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Sebastião da Silveira Cintra

Sebastião Leme da Silveira Cintra (January 20, 1882 – October 17, 1942) was a Brazilian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro from 1930 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1930.

His Eminence

Sebastião Leme da Silveira Cintra
Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro
Cardeal Leme.jpg
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro
In office3 July 1930 - 17 October 1942
PredecessorJoaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti
SuccessorJaime de Barros Câmara
Ordination28 October 1904
Created cardinal3 July 1930
by Pope Pius XI
Personal details
Born(1882-01-20)January 20, 1882
Espírito Santo do Pinhal, Brazil
DiedOctober 17, 1942(1942-10-17) (aged 60)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (1911-1916)
  • Titular Bishop of Orthosias (1911-1916)
  • Archbishop of Olinda (1916-1921)
  • Coadjutor Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (1921-1930)
Alma materPontifical gregorian university
MottoCor Unum In Anima Una (English: A Heart in a Soul)
Coat of armsSebastião Leme da Silveira Cintra's coat of arms
Styles of
Sebastião da Silveira Cintra
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeSão Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro


Early life and ministryEdit

Born in Espírito Santo do Pinhal, Sebastião da Silveira Cintra studied at the seminary in São Paulo and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome before being ordained to the priesthood on October 28, 1904. He then did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of São Paulo, including serving as a seminary professor and the director of the archdiocesan newspaper A Gazeta do Povo. He was a cathedral canon from 1904 to 1910, and Pro-Vicar General of São Paulo from 1909 to 1911.


On March 24, 1911, Cintra was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro and Titular Bishop of Orthosias in Phoenicia by Pope Pius X. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 24 from Joaquim Arcoverde de Albuquerque Cavalcanti, with Archbishop Francisco do Rego Maia and Bishop Juan Terrero y Escalada serving as co-consecrators, in Rome. Cintra was later named Archbishop of Olinda on April 29, 1916; he also assumed leadership of the archdiocese of Recife when it was united with Olinda two years later in 1918. On March 15, 1921, he became Coadjutor Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro and Titular Archbishop of Pharsalus. The appointment of a Coadjutor Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro had been rendered necessary by the failing health of the local Ordinary, Cardinal Arcoverde, Brazil's first Cardinal. As Coadjutor, Cintra, who had been consecrated to the Episcopate by Arcoverde and who had served as his auxiliary Bishop, now aided Arcoverde in the government of the See of Rio de Janeiro. Cintra also consecrated Carlos Duarte Costa (later excommunicated and Patriarch of ICAB) as Bishop of Botucatu on December 8, 1924.


Cintra eventually succeeded Cardinal Arcoverde as Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro upon the latter's death on April 18, 1930. Pope Pius XI created him Cardinal Priest of Santi Alessio e Bonifacio in the consistory of July 3 of that same year.

Also in 1930, in November, he intervened in the revolution through which Getúlio Vargas assumed power:[1] The Cardinal was credited with saving the life of the incumbent president, Washington Luís. The revolutionary forces surrounded Guanabara Palace and were set to invade it, but the Cardinal succeeded in gaining admission to the Palace to negotiate the withdrawal of the deposed President, thus avoiding bloodshed. Before entering the President's office in Guanabara Palace, he said to the cabinet: "Time does not permit vacillation. The exaltation and animation of the people is great and I urge the President to retire to a fort or barracks. I have been insisting on this for nine hours and now it is almost too late".[2] Cintra then successfully persuaded Luís to resign after a half-hour-long conversation.[2]

Among the many events to which he served as papal legate was the dedication of Christ the Redeemer on September 14, 1931. Cintra was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclave of 1939, which elected Pope Pius XII. In 1941, he founded the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, that later was granted the title of "Pontifical Catholic University".


On October 17, 1942, Cardinal Cintra died from a heart attack[1] at age 60 in Rio de Janeiro and is buried at the Shrine of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, located in the city.


  1. ^ a b TIME Magazine. Milestones October 26, 1942
  2. ^ a b TIME Magazine. "Where is the President?" November 3, 1930

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