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Diocese of Sessa Aurunca
Sessa Aurunca Cathedral
|Area||338 km2 (131 sq mi)|
|(as of 2017)|
|Cathedral||Basilica-Cattedrale di Ss. Pietro e Paolo|
|Secular priests||43 (diocesan)|
12 (Religious Orders)
6 Permanent Deacons
|Bishop||Orazio Francesco Piazza|
|Bishops emeritus||Antonio Napolitano|
The inhabitants of Sessa Aurunca venerate as patron saint their Bishop, St. Castus, a martyr at the end of the third century. Scholars, however, reject the notion that he was a bishop of Sessa. There still remain ruins of the ancient basilica dedicated to him, with which catacombs are still connected. The first bishop of certain date was Fortunatus (499); but until the end of the tenth century the names of the bishops are unknown.
It is likely that Sessa Aurunca became the suffragan (subordinate) of Capua, when that diocese was raised to metropolitan status in 966 by Pope John XIII. It was certainly the case in March 1032, however, when Archbishop Atenulf of Capua consecrated Bishop Benedict of Sessa Aurunca, and confirmed him in the possession of the diocese, just as his predecessors had done. In the twelfth century, under the Normans, Suessa was part of the ecclesiastical province of Capua. The new cathedral was consecrated in 1113.
The ancient cathedral of Sessa, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was outside the city, next to the walls. In 1113 the seat of the bishop was transferred to a new cathedral in the center of the city, which was dedicated on 14 July to the Virgin Mary and Saint Peter.
The cathedral is staffed and administered by a corporation, the Chapter, which is composed of four dignities (the Archdeacon, the Dean, and two Primicerii) and sixteen Canons. In 1757, there were twenty-five Canons.
Concordat of 1818
Following the extinction of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, the Congress of Vienna authorized the restoration of the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples. Since the French occupation had seen the abolition of many Church institutions in the Kingdom, as well as the confiscation of most Church property and resources, it was imperative that Pope Pius VII and King Ferdinand IV reach agreement on restoration and restitution. Ferdinand, however, was not prepared to accept the pre-Napoleonic situation, in which Naples was a feudal subject of the papacy. Lengthy, detailed, and acrimonious negotiations ensued.
In 1818, a new concordat with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies committed the pope to the suppression of more than fifty small dioceses in the kingdom. The ecclesiastical province of Naples was spared from any suppressions, but the province of Capua was affected. Pope Pius VII, in the bull "De Utiliori" of 27 June 1818, chose to suppress the diocese of Carinola (which is only five miles from Sessa) completely, and assign its people and territory to the diocese of Sessa. In the same concordat, the King was confirmed in the right to nominate candidates for vacant bishoprics, subject to the approval of the pope. That situation persisted down until the final overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy in 1860.
New ecclesiastical province
Following the Second Vatican Council, and in accordance with the norms laid out in the Council's decree, Christus Dominus chapter 40, major changes were made in the ecclesiastical administrative structure of southern Italy. Wide consultations had taken place with the bishops and other prelates who would be affected. Action, however, was deferred, first by the death of Pope Paul VI on 6 August 1978, then the death of Pope John Paul I on 28 September 1978, and the election of Pope John Paul II on 16 October 1978. Pope John Paul II issued a decree, "Quamquam Ecclesia," on 30 April 1979, ordering the changes. Three ecclesiastical provinces were abolished entirely: those of Conza, Capua, and Sorrento. A new ecclesiastical province was created, to be called the Regio Campana, whose Metropolitan was the Archbishop of Naples. The dioceses formerly members of the suppressed Province of Capua (Gaeta, Calvi and Teano, Caserta, and Sessa Arunca) became suffragans of Naples.
Bishops of Sessa (Suessa)
- Fortunatus (ca. 499–501)
- Joannes (ca. 998)
1100 to 1400
- Jacobus, O.S.B. (first decade of 12th cent.)
- Joannes, O.S.B. (attested 1113)
- Gregorius, O.S.B. (attested 1120)
- Godofredus (attested 1126)
- ? Risus
- Hervaeus (Erveo) (attested 1171–1197)
- [Deodatus Peccini, O.P.]
- Robertus (1301–1309)
- Bertrand (1309–1326)
- Jacques Matrizio (1326–ca. 1330)
- Joannes de Paulo (1330– )
- Hugo de S. Francisco, O. Min. (1340–ca. 1344)
- Alexander de Miro (1344–1350)
- Giacomo Petrucci, O.F.M. (24 May 1350 – 1356 Died)
- Enrico de Grandonibus de Florentia, O.P. (1356–1363)
- Matteo Bruni, O.P. (1363–ca. 1383)
- Filippo Toraldi (1383–1392)
- Antonio, O.Cist. (1392–1402)
1400 to 1700
- Angelo Gherardini (15 Apr 1463 – 1486)
- Pietro Ajosa (4 Aug 1486 – 1492)
- Martino Zapata (27 Nov 1499 – 1505)
- Francesco Guastaferro (22 Nov 1505 – 11 May 1543)
- Tiberio Crispo (6 Jul 1543 – 7 Jun 1546 Resigned)
- Bartolomeo Albani (7 Jun 1546 –1552)
- Galeazzo Florimonte (22 Oct 1552 – 1565 Resigned)
- Tiberio Crispo (1565 – 27 Jun 1566 Resigned)
- Giovanni Placido (27 Jun 1566 – 20 Jan 1591)
- Alessandro Riccardi (6 Mar 1591 – 16 May 1604 Died)
- Faustus Rebaglio (30 Aug 1604 – Feb 1624 Died)
- Ulysses Gherardini della Rosa (1 Jul 1624 – 9 Jan 1670 Died)
- Tommaso d'Aquino, C.R. (1670–1705)
1700 to 1900
- Raffaele Maria Filamondo, O.P. (14 Dec 1705 – 15 Aug 1706)
- Francesco Gori (4 Oct 1706 – 1708)
- Luigi Maria Macedonio, C.M. (8 Jun 1718 – 9 Dec 1727)
- Francesco Caracciolo, O.F.M. (24 Apr 1728 – 11 Aug 1757)
- Francesco Antonio Granata (26 Sep 1757 – 11 Jan 1771)
- Baldassarre Vulcano, O.S.B. (29 Jul 1771 – 20 Mar 1773)
- Antonio de Torres, O.S.B. (14 Jun 1773 – 29 Oct 1779)
- Emanuele Maria Pignone del Carretto, O.S.A. (27 Feb 1792 – 27 Sep 1796 Died)
- Pietro De Felice (18 Dec 1797 – Nov 1814 Died)
- Bartolomeo Varrone (6 Apr 1818 – 27 Feb 1832)
- Paolo Garzilli (2 Jul 1832 – 24 Jul 1845)
- Giuseppe Maria d'Alessandro (24 Nov 1845 – 15 Mar 1848)
- Ferdinando Girardi, C.M. (11 Sep 1848 – 8 Dec 1866)
- Raffaele Gagliardi (23 Feb 1872 – 18 Aug 1880)
- Carlo de Caprio (13 Dec 1880 – 14 Dec 1887)
- Giovanni Maria Diamare (1 Jun 1888 – 9 Jan 1914)
- Fortunato de Santa (15 Apr 1914 – 22 Feb 1938 Died)
- Gaetano De Cicco (30 Jan 1939 – 22 Mar 1962 Retired)
- Vittorio Maria Costantini, O.F.M. Conv. (28 May 1962 – 25 Oct 1982 Retired)
- Raffaele Nogaro (25 Oct 1982 – 20 Oct 1990 Appointed, Bishop of Caserta)
- Agostino Superbo (18 May 1991 – 19 Nov 1994 Appointed, Bishop of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti)
- Antonio Napoletano, C.SS.R. (19 Nov 1994 – 25 Jun 2013 Retired)
- Orazio Francesco Piazza (25 Jun 2013 – )
- "Diocese of Sessa Aurunca" Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved February 29, 2016.[self-published source]
- "Diocese of Sessa Aurunca" GCatholic.org. Gabriel Chow. Retrieved February 29, 2016.[self-published source]
- Lanzoni, pp. 178-179 rejects Castus as a bishop of Sessa: "I ss. Cassio, Casto e Secondino vescovi e martiri africani sono, come si e detto, venerati in Sessa e in altri luoghi della Campania e dell'Apulia. Erroneamente (presso il Gams. 921) Casfus fu accolto col nome di Cestus (errore di stampa?) nel catalogo sessano. Il Cappelletti stesso (XX, 218) s'accorse dell'infondata illazione."
