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Diocese in the north-east of Brazil, suffragan of San Salvador de Bahia. Erected into a vicariate Apostolic by Paul V (15 July, 1614), who annexed to it Prefecture Apostolic of São Luiz do Maranhão, Olinda was created a bishopric by Innocent XI on 22 November, 1676 (Constitution "Ad Sacram"). Its most distinguished prelate was Thomas of the Incarnation (1774-85), author of "Historia ecclesiæ Lusitaniæ" (Coimbra, 1759). From its original territory Leo XIII erected the Sees of Parahyba (1892) and Alag as (1900). It is now coextensive with the State of Pernambuco, lying between 7 and 10 40 S. latitude, and 34 35 and 42 10 W. longitude, having an area of 49,575 square miles. The maritime regions are low, fertile, and well settled: the hinterland forms a plateau 500 to 700 feet high, is arid, and sparsely populated. The episcopal city was originally Olinda, founded by Duarte Coelho Pereira in 1534. It was held by the Dutch from 1630 till 1654, who established, a few miles south, a new capital Moritzstadt, now known as Recife, or Pernambuco, an important seaport having a population of 190,000. The episcopal residence has been transferred thither, to the section called Bõa Vista. Pernambuco has a university, five hospitals (one in charge of the Sisters of Mercy ), a college, and many churches, the first being dedicated to Nossa Senhora de Monte. A Benedictine abbey founded at Olinda in 1595, was re-established on 15 August, 1885, from Beuron in Hohenzollern, and is in personal union with the abbey founded at Parahyba in 1903. The present Bishop of Olinda, Mgr. Luiz Raymundo da Silva Britto (b. at São Bento do Peri, 24 Aug., 1840; ordained, 19 July, 1864; elected, 18 Feb., 1901), succeeded Mgr. Manuel dos Santos Pereira (b. 1827; consecrated, 1893). The diocese contains 81 parishes, 365 filial churches and chapels, 88 secular and 22 regular priests ; the population is 1,178,000, all Catholics, except about 4000 Protestants.


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