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The great Coptic and Abyssinian scholar, Antonio Fernandez the most eminent and Abyssinian scholar, Antonio Fernandez was a Portugese Jesuit. He was born at Lisbon in 1566, and entered the Jesuit society as a member of the Portuguese province of the order After a lone preparatory training, he was sent, in 1602, to Goa, the great centre of the missionary activity of Portugal. His ultimate destination, however, was Abyssinia which country he reached in 1604 in the disguise of an Armenian. He resided on Abyssinia for nearly thirty years, and was charged with a mission to the Pope Paul III and Philip IV of Spain, from the king, who, under the influence of the missionaries, had embraced the Catholic religion. Fernandez set out with some native companions in 1615 ; but they were all made prisoners at Alba, and narrowly escaped being put to death ; nor was he released in the end; except on condition of relinquishing this intended mission, and returning to Abyssinia On the death of the king, who had so long protected them, the whole body of Catholic missionaries were expelled from Abyssinia by the new monarch in 1632 ; arid Fernandez returned/after a most chequered and eventful career, to Goa, where he died, ten years later, in 1642. Of his acquirements in the Western languages, I am unable to discover any particulars; but he was thoroughly versed in Armenian, Coptic, and Am baric or Abyssinian, in both of which last named languages he has left several ritual and ascetic works for the use of the missionaries and native children.
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