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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 due to the "credulity of the people of Braga, who have listed him in their modern (17th century) Martyrology."Paternus was certainly bishop of the see about 390.
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 Gallaecia 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.
The most famous of writers in this diocese is Bishop Martin who died in 580, noted for his wisdom.Gregory of Tours says of him 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 Gallaecia from the East, converted the Suebi 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."
Braga having been destroyed by the Saracens, and restored in 1071, a succession of illustrious bishops occupied the see. Among these were Maurício 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; Saint Bartholomew a Martyribus (1559-67), a Dominican, who in 1566, together with Father Luís 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.
Three other bishops of note were Rodrigo da Cunha (1627-35), historian of the Church in Portugal and author of a monograph on the Bishops and Archbishops of Braga; Rodrigo de Moura Teles (1704-28), who sponsored the restoration of the cathedral; and Diogo de Sousa, bishop of Porto (1496-1505) and Archbishop of Braga (1505-1532), protector of the arts and sciences, who modernized and revitalized Braga with new constructions in the city and the Sé.
Bishop Felix was the last bishop residing in Braga, which was totally destroyed in 716, until the restoration of the bishopric in 1070. Due to the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, his successors were established in Lugo, in Galicia.
^Flórez, España Sagrada Tomo XV, pp. 96-97, keeps the name of 'Peter of Rates' in the list of bishops, but after examining the evidence, concludes that it cannot be said that it is false because there is insufficient evidence that it is true.
^Gams, p. 93 column 1, does not even bother to list the bishops before Paternus (II).
^Bishop Profuturus was the recipient of a letter from Pope Vigilius, dated 29 June 538. P. Jaffe & J. Loewenfeld, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I, editio altera (Leipzig 1885), p. 117 no. 907.,
^Bishop Julian took part in the Sixth Council of Toledo in 638. Flórez, España Sagrada Tomo XV, in introductory matter, and pp. 135-136.
^Potamius of Braga was one of fifty-two bishops present at the VIII synod of Toledo on 16 December 653. He was also present at the synod that met on 1 December 656. During the synod he addressed a letter to the bishops, confessing that he 'failed through uncleanliness', and that he had not been acting as bishop for the previous nine months. The synod removed him from office, and replaced him with Fructuosus, but, because of his honesty and penitential attitude, did not degrade him. Karl Joseph von Hefele (1895). A History of the Councils of the Church: From the Original Documents. Vol. IV. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. pp. 470, 475.
^Fructuosus was one of twenty-one bishops, including Flavius of Porto, present at the X (provincial) Council of Toledo in 656, subscribing as Fructuosus Bracarensis metropolitanus episc.: J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XI (Florence: A. Zatta 1765), p. 43. Hefele, IV p. 474.
^Leodecisius, cognomento Julianus, presided at the IV Council of Braga, in which eight bishops participated, in 675. J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XI (Florence: A. Zatta 1765), p. 159.
^Bishop Felix took part in the XVI Council of Toledo on 15 May 693. According to the false chronicle of Julian Perez, he and 27 other Christians of Braga were martyred in February 734. J.-D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XII (Florence: A. Zatta 1766), p. 84. Flórez, España Sagrada XV, pp. 162 column 2; 166-167.
^Flórez, España Sagrada XV, pp. 166-167. [Corréa], Serie chronologica..., p. 15.
^[Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., p. 15, rejects Eronio, and all of the other 'Bishops in Lugo', twenty-four in number, except Fridisindus, Argirus, Hero (Heronius), and Hermengild. The others are all inventions of Jerónimo Román de la Higuera, who forged the four early chronicles, including that of "Julian Perez". Gams, p. 93-94, accepts only nine of the twenty-four.
^Geraldus was a French Benedictine Monk. He had been Cantor in the Cathedral Chapter of Toledo when he was elected Archbishop by the clergy and people of Braga. The election was approved by Alfonso VI of Castile, and by his son-in-law the Burgundian Count Henry of Portugal. The date given by Gams is 3 July 1095. He died on 5 December 1109. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 17-19.
^Avelino de Jesus da Costa, "D. João Peculiar, co-fundador do mosteiro de Santa Cruz de Coimbra, bispo de Porto e arcebispo de Braga," in: Santa Cruz de Coimbra: do sécolo XI ao sécolo XX, (Coimbra 1984), pp. 59-83.
