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Diocese of Coimbra

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(Conimbricensis).

In Portugal, suffragan of Braga, in the province of Beira. The cathedral city has 13,369 inhabitants. The first known bishop was Lucentius, who assisted (563) at the first council of Braga, the metropolitan See of Coimbra, until the latter was attached to the ecclesiastical province of Mérida (650-62). Titular bishops of Coimbra continued the succession under the Arab conquest, one of whom witnessed the consecration of the church of Santiago de Composotela in 876. The see was re-established in 1088, after the re-conquest of the city by the Christians (1064). The first bishop of the new series was Martin. Among the more famous bishops have been Pedro (1300), chancellor of King Diniz, and Manoel de Menezes (1573-78), rector of the university, who fell with Dom Sebastian on the field of Kassr-el-Kaber. The old cathedral of Coimbra, built in the first half of the twelfth century, partly at the expense of Bishop Miguel and his chapter, is a remarkable monument of Romanesque architecture; the new cathedral, a Renaissance building dating from 1580, is of little interest. The episcopal palace was also built in the eighteenth century. The principal monastery of the diocese is that of Santa Cruz, founded in 1131 by Alfonso VII, and for some time the most important in the kingdom by reason of its wealth and privileges. Its prior was authorized by Anastasius IV and Celestine III to wear the episcopal insignia. In 1904 the diocese had a population of 875,853, divided among 308 parishes.

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