Located in Lombardy, Northern Italy. It is situated in a fertile plain; the city is connected with Milan by the Naviglio canal. It was once famous for the manufacture of organs. Of its many medieval towers, which gave to it the name of "city of the hundred towers", few remain; a covered bridge dating from the fourteenth century is worthy of note. The cathedral was built by Rocchi and Omodeo (1488) on the site of the churches of San Stefano and Santa Maria del Popolo; it contains paintings by Crespi, Gatti, and others; a beautiful silver reliquary of the Holy Thorns, and a carved pulpit by Zanella; the altar of St. Syrus, in the crypt, is by Orseolo. The Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro is the former cathedral, restored in the twelfth century; it receives its present name from the golden background of its mosaics ; the body of St. Augustine is preserved in this church; King Luitprand brought it here from Sardinia and concealed it. It was rediscovered in 1695 in a casket of lead and silver, within a marble enclosure; there were lengthy proceedings for its identification; the marble tomb is an exquisite production of the fourteenth century, ordered by the prior Bonifacio, of the family of the marquesses Bottigello; it is adorned with 50 bas-reliefs and 95 statuettes. Boethius is also buried there. Other churches are: Santa Maria del Carmine (1376), a Gothic structure, contains beautiful paintings ; San Francesco (1260), also Gothic; Santa Maria di Canepanova (1492), planned by Bramante, an octagonal building with a cupola and beautiful frescoes contains the mausoleum of the Duke of Brunswick ; San Teodoro, Lombard period, under its altar are St. Theodore's relics ; San Michele Maggiore (seventh century), where the kings were crowned, the most notable monument of Lombard architecture, contains a crucifix of the eighth century; San Marino, built by King Astolfo, and restored in 1481; Sts. Primo and Feliciano; Santa Maria in Bethlem, a Lombard structure San Salvatore (seventh century), contains tombs of several Lombard kings; San Lanfranco (1237), contains the tomb of its patron saint, made by order of Cardinal Pallavicino in 1498. Outside the city is the famous Certosa, founded by Gian Galeazzo Visconti; its façade (1491) reflects the Lombard style, but with a marvellous variety of ornament and sculpture ; it is divided into three naves by Gothic pillars; the baldachina of the altars of the side chapels are all of costly mosaics ; the paintings are mostly by Borgognone, although there are some by Perugino, Mantegna, Pordenone, and others; the choir stalls are of inlaid work; the tomb of Gian Galeazzo and the figures taken from the tombs of Lodovico il Moro and of his wife are the most beautiful productions of Lombard sculpture.
Among the secular buildings are: the Castello Visconteo (1360), despoiled by Louis XII, who carried away its library ; the university, which grew out of the grammar schools and the schools of Roman and of Lombard law, enlarged by Maria Theresa and Joseph II, with several colleges connected with it, viz. the Ghislieri college ( St. Pius V ), the Borromeo college (St. Charles), the Gandini college (St. Augustine), and others; and the Museo Civico has a picture gallery, a library, and a collection of copper engravings.
Pavia is the ancient Ticinum , founded by the Lievi and Marici, two Ligurian peoples; at a date not well determined it came under Roman power, and was given to the Papia tribe, whence the name of Papia , which, however, does not occur before the time of Paulus Diaconus. In A. D. 271, Emperor Aurelian inflicted there a decisive defeat upon the Alamanni; the city was destroyed by Alaric (452); Odoacer, however, transformed it into a stronghold, and stationed there his Heruli and Rugii; Theodoric built a royal palace at Pavia, also an amphitheatre, thermæ etc. Throughout the Gothic War, the city was held by the Goths, although they were defeated in a battle near there in 538. Pavia resisted Alboin, King of the Lombards, for three years, and then became the capital of the Lombard Kingdom, and when it was taken from the Lombards by Charlemagne (battles of Pavia of 754, 755, and 774), it remained the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, where the diets of that realm were held. In the tenth century, the Hungarians brought devastation upon the city on several occasions, especially in 924.
