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Diocese of Bragança-Miranda

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(Brigantiensis.)

This diocese is situated in the northeastern part of the Kingdom of Portugal, in the civil province of Tras-os-Montes, and lies between 2° and 3° 3' of longitude west of the meridian of Madrid, 41° 20' and 42° of north latitude. It is bounded on the north by the Dioceses of Astorga and Orense, on the east by those of Salamanca and Zamora, on the south by that of Lamego, and on the west by the Archdiocese of Braga. The civil province is bounded on the north and east by the frontier of Spain comprising portions of the Provinces of Salamanca, Zamora, Leon, and Orense. The greater part of the territory of this diocese is undulating and mountainous and is traversed by several rivers, which, rising in the Sierras de Sanabria and the Sierra Seca y Segundera, flow from north to south, emptying finally into the river Duero. The climate in general is cold especially in the mountainous region. The southern part and the banks of some rivers and the level tracts of land, such as the one in which Bragança is situated are fertile, but the rest is unproductive of cereals, although there are broad tracts of land that pasture large herds of cattle which supply a great part of Portugal and Spain with meat.

This see is comparatively modern. It was erected by Pope Paul III in the town of Miranda bordering on Spain, its territory being taken from the Archdiocese of Braga, but Clement XIV in 1770 transferred it to Bragança, from which the name Bragança-Miranda is derived. The diocese is a suffragan of Braga. The city of Bragança, which is the capital of the province of Tras-os-Montes, is situated in a delightful valley near the confluence of the rivers Pervenza and Sabor. The cathedral, dedicated to the Annunciation, is one of the prominent buildings of the city. It has a very large chapter composed of the dean, nine canons, including the theologian, six beneficed clergy, eight chaplains, and six clerics. The episcopal household receives 1,166 florins from the Government for its support. The episcopal palace and the diocesan seminary for the education of students for the priesthood are large and spacious. Besides the cathedral there is another church which has collegiate rank, and throughout the diocese there are schools and classes for instruction in Christian doctrine. There is a hospital and a Monte de piedad , and before the secularization there were three religious communities, one of men and two of women. The city of Bragança is fortified, having a citadel or small fortress for its defence. The reigning house of Portugal is descended from the Dukes of Bragança and has occupied the throne of Portugal since the separation of Spain and Portugal in the time of Philip IV.


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