Antônio Gomes da Silva, “The Messenger of Peace”
A Familia Juramidam / March 21, 2011
What follows is the research done on another Companion of Mestre, this time on Antonio Gomes da Silva, who arrived in the mission of Irineu Serra around 1938 being this way the last of the four to join the works of the Virgin of the Conception, the Queen of the Forest.
Mentioning his origins, Antonio Gomes da Silva was born in Ceará, in April 30 of 1885, where he married Mrs. Maria Nazaré and with whom he had five children. Then he moved to Belém do Pará and in 1921 he went to Rio Branco, Acre, where he worked on the rubber plantations and later in agriculture, like many migrant pioneers who came from the northlands and later joined the doctrine of Irineu Serra. Becoming widowed, he married again to Mrs. Maria, having of this marriage four more children.
Teófilo Maia, in conversations with Mr. José Gomes, Mrs. Adália and the already deceased Vó Preta, tells a little about the history of Antônio Gomes.
Mr. José Gomes told me, ’round the corner of Tucumã, in the community Caminho do Sol (Path of the Sun), that his father, Antônio Gomes, was a merchant who had a mill where today is located the Calafate district, in Rio Branco.
He worked as a kind of “Agricultural Bank”, lending money to farmers and being paid with products such as corn, sugarcane and cassava, and then producing flour, brown sugar, corn dough and so on, then selling it to the barons’ mills in order to supply the rubber tappers.
He told me also that he was from Sobral, in Ceará, where he worked as an estafeta (sort of postman who delivered mail and goods in rural areas) before coming for the first time to Acre and where he later on would return to marry Dona Nazareth, who did not want to come to the forest. So he spent some time again in Sobral, where he returned to work as a courier. But, coming one of those periods of drought, and as he had already constituted family, with wife and children, he had no alternative but to go back to the colony that he had left at Volta do Empresa, nowadays the city of Rio Branco, where he began to work with the mill to supply rubber tappers.
The picture on the left, kindly sent by Natan and delivered to him by Mrs. Nazaré Grangeiro, presents Mr. Antonio Gomes with the approximate age of 40 years old.
According to Eduardo Bayer, the technique used is the crayon, based on the original photo of his voter registration, according to his family. This technique was very common in the countryside, when photography was not yet widespread and the population sought this service to copy larger images of their relatives or to create compositions, when the result is more an idea than a true representation of the person. According to Eduardo Bayer, such service can be found still today in regional markets and fairs.
On their arrival in Acre and his encounter with the mission of Irineu Sierra, Jairo da Silva Carioca tells,
Brazil was still under the dictatorship regime of Getúlio Vargas. In the state of Acre, ships still would bring entire families of north easterners that were running away from the drought, seeking a better quality of life in the region. “In one of those ships, narrates Mrs. Zulmira Gomes, daddy brought us here. We suffered a lot during the ship journey until here, but we arrived with faith in God. Here, after a while, daddy was very sick, feeling a very strong mind perturbation and I was tired to look all around on the search for his cure. Compadre* Zé das Neves asked if I didn’t know the session of a tall black man who was doing healings in Vila Ivonete. I said no. He insisted until he convinced me to go there. I presented myself to Mestre; he looked at the state of my father and made an appointment for the next Wednesday as the beginning of his healing work. But he walked out of there better at the same day (she smiles), and with three healing sessions he was cured. Then my father said he would never abandon that (spiritual) work,” narrates Ms. Zulmira Gomes.
*Compadre: a colloquial way of saying “godfather”.
On the unfold of this this episode, Antonio Gomes soon settled in the fraternity after acquiring the colony of the brother-in-law of Maria Damião, and was because of the numerous family of the patriarch that in 1938 the ranks of the doctrine would have a significant increase in its numbers.
She narrates [dona Zulmira Gomes] the end of the first formation cycle of the doctrine. Mestre Irineu, who was already giving his first steps in the institutionalization of his works, relied on a considerable group of followers. Of the new family, besides Antônio Gomes da Silva, the patriarch, his children Leôncio Gomes, Raimundo Gomes, Adália Gomes, José Gomes and Mrs. Zulmira Gomes also started to attend the sessions. Mrs. Zulmira, married to Mr. Sebastião Gonçalves, took his children Raimundo Gonçalves, João Gomes, Benedita Gomes, Eloisa Gomes, and Peregrina Gomes to the mission. This family strengthened the edification of the doctrine like Antônio Gomes himself who started to receive a rich and instructive hinário where he narrates, “Mestre worked, was seeing himself almost alone and asked of Jesus Christ to open his path.”
One of his daughters, Mrs. Cecília Gomes da Silva, the widow of Germano Guilherme and deceased in 2009, also added,
My father was from Ceará (…)* he came here to work in the rubber plantations hoping to improve in life (…) he worked very hard in this life, in this forest (…) it was in the rubber plantation that he met and married my mother (…) after a while, to work in the rubber plantation wasn’t helping anymore and then he decided to come to tow, to Rio Branco, which was where I was born (…) when he met Master he was no longer a rubber tapper (…) we came into the hands of Mestre through an illness of my father (… ) then he saw a friend of his who said he knew someone who was able to cure my father without any cost. Then my father went there (…) I think this was around the year of 1938 (…).
*some accounts are originally edited.
Here I was born and here he finished his time. This while indoctrinating us in the Catholic Church. Then he fell ill, came here, to the company of godfather Irineu, was treated and was cured.
My father died with 62 years of age, in 1946. My mother died when I was two years old. Then he got married with Mrs. Maria, who finished the task to raise me and that today resides here, in Alto Santo, with Adália. My father had four children with Mrs. Maria, my stepmother, two of them whom are still alive. Of the first marriage, that I knew, we were five, and now there is just me. From the second marriage are still alive Mrs. Adália and Zé Gomes. The youngest couple of my siblings died, remaining the oldest. Then we settle ourselves here, where Mestre worked and fought. Later on he was gone and we stood behind, fighting to trail in the same path with much difficulty.
Vamos todos meus irmãos
E não devemos esmorecer
Que o Mestre que nos ensina
Ele tem força e tem poder
Vamos enfrentar com coragem
sem a nada nós temer
porque Deus nos ajuda
e nós só temos que vencer
It is known that there were about 20 people who regularly drank Daime with Mestre Irineu in the late 30s, many of whom, like Antônio Gomes himself, had reached the mission to cure an illness but ended up staying in Mestre’s cult because they felt supported and protected by him [Sandra Lúcia Goulart]. As complements the testimony of Mrs. Percília Matos da Silva,
“(…) at that time it was very few people, not like today (…) there was Mrs. Raimunda, who was the wife of Mestre… I mean, at that time they lived together, this for many years! Only then they married. There was her mother, Maria Franco, who later married João Pereira, who was also an early disciple of Mestre, along with Zé das Neves and Germano Guilherme (…) then it came Antônio Gomes with his children, many of them becoming married to others who had been already following Mestre (…) and this way it was growing. Many arrived disillusioned by the doctors, without hope, and they would find a cure (…) and thus people would settle near Mestre, because he was like a father who welcomes his children, who instructs and protects. People came to him asking for help, an advice to a son who didn’t listen, an alcoholic husband, and Mestre had that wisdom, that power to guide us all.”
Regarding his personality, besides being a merchant and patriarch of a large family, Guido Carioca tells us:
Antonio Gomes was also who, a day before the works, went to the homes of brothers and sisters that were having disagreements, asking for peace between them. He had the task of appeasing the brothers and sisters who were with marital problems, that is, he was known as “the messenger of peace” at the time.
O amor divino
Que o mestre nos entregou
Da nossa mãe soberana
E do nosso pai criador
Este amor divino
Nós devemos consagrar
Que é o amor de Jesus Cristo
Ele manda o mestre nos dar
O amor divino
Gravemos no coração
Que esta luz o Mestre dá
Para todos seus irmãos
O amor Divino
Da nossa mãe criadora
É o alimento do espírito
E da matéria sofredora
Antonio Gomes received the hinário that is now called “Amor Divino” (Divine Love), of instructive tone and of great praise to the session of Irineu Serra, like his last hymn that was received shortly before his passing and which says, “I never saw in this world such great treasure, where all stars shine well drizzled with gold.”
His devotion to Mestre and the doctrine is clear, and his hinário book is the testimony of his healing, this happened on his arrival to the doctrine and that is sung in verses of recognition and praise to the spiritual world. The interesting thing about his hinário is that, in the healing sessions, when Mestre decided to sing a hinário after the concentration period, he usually sang the hinário of Antônio Gomes.
On his fifth hymn, “Declaration”, Luiz Carlos Teixeira de Freitas tells of his encounter with Mrs. Adália, who is the daughter and the caretaker of Antônio Gomes’ hinário.
I was taught that a certain hymn of Antonio Gomes was only to be sung in healing services. However, when I knew that the healing services conducted by Mestre Irineu were in pious silence, the reason why what I had been taught should not proceed, I sought to know more about it with Mrs. Adália de Castro Grangeiro, daughter of Antonio Gomes and the caretaker of his hinário.
She calmly told me that after the passing of his father, Mestre Irineu asked to place his fifth hymn again in the danced services, as Antonio Gomes, in life, left it out of the hinário services for his own reasons, though, according to her, “he had never declared that it was not to be sung…”
“And did you place it back in the hinário?”
“Yeah, I even tried, but people were not used, they didn’t feel like rehearsing and I wasn’t born to give orders…”
“You’re telling me that Mestre asked and nobody did?! And that this hymn is until today out of the danced services just because they did not attend his request?”
“And what about Mestre? Didn’t he ask again?”
“Ah! He never spoke the same thing twice, unless the brother or sister didn’t understand and asked for an explanation. When he spoke, who paid attention and wanted to obey, obeyed…”
Meu chefe me deu licença
Para hoje nós cantar
para todos ver um milagre
Que eu tenho para mostrar
Eu recebi esta cura
com muita satisfação
me acho hoje curado
junto com meus três irmãos
*On the account of Luiz Carlos Teixeira de Freitas regarding the silence in the healing sessions, it is important to emphasize that the hinários, when sung in healing sessions, were held after the service, which often had no formal closure.
From his hinário also comes the first mention of the name “Juramidam”, later reported by the earliest followers – and according to Mrs. Percília herself – as the name of Irineu Serra in the heavenly plan. An example would be the account of Daniel Arcelino Serra, answering Luiz Carlos Teixeira de Freitas, when the latter says,
“He [Mestre Irineu] spoke of Juramidam, talking, before Antônio Gomes received this hymn?”
“Yes, since the beginning.”
“And what he would say since the beginning?”
“That Juramidam was his own name. Here he was Irineu, but in the heavens his name is this, the name given by the divinity to him… He did not create himself, right? He already came with that particular name – his rank, his spirit, there in the eternity. Nobody gets there calling “Irineu”, because there nobody knows who Irineu is. There he is Juramidam. So when we make our prayers, our requests, we have to ask to Juramidam. You will see Christ speaking within you; pure, pure, pure. It is indeed God, truly.
O General Juramidam
Os seus trabalhos é no astral
Entra no reino de Deus
Quem tem força divinal
Another detail is that, like Guido Carioca tells us, “Mr. Antonio Gomes was the brother who first received a mazurka in the works, and it was he who taught to dance the mazurkas that the other followers were receiving”. Nazaré Grangeiro, daughter of Mrs. Adália, also says that his grandfather was a simple person in his life and in the doctrine’s works, and Teófilo Maia complements that Antonio Gomes was the “General of Harmony” in the battalion, including being responsible for the discipline of the dance in the male ranks as well as acting as a conciliator between the fardados.
And it was with this conciliatory spirit that, after a short period of just eight years in the Daime, Antonio Gomes would give farewell to the fraternity during a difficult period, in 1946, when the session was closed by Mestre due to disagreements happening among the members. As his penultimate hymn recounts: “My Prince is offended / Because all of us offend Him / You closed Your session / The fault is ours.” This would be the heartfelt lament of the devoted companion that would not witness in life the reopening of the session. On this episode, and the passage of Antonio Gomes, Jairo Carioca accounts,
Before his passage, strongly shaken in his physical health, Antônio Gomes had received a hymn that announced this moment that would be lived for everyone in the mission. One of the verses of this hymn states: “The session being closed, we are outside of the power, we are inside the clamor (outcry), for everybody see.” Fearing this clamor was that Antônio Gomes “went on a horse from house to house asking for the brothers and sisters to humble themselves and ask Mestre to open the session,” tells Mrs. Lourdes Carioca. In fact, the discords in between the fraternity had always been one of the main dynamics that displeased Mestre Irineu. This disqualified attitude that was being practiced for some of his group was really the strongest reason for the courageous attitude taken by the great leader. For who was always preaching evolution, the fact that his followers were hurting one another was Inadmissible.
The reopening of the session was one of the dreams that Antônio Gomes da Silva saw in the spiritual realms. In August of 1946 he started his farewell to the community. In one of the visits that Mestre Irineu made to him, before his passing away, Antônio Gomes asked that, before his closing of eyes, Mestre would remain responsible for his family. Exactly what his hymn described: “Here at your hands I arrived almost dead / to thee I surrender myself altogether with my family.”
On the 14th of August of the same year he passed away. “The hymn Só Eu Cantei Na Barra (I Sung Alone on the Bar), is about the passage of Antônio Gomes. He was very sick. The hymn states, ‘Death is very simple; it is equal to being born’. When I listened to it I realized that we couldn’t do much. The prescription, as Mestre says, is the earth,” narrates Mrs. Percília Matos. (…) His death culminates with the reopening of the spiritual works. “Little after he died was that Mestre opened the session again,” comments Mrs. Maria Gomes.
Attending to his request, Mestre began to look after all of his children. Among them were Mrs. Zulmira Gomes, Leôncio Gomes and Raimundo Gomes, that were already standing out in the preservation of the doctrine’s teachings. Mrs. Zulmira and Mr. Raimundo Gomes, for example, started to receive two wonderful hinários.
