Issue date: 07 Nov, 2006

CENTENARIOSV centenario del nacimiento de San Francisco de Javier


CENTENARIOSV centenario del nacimiento de San Francisco de Javier


Philately commemorates the 500th Anniversary of the Birth of Francisco de Javier with a stamp recalling the life and work of the most universal missionary who in the XVI century strengthen the bonds between the East and the West.

Francisco Javier was born on the 7th April 1506 in the castle of Javier in a well known family of Navarre. He studied philosophy and humanities at the Sorbonne University in Paris and then went on to study Theology. In Paris he met Saint Ignatius of Loyola and together with other school mates he took, in Our Lady of Montmartre, the vows of chastity, poverty and pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In 1537, he was ordained a priest and after the approval of the Society of Jesus by Paul III, he travelled as a missionary to the Portuguese Indies, at the request of the king of Portugal. In 1542 he arrived at Goa (Western India) where he preached, baptised and assisted the ill and needy with total abnegation. His tireless work led him to found more than 40 communities in the Pesqueria Coast and Cape Comodín. He is a universal representative of the missions and in 1545 sailed off again to the Pacific islands and Japan, establishing new religious missions. In 1552 he began to prepare his journey to spread the catholic faith in China, but he died on the3rd December of that same year in the island of Sancian, by the Chinese coast. His letters from the Far East brought light and knowledge on those unknown lands. He was venerated as apostle of the Indies and Japan and was canonized by Gregory XV in 1622 and Pio XII named him in 1904 patron of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda FIDE. There are many portraits of San Francisco Javier amongst which are worth mentioning those by Murillo, Rubens, Van Dych, L. Giordano and Goya as well as the statue by Martinez Montañes now in the chapel of the University of Seville. The stamp features an image of the saint from the painting of Elias Salaverria which is kept in the Palace of Navarre, in Pamplona. In the background there is a scene from a Japanese painting from the XIX century, kept in the Castle of Javier in Navarre, representing the arrival of San Francisco Javier to Kagoshima. This stamp, engraved by Alfredo Adán de Oro, of the FNMT-RCM, was awarded the prize for the Best Combined Technique Stamp 2006-2007 (chalcography and offset), awarded by the Government Postage Stamp Printers' Association (GPSPA).