Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Braga

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Braga

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Braga (Latin: Archidioecesis Bracarensis) is an Archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal.

Its suffragans are the diocese of Aveiro, diocese of Bragança-Miranda, diocese of Coimbra, diocese of Lamego, diocese of Porto, diocese of Viana do Castelo, diocese of Vila Real, and diocese of Viseu.[1]



The tradition that St. Peter of Rates, a disciple of St. James the Great, preached here, is handed down in the ancient Breviary of Braga (Breviarium Bracarense) and in that of Évora; but this, as the Bollandists tell us, is purely traditional. Paternus was certainly bishop of the see about 390.[2]

In its early period the Diocese of Braga produced the famous writer Paulus Orosius (fl. 418). At the beginning of the eighteenth century a contest was waged over the birthplace of Orosius, some claiming him for Braga and others for Tarragona. The Marquis of Mondejar, with all the evidence in his favour, supported the claim of Braga; Dalmas, the chronicler of Catalonia, that of Tarragona.

Avitus of Braga, another writer of some importance, was a priest who went to the East to consult with St. Augustine at the same time that Orosius, who had been sent by St. Augustine, returned from consulting St. Jerome. It was through him that the priest, Lucian of Caphar Gamala near Jerusalem, made known to the West the discovery of the body of St. Stephen (December, 415). The Greek encyclical letter of Lucian was translated into Latin by Avitus and sent to Braga with another for the bishop, Balconius, his clergy, and people, together with a relic of St. Stephen. Avitus also attended the Council of Jerusalem against Pelagius (415). There were two others of the same name, men of note, who, however, wrought incalculable harm by introducing into these provinces the doctrines of Origen and Victorinus of Poetovio.

Some have denied that Braga was a metropolitan see; others have attempted without sufficient evidence, however, to claim two metropolitan sees for Galaecia before the sixth century. In fact after the destruction of Astorga (433) by the Visigoths, Braga was elevated to the dignity of a metropolitan see in the time of St. Leo I (440-461). Balconius was then its bishop and Agrestius, Bishop of Luigi, was the metropolitan. At the latter's death the right of metropolitan rank was restored to the oldest bishop of the province, who was the bishop of Braga. From this time, until the Muslim conquest of Hispania (711), he retained the supremacy over all the sees of the province.

In 1110 Pope Paschal II restored Braga to its former metropolitan rank. When Portugal separated from Spain, Braga assumed even greater importance. It contested with Toledo the primacy over all the Iberian sees, but the popes decided in favour of the latter city. Since it retained as suffragans the dioceses of Porto, Coimbra, Viseu, Bragança-Miranda do Douro, Aveiro and Pinhel. In 1390 Braga was divided to make the Archdiocese of Lisbon, and in 1540 its territory was again divided to create the Archdiocese of Evora.

There have been many very famous bishops and writers in this diocese. Among its earlier bishops, besides the traditional St. Peter already mentioned, the most famous is St. Martin of Braga who died in 580, noted for his wisdom and holiness. St. Gregory of Tours says of him (Hist. France, V, xxxvii) that he was born in Pannonia, visited the Holy Land, and became the foremost scholar of his time. St. Isidore of Seville ("De Viris illustribus", c. xxxv) tells us that he "was abbot of the monastery of Dumio near Braga, came to Galicia from the East, converted the Suevic inhabitants from the heresy of Arianism, taught them Catholic doctrine and discipline, strengthened their ecclesiastical organization , and founded monasteries. He also left a number of letters in which he recommended a reform of manners, a life of faith and prayer, and giving of alms, the constant practice of all virtues and the love of God." For his writings, see Otto Bardenhewer, Patrologie (2nd ed., 1901), 579-581.

Braga having been destroyed by the Saracens, and restored in 1071, a succession of illustrious bishops occupied the see. Among these were Mauricio Burdinho (1111–14), sent as legate to the Emperor Henry V (1118), and by him created antipope with the title of Gregory VIII; Pedro Juliano, Archdeacon of Lisbon, elected Bishop of Braga in 1274, created cardinal by Gregory X in 1276, and finally elected pope under the name of John XXI; Blessed Bartholomew a Martyribus (1559–67), a Dominican, who in 1566, together with Father Luis de Sotomayor, Francisco Foreiro, and others, assisted at the Council of Trent; de Castro, an Augustinian (1589–1609), who consecrated the cathedral, 28 July 1592.

