Roman Catholic Diocese of Porto, Portugal

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Diocese of Porto
Dioecesis Portugallensis
Diocese do Porto
Façade of the Porto Cathedral by night.JPG
Country Portugal
Ecclesiastical province Braga
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Braga
Area 3,010 km2 (1,160 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
1,914,000 (90.5%)
Parishes 477
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 588
Cathedral Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady in Porto
Patron saint Assumption of Mary
Secular priests 495
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop António Francisco dos Santos
Metropolitan Archbishop Jorge IV
Auxiliary Bishops Pio de Souza
António Taipa
João Lavrador
António Augusto de Oliveira Azevedo (Auxiliary Bishop-elect)[1][2]
Emeritus Bishops João Miranda Teixeira Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus (1983-2011)
Diócesis de Oporto.svg
Website of the Diocese

The Portuguese Roman Catholic Diocese of Porto (Latin: Dioecesis Portugallensis) (Oporto) is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Braga. Its see at Porto is in the Norte region, and the second largest city in Portugal.[3]


The diocese was probably founded in the middle of the sixth century. At the third Council of Toledo (589) the Arian Argiovi was deposed in favour of bishop Constancio. In 610 Bishop Argeberto assisted at the Council of Toledo, summoned by King Gundemar to sanction the metropolitan claims of Toledo. Bishop Ansiulfo was present at the Sixth Council of Toledo (638) and Bishop Flavio at the Tenth (656).

Bishop Froarico attended the Third Council of Braga (675) and the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fifteenth Councils of Toledo (681, 683, and 688), and his successor Felix appeared at the Sixteenth Council (693). No other bishop is recorded under the Visigothic monarchy. After the Arab invasion Justus seems to have been the first bishop. Gomado was probably elected in 872, when King Affonso III won back the city. The names of only four other prelates have been preserved: Froarengo (906), Hermogio (912), Ordonho, and Diogo. Porto fell again into Moorish hands, and on its recovery, Hugo became bishop (1114-1134-6). He secured exemption from the Archbishop of Braga. He greatly enlarged his diocese and the cathedral patrimony increased by the donations he secured; thus, in 1120, he received from D. Theresa jurisdiction over the City of Porto with all the rents and dues thereof. John Peculiar was promoted to Braga (1138), his nephew, Pedro Rabaldis, succeeding at Porto. Next came D. Pedro Pitões (1145 to 1152 or 1155), D. Pedro Sénior (d. 1172), and D. Fernão Martins (d. 1185). Martinho Pires instituted a chapter, was promoted to Braga, 1189 or 1190. Martinho Rodrigues ruled from 1191 to 1235. He quarrelled with the chapter over their share of the rents of the see. Later on, fresh disagreements arose in which King Sancho I intervened against the bishop, who was deprived of his goods and had to flee, but was restored by the king when Innocent III espoused the bishop's cause. Another quarrel soon arouse between prelate and king, and the bishop was imprisoned; but he escaped and fled to Rome, and in 1209 the king, feeling the approach of death, made peace with him. His successor, Pedro Salvadores, figured prominently in the questions between the clergy and King Sancho II, who refused to ecclesiastics the right of purchasing or inheriting land. Portugal fell into anarchy, in which the clergy's rights were violated and their persons outraged, though they themselves were not guiltless. Finally, Pope Innocent IV committed the reform of abuses to Afonso III, brother of Sancho II, who lost his crown.

Under Bishop Julian (1247–60) the jurisdiction difficulty became aggravated. A settlement was effected at the Cortes of Leiria (1254), which the bishop refused to ratify, but he had to give way. When King Afonso III determined (1265) that all rights and properties usurped during the disorders of Sancho's reign should revert to the Crown, nearly all the bishops, including the Bishop of Porto, then D. Vicente, protested; and seven went to Rome for relief, leaving Portugal under an interdict. When the king was dying, in 1278, he promised restitution. Vicente (d. 1296) was one of the negotiators of the Concordat of 1289 and the supplementary Accord of Eleven Articles. He was succeeded by Sancho Pires, who ruled until 1300. Geraldo Domingues resigned in 1308 to act as counsellor of the King's daughter Constança, future Queen of Castile. Tredulo was bishop for two and a half years. The Minorite Frei Estêvão was succeeded in 1313 by his nephew Fernando Ramires. Both uncle and nephew quarrelled with King Denis and left the realm.

