Fernando Martins Mascarenhas

Fernando Martins Mascarenhas (otherwise referred to as Fernão Martins Mascarenhas; c. 1548 – 20 January 1628) was a Portuguese scholar, theologian, and church leader. King Philip I appointed him Rector of the University of Coimbra and, later, Bishop of Faro; he later resigned to take up the post of Inquisitor General of Portugal.

D. Fernando Martins Mascarenhas
Bishop of Faro, Inquisitor General of Portugal
Fernão Martins Mascarenhas (Sala do Exame Privado, Universidade de Coimbra) (cropped).png
ChurchCatholic Church
DioceseDiocese of Faro
Appointed3 January 1594
Retired4 June 1616
PredecessorFrancisco Cano
SuccessorJoão Coutinho
Other post(s)Inquisitor General (1616–1628)
Consecration5 February 1595
by Miguel de Castro
Personal details
Fernando Martins Mascarenhas

c. 1548 (2022-05-20UTC12:48)
Died20 January 1628(1628-01-20) (aged 79–80)
  • D. Vasco Mascarenhas
  • D. Maria de Mendonça
Alma materUniversity of Évora


Fernão Martins de Mascarenhas was born in Montemor-o-Novo, Alentejo, the second-born of D. Vasco Mascarenhas, Keeper of the Wardrobe (Reposteiro-mor) of Prince John (son of King John III), and Maria de Mendonça. He studied Philosophy in the University of Évora, earning the degree of Artium Magister and, later, a doctorate in Theology from the University of Coimbra as a student (porcionista) in the Royal College of Saint Paul.[1]

On 15 May 1586, he was made Rector of the University of Coimbra by decree of King Philip I. On 3 January 1594 he was nominated Bishop of Faro, a vacant see since the death of his predecessor, Francisco Cano; he was consecrated by Miguel de Castro, Archbishop of Lisbon, in the Lisbon Cathedral, on 5 February 1595.[2]

As bishop, he was highly regarded for his charity. During his episcopate, the Algarve endured a plague outbreak, and Bishop Mascarenhas assisted the sick with great commitment; when Vila Nova de Portimão faced a terrible famine, he had all the wheat in his granary distributed amongst the populace. In 1599, he established the Jesuit College in Portimão and, in 1607, he donated large sums to help build the Capuchin Convent of Saint Anthony in Tavira.[1]

On 4 July 1616 he was made Inquisitor General by papal brief of Pope Paul V, and took office on 15 December.[3] He accumulated this post with that of Councilor of State, and of Lord Prior of the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of the Olive Tree [pt] in Guimarães. He was offered the Sees of Coimbra and of Lisbon, but he refused.[1]

His remains are buried in the chancel of the Church of Saint Roch, in Lisbon.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Machado, Diogo Barbosa (1747). Bibliotheca Lusitana Historica, Critica, e Cronologica (in Portuguese). Lisboa: Officina de Ignacio Rodrigues.
  2. ^ Cheney, David M. "Bishop Fernando Martins Mascarenhas". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  3. ^ Marcocci, Giuseppe; Paiva, José Pedro (February 2013). História da Inquisição Portuguesa (1536–1821) [History of the Portuguese Inquisition (1536–1821)] (in Portuguese) (1st ed.). Lisbon: A Esfera dos Livros. p. 147. ISBN 978-989-626-452-9.
  4. ^ "Igreja de São Roque: Capela-mor". Museu de São Roque (in Portuguese). Retrieved 13 January 2019.

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