The Anglican mission coincided with the growing influence of the Old Catholic movement in Portugal. Congregations were created from Catholic priests and laypeople who refused to accept the dogmas of the infallibility and universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope, as defined by the First Vatican Council in 1870.
The Lusitanian Church was formed in 1880 as representatives of these congregations met at a synod presided over by H.C. Riley, bishop of the newly formed mission in Mexico. The synod resulted in a constitution and a decision to abide by the doctrinal and liturgical standards of the Anglican Communion. In 1884, a Portuguese Book of Common Prayer was created, incorporating elements of Anglican, Roman, and Mozarabic liturgies.
From the beginning the church was assisted by a Council of Bishops presided over by Lord Plunket, at that time Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath, and years afterwards there were some American Episcopal Bishops who provided Episcopal ministrations and pastoral care, particularly Bishops in Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, until the consecration of the first Lusitanian Bishop in 1958.
Under the terms of the Bonn Agreement, the Lusitanian Church established full communion with various branches of the Anglican and Old Catholic Communions. Full integration into the Anglican Communion occurred in 1980 when the Church became an extraprovincial diocese under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.