Alex de Meneses, also an Augustinian, was transferred to Braga from the archiepiscopal see of Goa. He had been appointed bishop to the St. Thomas Christians of the Malabar Coast in Farther India and had forcibly Latinized them with the help of missionaries of the various religious orders. Under him was held the controversial anti-Council of Diamper (1599), for the establishment of the Church on the Malabar Coast. He died at Madrid in 1617 in his fifty-eighth year in the odour of sanctity, being then President of the Council of Castile.

Three other bishops of note were Roderico de Cunha (1627–35), historian of the Church in Portugal; Roderico de Moura (1704–28), who restored the cathedral, and Cayetano Brandão, who was reputed a saint among the faithful.

List of Bishops of Braga

  1. São Pedro de Rates (45-60) *
  2. Basílio (60-95) *
  3. Santo Ovídio (95-130) *
  4. Policarpo (130-200) *
  5. Serfriano (200-230) *
  6. Fabião (230-245) *
  7. Félix (245-263) *
  8. Secundo (263-268) *
  9. Caledónio (268-270) *
  10. Narciso (270-275) *
  11. Paterno I (275-290) *
  12. Grato (290-299) *
  13. Salomão (299-300) *
  14. Sinágrio (300-326) *
  15. Lenóncio (326-328) *
  16. Apolónio (328-366) *
  17. Idácio I (366-381) *
  18. Lampádio (381-400) *
  19. Paterno II (400-405), the first bishop referenced in history
  20. Profuturo I (405-410) *
  21. Pancraciano (410-417) *
  22. Balcónio (417-456)
  23. Valério (456-494) *
  24. Idácio II (494-518) *
  25. Apolinário (518-524) *
  26. Castino (524-525)*
  27. Valério (525-527) *
  28. Ausberto (527-537) *
  29. Julião I (537-538) *
  30. Profuturo II (538-550)
  31. Eleutério (550-561) *
  32. Lucrécio (561-562)
  33. São Martinho de Dume e Braga, Apóstolo dos Suevos (562-579)
  34. Pantardo (580-589)
  35. Benigno (589-612) *
  36. Tolobeu (612-633) *
  37. Julião II (633-653)
  38. Potâmio (653-656)
  39. São Frutuoso de Dume e Braga (656-660)
  40. Manucino (660-661) *
  41. Pancrácio (661-675) *
  42. Leodegísio Julião ou Leodecísio Julião (675-678)
  43. Liúva (678-681)
  44. Quirico (681-687) *
  45. Faustino (688-693)
  46. São Félix Torcato (693-734), the last bishop residing in Braga until the restoration of the bishopric in 1070, due to the Musulman invasion of the Iberian Peninsula; his successors were established in Lugo, in Galicia
  47. São Vítor de Braga (734-736)
  48. Erónio (736-737) *
  49. Hermenegildo (737-738) *
  50. Tiago (738-740) *
  51. Odoário (740-780)
  52. Ascárico (780-811) *
  53. Argimundo (821-832) *
  54. Nostiano (832) *
  55. Ataúlfo (832-840)
  56. Ferdizendo (840-842) *
  57. Dulcídio (842-850) *
  58. Gladila (850-867)
  59. Gomado (867-875) *
  60. Flaviano Recaredo (875-881)
  61. Flaiano (881-889) *
  62. Argimiro (889-910) *
  63. Teodomiro (910-924) *
  64. Hero (924-930)
  65. Silvatano (930-942) *
  66. Gundisalvo ou Gonçalo (942-950)
  67. Hermenegildo (951-985)
  68. Pelágio ou Paio (986-1003)
  69. Diogo ou Tiago (1003–1004)
  70. Flaviano (1004–1017)
  71. Pedro (1017–1058)
  72. Maurelo (1058–1060)
  73. Sigefredo (1060)
  74. Vistrário (1060–1070)

