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DIOCESE OF SOLSONA (CELSONENSIS).

Diocese in Lérida, Spain, suffragan of Tarragona, erected by Clement VIII, 19 July, 1593, from the Dioceses of Urgel and Vich, suppressed in 1851 by virtue of the Concordat, after a vacancy of eleven years (the last bishop being Mgr. de Tessada). It was to have been joined to Vich, but the union was not effected, and it has been governed since by an administrator apostolic. It is bounded on the north and west by the See of Urgel , on the south by those of Lérida and Tarragona, and on the east by the diocese of Vich. It contains 152 parishes, 330 priests and clerics, 259 churches, 16 chapels, and about 120,000 inhabitants. There are many religious communities — men: Religious of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Solsona); Misioneros Paules (Bellpuig, Cervera); Cistercians of Sénanque (Casserras, Tarrega); Mercedarians (Portell); Benedictines (Riner); Piarists (Tarrega) — nuns : Carmelites of Charity, 11 houses, Discalced Carmelite Tertiaries, 2 houses; Dominican Tertiaries, 6 houses; Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgel, Hermanitas de Ancianos desamparados, Sisters of the Holy Family, 1 house each. The cathedral of Solsona is dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin; the apse, in Roman style, dates probably from the twelfth century, the façade is Baroque, and the nave and transept Gothic; the church contains the highly venerated Virgen de Solsona, an excellent specimen of Byzantine work. The present ordinary, Mgr. Amigo y Ferrer, titular Bishop of Thagaste, succeeded Mgr. Benlloch y Vivo, transferred on 6 Dec., 1906, to the See of Urgel . Solsona, the Xelsa of the Lacetani, Setelsis of the Romans, and later Selsona, lies about fifty miles from Lérida and Barcelona on the Rio Negro and Rio Cardoner. It was a military post of strategic importance and was frequently besieged. In 819 it was captured by the Moors ; in 1520, a university, transferred later to Cervera, was established there. On 30 July, 1590, Solsona was made a city by Philip II. In the following century it rebelled against the Madrid Government and was captured, 7 Dec., 1655. In the War of Succession it sided with the archduke. The Carlists attacked it unsuccessfully in 1835 and 1837. Solsona has important manufactures of thread, lace, gloves, and hardware.


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