The first patriarch of Lisbon was D. Tomás de Almeida, who was appointed in 1716 by Pope Clement XI. The title has been passed on to this day where the current patriarch is Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, appointed in 1998 by Pope John Paul II.
As Portugal grew in political importance and colonial possessions, the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Lisbon expanded, and we learn from Stadel, Compend. Geogr. Eccles. (1712), that Coimbra, Leiria, Portalegre, Elvas, Funchal, Angra, Congo, St. James of Cape Verde, São Tomé, and Baia of All Saints were suffragans of Lisbon. As a reward for assistance against the Turks, Pope Clement XI in 1708 raised the Chapel of the Royal Palace to Collegiate rank and associated with it three parishes in the dioceses of Braganza and Lamego. Later, yielding to the request of King John V, he issued the Bull "In Supremo Apostolatus Solio" (22 October 1716) — known as the Golden Bull, because the seal or bulla was affixed with gold instead of lead — giving the collegiate chapel cathedral rank, with metropolitical rights, and conferring on its titular the rank of patriarch.
The city of Lisbon was ecclesiastically divided into Eastern and Western Lisbon. The former Archbishop of Lisbon retained jurisdiction over Eastern Lisbon, and had as suffragans Guarda, Portalegre, St. James of Cape Verde, São Tomé, and São Salvador in Congo. Western Lisbon and metropolital rights over Leiria, Lamego, Funchal, and Angra, together with elaborate privileges and honours were granted to the new patriarch and his successors. It was further agreed between pope and king that the Patriarch of Lisbon should be made a cardinal at the first consistory following his appointment.
The first Patriarch of Lisbon was Tomás de Almeida (Thomas d'Almeyda, 1670-1754), formerly Bishop of Porto; he was raised to the cardinalate on 20 December 1737 by Pope Clement XII. There thus existed side by side in the city of Lisbon two metropolitical churches. To obviate the inconvenience of this arrangement Pope Benedict XIV (13 December 1740) united East and West Lisbon into one single archdiocese under Patriarch Almeida, who ruled the see until his death in 1754. The double chapter however remained until 1843, when the old cathedral chapter was dissolved by Pope Gregory XVI. It was during the patriarchate of Cardinal Almeida (1746) that the famous Chapel of Saint John the Baptist was built in Rome (1742-1747) at the expense of King John V and consecrated by Pope Benedict XIV, and then transported to and reconstructed in the Church of St. Roch in Lisbon. Patriarch Almeida is buried in the chancel of that church.
At what date the patriarchs of Lisbon began to quarter the tiara with three crowns, though without the keys, on their coat of arms is uncertain and there are no documents referring to the grant of such a privilege. By Apostolic letters dated 30 September 1881 the metropolitan of Lisbon claims as suffragans the Dioceses of Angola, St. James of Cape Verde, São Tomé, Egitan, Portalegre, Angra, Funchal.
Patriarchs of Lisbon
- D. Tomás de Almeida (1716-1754)
- D. José (I) Manoel da Câmara (1754-1758)
- Francisco (I) de Saldanha da Gama (1758-1776)
- Fernando de Sousa da Silva (1779-1786)
- José (II) Francisco Miguel António de Mendonça (1786-1818)
- D. Carlos da Cunha e Menezes (1819-1825)
- Friar Patrício da Silva (1826-1840)
- Friar Francisco (II) de São Luís (Francisco Justiniano) Saraiva (1840-1845)
- Guilherme Henriques de Carvalho (1845-1857)
- Manuel (I) Bento Rodrigues da Silva (1858-1869)
- Inácio do Nascimento Cardinal de Morais Cardoso (1871-1883)
- José (III) Sebastião Cardinal de Almeida Neto (1883-1907)
- António (I) Mendes Belo (1907-1929)
- Manuel (II) Gonçalves Cerejeira (1929-1971)
- António (II) Ribeiro (1971-1998)
- José (IV) da Cruz Policarpo (1998-Present)
Ecclesiastical Province of Lisboa
- Archdiocese of Lisboa
- Giga-Catholic Information
- Patriarch of Lisbon at catholic-hierarchy.org
- Official website (in Portuguese)
- "Patriarchate of Lisbon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Patriarchate_of_Lisbon.
- Westermann, Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte