Latin to deliver and protect from the devil and witches.

  • Extensive handwritten prayer in Latin, the author of the manuscript was not identified.
  • Two pages, three pages.
  • Basically, in Latin, some notes in Portuguese, with a drawing representing the cross: INRI (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum).
  • 14cm x 20cm.
  • Document found in Brazil, written in Brazil or Portugal, 16th or 17th centuries.
  • Excellent condition.
  • Unique piece.

    Popular tradition says that Saint Anthony gave a prayer to a poor woman who was looking for help against the temptations of the devil. Sixtus V, a Franciscan pope, had the prayer carved – also called “Saint Anthony's motto” – at the base of the obelisk, which he had erected in St. Peter's Square, in Rome.

    Here is the original prayer, in Latin
    Ecce Crucem Domini! +
    Flee adverse parties! +
    Vicit Leo of tribu Juda, +
    Radix David! Alleluia!

    Here is the translation, in Portuguese
    Behold the cross of the Lord! +
    Escape enemy forces! +
    The Lion of Judah has won, +
    The root of David! Hallelujah!


    This brief prayer has all the flavor of a small exorcism. It can also be used – in Latin or Portuguese – to help overcome the temptations that arise.

    What is the origin of the Blessing of Saint Anthony?

    According to the Convent of Santo Antônio and Aleteia, there is very little research into the origin of this blessing. And no more recent serious research. To this day, the most cited is that of the Bolandistas. And yet, it is based on a legend. They tell it like this:

    There was in Portugal, during the reign of King Diniz, a person tormented by diabolical vexations. The enemy of our salvation always appeared to him in the form of Jesus Christ and ordered him to throw himself into the Tagus River, to obtain the remission of his sins and the heavenly reward. The unfortunate woman, deceived by Satan's lies, decided one day to drown herself. On the way, he found a Franciscan chapel that appeared far from the disastrous project and gave him a parchment, telling him to always carry it with him. When he woke up, he found, suspended around his neck, the precious sheet, on which were read some lines, later called “Breve or Carta de Santo António”. Immediately, the effectiveness of the heavenly medicine was felt: Satan's obsession immediately disappeared.

    The king of Portugal, having learned of the miracle, wanted to see the wonderful writing and sent for it. Since being deprived of his treasure, the person has fallen into the power of the devil. They brought him an exact copy of the Miraculous Brief. He received her with confidence, bringing her day and night with him. Instantly, he regained peace and was free from such temptations. The king kept the original among the crown's relics.

    This manuscript, written in Latin, dating from the 16th or 17th centuries according to a French specialist, is in perfect condition. It is the extended form of the original prayer, but we do not discover who the author of this paper is. Autographed documents, dealing with the theme of exorcism, are very rare and the aesthetics of the writing impressed me; That's what motivated me to present this very unique piece to you.


    This document is currently part of the collection of Embira — Laboratório do Papel, a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental and interinstitutional research laboratory linked to the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences of the University of São Paulo (FFLCH-USP), which is based on the study and the characterization of paper documents. It brings together researchers from the areas of History, Literature (Philology) and Physics, developing instruments for technical-scientific analyzes of paper in order to answer questions related to production, circulation, state of conservation and implications of use from different perspectives.

    Email: embira.fflch@usp.br
    Instagram: @embira_usp
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