- Cf. a brief report by Prof. D. Cosimo Sternaioli, announcing the discovery of their tombs: Nuovo bullettino di archeologia cristiana. Vol. 3. 1897. p. 140.. Diamare, pp. 59-64.
- Ughelli, p. 534. There is, however, no positive documentary statement. Kehr VIII, p. 268.
- Ughelli VI, pp. 535-536.
- G. A. Loud (2007). The Latin Church in Norman Italy. Cambridge University Press. p. 525. ISBN 978-1-107-32000-0.
- Loud, p. 129.
- Ughelli, p. 534.
- Ughelli, p. 534.
- Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica VI, p. 388, note 1.
- Bullarii Romani continuatio, Summorum Pontificum Clementis XIII, Clementis XIV, Pii VI, Pii VII, Leonis XII Gregorii XVI constitutiones... (in Latin). Tomus decimus quintus (15). Rome: typographia Reverendae Camerae Apostolicae. 1853. pp. 9, 57 § 6. D'Avino, p. 633.
- Bullarii Romani continuatio Tomus 15, p. 7 column 1, "Articulus XXVIII".
- Christus Dominus 40. Therefore, in order to accomplish these aims this sacred synod decrees as follows: 1) The boundaries of ecclesiastical provinces are to be submitted to an early review and the rights and privileges of metropolitans are to be defined by new and suitable norms. 2) As a general rule all dioceses and other territorial divisions that are by law equivalent to dioceses should be attached to an ecclesiastical province. Therefore dioceses which are now directly subject to the Apostolic See and which are not united to any other are either to be brought together to form a new ecclesiastical province, if that be possible, or else attached to that province which is nearer or more convenient. They are to be made subject to the metropolitan jurisdiction of the bishop, in keeping with the norms of the common law. 3) Wherever advantageous, ecclesiastical provinces should be grouped into ecclesiastical regions for the structure of which juridical provision is to be made.
- Acta Apostolicae Sedis Vol. 71 (Città del Vaticano 1979), pp. 562-563.
- Bishop Fortunatus attended the Roman Synods of 499, 501, and 502, under Pope Symmachus: Ughelli, VI, p. 535. Giovan Domenico Mansi (1762). Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio (in Latin). Tomus octavus (8). Venice-Florence: A. Zatta. pp. 234, 252. Paul Fridolin Kehr, Italia Pontificia Vol. VIII (Berlin: Weidmann 1935), p. 268.
- Lanzoni, p. 184, points out that there was a legendary saint of Campania, Rosius or Rossius or Roscius, who was said to have been an African bishop fleeing from the Vandals. There is no reference to S. Rosius until 1132, and then only as the titulary of a church. Ughelli, VI, pp. 535 and 537, posits two Risuses, before 1000 A.D., without proof; his editor Coleti rejects him.
- Ughelli, p. 537, registers Jacobus immediately after Risus, both times, of uncertain date and conjecturally a monk of Montecassino.
- Bishop Joannes was present at the Roman Council of 998: Ughelli, p. 535. J.-D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XIX (Venice: A. Zatta 1774). p. 227.
- Benedictus was consecrated in 1032 by Archbishop Adenulf of Capua. He was present at the Roman synod of Pope Nicholas II in 1059. Ughelli, pp. 535-537. Mansi, Tomus XIX, p. 919. Gams, p. 921. Diamare, pp. 17-19.
