Do you know a real healer

The deep fall of the miracle healer João de Deus

He is God to his followers. You come to the self-proclaimed faith healer when there seems to be no hope anywhere else. More than a thousand people make a pilgrimage to Abadiânia, an abandoned town in the heart of the Brazilian state of Goiás. There João Teixeira de Faria built a spiritual empire and made a fortune with it. Faria, who calls himself João de Deus (John of God), wants countless people to be freed from their suffering. Even TV talk queen Oprah Winfrey, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Hollywood star Shirley MacLaine and Brazil’s president Michel Temer were hoping for him.

But the myth of the miracle healer has burst: Around 500 women have brought charges against Faria for sexual abuse. After Faria had been in hiding for several days, he turned himself in to the police and said: He was placing himself in the divine hands and those of earthly justice.

500 ads

The story of the millionaire healer, who only went to school for two years and has no medical training, moves all of Brazil. A few days ago, the TV station O Globo broadcast a report in which two women alleged abuse against the faith healer. The police received 500 reports within a few days. The statements of the women are credible, because there are many similarities, said police chief André Fernandes.

Mostly younger women were asked to go to another room for individual "cleaning". There Faria then forced them to have oral sex or they had to satisfy him - always with the hint that this was part of the "healing". Some women were put into a trance beforehand. Minors are also said to have been sexually abused in this way. The 76-year-old himself says he is innocent and sees himself as a victim. "They all want to destroy me," he complained in front of TV cameras.

Daughter accuses

The allegations of abuse against the father of nine children are not new. But now even his own daughter Dalva Teixeira has testified against him. "He has beaten and abused me again and again since I was ten years old. I was able to escape when I was 14," says the now 49-year-old.

Faria's methods are as uncanny as they are difficult to see through. He resides on a throne, clad all in white, and his disciples parade past him. According to his own statement, his energy is transmitted by the laying on of hands. Thirty well-known doctors and ancient philosophers are said to live on in it. Physical interventions are also carried out in its spiritual center. Faria waves scissors in the noses of his disciples, scratches the corneas with knives and cuts into the stomach. His fans assure that they do not feel any pain, which doctors doubt. Several times he had to answer in court for charlatanry.

Drink blessed water

The business with the healing of spirits is very profitable. For example, his disciples must drink previously purchased blessed water or take capsules made from passion fruit. The so-called light bath is also used for a fee. Faria earns almost nine million euros annually from the sale of these remedies and artefacts alone. In addition, almost all of Abadiâna belongs to the faith healer. He owns more than 28 properties, including hotels in which his disciples are accommodated. He owns a private plane, several farms, and is a co-owner of a gold mine.

Apparently the healer doesn't trust his own spirits. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2015, he went to São Paulo into the hands of conventional medicine. He underwent an operation at the prestigious Sírio-Libanês private clinic and then underwent five months of chemotherapy. He hides the hospital stay from his disciples. (Susann Kreutzmann from São Paulo, December 19, 2018)