Roman Catholic Diocese of Porto, Portugal

Diocese of Porto
Dioecesis Portugallensis
Diocese do Porto

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)
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.

#NameDate of BirthAppointedRetiredDate of Death
Vacant see (1091–1113)
13Hugo 23 March 11137 December 11367 December 1136
14João I Peculiar 113711383 December 1175
15Pedro I Rabaldes 11381145 
16Pedro II Pitões 11461152 
17Pedro III Sénior 11541174 
18Fernando I Martins 11761185 
19Martinho I Pires 11861189 
20Martinho II Rodrigues 11911235 
21Pedro IV Salvadores 123524 June 124724 June 1247
22Julião Fernandes 124731 October 126031 October 1260
23Vicente Mendes 126123 April 129623 April 1296
24Sancho Pires 3 June 12967 January 13007 January 1300
25Geraldo Domingues 19 March 13004 December 13075 March 1321
26Frádulo 13081309 
27Frei Estêvão 11 February 13101313 
28Fernando II Ramires 19 March 13141322 
29João II Gomes 25 March 13235 December 13275 December 1327
30Vasco I Martins November, 132826 August 1342 
31Pedro V Afonso 13431357 
32Afonso Pires 13576 September 13726 September 1372
33Lourenço I Vicente 27 March 13736 November 1373 
34João III 6 November 137313891389
35Martinho III 13901391 
36João (IV) Afonso de Azambuja 1391139823 January 1415
37Gil Alma 6 August 139914071415
38João V Afonso Aranha 14071414 
39Fernando III Guerra13901416141726 September 1467
40Vasco II 14--1430 
41António Martins de Chaves 143014471447
42Durando 144714-- 
43Gonçalo I de Óbidos 14--1454 
44Luís Pires 14541464 
45João VI de Azevedo 14651494 
46Diogo I de Sousa 14941505 
47Diogo II Álvares da Costa 15051507 
48Pedro VI Álvares da Costa148412 February 15078 January 153520 February 1563
49Belchior Beliago 15351538 
50Baltazar Limpo 15381552 
51Rodrigo I Pinheiro 15521574 
52Aires da Silva 15744 August 15784 August 1578
53Simão Pereira 1578  
54Marcos de Lisboa  1591 
55Jerónimo I de Menezes 1591  
56Gonçalo II de Morais  1618 
57Rodrigo II da CunhaSeptember, 1577161816273 January 1643
58João VII de Valadares 16271635 
59Gaspar do Rego da Fonseca 16351639 
Francisco Pereira PintoChosen in 1640 by Philip III of Portugal but didn't take possession
Vacant see (1640–1671)
Sebastião César de MenezesChosen by John IV of Portugal but not recognized by the Pope
Pedro VII de Menezes
60Nicolau Monteiro 167116731673
61Fernando IV Correia de Lacerda 1673  
62João VIII de Sousa    
63José I Saldanha 169717081708
64Tomás de Almeida5 October 167022 July 17097 December 171622 February 1754
Vacant see (1716–1739)
João IX MariaElected in 1739 but unconfirmed by Clement XII
65José II Maria da Fonseca 1739  
66António I de Távora  17661766
67Aleixo de Miranda Henriques 17661771 
68João X Rafael de Mendonça 177117731773
69Lourenço II Correia de Sá Benevides 179617981798
70António II de Castro  1814 
71João XI Magalhães de Avelar22 December 175429 April 181616 May 183316 May 1833
72Manuel de Santa InêsElected in 1833 but unconfirmed by Gregory XVI
73Jerónimo II da Costa Rebelo 184318541854
74António III Fonseca Moniz 185418591859
Vacant see (1859–1862)
75João XII de França Castro e Moura 186216 October 1868[5]16 October 1868
Vacant see (1868–1871)
76Américo Ferreira dos Santos Silva16 January 182926 June 187121 January 189921 January 1899
77António IV José de Sousa Barroso4 November 185420 May 189931 August 191831 August 1918
78António V Barbosa Leão17 October 186016 July 191921 June 192921 June 1919
79António VI Augusto de Castro Meireles13 August 188521 June 1929[6]29 March 1942[7]29 March 1942
80Agostinho de Jesus e Sousa7 March 187716 May 194221 February 195221 February 1952
81António VII Ferreira Gomes10 May 190613 July 19522 May 198213 April 1989
82Júlio Tavares Rebimbas21 January 192212 February 198213 June 19976 December 2010
83Armindo Lopes Coelho13 February 193113 June 199722 February 200729 September 2010
84Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente16 July 194822 February 2007 18 May 2013
Vacant see (2013–2014)
85António Francisco dos Santos29 August 194821 February 2014
This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.


  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). Retrieved 2006-12-12.

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

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