Luiz Mendes do Nascimento was born on January 4th, 1940, in the state of Acre, in Brazil. His father was a native of Uruburetama, Ceara, and his mother was of pure Acre descent. His wife, Madrinha Rizelda, is the daughter of Mrs Ana de Souza and of Mr Elias Brito, one of the very first disciples of Master Irineu.
On the subject of the evolution and expansion of the tradition of the Santo Daime, special attention must be given to the person of the Master Counselor Luiz Mendes, who accompanied our founder, the Imperial Master Raimundo Irineu Serra, during the last nine years of his earthly existence.
While Master Ireneu was still alive, Luiz Mendes was proclaimed “official speaker” because of his ability to use spoken language in a highly spiritual manner. He is responsible for the hinário (collection of sacred hymns) “Vós sois Baliza” by Germano Guilherme, one of the first disciples of Master Ireneu. Formerly, when this hinário was sung, the hymns of Luiz Mendes — of which there were few at the time — were sung at the beginning. The first hinário of Padrinho Luiz, entitled “O Centenário”, is now complete and numbers 132 hymns. “Novo Horizonte”, his second hinário, presently consists of 36 hymns.
For two years after the passage of Master Irineu to the spirit world, Padrinho Luiz attended the works in the original Alto Santo church, under the direction of Mr Leoncio Gomes da Silva (who had been appointed “president” directly by Master Irineu). Later on, he contributed to the development and expansion of the Daimista tradition by becoming one the founders of CEFLURIS, under the direction of Padrinho Sebastião Mota de Melo, then of CICLU, under the direction of Mr Francisco Fernando Filho (Tetéu), then of CICLUJUR, under the direction of Messrs Tufi Rachid Amin and Ladislaw Nogueira. It was in 1998 that the Padrinho Luiz, along with his family, daughters and sons, finally founded officially and legally his own Church, the Centro Eclético Flor do Lótus Iluminado – CEFLI.
Today, the following centers are under the spiritual guidance and direction of Luiz Mendes: the Matrix-Church, Centro Eclético Flor do Lótus Iluminado – CEFLI, with the designated churches: Estrela d’Alva (Vila Fortaleza, presided over by Mr Saturnino Brito do Nascimento); Luzeiro da Manha (Bujari, suburb of Rio Branco, presided over by Mr Emilio Mendonça Furtado); Céu da Fortaleza (Pauini, Amazona, presided over by Mr Florestan Neto); Centro de Iluminação Cristo Luz Universal de Minas Gerais – CICLUMIG (Santa Luzia, suburb of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, presided over by Mr Eduardo Gabrich).
Master Counselor Mendes was also the originator and promoter of the Festival of the Centenary of Master Irineu in Rio Branco, in 1991. In his own words, “The first time the idea of commemorating this date emerged as a necessity, I was the one who articulated it, a year earlier. I then begun spreading the idea and inviting several lineages who partake in the same holy beverage, including lineages outside Alto Santo such as: Mapiá, the Barquinha and the União do Vegetal. Each Church brought its own Daime. It was a full week of festivities, from one Sunday to the next, the pivotal event being Master Irineu’s birthday (December 17th). This was, in my opinion, one of the greatest events in our history.”
Padrinho Mendes presently lives in Vila Fortaleza, the community he founded. Vila Fortaleza is located in the municipality of Capixaba, close to the Bolivian border, on the shore of the Xipamano River, roughly 100 km from Rio Branco, Acre (northwest Brazil). With him are his wife and his children, Saturnino, Solon, Solange, Elias, Luiz, Holderness and Rosalange, along with their respective families, as well as friends, brothers and sisters. They work and live in the forest, agriculturally self-reliant in their own dietary needs, cultivating the Jagube vine and the Rainha plant, and helping to promote the preservation of the environment and sustainable development.
As a living source of information on Master Irineu, Padrinho Luiz receives with great pleasure and profound joy all those who seek to know the stories and teachings which constitute the legacy of the Founder of the Santo Daime tradition. To learn more, you can read the testimonials contained in the “Depoimentos” [personal accounts] section of the www.mestreirineu.org site.