Statue of Christ the Redeemer (06:15)
Theologian Robert Beckford explores the profusion of ethnic diversity, culture and spirituality in Brazil. Christ the Redeemer statue was built by wealthy Brazilians who wanted to establish Brazil as a center for Christianity. Church services are held at the statue which receives 5 million visitors per year.
Brazilian Christianity Embraces Samba Dance (01:25)
Padre Omar explains how Brazil's Samba dance is a key ingredient in understanding Brazilian Christianity. Music and dance are used as evangelical tools to take the message of Christianity to the people. Samba dancing creates a passionate religious movement.
Sao Francisco Church in Salvadore (03:49)
Samba came to Brazil from Africans slaves that were brought to Salvadore to mine gold. The Sao Francisco church is adorned with over one ton of gold Baroque statues, paintings and furnishings. More African slaves are imported to Brazil by the Portuguese than any country in the world.
Slaves Practice Candomblé in Secret (05:38)
The Catholic Church forces the slaves to be baptized, but they secretly practice the Dance to the Gods. Practitioners are suppressed by the Church and police. Worshipers of Candomble believe that every person has their own personal deity, or "Orisha."
Amazon Theater and Opera House (07:21)
The Amazon Theater and Opera House is built by rubber plantation barons who import Italian marble and French frescoes. Artificial rubber is invented and the rubber industry declines; the theater is closed for 90 years. The Brazilian government restores it back to its original splendor.
Indigenous Tribes of the Rainforest (04:07)
Most indigenous tribes live along the rivers of the rain forest. The tribes practice a mixture of Catholicism and their own spiritual traditions. Beckford visits a tribe and observes their religious practices.
Metropolitan Cathedral in Sao Paulo (05:00)
German and Italian architects design the neo-Gothic style Metropolitan Cathedral. It is the largest cathedral in South America. The cathedral's massive dome is a replica of the Florence Cathedral in Italy.
Igreja Presbyterian Cathedral (02:52)
After the Catholic Church, the Protestant church is the largest Christian denomination in Brazil. The Protestant churches reject the formality and pageantry of the Catholic Church as well as the gold ornamentation. Today Protestantism in Brazil is divided into hundreds of denominations.
Pentecostalism in Brazil (05:07)
Pentecostalism is the fastest growing Protestant religion in Brazil. Beckford visits the Igreja Evangelical Assembly of God. The Catholic Church is concerned about the rapid growth of Pentecostalism.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida (04:35)
The Cathedral is named after the statue of a black Mother Mary that was discovered buried in river mud. The statue came to be associated with stories of miracle healing. The cathedral's stained glass circular dome stylistically represents focus on the heavens rather than on a priest.
The people take over the streets during Carnival. The celebration is begun as a response to the self-deprivation during Lent; the word "Carnavale" means "farewell to meat." The Samba schools compete for best performance and costume.
Credits: Seven Wonders of Brazil (00:0-16)
Credits: Seven Wonders of Brazil
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