Owing to the hostility of the citizens, Bishop Gomes lived mostly outside his diocese. When Pedro Afonso became bishop in 1343, he had a quarrel over jurisdiction and, like his predecessor, departed, leaving the diocese under interdict. Six years later he returned, but again the monarch began to encroach, and it was not until 1354 that the bishop secured recognition of his rights. His successor was Afonso Pires. Egídio is probably the bishop represented in the old Chronicles as being threatened with scourging by King Pedro for having lived in sin with a citizen's wife The accusation was probably groundless, but Egídio left the city, which for twelve years had no bishop. In 1373 or 1375 John succeeded and supported the lawful popes in the Great Schism, and the John I of Portugal against Castilian claims.

Other bishops were: John de Zambuja, or Estêvão; and Gil, who in 1406 sold the episcopal rights over Oporto to the Crown for an annual money payment, reduced in the reign of D. Manuel to 120 silver marks; Fernando Guerra, who in 1425 was created Archbishop of Braga; Vasco. — Antão Martins de Chaves, who succeeded Vasco in 1430, was sent by the pope to Constantinople to induce the Greek emperor to attend the Council of Basle. He succeeded, and as a reward was made cardinal. He died in 1447. Succeeding incumbents were: Durando; Gonçalves de Óbidos; Luis Pires (1454–64), a negotiator of the Concordat of 1455 and a reforming prelate; João de Azevedo (1465–1494), a benefactor of the cathedral and chapter, as was his successor Diego de Sousa, afterwards Archbishop of Braga and executor of King Manuel I. The see was then held by two brothers in succession, Diogo da Costa (1505-7) and D. Pedro da Costa (1511–39), who restored the bishop's palace and enriched the capitular revenues from his own purse; Belchior Beliago; and the Carmelite Frei Baltazar Limpo (1538–52), the fiftieth bishop. He held a diocesan synod in 1540.

In the time of Rodrigo Pinheiro, a learned humanist, Porto was visited by St. Francis Borgia and the Jesuits established themselves in the city. Aires da Silva, ex-rector of Coimbra University, after ruling four years, fell in the battle of Alcácer Quibir in 1578 with King Sebastião. Simão Pereira was followed by the Franciscan Frei Marcos de Lisboa, chronicler of his order. He added to the cathedral and convoked a diocesan synod in 1585. In 1591 another ex-rector of Coimbra, Jerónimo de Menezes, became bishop; he was succeeded by the Benedictine Frei Gonçalo de Morais, a zealous defender of the rights of the Church. He built a new sacristy and chancel in the cathedral. In 1618 Bishop Rodrigo da Cunha, author of the history of the Bishops of Oporto, was appointed. His "Catalogo" describes the state of the cathedral and enumerates the parishes of the diocese with their population and income in 1623 and is the earliest account we possess. His successor was Frei João de Valadares, transferred from the See of Miranda. Gaspar do Rego da Fonseca, who held the see four years (1635–39). King Philip III named Francisco Pereira Pinto, but the revolution in 1640 prevented his taking possession, so that the see was considered vacant until 1671, being ruled by administrators appointed by the chapter. In 1641 King John IV chose D. Sebastião César de Menezes as bishop, but the pope, influenced by Spain, would neither recognize the new King of Portugal nor confirm his nominations. Next came Frei Pedro de Menezes; Nicolau Monteiro took possession in 1671, Fernando Correia de Lacerda, in 1673, who was succeeded by João de Sousa. Frei José Saldanha (1697–1708), famed for his austerity, never relinquished his Franciscan habit, a contrast to his successor Tomás de Almeida, who in 1716 became the first Patriarch of Lisbon. The see remained vacant until 1739, and, though Frei John Maria was then elected, he never obtained confirmation. In the same year Frei José Maria da Fonseca, formerly Commissary General of the Franciscans, became bishop. Several European States selected him as arbiter of their differences. He contributed to the canonization of a number of saints. He founded and restored many convents and hospitals.