- Milo had been Provost of the monastery of monks of Montecassino at Capua. He is mentioned only in the "Chronicon Casiniense", just after the consecration of Archbishop Geraldus of Siponto in 1065, and just before Cardinal Petrus, who was already a cardinal in January 1070. The date of 1071 is just a statement by Ughelli, p. 535. Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptorum Tomus VII (Hannover: Hahn 1846), p. 715 (no bishop of Sessa appeared in the list of participants at the consecration of the Basilica at Montecassino by Pope Alexander II on 1 October 1071: pp. 719-720). Laud, p. 368.
- Jacobus (Giacomo) had been a monk of Montecassino. Cappelletti XX, p. 219.
- Joannes: Ughelli, p. 537. Cappelletti, p. 219.
- Gregorius: Cappelletti, p. 219.
- Godofredus: Ughelli, p. 537. Cappelletti, p. 219.
- This is the same Risus II as is placed elsewhere by various authors. There is no documentary proof of his existence.
- Bishop Herveus was present at the Third Lateran Council of Pope Alexander III. Ughelli, p. 537. Kehr, pp. 269-270.
- Pandulfus donated the pulpit, adorned with mosaics, in the cathedral; it was left unfinished at his death, and only completed under Bishop Joannes. Cappelletti, p. 220. Eubel, I, p. 467.
- Robertus: Ughelli, p. 537-538.
- Cappelletti, p. 220 says that he was elected on 27 February 1297.
- According to Cappelletti, Deodatus was actually Bishop of Budua. He does not appear in Eubel's list of the Bishops of Budua, p. 150. Nor does he appear in the Vatican registers, according to Ughelli, p. 538, who calls him Deodatus de Castelluccio, O.P., a Tuscan.
- Bertrand had been the rector of a parish in the diocese of Toulouse and Canon of Aix. Eubel, I, p. 467, note 1.
- Jacques had been Canon of Aix.
- Bishop Matteo was removed from office, Eubel, I, p. 467, presumably because of his support of the Avignon Obedience.
- Bishop Antonio was appointed by Boniface IX of the Roman Obedience: Eubel, I, p. 468.
- Gherardini: Eubel, Hierarchia catholica I, p. 243, with notes 2 and 3.
- "Bishop Pietro Ajosa" Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
- Zapata: Eubel, Hierarchia catholica I, p. 243.
- Eubel, Hierarchia catholica III, p. 305.
- Crispo: Eubel III, p. 305.
- On 22 Oct 1552 Albani was transferred to the diocese of Sorrento. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica III, p. 305.
- Florimonte: Eubel, Hierarchia catholica III, p. 305.
- Crispo: Eubel III, p. 305.
- Placido: Eubel III, p. 305.
- Riccardi: Eubel III, p. 305.
- Rebaglio (Reballus): Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 324 with note 2.
- Della Rosa: Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 324 with note 3.
- Tommaso was born in Summa (diocese of Naples), and lectured in theology in houses of the Theatine Order. He was consecrated a bishop in Rome on 20 July 1670 by Cardinal Francesco Barberini. He died on 26 September 1705. Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica V, p. 365 with note 2.
- Filamondo was born in Naples in 1649. He was a master of theology, and at the time of his appointment as Bishop of Sessa, he was First Librarian at the Bibliotheca Casanatense in Rome and a Consultor of the Inquisition. He was named Bishop on 14 December 1705 by Pope Clement XI. He died on 15 August 1576. Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica V, p. 365 with note 3.
- Gori: Ritzler-Sefrin V, p. 365 with note 4.
- Macedonio: Ritzler-Sefrin V, p. 365 with note 5.
- Caracciolo: Ritzler-Sefrin V, p. 365 with note 6.
- Granata: Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica VI, p. 388 with note 2.
- Vulcano: Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica VI, p. 388 with note 3.
- Torres: Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica VI, p. 388 with note 4.
