Lusitanian Orthodox Church
The legend says that Saint James, one of the apostles of Christ visited the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula in 44 AD. One his supposed visits was to Serra de Rates, in the current municipality of Póvoa de Varzim. During his visit, the apostle is to have ordained the local Peter of Rates as the first bishop of Braga.
It is believed that Saint Peter of Rates was beheaded while converting believers of the Roman religion to the Christian faith.
The first historically recorded bishop of Braga was Paterno, who took part in the Council of Toledo in the year 400. The Metropolitan of Braga had spiritual supremacy over the diocese of Conímbriga, diocese of Viseu, diocese of Dume, diocese of Lamego, diocese of Porto, and diocese of Egitânia. The South part of Portugal was under the Bishop of Evora and Lisbon.
In the year 1052, the Bishop of Rome, claiming authority over all West, and adding the "Filioque" in the Nicene Creed, leading some churches to leave full communion with Rome. In some places in the West, such as in Southern Italy, many bishops resisted.
In the 14th century many priests dissent from the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal. Some of them joined the Lusitanian Catholic Apostolic Evangelical Church, others remained independent Catholics, celebrating mass underground. In the 1980s some of these priests received episcopal ordination through Rapoza's line and the Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox Church and rebuilt the Orthodox Catholicism in Portugal.
The Lusitanian Orthodox Church accepts the seven ecumenical councils. The Lusitanian Orthodox Church keeps the original Nicene Creed, accepted universally by the Church, East and West, during the first millennium without the addition of Filioque.
The Holy Communion is celebrated with both wine and bread, with the anamnesis, the Words of Institution and the Epiclesis of the Holy Spirit is a "consecrating formula".
The Lusitanian Orthodox Church believes the Original Sin has consequences in death, concupiscence and tendency toward sin in human nature, but not inheriting guilty for Adam's faults.
The Lusitanian Orthodox Church has always believed that the Mother of God (Theodokos) is the highest person above all humanity and the angels owing to her role as Mother of the Word Incarnate. But does not believe in her Immaculate Conception nor Assumption into Heaven.
The Lusitanian Orthodox Church rejects the idea of a purgatory.
In the Orthodox Liturgy, the bread of the Eucharist is leavened, and every member take part of the wine and the bread.
Children are baptized by immersion.
It follows the Julian calendar of the Liturgic Year.
The Lusitanian Orthodox Church is headed by the Orthodox Archbishop of Braga and Lisbon, who is also Metropolitan Primate of Portugal, Spain and All Brazil. The first titular has been João I, since his election at the I Local Council of the Lusitanian Orthodox Church, at 8 June 1997, by acclamation, and his enthronement, at 15 June 1997. He is aided by the titular bishops of Conímbriga, Viseu, Dume, Lamego, Evora, and Egitânia. The Portuguese territory is divided in three eparchies: the Eparchy of Lisbon, covering the south of Portugal, Azores, and Madeira; the Eparchy of Porto, serving the North of Portugal and Gallicia; and the Metropolitan Eparchy, that besides spiritual oversee of the whole church take care of expatriate parishes and missions in London, Brussels, Lille, Paris, Geneve, Cambridge, Mass. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mississauga, Canada, and Cape Town, South Africa.
The presbyters and deacons may marry before ordination.
There is one order of monastic life, the Order of Saint Basil, with eight monks and five nuns.
There are about 2,000 members and sympathizers, mostly in the Northern part of Portugal.
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