In an interview collected by Florestan Neto, from the book “Tales of the White Moon”, Walcírio Grangeiro, grandson of Antônio Gomes, recounts the moments when his grandfather, already very ill, seeks the aid of Mestre.
(…) Then godfather Irineu went home and took Daime, because at that time, if the person arrived with such a problem, he took Daime to seek the healing up there [in the astral], right? In any way he would bring back the healing. But he took Daime and received the hymn “I Sang Alone in the Bar”. Godfather Irineu went to see my grandpa and said, “I brought the response that I owed you”. Hence, Mestre sang the hymn for my grandpa Antônio Gomes. It was after he sang the hymn that the comfort came. He understood; he understood the message. Perhaps no one understands, but in the moment that grandpa Antônio Gomes was dying, in that suffering, the hymn was a word of great comfort. Then grandpa asked to gather everyone, the whole family plus the fraternity, and told them to start praying. Grandpa Antônio Gomes said: “Start praying, praying, praying…” Then he closed his eyes to never again awake in the material life.
Só eu cantei na barra 
Que fiz estremecer
Se tu queres vida eu te dou
Que ninguém não quer morrer
A morte é muito simples
Assim eu vou te dizer
Eu comparo a morte
É igualmente ao nascer
Depois que desencarna
Firmeza no coração
Se Deus te der licença
Volta à outra encarnação
Na terra como no céu
É o dizer de todo mundo
Se não preparar o terreno
Fica o espírito vagabundo
*** “Bar” (Barra) is a word that in the Acre region refers to the threshold formed by clouds when they cover almost the whole sky, or it can also be the boundary between day and night, between life and death. [Sandra Lucia Goulart]
Among the offspring of Antonio Gomes figure the granddaughter Peregrina Gomes, daughter of Zulmira Gomes, which two decades later would marry Irineu Serra and become the inheritor of his spiritual work on earth. It was also the son of Antônio Gomes, Leôncio Gomes, who received from Mestre still in life the presidency of the session, since that the already Mrs. Peregrina Gomes Serra was still too young for that. It was in 1986, with the passage of Raimundo Gomes, also a son of Antonio Gomes, that Mrs. Peregrina assumes the command alone, a position that she still occupies today in the services’ headquarters of the Santo Daime doctrine, in Alto Santo.
In this picture we see Leôncio Gomes, son of Antônio Gomes, holding the flag of the Santo Daime and having at his side José das Neves Júnior, Francisco Grangeiro and others. The photo was sent by Mivan Gedeon and is part of the photographic collection of Daniel Serra, Mestre’s nephew.
About the caretaking of his hinário, Guido Carioca explains that Mrs. Adália Gomes, wife of Mr. Francisco Grangeiro, at the age of eight years old received from her father, Antônio Gomes, the mission to cultivate his hymns, a task which she still performs at the age of seventy seven years old. Currently, the hinário “Divine Love” is officially sung on All Souls’ Day on November 2, along with the other three hinários of the Companions – Germano Guilherme, Joao Pereira and Maria Damião.
Despite not having seen in life in the reopening of the session, Antônio Gomes, as well as the closest followers of Irineu Serra, left a unique legacy to the doctrine which he so revered and helped to maintain, besides Mestre and a loyal group of pioneers, until his final breath. Among his fruits, his hinário is perhaps one of the greatest proofs of his work on earth, of the healing and of the spiritual recognition, which was made official by Irineu Sierra as one of the five that makes up the doctrinal basis of the Santo Daime. Therefore, is the word of his last hymn that closes this homage to one of the four so-called companions of our beloved General Juramidam.
Este Rei que aqui está
Que o Divino Pai mandou
Ele veio para este mundo
Para ser o Dominador
Mesmo assim eu dizendo
Ninguém quer acreditar
Que Ele tem este poder
Deste globo governar
Ele veio ser a baliza
Deste mundo de ilusão
Com o poder do Pai Eterno
Ele traz na palma da mão
Ele veio para ensinar
Neste mundo universal
Para todos nós trabalhar
Para a vida espiritual
Manda nós se corrigir
E ter toda consciência
Para ver o que nós precisa
Para a nossa existência
Quem não tiver consciência
Não pode ter lealdade
Em nada tem firmeza
E nuca fala a verdade
O nosso Rei aonde reside
É um palácio de nobreza
Não tem com que se compare
Essa Divina Pureza
Para ir lá nesse palácio
É com força superior
Isso eu digo é porque vi
Que o meu Rei me amostrou
Eu nunca vi neste mundo
Tão importante tesouro
Aonde brilham todas estrelas
Bem chuviscadas de ouro
This article was originally written by Rodrigo Borges Conti Tavares in Porutuguese, and translated into English by Moonvine.