calle Beneficencia, 18.
Madrid 28004 tel + 34 - 914452560
The Bishop: Very Rev. Don Carlos
The Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal (The Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church) belongs to the oldest Protestant Churches in Spain and is recognized as such in the Constitution. It is a split off from the first Protestant Church in Spain, which came into existence in 1868. The later bishop Cabrera initiated in 1880, during the 1880 Synod of Seville, together with others the IERE. They did not see it so much as a split off, as rather a hispanisation of the Church. It was to be a return to the original Protestant Church of the XVI century, at least, to what this would have been if this Church had not been eradicated after a b(l)ooming begin by the State, by the Inquisition. Cabrera c.s. were looking for a 100% really Spanish church. An understandable desire, when one sees how the flowering of the Protestantism in the 19th century, the Second Reformation, was to be thanked to foreign influence. By way of Gibraltar, in British hands, foreigners had some entrance into Spain, and through Gibraltar bibles and religious books entered the country, thus forming the seed of the Christian renewing movement. It was only foreigners that had at that time the privileged to congregate for non-Roman-Catholic services in Spain.
So there was a mayor Anglican influence on the budding Protestantism. Besides that there were Germans with a mission, and some influence from across the Pyrenees, in the High Aragon. The brunt of the work wore however many a Spaniard, coming from abroad to do this risky task. The political situation gave nutrition to the idea that the only correct Spaniard is a Roman Catholic Spaniard, and than Protestantism was a threat to the State. So it is not to be wondered that the need was felt to shake off this odium of being a 'foreign movement'.
Now Juan Bautista Cabrera e Ibars sought safety in the use of the ancient Spanish Mozarabic rite, in fact the only rite that Rome never denounced, and had continued to exist - in Toledo, and to a very small extent - next to that of Rome. Really originally Spanish, from the church of ages, so respectable, but different from the 'normal' Roman mass. Nest the hymns the Reformation loves to sing on top of the psalms had to be adapted. Dozens he has written himself, others he translated into Spanish. And the Church had to be Episcopal, as the name states. That is to say: with bishops, but within the Reformation. The Lutheran Churches had the same aim. In the Scandinavian countries they managed, but not world-wide.
The founding fathers
of the Church were party to the extraordinary 1880 synod in Seville.
They elected Juan Batista Cabrera as their bishop to be. It was not
until 1894, that Lord Plunket, archbishop of Dublin; doctor
Stack, bishop of Clogher; doctor T. J. Willand, bishop of Down and
Connor, all members of the Church of Ireland, consecrated him . Into
the apostolic succession and all. At that time the in Spain had yet to
find its way, and the IERE formed a legitimate alternative besides the
I.E.E., which by now has both a Calvinistic an a Methodist root.
Both evolved from the same melting pot. Now the Committee of
those days had no inkling of being a arbitrator, but had no other wish
than serve humbly the sake of Protestantism, so it helped the IERE as
well. The pontifical 'palace' at the c/ Beneficencia nr 18 would not
have been built (in this form) without the help of the unsurpassed
Mrs.. Constance van Loon, co-founder of the Committee
het Evangelie in Spanje (Gospel in Spain).
The Spanish society at large was much less positive unto the IERE, probably because of this consecration of the bishop. Lots of opposition were to follow.
At this moment the IERE is but a small church. They are not able to convince the Spanish society that they form the reasonable alternative for the seen as rather corrupt RC Church. A thoroughly Spanish (protestant) Church, and not sectarian at all. For that is the common feeling nowadays: Protestant is foreign is sectarian is creepy. Spaniards have some tendency to being be xenophobe.
There are churches on the East coast
and in big cities as Madrid and Seville, which has a beautiful website
http://teleline.terra.es/personal/iere.es/, the official one is from Madrid, where more history is to be found. http://www.netministries.org/see/churches.exe/ch10650
The IERE has some churches in the North West as well. Just check those sites!
New ways in this time:
The IERE shares in the ideas that are in the wind in Protestant Spain right now, as there are immigrants, mission and social questions. Projects are being developed around Columbian refugees, and Leprosy, among others.
Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal