Online Reference For Body, Mind & Spirit

Term: Auto-da-fe


Literally meaning an “act of faith,” the Auto-da-fé was a ritual held during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. After the religious authorities had determined the fate of a person accused of a crime before them, a public ritual, the Auto-da-fé, was held to announce it following which the civil authorities actually performed the punishment. Originally, the punishment consisted of a variety of forms of penance. It eventually became equated with just one form, burning to death.