Churches in Portugal officially recognize each other’s baptism

February 4, 2014

[From The Lusitanian Church with additional reporting by ACNS staff] Lisbon’s Lusitanian Church Cathedral of St. Paul recently played host to a ceremony marking the mutual recognition of baptism among Christian faith traditions.

The signing of a declaration of mutual recognition of the validity of the sacrament of baptism administered in the churches was part of the Week of Christian Unity celebrations.

The declaration was signed on Jan. 25 by the presidents and the bishops of churches including Anglican Bishop Jorge Pina Cabral of the Lusitanian Church (Anglican Communion in Portugal). Other signatories represented the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

These churches acknowledge baptism as a basic bond of unity and hope that this official recognition is a step forward on the path of the visible unity of the one Body of Christ “so that the world may believe “.

Hundreds of worshipers from different churches – including many young people – attended the lively ceremony which was considered “a very encouraging sign for the future of ecumenism in Portugal.”

Cabral expressed his joy at the signing in St. Paul’s Cathedral – at one time a Carmelite Church and Convent. He said the move offered “new opportunities for ecumenical work between the churches in Portugal” and reinforced the Lusitanian Church’s commitment to such collaborative work.

The Lusitanian Church is an extra provincial diocese to the Archbishop of Canterbury with its Anglican Communion roots coming from the Church of Ireland, the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and Igreja Anglican Episcopal of Brazil. These churches and their bishops facilitated the consecration of the Rt. Rev. D. Antonio Ferreira Fiandor on June 22, 1958. The church is also a member of the Porvoo Communion. In 1971, The Lusitanian Church in Portugal co-founded the Portuguese Council of Christian Churches, the main ecumenical body in Portugal and actively participates in the ecumenical movement with the other churches there.