^Stephanus Soares da Silva died on 27 August 1228. Eubel, I, p. 144.
^Silvester Godhino, sometimes called Simon, who had been Dean of the Chapter of the Cathedral, was elected, but then provided by Pope Gregory IX on 5 July 1229. He died on 8 July 1244. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 110-117. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 28-30. Eubel, I, p. 144.
^Joannes Egas was confirmed by Pope Innocent IV on 20 January 1245. He died in Valladolid on 16 November 1255. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 110-117. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 30-32. Eubel, I, p. 144.
^Documented in 1259, 1260 and 1262. He died on 1 September 1271. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 30-32. Eubel, I, p. 144.
^Pedro Julian's predecessor died on 1 September 1271. Pedro Julian was created Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum on 3 June 1273 by Pope Gregory X. He followed the Curia back to Italy, and took part in the Conclave at Arezzo on 20-21 January 1276; that of 2-12 July 1276 in Rome; and that of August-September 1276 at Viterbo, at which he was elected pope. Eubel, I, p. 9, no. 1; 144.
^Sancho was never Archbishop. Gregory X's letter of appointment of Ordonius Alvarez states that Ordonius succeeded Petrus Julianus.
^Ordonius Alvares, Abbot of Fussellença (diocese of Palencia) and Archdeacon of Vermuy in the Church of Braga, was elected by the Cathedral Chapter, and approved as Archbishop of Braga on 23 May 1275 by Pope Gregory X. There had been a vacancy due to the promotion of Peter Julian to the See of Tusculum in 1273. He was created a Cardinal by Pope Nicholas III on 12 March 1278, and appointed Suburbicarian Bishop of Tusculum. He moved to Rome where he was at the Curia by 3 February 1279. He died on 21 December 1285. J. Guiraud, Registres de Gregoire X (Paris: E. Thorin 1892), p. 260, no. 607. Eubel, I, pp. 10, no. 5; 39; 144.
^Fr. Tellius had been Franciscan Minister for the Province of Castile of his Order. He was appointed Archbishop of Braga by Pope Nicholas III on 6 April 1278. In 1286, the Bishops of Portugal decided to lodge a formal complaint about the violence used by royal officials in carrying out their functions; they sent an embassy to Rome to Pope Nicholas III, led by Archbishop Tellius; four cardinals were appointed to examine the case, and the result was a written concordat with the King. Archbishop Tellius died on 23 March 1292. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 164-167. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica, pp. 35-36. Eubel, I, p. 144.
^Martinho Pires had been a Canon of Evora. He was appointed archbishop by Pope Boniface VIII on 30 July 1295. The delay is accounted for by the long papal sede vacante of 4 April 1292 to 5 July 1294, and the brief pontificate of Pope Celestine V. Archbishop Martinho died on 25 March 1313. Eubel, I, p. 144.
^Joannes Martini had been a chaplain of King Diniz, and had been provided with a Canonry in the Cathedral Chapter of Coimbra. He was also Cantor in the Cathedral Chapter of Evora, and was their procurator in an embassy to Rome to work out a Concordat between Pope Nicholas III and the bishops of Portugal. He had been Bishop of Lisboa (1294-1313). He was appointed Archbishop of Braga by Pope Clement V on 8 October 1313. He died on 1 May 1325. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 172-176. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica, p. 38. Eubel, I, p. 144, 506.
^Goncalo studied Civil and Canon Law at Salamanca, and received benefices as Canon of Tuy and Dean of Porto. He served as Bishop of Lisbon from 6 September 1322 to 27 February 1326. He was transferred to Braga from the diocese of Lisbon as Coadjutor by 24 October 1323 by Pope John XXII, and he succeeded to the See on 27 February 1326. He was never bishop of Evora: cf. Gams, p. 99 column 1. He died in 1348. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 177-178. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 39-41. Gams, p. 94. Eubel, I, pp. 144, 234, 506.
