The Titular Patriarch of the East Indies (Latin: Patriarcha Indiarum Orientalium; Patriarchatus Indiarum Orientalium for Titular Patriarchate of the East Indies) in the Catholic hierarchy is the title of the Archbishop of Goa and Daman in India; another of his titles is the Primate of the East. Unlike the patriarchs and the major archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches sui juris, the Patriarch of the East Indies only enjoys honorary title. He has a place within the Latin Church similar to the Patriarchs of Venice and Lisbon. The Patriarch of the East Indies is the diocesan ordinary of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the metropolitan archbishop of the Province of Goa and Daman
This title of Patriarch of the East Indies was conferred upon the Archbishop of Goa as part of a settlement between the Holy See and the Portuguese government concerning the link between religious and political aspects of Portuguese colonial expansion. Later, with Portugal's decline as a colonial power, a difficult period resulted that was resolved by a further agreement by which Portugal renounced its rights of patronage (Padroado). In this way the episcopal appointments in actual or former Portuguese colonial territory reverted to the common provisions of ecclesiastical law, and hence to the unhampered decisions of the Holy See. As regards India, this meant that the Holy See was free to make appointments to the episcopate there that took account of the growth of British expansion.
The later isolation of the territory of Goa as a Portuguese colonial enclave in India prior to the invasion of Indian forces in 1961 accounts for the fact that the Archbishop of Goa for a number of decades was immediately subject to the Holy See and had no suffragan dioceses. In the more distant past the archbishop did have a true metropolitan jurisdiction, with suffragan dioceses. These, however, were progressively stripped away or suppressed, the final suffragan diocese in India was the Diocese of Daman, which was merged with the Archdiocese of Goa on May 1, 1928 to form the present archdiocese. The archdiocese formally lost its status as a metropolitan see on January 1, 1975, when the Dioceses of Macau and Dili were transferred from the province of Goa. On November 25, 2006 Pope Benedict XVI elevated it again to a metropolitan archdiocese, with the Diocese of Sindhudurg as its suffragan.
Patriarchs of the East Indies
- António Sebastião Valente (1886–1908)
- Mateus de Oliveira Xavier (1909–1929)
- Teotónio Emanuel Ribeiro Vieira de Castro (1929–1940)
- José da Costa Nunes (1940–1953)
- José Vieira Alvernaz (1953–1975)
- Raul Nicolau Gonçalves (1978–2004)
- Filipe Neri Ferrão (2004–Present)
- Benigni, U. (1886). "Patriarchate of the East Indies". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 13, 2006.
- "Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and Patriarchs of the East Indies". GCatholic.org. 2006. Retrieved June 25, 2006.
- "About the Archdiocese". Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. 2004. Archived from the original on February 21, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2006.
- "Former Bishops and Archbishops". Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. 2017. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
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