List of Archbishops of Braga

  1. Pedro I de Braga (1071–1091)
  2. Geraldo de Moissac (1096–1108)
  3. Maurício Burdino (1109–1118)
  4. Paio Mendes (1118–1137)
  5. João Peculiar (João I) (1139–1175)
  6. Godinho (1176–1188)
  7. Martinho (I) Pires (1189–1209)
  8. Pedro (II) Mendes (1209–1212), elected
  9. Estêvão Soares da Silva (1213–1228)
  10. Sancho (I) (1229)
  11. Silvestre Godinho (1229–1240)
  12. Gualtério (1240–1245)
  13. João (II) Egas (1245–1251)
  14. Sancho (II) (1251–1265)
  15. Martinho (II) Geraldes (1265–1271)
  16. Pedro Julião (Pedro III) (1272–1274), elected
  17. Sancho (III) (1275)
  18. Ordonho Alvares (Cardinal) (1275–1278)
  19. Telo (1279–1292)
  20. Martinho Pires de Oliveira (Martinho III) (1295–1313)
  21. João Martins de Soalhães (João III) (1313–1325), former Bishop of Lisboa
  22. Gonçalo (Gonçalves) Pereira (1326–1348), former Bishop of Évora and Bishop of Lisboa
  23. Guilherme de la Garde (1349–1361)
  24. João (IV) de Cardaillac (1361–1371)
  25. Vasco (1371–1372), former Bishop of Lisboa
  26. Martinho de Zamora (Martinho IV) (1372), elected, not confirmed by the Pope. also Bishop of Silves and Bishop of Lisboa
  27. Lourenço Vicente (1374–1397)
  28. João (V) Garcia (1397–1398)
  29. Martinho Afonso de Miranda, or Martinho Afonso da Charneca, (Martinho V) (1398–1416), former Bishop of Coimbra
  30. Fernando da Guerra (1417–1467), former Bishop of Algarve and Bishop of Porto
  31. Luís (I) Pires (1468–1480)
  32. João (VI) de Melo (1481)
  33. João Galvão (João VII) (1482–1485), elected, also Bishop of Coimbra, Count of Arganil
  34. Jorge Vaz da Costa (Jorge II) (1486–1501)
  35. Jorge da Costa (Jorge III), (Cardinal) (1501–1505), known as Cardinal of Alpedrinha, administered the Diocese from Rome
  36. Diogo de Sousa (Diogo I) (1505–1532)
  37. Henrique I de Portugal, (King of Portugal, Cardinal) (1533–1540)
  38. Diogo (II) da Silva, O.F.M. (1540–1541)
  39. Duarte de Portugal (1542–1543)
  40. Manuel (I) de Sousa (1545–1549)
  41. Frei Baltasar Limpo (1550–1558)
  42. Bartolomeu dos Mártires, O.P. (1559–1581)
  43. João (VIII) Afonso de Menezes (1581–1587)
  44. Agostinho de Jesus (1588–1609), born Pedro de Castro
  45. Aleixo de Menezes (1612–1617)
  46. Afonso Furtado de Mendonça (1618–1626), also Bishop of Guarda, Bishop of Coimbra, Count of Arganil, Archbishop of Lisboa and Viceroy of Portugal
  47. Rodrigo da Cunha (Rodrigo I) (1627–1635), also Archbishop of Lisboa
  48. Sebastião de Matos de Noronha (1635–1641), also Bishop of Elvas; suspect of plotting against John IV of Portugal
  49. Pedro de Lencastre (Pedro IV) (1654–1670), not confirmed by the Pope, former Bishop of Guarda and Archbishop of Évora, later Duke of Aveiro
  50. Veríssimo de Lencastre (1670–1677)
  51. Luís de Sousa (Luís II) (1677–1690)
  52. José de Menezes (José I) (1690–1696)
  53. João de Sousa (João IX) (1696–1703), later Archbishop of Lisboa
  54. Rodrigo de Moura Teles (Rodrigo II) (1704–1728)
  55. João da Mota e Silva, (Cardinal) (1732), elected, not confirmed by the Pope
  56. José de Bragança (1741–1756)
  57. Gaspar de Bragança (1758–1789)
  58. Caetano Brandão, T.O.R. (1790–1805)
  59. José da Costa Torres (José III) (1807–1813)
  60. Miguel da Madre de Deus da Cruz, O.F.M. (1815–1827)
  61. Pedro Paulo de Figueiredo da Cunha e Melo (Pedro V) (1843–1855)
  62. José Joaquim de Azevedo e Moura (José IV) (1856–1876)
  63. João Crisóstomo de Amorim Pessoa (João X), O.F.M. (1876–1883)
  64. António José de Freitas Honorato (António I) (1883–1898)
  65. Manuel Baptista da Costa (Manuel II) (1899–1913)
  66. Manuel Vieira de Matos (Manuel III) (1915–1932)
  67. António Bento Martins Júnior (António II) (1933–1963)
  68. Francisco Maria da Silva (1963–1977)
  69. Eurico Dias Nogueira (1977–1999)
  70. Jorge Ferreira da Costa Ortiga (Jorge IV) (1999 - )


  1. ^ Catholic Hierarchy page
  2. ^ Archdiocese of Braga - Catholic Encyclopedia article

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

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