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The Great South Lands of the Holy Spirit
Another Four Hundred Years!

By Matthew Bolte and David Stanfield

This banner is designed to celebrate a significant event in the prophetic life of our region and to declare a further blessing for another four hundred years! This Pentecost Sunday, the 14th of May 2006 is the four hundredth anniversary of Pedro Fernandez de Quiros landing at Vanuatu's Big Bay. Thinking he had landed on the great southern continent (that Europeans believed must be down in the South Pacific to balance Europe on the globe) he took possession of all the islands and lands as far as the South Pole and declared them the Southern Land of the Holy Spirit.

The banner depicts three ships coming from Peru in the East. Their rockets and fire-wheels above the ships foreshadow the joy at finding what they believed to be the great southern continent. This joy is poignantly described in the written record of the day. The fireworks over Espirito Santo, in the Vanuatu group of islands, represent the celebrations that took place in May 2006 to mark the 400th anniversary of the proclamations.

The figure '400' reflects both the looking back and looking forward as we declare another four hundred years! The flaming dove represents the Holy Spirit having descended on "all the islands and lands as far as the South Pole" just as he descended on Jesus "as a dove" at His baptism. This reflects the main declaration made by Pedro Fernandez that these nations of the South Pacific were The Southern lands Of the Holy Spirit. The nations themselves are being kindled by Holy Spirit and are in the process of being consumed and purified by His presence.

A Little Bit of History

Pedro Fernandez' party of three ships, San Pedro y Paulo, San Pedro and Los Tres Reyes left Peru in on 21 December 1605, with 300 crew and soldiers. In May 1606 the expedition reached the islands of Vanuatu. Pedro Fernandez landed on a large island which he took to be part of the southern continent, and named it La Australia del Espiritu Santo (the Southern Land of the Holy Spirit). The island is still called Espiritu Santo. Here he founded a colony which he called Nova Jerusalem. (Australia was a play on words for Fernandez's sponsors, the Austrian line of Kings at that time rulers of Spain (including and what is now Portugal). The name "Australia" was actually coined by his translator in 1625 and later was strongly endorsed by Matthew Flinders as the name of the biggest land mass in the region despite the fact that Fernandez applied it to all the Islands and lands as far as the south pole.)

Here is a description that survives of the events of that day of Pentecost 400 years ago.

"On that night all three vessels displayed many lights, and they sent off many rockets and fire-wheels. All the artillery was fired off; and when the natives heard the noise and the echoes resounding over the hills and valleys, they raised great shouts. We sounded drums, rang the bells, had music and dancing, and had other forms of rejoicing, in which the men showed great pleasure.

It was not quite dawn when the Camp Master and ministers, taking with them an armed party in the two boats, went on shore. They landed near the launch with four small pieces to be used in a fort. Presently, with joyous diligence a booth made of branches was set up on the beach, surrounded by stakes, to serve as a fort in case of necessity. Within, the monks arranged a clean and well-ordered altar under a canopy. This was the first church, and was named by the Captain "Our Lady of Loreto". Everything having been arranged as well as the time would allow, it was reported to the Captain, and presently he left the ship with the rest of the people. All the three companies were drawn up in good order on the beach. The officers and soldiers looked so active and honorable, with the crosses on their breasts, and I believe, if His Majesty could see them, with such sharpened resolves to finish what they had commenced, and to begin much greater things, that he would estimate their value at what it was worth, and increase his bounties.

The Royal Ensign came forth with the standard in his hands. The banners, which were fluttering and brightening the whole scene, received their tribute from discharges of muskets and arquebuses. Presently the Captain came out and went down on his knees, saying: "To God alone be the honour and glory." Then, putting his hand on the ground, he kissed it, and said: "O Land! sought for so long, intended to be found by many, and so desired by me!"

The Great South Lands of the Holy SpiritThen the Admiral came out with a cross made of the orange wood of the country, which the Captain had caused to be made. Our Father Commissary, with his five monks, all bare-footed, kneeling on the beach, received it in their arms, saying with great tenderness: "I adore thee, O Holy Cross, for the Author of our life, made flesh, died on thee for me, so great a sinner, and for the whole human race." Raising it and singing the "Lignum", with the people in procession, we arrived at the door of the church; and there, on a pedestal which had been placed for the purpose, the Captain planted our cross, and ordered that the people should come round, and that the secretary should read, as in a loud voice he did read, the following documents:-

"Be witnesses the heavens and the earth, and the sea with all its inhabitants, and those who are present, that I, the Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in these parts which up to the present time have been unknown, raise and plant in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the eternal Father, and of the Holy Virgin Mary, true God and man, this sign of the Holy Cross, on which His most holy body was crucified, and where He gave His life as a ransom for the whole human race.

In the same place, and at the same time the six following possessions were read, which our people heard with joy and gladness, the eyes of many filling with tears.

Possession in the name of the most Holy Trinity (i.e. Father, Son and Holy Ghost!)

In these parts of the South, until now unknown, where I am, and have come with authority from the Supreme Roman Pontiff, Clement VIII, and by order of the King, Don Philip III, King of Spain, dispatched by his Council of State, I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in (1, 2, 3) the name of the most Holy Trinity, take possession of all the islands and lands that I have newly discovered, and desire to discover, as far as the South Pole.

Possession in the name of the Catholic Church

I take possession of all these, the said lands, in (2) the name of Jesus Christ, savior of all men, how unknown so ever they may be, and in (4) the name of His mother the most Holy Virgin Mother of Loreto, and in 5) the name of St. Peter and (6) St. Paul, and (7) of all the holy apostles and disciples, and in (8) the name of the universal Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff, and in (9) the name of the whole Catholic Church, and (10) of all those pious, just, and holy things that have a right in such possession; which I do with joy and to the end that to all the natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.

Possession in the name of St. Francis and his Order

I take possession of all the said lands in (11) the name of my father, St. Francis, and of (12) all his religion and professors of it, and being present, in the name of the (13) Father Commissary, Friar Martin de Monilla, (14) Friar Mateo de Vascones, (15) Friar Antonio Quintero, and (16) Friar Juan de Marlo, all four priests; and in (17) the names of Fray Juan de Santa Maria and (18) Fray Francisco Lopez, both lay brethren, come here, all six, at my request by order of His Holiness and of His Majesty, and of their Commissary General and Provincial of the province of the Twelve Apostles of Peru: from whose order I desire that all the workers sent to tend this vineyard may come, and the labourers who have to show His holy word and doctrine, and to gather in the fruits.

Possession in the name of John of God and his Order

I take possession of all the said lands in (19) the name of John of God, and (20) of all the professed brothers of his Order, and being present, in (21) the name of Lazaro de Santa Maria, who came here in compliance with a brief of His Holiness, given to me for that end, that the same Brotherhood might found, administer, and maintain by their professed charity all the hospitals there may be in those parts, so necessary that the natives may learn all our methods, and hold us in the love and veneration which the sight of our curing the native sick, and giving them other benefits, deserve.

Possession in the name of the Order of the Holy Ghost

I take possession of all these lands, by the right that His Holiness and His Majesty granted, to make just divisions of the lands and of the people on them; for (22) all the Knights that are in these parts of the Order of the Holy Ghost as discoverers, settlers, defenders, and preservers, and no other, obliged without pay to serve in all the royal and public employments, with every human and divine office as regards the natives as their defenders, and with profession of all the rest that is in their constitution.

Possession in the name of His Majesty

Finally, I take possession of this bay, named the Bay of St. Philip and St. James, and of its port named Santa Cruz, and of the site on which is to be founded the city of New Jerusalem, in latitude 15 degrees 10', and of all the lands, and of all the lands which I sighted and am going to sight, and of all this region of the south as far as the Pole, which from this time shall be called Australia del Espiritu Santo, with all its dependencies and belongings; and this for ever, and so long as right exists, in the name of (23) the King, Don Philip, third of that name King of Spain, and of the eastern and western Indies, my King and natural Lord, whose is the cost and expense of this fleet, and from whose will and power came its mission, with the government, spiritual and temporal, of these lands and people, in whose royal name are displayed there his three banners, and I hereby hoist his royal standard.

The reading being finished, all cried with loud voices: "Long live the King of Spain, Don Philip III, our Lord!" Then we entered the church to give due thanks to God.

They said three Masses, and the fourth, which was sung, was by our Father Commissary. All the people took the sacrament very fervently. This done, the three Ensigns, who now held the banners in their hands, inclined them to the ground in front of the altar, the Royal Ensign holding the royal standard. The Commissary blessed them with great solemnity; and, at a certain signal that was given to the ships, whose mast-head banners displayed the royal arms, and at the sides the two columns and the plus ultra, with the streamers fluttering, fired off all their guns with full charges; the soldiers discharged muskets and arquebuses, and the gunners sent off rockets and fire-wheels. In the middle of all this noise, all shouted with almost infinite joy, and many times: "Long live the Faith of Christ!" And with this the celebration of the festival came to an end. "

It is from this declaration that many Christians chose to accept as a prophetic decree that Australia has a Godly heritage that they can claim and expect to see worked out. There were some less positive things done and said at the time which have been and will again be handed back to the Lord during the celebrations for Him to deal with. These include a caveat that was added that all the blessings would be converted into a great evils, and bring everything "to ruin" in the case that the lands become tainted by the "heresy" of the reformation and "that the English and Dutch heretics would infect, with the depravity of their apostasy, countless numbers of Gentiles in the south seas" (as they did!).

Here is to another 400 years of the Holy Spirit's dominance!

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