Next in order were: Frei António de Távora (d. 1766), Frei Aleixo de Miranda Henriques, Frei João Rafael de Mendonça (1771-3), and Lourenço Correia de Sá Benevides (1796-8). Frei Antonio de Castro became Patriarch of Lisbon in 1814, being followed at Porto by João Avelar. Frei Manuel de Santa Inês, though elected, never obtained confirmation, but some years after his death, relations between Portugal and the Holy See were re-established by a concordat and Jerónimo da Costa Rebelo became bishop in 1843. From 1854 to 1859 the see was held by António da Fonseca Moniz; on his death it remained vacant until 1862, when João de Castro e Moura, who had been a missionary in China, was appointed (d.1868). The see was again vacant until the confirmation of Américo Ferreira dos Santos Silva in 1871. This prelate was obliged to combat the growing Liberalism of his flock and the Protestant propaganda in Porto A popular lawyer named Mesquita started a campaign against him, because the bishop refused to dismiss some priests, reputed reactionary, who served the Aguardente Chapel; getting himself elected judge of the Brotherhood of the Temple, he provoked a great platform agitation with the result that the chapel was secularized and became a school under the patronage of the Marquis of Pombal Association. In 1879 Américo was created cardinal and on his death the present (1911) Bishop, António Barroso, an ex-missionary, was transferred from the see of Mylapore to that of Porto.[4]


Here is a list of the bishops of Porto since the establishment of the diocese in the 4th century. Bishops elevated to the rank of cardinal are shown bolded.

