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(SANCTA SEVERINAE)

Diocese in the Province of Catanzaro in Calabria, Southern Italy. Situated on a rocky precipice on the site of the ancient Siberena, it became an important fortress of the Byzantines in their struggles with the Saracens. It is not known whether it was an episcopal see from the beginning of the Byzantine domination; when It became an archbishopric, probably in the tenth century, its suffragan sees were Orea, Acerenza, Gallipoli, Alessano, and Castro. The Greek Rite disappeared from the diocese under the Normans, but was retained in the cathedral during a great part of the thirteenth century. The earliest known bishop was one Giovanni, but his date is uncertain. From 1096, when the name of Bishop Stefano is recorded, the list of prelates is uninterrupted. Among them we may mention Ugo (1269), formerly prior of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem ; Jacopo (1400), who died in repute of sanctity ; Alessandro della Marra (1488), who restored the episcopal palace and the cathedral ; Giov. Matteo Sertori, present at the Lateran Council; Giulio Sertori (1535), legate to Ferrara under Charles V and Philip II ; Giulio Antonio Santorio (1566), later a cardinal, and Fausto Caffarello (1624), both renowned for learning and piety ; Gian Antonio Parravicini (1654), even as parish priest of Sondrio in Valtellina was distinguished for his zeal in combatting and converting heretics ; Francesco Falabello (1660), who suffered much in defense of the rights of his church; Carlo Berlingeri (1678), a zealous pastor ; Nicolo Carmini Falco (1743), the learned editor of the history of Dio Cassius.

In 1818 the territories of the suppressed dioceses of Belcastro and S. Leone were united to Santa Severina. Belcastro, considered by some authorities to be the ancient Chonia, had bishops from 1122; the most noted was Jacopo di Giacomelli (1542), present at the Council of Trent. Bishops of S. Leone are known from 1322 till 1571, when the diocese was united to that of S. Severina. The archdiocese has now only one suffragan see, Caritati, and contains 21 parishes with 42,000 inhabitants, 80 priests, 4 convents, and 2 houses of nuns.


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