Palmarian Catholic Church

Palmarian Catholic Church

The Christian Palmarian Church of the Carmelites of the Holy Face (Spanish: Iglesia Cristiana Palmariana de los Carmelitas de la Santa Faz), commonly called the Palmarian Catholic Church (Iglesia Católica Palmariana), is a schismatic Catholic church with its own pope, Gregory XVIII.




In March 1968, four Spanish schoolgirls stated they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary by a little tree on a piece of farmland called La Alcaparrosa near Palmar de Troya. Many people came to witness the supposed apparitions, and a number of miracles similar to those at Fátima, Garabandal and Međugorje were said to have occurred. The seers had many supporters, including priests. Several other people reported visions at the site, including Clemente Domínguez y Gómez, an insurance broker from Seville. He gradually became the "principal seer".[1] The original seers were forgotten, their visions dismissed by the local bishop.[2] Domínguez claimed that the Virgin Mary had given him instructions to rid the Roman Catholic Church of "heresy and progressivism", and of Communism.

In 1975, Domínguez formed a new religious order, the Order of Carmelites of the Holy Face (or Carmelite Order of the Holy Face), which claimed to be "faithful to the holy Pope Paul VI". The order did not have official Church approval, and it claimed that Paul VI (who is still honoured by Palmarians as a martyr-pope) was detained in the Vatican by evil conspiring cardinals. The order was initially run by laymen, but supported sacramentally by priests from Spain, Portugal and the United States.

Consecration of bishops

To be guaranteed access to the sacraments, Domínguez's group needed its own bishops. Domínguez wrote a letter to Marcel Lefebvre and asked him to consecrate him. But Lefebvre did send three of his priests and in 1976, the (now laicised) Swiss priest Maurice Revaz (who had taught Canon Law at the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) seminary of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in Ecône) persuaded the elderly Vietnamese Roman Catholic Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc[3] of the authenticity of the apparitions.[4] Archbishop Thuc was chosen because he was a papal legate. Accepting the mystical message of the seer-mystics, the Archbishop believed that he was called by the Virgin Mary to raise two of the order's members (Domínguez and a lawyer named Manuel Alonso Corral) and three of the priests associated with the group to the rank of bishop.

He did this without obtaining the mandatory authorisation from the Holy See. The Archbishop also ordained some laymen to the priesthood. Thuc and the five men he consecrated as bishops were subsequently excommunicated by Paul VI. Thuc subsequently cut his ties with the group and was reconciled with the Church authorities.

Claim to the papacy

Following the death of Pope Paul VI in 1978, Domínguez set up his own holy see in Seville, claiming that he had been mystically crowned pope by Jesus Christ in a vision. He took the papal name "Gregory XVII", and appointed his own cardinals. By these actions, the "Carmelites of the Holy Face" evolved into the Palmarian Catholic Church. Some Catholics previously associated with the Carmelites left the group as a result.

Uniquely, the popes of the Palmarian Church do not claim to be the titular Bishop of Rome. Rather, they claim that Christ transferred the position of Patriarch of the West and Supreme Pontiff to the new episcopal see of El Palmar de Troya. This is a departure from traditional Roman Catholic doctrine, which identifies the papacy with the Bishop of Rome. Catholic teaching also holds that personal revelations are not binding on the Church as a whole.

As his capacity as Pope Gregory XVII, Domínguez called the Roman Catholic Church a false church and declared the nominal Pope John Paul II excommunicated. In addition Pope Gregory XVII also canonized Francisco Franco, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer and Christopher Columbus and declared Paul VI a martyr saint.

Peter II

Domínguez died in March 2005 whilst administering the Palmarian Easter Liturgy, supposedly while experiencing a vision. His church later declared him to be Pope Saint Gregory XVII the Very Great. Manuel Alonso Corral named in 2000 by Clemente as his successor succeeded him as Pope Peter II. There was no Palmarian conclave for this election.Peter II died on the 15th of July 2011. He is succeeded by Gregory XVIII, the third palmarian pope. Gregory XVIII is the ex Palmarian Secretary of State, Sergio Maria and and ex Spanish military.

Despite the name 'Peter II', Corral does not claim to be 'Petrus Romanus', the last Pope, according to the controversial Prophecy of the Popes attributed to St. Malachy: he does not claim to be the Bishop (titular or otherwise) of Rome, and has no personal ties to that see.

'Peter II' has no claims to visions but has confirmed that the Antichrist was born in the year 2000. The Palmarian doctrine regarding the Antichrist indicates that the Antichrist will mock Christ and imitate him by making a public appearance at the age of 12 and begin his public life when he is 30 years old (source Palmarian Council).

Peter II died on July the 15th 2011 after a long illness.

Present day

The Palmarian Church claims to have 60 clergy (all of whom are bishops), 70 nuns and 2,000 followers. It has chapels in Ireland, Britain, Australia, New Zealand,the United States and Latin America.

Since 1983 the Palmarian Church has drastically reformed its rites and its liturgy, which previously had been styled in the Tridentine form. The Palmarian liturgy was reduced to almost solely the Eucharistic words of consecration. The See of El Palmar de Troya has also declared the Real Presence of the Virgin Mary in the sacred host and the bodily assumption into heaven of St. Joseph to be dogmas of the Catholic faith. By 2000, they had their own version of the Bible, revised by Domínguez on claimed prophetic authority.

The Archidonian Palmarian group (Archidona, Malaga, Spain) formed in 2000 was due to the expulsion of 16 cardinals and five nuns. They were expelled by Clemente for diverse reasons. The predominant reason for the expulsions was due to Clemente's belief that there was "a church within a church" within the Palmarian church. This group according to Clemente were planning to overthrow him. Others were expelled for an alleged plot to assassinate Clemente. Only one cardinal, Cyril Maria, was expelled due to the new edition of the Bible. The group in Archidona has since almost disbanded and there remains four or five. They presently call themselves "independent" Palmarian priests. They believe that the see of Peter is vacant.


Controversial practices which are not part of traditional Catholic devotion have been reported in the Palmarian Church since its foundation. In the early 1990s, several priests were treated in local hospitals after apparently undergoing amateur body piercing.[citation needed] Domínguez admitted to having sex with nuns,[citation needed] and had previously been active in Seville's homosexual community.[citation needed][5][dead link]

Domínguez used self-harm to give himself the appearance of the stigmata.[2]

Between 1978 and 1983, many adherents left the Palmarian Church, including the Palmarian Bishop Maurice Revaz. A similar case was Alfred Seiwert-Fleige, who was ordained a priest by Archbishop Thuc and consecrated a Palmarian bishop around 1980. He left the Palmarian Church in 1981.

Popes of the Palmarian Catholic Church

Up the death of Pope Paul VI in 1978, Palmarian Catholics generally accept the conventional succession of Roman Pontiffs.

Pontificate Portrait Name
English · Regnal (Latin & Spanish)
Personal name Place of birth Notes
15 August 1978
– 22 March 2005
(26 years)
St. Gregory XVII the Very Great
Papa GREGORIUS Septimus Decimus
Santo Papa Gregorio XVII, el muy Grande
Clemente Domínguez y Gómez Seville, Spain Self-proclaimed.
22 March 2005
– 15 July 2011
(6 years)
Peter II
Papa PETRUS Secundus
Papa Pedro II
Manuel Alonso Corral There was no Palmarian conclave to elect Corral, as Domínguez had named him as successor in 2000.
23 July 2011
– Present
(0 years)
Gregory XVIII
Papa GREGORIUS DuodeVicesimus
Papa Gregorio XVIII
Father Sergio María Elected in conclave.


The original version of this article was adapted from "A million gather for Pope's 'last words' to Spain" by Isambard Wilkinson in Madrid.


  1. ^ Scott Corrales, A Tale of Two Popes. Inexplicata, A Journal of Hispanic Ufology. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  2. ^ Robert Duncan, [1] Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  3. ^ Catholic Hierarchy
  4. ^ Oskar Schmitt: Ein würdiger Verwalter im Weinberg unseres Herrn Jesus Christus: Bischof Pierre Martin Ngo-dinh-Thuc, Norderstedt 2006, Books on Demand, ISBN 3-8334-5385-0
  5. ^ Robert Duncan, Spain's Pope Gregory XVII: A Profile Of Madness. Retrieved 2008-07-01.

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