# Name Date of Birth Appointed Retired Date of Death
Vacant see (1091–1113)
13 Hugo   23 March 1113 7 December 1136 7 December 1136
14 João I Peculiar   1137 1138 3 December 1175
15 Pedro I Rabaldes   1138 1145  
16 Pedro II Pitões   1146 1152  
17 Pedro III Sénior   1154 1174  
18 Fernando I Martins   1176 1185  
19 Martinho I Pires   1186 1189  
20 Martinho II Rodrigues   1191 1235  
21 Pedro IV Salvadores   1235 24 June 1247 24 June 1247
22 Julião Fernandes   1247 31 October 1260 31 October 1260
23 Vicente Mendes   1261 23 April 1296 23 April 1296
24 Sancho Pires   3 June 1296 7 January 1300 7 January 1300
25 Geraldo Domingues   19 March 1300 4 December 1307 5 March 1321
26 Frádulo   1308 1309  
27 Frei Estêvão   11 February 1310 1313  
28 Fernando II Ramires   19 March 1314 1322  
29 João II Gomes   25 March 1323 5 December 1327 5 December 1327
30 Vasco I Martins   November, 1328 26 August 1342  
31 Pedro V Afonso   1343 1357  
32 Afonso Pires   1357 6 September 1372 6 September 1372
33 Lourenço I Vicente   27 March 1373 6 November 1373  
34 João III   6 November 1373 1389 1389
35 Martinho III   1390 1391  
36 João (IV) Afonso de Azambuja   1391 1398 23 January 1415
37 Gil Alma   6 August 1399 1407 1415
38 João V Afonso Aranha   1407 1414  
39 Fernando III Guerra 1390 1416 1417 26 September 1467
40 Vasco II   14-- 1430  
41 António Martins de Chaves   1430 1447 1447
42 Durando   1447 14--  
43 Gonçalo I de Óbidos   14-- 1454  
44 Luís Pires   1454 1464  
45 João VI de Azevedo   1465 1494  
46 Diogo I de Sousa   1494 1505  
47 Diogo II Álvares da Costa   1505 1507  
48 Pedro VI Álvares da Costa 1484 12 February 1507 8 January 1535 20 February 1563
49 Belchior Beliago   1535 1538  
50 Baltazar Limpo   1538 1552  
51 Rodrigo I Pinheiro   1552 1574  
52 Aires da Silva   1574 4 August 1578 4 August 1578
53 Simão Pereira   1578    
54 Marcos de Lisboa     1591  
55 Jerónimo I de Menezes   1591    
56 Gonçalo II de Morais     1618  
57 Rodrigo II da Cunha September, 1577 1618 1627 3 January 1643
58 João VII de Valadares   1627 1635  
59 Gaspar do Rego da Fonseca   1635 1639  
Francisco Pereira Pinto Chosen in 1640 by Philip III of Portugal but didn't take possession
Vacant see (1640–1671)
Sebastião César de Menezes Chosen by John IV of Portugal but not recognized by the Pope
Pedro VII de Menezes
60 Nicolau Monteiro   1671 1673 1673
61 Fernando IV Correia de Lacerda   1673    
62 João VIII de Sousa        
63 José I Saldanha   1697 1708 1708
64 Tomás de Almeida 5 October 1670 22 July 1709 7 December 1716 22 February 1754
Vacant see (1716–1739)
João IX Maria Elected in 1739 but unconfirmed by Clement XII
65 José II Maria da Fonseca   1739    
66 António I de Távora     1766 1766
67 Aleixo de Miranda Henriques   1766 1771  
68 João X Rafael de Mendonça   1771 1773 1773
69 Lourenço II Correia de Sá Benevides   1796 1798 1798
70 António II de Castro     1814  
71 João XI Magalhães de Avelar 22 December 1754 29 April 1816 16 May 1833 16 May 1833
72 Manuel de Santa Inês Elected in 1833 but unconfirmed by Gregory XVI
73 Jerónimo II da Costa Rebelo   1843 1854 1854
74 António III Fonseca Moniz   1854 1859 1859
Vacant see (1859–1862)
75 João XII de França Castro e Moura   1862 16 October 1868[5] 16 October 1868
Vacant see (1868–1871)
76 Américo Ferreira dos Santos Silva 16 January 1829 26 June 1871 21 January 1899 21 January 1899
77 António IV José de Sousa Barroso 4 November 1854 20 May 1899 31 August 1918 31 August 1918
78 António V Barbosa Leão 17 October 1860 16 July 1919 21 June 1929 21 June 1919
79 António VI Augusto de Castro Meireles 13 August 1885 21 June 1929[6] 29 March 1942[7] 29 March 1942
80 Agostinho de Jesus e Sousa 7 March 1877 16 May 1942 21 February 1952 21 February 1952
81 António VII Ferreira Gomes 10 May 1906 13 July 1952 2 May 1982 13 April 1989
82 Júlio Tavares Rebimbas 21 January 1922 12 February 1982 13 June 1997 6 December 2010
83 Armindo Lopes Coelho 13 February 1931 13 June 1997 22 February 2007 29 September 2010
84 Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente 16 July 1948 22 February 2007 18 May 2013
Vacant see (2013–2014)
85 António Francisco dos Santos 29 August 1948 21 February 2014


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Catholic Hierarchy page
  4. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia article
  5. ^ Azevedo, Carlos A. Moreira (1999-01-27). "Américo Ferreira dos Santos Silva (1830-1899)". (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2006-10-12. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  6. ^ Chosen as successor of the preceding bishop before the latter's retirement or death .
  7. ^ Diocese of Angra (2005-08-09). "D. António Augusto de Castro Meireles". Agência Ecclesia - Agência de Notícias da Igreja Católica Portuguesa (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  • Cheney, David M. (2006-08-16). "Porto (Diocese)". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  • Knight, Kevin. "Catholic Encyclopedia: Oporto". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  • Peres, Damião; António Cruz; Bernardo Gabriel Cardoso Jr.; B. Xavier Coutinho; Conde de Campo Belo; Cruz Malpique; Artur Magalhães Basto; Eugénio da Cunha e Freitas; João Pinto Ferreira; Luís de Pina; Torquato Soares. "O Porto, Cidade Episcopal: Séculos XII a XIV". In Livraria Civilização Editora. História da Cidade do Porto (in Portuguese). illustrated by Gouvêa Portuense. Portucalense Editora. pp. 159–297. ISBN 972-26-0391-4. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.