Historical narratives describing the demise of a sixteenth-century Jesuit mission on the Chesapeake grew from direct accounts of indigenous murder to elaborate constructions of the missionaries' divine sacrifice. A seriation of details from the seven contemporary Jesuit sources demonstrates how and when Father Juan Baptista de Segura and his brethren came to be celebrated as martyrs. Once apotheosized, the Ajacan Jesuits' mythic stature grew despite historically established contradictions. Seemingly analogous martyrdoms, the anticipated self-sacrifice of Segura and his cadre, the individual and corporate benefits of divine forfeiture for clerics like the Jesuits, and parallels between biblical narratives and the sequence of events at the short-lived Chesapeake settlement led to an ecclesiastic apotheosis of the Ajacan missionaries.
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Seth Mallios; The Apotheosis of Ajacan's Jesuit Missionaries. Ethnohistory 1 April 2007; 54 (2): 223–244. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-2006-061
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