^Valascus (Fernandez, or de Menezes) had previously been Bishop of Idanna (26 May 1363 - 23 July 1364), Bishop of Coimbra (1364-1371), then Bishop of Lisbon for eight weeks (16 June 1371 to 11 August 1371). He was transferred to Braga by Pope Gregory XI on 11 August 1371. Eubel, I, p. 144, 196, 235, 507.
^Martin de Zamora, who was a doctor in Canon Law and Prior of the Collegiate Church of Vimara (diocese of Braga) was named Bishop of Silves by Pope Gregory XI on 9 February 1373. He was transferred to the diocese of Lisbon on 7 February 1379 by Pope Clement VII. He died on 6 December 1383. Eubel, I, p. 452, 507.
^Laurentius Vicente was appointed by Pope Gregory XI on 19 December 1373. He was transferred, to Trani or Tyre, by Clement VII, who appointed Petrus Laurentii in his place, on 23 May 1384. This transfer may well have been involuntary, and Vicente maintained his position until his death. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 43-45. Eubel, I, p. 144, with note 7.
^Joannes Garcia Manrique was Bishop of Compostella, He was an appointee of Clement VII of the Avignon Obedience to the See of Braga. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 212-215. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., p. 39. Eubel, I, pp. 144, with note 8; 200 note 9.
^Martin Afonso Perez da Charneca, earlier in his career before ordination, had been an ambassador to France, governor of Prince Duarte (b. 1391), and Councilor of King John I. He had previously been Bishop of Coimbra (1388-1398). He appears in the oblation rolls of Pope Boniface IX on 12 June 1398. He appears in a document of King John I of Portugal dated 31 August 1398 as "confirmed Archbishop-elect". He died on 25 March 1416. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 216-222. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 46-47. Gams, p. 94. Eubel, I, pp. 144, 196.
^Luis Perez had previously been Bishop of Evora (1464-1468). He was transferred to Braga on 8 February 1468. He died in March 1480. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., pp. 50-51. Eubel, II, p. 110, 149.
^Joannes de Melo had previously been Bishop of Selves (1468-1481). He was transferred to the diocese of Braga on 5 September 1481. According to Correa, p. 51, he died in the same year as his appointment. Eubel, II, pp. 110, 237.
^Joannes Galvano had previously been Bishop of Coimbra (1469-1482), Count of Arganil. He died on 27 July 1485. Da Cunha II (1635), pp. 258-265. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica..., p. 52. Eubel, II, p. 110.
^Jorge da Costa had been Bishop of Evora (1463-1464), and Archbishop of Lisbon (1464-1500). He was named a Cardinal by Pope Sixtus IV on 18 December 1476. He was named Archbishop of Braga, with permission to retain Lisbon, in 1486. In 1488, with the permission of King João II and the agreement of Pope Innocent VIII, he resigned the diocese of Braga in favor of his brother of the same name, Jorge da Costa. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica, pp. 53-54. Eubel, II, pp. 17 no 11; 149, 259.
^Da Costa, the younger brother, was in Rome in 1501 when he died on 30 August, in the home of his elder brother, who was also resident in Rome. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica, pp. 55-56. Eubel, II, p. 110; III, p. 138, note 2.
^Da Costa was known as the Cardinal of Alpedrinha, after his birthplace. Upon the death of his younger brother on 30 August 1501, he resumed administration the Diocese from Rome. He died on 19 September 1508, at the age of 102. Eubel, III, p. 138.
^Didacus de Sousa studied in Salamanca and Paris, and had been in the Roman Curia, where he acquired a reputation for learning. He had been Bishop of Porto (1495-1505), and was sent to Rome by the King of Portugal to congratulate Pope Julius II on his accession in 1503. He died on 8 June 1532. [Corréa] (1830), Serie chronologica, pp. 56-59. Eubel, II, p. 218; III, p. 110.
^Fr. Agostinho had been Vicar General of his Order in Portugal. Gregory XIII had sent him to Germany with Apostolic authority to remedy temporal and spiritual disorder in the houses of his Order. He was nominated by King Philip II, with the recommendation of Cardinal Albert, and approved by Pope Sixtus V in Consistory on 13 June 1588. He was consecrated a bishop in Lisbon on 3 January 1589. He died in Braga on 25 November 1609. Da Cunha II (1 35), pp. 400-420. [Corréa], Serie chronologica, pp. 71-74. Eubel, III, p. 139.
^Furtado had previously been Bishop of Guarda (1609-1616), and Bishop of Coimbra (1616-1618). He was Count of Arganil. His transfer to the diocese of Braga was approved in Consistory on 19 March 1612 by Pope Paul V. He was transferred to the diocese of Lisbon on 2 December 1626 by Pope Urban VIII. He became co-Viceroy of Portugal (1627-1630). He was the author of several books on the various dioceses over which he presided. Gauchat, IV, pp. 120, 155, 180.
^Rodrigo da Cunha had previously been Bishop of Portalegre (1615-1619) and then Bishop of Porto (1618-1627). He was confirmed as Archbishop of Braga on 27 January 1627 by Pope Urban VIII. He was transferred to the diocese of Lisbon on 3 December 1635 by Pope Urban VIII. He died on 3 January 1643. Gauchat, pp. 120, 285, 286, 352.
^Matos was a Spaniard, born in Madrid, and devoted to the King of Spain. He studied at Coimbra, and had previously been Bishop of Elvas. He was a leader in the plotting against John IV of Portugal, whose accession was not recognized by the Pope. He was arrested, imprisoned, and placed on trial. He confessed his crimes, and he and the Grand Inquisitor were deposed and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Matos died in prison of a fever in 1641. O Museu portuense (in Portuguese). no. 4 (15 Setembro 1838). Porto: Typographia Commercial Portuense. 1839. pp. 51-52. Correa, Serie chronologica..., pp. 82-83.
^Verissimo de Lencestre had been a Canon of Evora. He was appointed Archbishop of Braga in Consistory on 22 December 1670 by Pope Clement X, on recommendation of the Portuguese government. He resigned the diocese on 8 February 1677. He had been named Inquisitor General of Portugal and the Algarve on 28 November 1676. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 126 with note 2.
^A native of Lisbon, a doctor of theology (Coimbra), and Canon of the Cathedral of Coimbra, Luís de Sousa was transferred to Braga from the diocese of Lamego (1670-1677) on 8 February 1677 by Pope Innocent XI. He died on 29 April 1690. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, pp. 126 with note 3; 234 with note 2.
^Menezes was transferred to Braga on the presentation of the King of Portugal on 10 March 1692 by Pope Innocent XII. He had previously been Bishop of Faro (1680-1685), and Bishop of Lamego (1685-1692). He died on 16 February 1696. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, pp. 126 with note 4; 234; 312 with note 3.
^Joannes de Sousa was a native of Lisbon, and held a Licenciate in Canon Law. He had been a Consultor of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, and had previously been Bishop of Porto (1683-1696). He was transferred to the diocese of Lisbon on 1 October 1703 by Pope Clement XI, on the recommendation of the King. He died on 28 September 1710. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, pp. 126 with note 5; 322 with note 5; 397 with note 5.
^Born in Lisbon in February 1643, Rodrigo de Moura Teles (Rodrigo II) took a doctorate in Canon Law from the University of Coimbra, and eventually became the Rector of the University. He was consecrated a bishop in Lisbon on 14 November 1694. His appointment to the diocese of Braga was approved in Consistory by Pope Clement XI on 10 March 1704. He died on 4 September 1728. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, pp. 126 with note 6; 192 with note 6.
^José de Bragança was presented by the King of Portugal on 22 February 1739. The appointment was approved by Pope Benedict XIV on 19 December 1740; between presentation and approval, Pope Benedict XIII had died and a Conclave took place. Archbishop José de Bragança died on 3 June 1756. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 129 with note 2.
^Born on 8 October 1716, Gaspar was the illegitimate son of John V of Portugal and Madalena Màxima de Miranda. He was given a degree in philosophy and theology in 1750. He was presented by his half-brother Joseph I of Portugal on 15 October 1757, and approved on 13 March 1758 by Pope Benedict XIV. He was consecrated a bishop on 26 June 1758. He died on 18 January 1789. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 129 with note 2.
Flórez, Enrique (1906). España sagrada. reprint of edition Madrid 1759 (in Spanish). Tomo XV: De la provincia antigua de Galicia en común y la Iglesia de Braga en particular. Madrid: Imprenta de Fortanet.