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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > P > Archdiocese of Porto Alegre

Archdiocese of Porto Alegre

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Located in Eastern Brazil. Porto Alegre, the capital and chief port of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, is built on the northern extremity of Lagoa dos Patos and on the eastern shore of the estuary called Rio Guahyba. It was founded in 1742 by a colony of immigrants from the Azores, and was first known as Porto dos Cazaes. In 1770 Governor José Marcellino de Figuereido selected it as his official residence, and in 1773 the town received its present name. Raised to the rank of a city in 1822, it was given in 1841 in recognition of its loyalty the title "leal e valorosa". The city is the chief commercial centre of the state, and has a harbour accessible to vessels of not more than ten feet draught. The principal industry of the state is stock-raising, which was first organized by the Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth century. The municipio has an area of 931 sq. miles; the latest census returns assign the city (including several districts not within the municipal boundaries) a population of 73,574 inhabitants, for the most part of German and Italian extraction. The climate, while cool and bracing in winter, is intensely hot during the summer; the average annual rainfall exceeds thirty inches. Porto Alegre has four newspapers, including the Catholic "Deutsches Volksblatt"; the state institutions include the municipal palace, the governor's palace, the school of engineering, the military college, school of medicine, and four general schools. Christianity was first introduced into the country by the Jesuits in the early part of the seventeenth century, after the Indian slave hunters of São Paulo had forced them to abandon their missions in Upper Paraná. In 1848 the state, which has an area of about 91,300 sq. miles, was formed into the Diocese of São Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul. On 4 March, 1910, Pius X divided the territory of the state between this see (which he raised to metropolitan rank with the title of Porto Alegre, now appointed its seat), and its newly created suffragans, Pelotas, Santa Maria, Uruguayana, and Florianopolis. The religious statistics at the time of the division were: 1,400,000 Catholics 115,000 Protestants (including 5,000 Methodists), 134 parishes and parochial charges, 245 priests (including 225 regular), 68 brothers, 58 seminarians, nearly 400 sisters, 6 gymnasiums, 2 normal schools, 1 agricultural school, and more than 500 schools and colleges. The principal religious orders of the archdiocese are the Jesuits (St. Joseph's Church, gymnasium etc.), the Pallottini Fathers, the Sisters of St. Francis, the Sisters of St. Catherine, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Evangelical School Brothers, the Capuchins (who have charge of the episcopal seminary). Nearly all the hospitals are managed by nuns. The chief churches are the Cathedral of Our Lady Madre de Deus, the church of Nossa Senhora des Dores, and the (Jesuit) church of St. Joseph. The present archbishop is the Most Reverend Claoudi José Gonçalves Ponce de Leão (born 21 Feb., 1841), transferred from the Diocese of Goyaz to the former Diocese of Rio Grande on 13 May, 1881. On 21 February, 1906, Mgr João Antonio Pimenta, titular Bishop of Pentacomia, was appointed coadjutor with right of succession.


See list of general works in bibliography of article on BRAZIL. Annuaire pontif. Cathol. (Paris, 1911).

About this page

APA citation. Coyle, M. (1911). Archdiocese of Porto Alegre. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Coyle, Moira. "Archdiocese of Porto Alegre." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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