The schools of Pavia were famous in the time of Charlemagne, who took from there the grammarian Petrus Pisanus; in 825 a palatine school was established in the monastery of San Agostino, under the Irishman Dungal. In 901 Berengarius besieged Louis of Provence in Pavia. When Emperor St. Henry II , after defeating Arduin of Ivrea in 1004, was crowned King of Italy at Pavia, the citizens rose against him, and set fire to the town. At his death they destroyed the imperial palace, and resisted Conrad the Salian for two years. The republican Government of the city began at this time, but the period of continual wars against neighbouring cities continued: Milan (1061, 1100), Piacenza, Tortona (1109); Pavia, however, was almost always in alliance with Cremona. On the other hand, it gave assistance to Milan in 1110 against Emperor Henry V, and also in the war of Como, in 1127; but from the beginning of the reign of Barbarossa, it became strongly imperialist, while the emperors were prodigal in bestowing rights and privileges upon the city, e.g. allowing it to elect its own consuls. The coins of Pavia were in great demand, while its agriculture and its industries flourished. The city was able in war-time to arm 15,000 infantry and 8000 mounted troops. Pavia remained Ghibelline even under Frederick II (1227), and in 1241 its forces defeated the Pontifical Crusaders under Gregorio da Montelongo. In the second half of the thirteenth century contentions for the lordship of the city arose between the Langosco and the Beccaria families ; and this made it possible for Matteo Visconti (1315) to occupy the town, for which, however, the marquesses of Montferrat also contended, until Galeazzo II Visconti in 1359 suppressed the brief popular government that was established by the Augustinian preacher, Jacopo Bussolari (1356-59). From that time on, Pavia belonged to the Duchy of Milan ; the Sforzas, however, gave it a Government of its own. In 1499 Louis XII took the city, and thereafter severely punished an insurrection of the town against him. In 1524 Pavia was again besieged unsuccessfully by the French; and, in the following year, the battle that decided the Spanish domination of Milan was fought there, for the taking of Pavia by Lautrec in 1527 had no important consequence. The town underwent another siege by the French in 1655. It was taken by the Austrians in 1706, and again by the French in 1733 and in 1745; the latter, however, were obliged to leave it to the Austrians in 1746 and Pavia followed the fortunes of Lombardy. In 1786, Joseph II established there one of the so-called "general seminaries ", suppressed in 1791.
Pavia is the birthplace of: the historian Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona ; St. Bernardo Balbi, a collector of decretals ; the painter Andreino d'Edesia, a contemporary of Giotto ; the canon Zanella, inventor of the bassoon. The Gospel was brought to this city by St. Syrus, according to legend a disciple of St. Peter; but according to the martyrology of Ado, on the authority of an Aquileian martyrology, he was sent by St. Hermagoras, first Bishop of Aquileia. Admitting that Eventius, present at the Council of Aquileia in 381, was the sixth Bishop of Pavia, it may well be that this diocese dates from the second half of the third century; among its other bishops were Ursicinus (before 397); St. Crispinus (432); St. Epiphanius (466), a providential blessing to Italy in the time of Ricimer, Odoacer, and Theodoric ; St. Maximus (496); Ennodius (511), a famous orator and poet, decorated by St. Hormisdas with the pallium.
After the Lombard occupation, there was also an Arian bishop at Pavia; he had the church of San Eusebio as cathedral ; the last one of these was St. Anastasius, who became a Catholic and sole bishop of the see. After him were: St. Damianus, Biscossia (680), author of a letter against the Monothelites ; Armentarius (seventh century) who contended with the Archbishop of Milan regarding metropolitan jurisdiction ; St. Petrus (726), a relative of King Aripert, and therefore exiled in his youth by Grimoald; St. Theodorus (745), exiled for unknown reasons, returned only after the victories of Charlemagne ; Waldo (791), formerly Abbot of Reichenau ; St. Joannes (801); Joannes II (874), to whom John VIII gave the pallium, thereafter given to his successors; Joannes III (884), obtained the use of the cross and of the white horse; Pietro Canepanova (978), chancellor of Otto II, became Pope John XIV ; Gulielmo (1073), followed the antipope Guibert, and was deposed ; Guido Pipari (1100), more of a warrior than a prelate ; Pietro Toscano (1148), a Cistercian, friend of St. Bernard and of St. Thomas à Becket, expelled by Barbarossa, who held the Conciliabulum of Pavia against Alexander III in 1159; St. Lanfranc (1180) and St. Bernardo Balbi (1198), famous jurists and canonists; St. Fulco Scotti (1216); Guido de Langosco (1296), also a canonist; Isnardo Tocconi, O.P., administrator of the diocese from 1311 to 1320 and imprisoned as a suspect of heresy, but acquitted; Gulielmo Centuaria (1386), O. Min., noted for his apostolic zeal ; Francesco Piccopasio (1427), took a great part in the Council of Basle ; Giovanni Castiglioni (1454), became cardinal, and served on several occasions as pontifical legate ; Cardinal Jacopo Ammannati (1460), distinguished himself in the defence of the Marches against Sigismondo Malatesta also a protector of belles-lettres; Cardinal Ascanio Sforza (1479); Cardinal Francesco Alidosio (1505), killed at Ravenna in 1511; Gian M. del Monte (1520), became Pope Julius III ; Ippolito de Rubeis (1564), restored the cathedral, founded the seminary, and introduced the reforms of the Council of Trent ; he had disputes with St. Charles Borromeo in regard to metropolitan rights, and later became cardinal ; St. Alessandro Sauli (1591-93); Jacopo Antonio Morigia (1701); Luigi Tosi (1822), who gave to Mgr Dupuch, Archbishop of Carthage, the forearm of St. Augustine; Pietro M. Ferré (1859), for two years prevented by the new Government from taking possession of his diocese ; Lucido M. Parrochi (1871-77), became a cardinal and Vicar Apostolic of Rome.
The councils of Pavia were held in the following years: 850, 855, 876, 879, 889, 997, 998, 1018, 1046, 1114, 1128, 1423, which last was transferred later to Pisa.
The diocese is a suffragan of Milan ; it has 82 parishes, 110,300 inhabitants, 4 religious houses of men, and 19 of women, 2 educational establishments for boys, 4 for girls, and 1 tri-weekly publication.
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