- Pignone: Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica VI, p. 388 with note 5.
- De Felice was imprisoned by the revolutionists; see the Biography of Pietro de Felice. Ritzler-Sefrin, Hierarchia catholica VI, p. 388 with note 6.
- Girardi went into exile in 1860. Umberto Benigni (1912). "Sessa-Aurunca". In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2016-10-14.
- Gams, Pius Bonifatius (1873). Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae: quotquot innotuerunt a beato Petro apostolo. Ratisbon: Typis et Sumptibus Georgii Josephi Manz. p. 921-922. (Use with caution; obsolete)
- Eubel, Conradus (ed.) (1913). Hierarchia catholica. Tomus 1 (second ed.). Münster: Libreria Regensbergiana.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) p. 467-468. (in Latin)
- Eubel, Conradus (ed.) (1914). Hierarchia catholica. Tomus 2 (second ed.). Münster: Libreria Regensbergiana.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) p. 243. (in Latin)
- Eubel, Conradus (ed.); Gulik, Guilelmus (1923). Hierarchia catholica. Tomus 3 (second ed.). Münster: Libreria Regensbergiana.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) p. 305. (in Latin)
- Gauchat, Patritius (Patrice) (1935). Hierarchia catholica. Vol. IV (1592-1667). Münster: Libraria Regensbergiana. Retrieved 2016-07-06. p. 324. (in Latin)
- Ritzler, Remigius; Sefrin, Pirminus (1952). Hierarchia catholica medii et recentis aevi V (1667-1730). Patavii: Messagero di S. Antonio. Retrieved 2016-07-06. p. 365.
- Ritzler, Remigius; Sefrin, Pirminus (1958). Hierarchia catholica medii et recentis aevi. Vol. VI (1730-1799). Patavii: Messagero di S. Antonio. Retrieved 2016-07-06. p. 388.
- Ritzler, Remigius; Sefrin, Pirminus (1968). Hierarchia Catholica medii et recentioris aevi (in Latin). Volume VII (1800–1846). Monasterii: Libreria Regensburgiana.
- Remigius Ritzler; Pirminus Sefrin (1978). Hierarchia catholica Medii et recentioris aevi (in Latin). Volume VIII (1846–1903). Il Messaggero di S. Antonio.
- Pięta, Zenon (2002). Hierarchia catholica medii et recentioris aevi (in Latin). Volume IX (1903–1922). Padua: Messagero di San Antonio. ISBN 978-88-250-1000-8.
- Cappelletti, Giuseppe (1866). Le chiese d'Italia della loro origine sino ai nostri giorni (in Italian). Volume vigesimo (20). Venezia: Giuseppe Antonelli. pp. 215–229.
- D'Avino, Vincenzo (1848). Cenni storici sulle chiese arcivescovili, vescovili, e prelatizie (nullius) del Regno delle Due Sicilie (in Italian). dalle stampe di Ranucci. pp. 631–633.
- Diamare, Giorgio (1906). Memorie critico-storiche della Chiesa di Sessa Aurunca: opera divisa in due parti (in Italian). Napoli: Tip. Artigianelli. pp. 207–.
- Kamp, Norbert (2002), "The bishops of southern Italy in the Norman and Staufen Periods," in: Graham A. Loud and Alex Metcalfe (edd.), The society of Norman Italy (Leiden/Boston/Köln, 2002), pp. 185–209.
- Kehr, Paul Fridolin (1925). Italia pontificia Vol. VIII (Berlin: Weidmann 1925), pp. 268-270. (in Latin)
- Lanzoni, Francesco (1927). Le diocesi d'Italia dalle origini al principio del secolo VII (an. 604). Faenza: F. Lega, pp. 178-185. (in Italian)
- Ughelli, Ferdinando; Coleti, Niccolo (1720). Italia Sacra Sive De Episcopis Italiae (in Latin). Tomus sextus (6). Venezia: Coleti. pp. 531–547.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Sessa-Aurunca". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.