On the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist, 25 April, a new bishop, the Rt Revd José Jorge de Pina Cabral, was consecrated to serve the Igreja Lusitana Católica Apostólica Evangélica, an indigenous Church in Portugal which has been fully part of the Anglican Communion since 1980. The Lusitanian Church traces its origin to a group of Portuguese Roman Catholics who separated from Rome in the 19th century due to their objection to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility which was defined in 1870 at the First Vatican Council.
The chief consecrator at the service held at St Paul's Cathedral in Lisbon, was the Rt Revd Fernando Soares. He was assisted by several bishops from around the Communion including Bishop Geoffrey and myself, the Archbishop of Dublin the Most Revd Michael Jackson (who represented the Archbishop of Canterbury), and the Most Revd Mauricio Andrade, Primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil who was also the preacher at the service. Bishop John Okoro, the Old Catholic Bishop of Austria was also a co-consecrator, signifying the relation of communion which exists between Anglicans and Old Catholics since 1931.
At the conclusion of the 3 hour service Bishop Soares enthroned the new bishop in his cathedra and handed him the pastoral staff. From that moment Dom José Jorge became the diocesan bishop of the Lusitanian Church with oversight of its 14 parishes. Dom Fernando has served as diocesan bishop for 31 years!
Two of our own Church of England clergy who serve in Portugal also attended, the Revd Peter Ford, who is about to become the priest-in-charge of St James's Porto, and the Revd Nigel Stimpson, who is about to become the chaplain of St George's Lisbon, with St Paul's Estoril.
We pray for Dom Jose Jorge and for his new ministry, giving thanks for our communion as sister Churches.