Jun 13, 2023

Lieutenant-Colonel Saint Anthony

The Popular Devotion to a
Franciscan Saint Can Make Miracles
Helena P. Blavatsky
Saint Anthony of Lisbon and Padua was born around the year of 1190 and lived up to 1231

A 2023 Editorial Note:

The following text is one of the few in which Helena Blavatsky directly refers to Portugal and Brazil. The substance of the article was probably sent to Blavatsky by the Visconde (Viscount) de Figanière, her personal friend and disciple.[1]    

St. Anthony of Lisbon, also known as St. Anthony of Padua, is a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi and belongs to the first generation of Franciscans. Born around 1190, he lived until 13 June 1231. Anthony is the main author of the initial decades of the Franciscan Order. His writings have a number of points in common with the theosophy of Helena Blavatsky. Seen by many as a great pioneer, he is one of the first Portuguese thinkers whose writings and actions caused a strong worldwide impact. His texts teach a universal wisdom and denounce the corruption of the high clergy, while inviting readers to a direct, first-hand experience of the mystic teachings.

Although being a humble Franciscan in the 13th century, St. Anthony of Lisbon and Padua was a friend of truth. In a long sermon about corruption in the clergy, he wrote this about the prelates - the high ecclesiastical dignitaries of his Roman Church:

The reigning slave symbolizes the prelate, slave of malice, a boastful monkey on the roof, presiding over the people of God”. [2] These words - written between the years 1220 and 1231 - sound similar to a passage at Letter 10 in “The Mahatma Letters”. [3]

The popular image of Saint Anthony, however, has a life of its own. The legends about the miracles performed by him are numerous and extraordinary due to various factors, among them the absence of realism.

The Saint Anthony of public opinion is intensely independent from historical facts. Thanks to this, after centuries of legendary feats in many different countries, the saint was formally promoted to the post of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Portuguese Army, in Rio de Janeiro, by Don John the VI.

(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)


Lieutenant-Colonel Saint Anthony

Helena P. Blavatsky

In 1808 John VI, then Prince-Regent of Portugal, fearing Napoleon I, made his escape to Brazil; and in 1815, was crowned monarch of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarve. Recalled to his country by the Cortes of Portugal, he sailed back to Lisbon in 1821. And now, a very interesting document, containing neither more nor less than the appointment of long-dead St. Anthony to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Portuguese army, by this Prince, is just published in the Lisbon paper Revista Militar. The following is a verbatim translation from the Portuguese of this unique proclamation:

…  Don João, by the will of God, Prince-Regent of Portugal and both Algarve, of the two seas on both sides of Africa, Ruler of Guinea, and master of navigation and commerce in Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia and India, etc., etc., etc. By the present we declare to all whom it may concern that, in consideration of our special devotion to the very glorious St. Anthony, who, moreover is constantly addressed in all their needs and in full faith by the inhabitants of this capital, and likewise for the reason that the belligerent powers of our armies are evidently under the protection and enjoying the blessing of God, and that thus the peace of Portugal is ensured - a propitious result which, we are firmly persuaded, is solely due to the powerful intercession of the said Saint - we have resolved: to confer upon him the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and an adequate salary, which will be received by him in the shape of our royal decorations and orders (forma das minhas régias ordens), through the office of Field-marshal Xavier Cabral da Cunha, who in his capacity of General-Adjutant, is now temporarily holding the office of Commander-in-Chief of our armies. So be it. The said salary to be entered in the official books, and to be paid regularly at each term. In assurance of the authenticity of the present we herewith sign it with our name, and stamp it with the large seal bearing our arms. Given in the city of Rio de Janeiro, August 31st, A.D. 1814.

We may add that this is not the first time that deceased saints have been appointed to high military positions. Saint Yago, in his capacity of Captain-General, received for years his salary from the Spanish Treasury, it being turned over by him (?) to the Church bearing his name.


[1] The article is reproduced from “Collected Writings”, H. P. Blavatsky, TPH, USA, vol. II, pp. 180-181. It was first published at “The Theosophist”, India, December, 1879, pp. 62-63. See more on St. Anthony on page 16 in the present edition of “The Aquarian”. (CCA)

[2] From the Complete Works, Obras Completas, St. António de Lisboa, in two volumes, Lello & Irmão Editores, Portugal, edition in Latin and Portuguese, 1987; see vol. I, p. 773. (CCA)

[3] The Mahatma Letters”, see pp. 57-58, especially 58, where the false gods are mentioned. (CCA)


The article “Lieutenant-Colonel Saint Anthony” was published as an independent item at the websites of the Independent Lodge of Theosophists on 13 June 2023. It was first published in the April 2021 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”. The original 2021 Editorial Note was expanded in June 2023.


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* The Science of Tears, by Manuel Bernardes.


Helena Blavatsky (photo) wrote these revealing words: “Deserve, then desire”.