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(SZEPES; SCEPUSIENSIS).

A diocese in Hungary, suffragan of Agria (Eger), founded by Maria Theresa in 1776, and composed of the exempt provostship of St. Martin, the date of foundation of which is unknown, but probably in the beginning of the thirteenth century. Besides the provostship, a collegiate chapter also existed at Zips. The bishops of Zips were among the most prominent ecclesiastical dignitaries of Hungary, and were appointed by the chapter; in later times the bishops were appointed by the kings of Hungary. The provostship was directly subject to the Holy See, and the provost exercised quasi-episcopal functions. In 1291 Provost Jacobus is mentioned as Bishop of Zips, but this dignity was not transmitted to his successors. The chapter consisted originally of four members. In the thirteenth century, the Tatars destroyed the church and burnt the archives. After the departure of the Tatars, Béla IV had the church rebuilt. A great number of parishes were established by the Saxons who settled in Zips. In 1271 they received from King Stephen V the privilege of free election to the parishes. This privilege was exercised by thirteen towns of the Diocese of Zips pledged to Poland by King Sigismund in 1412, as well as by other towns not pledged. Protestantism found a fertile soil in Zips, and spread especially under Stanislav Thurzo. Vigorous steps towards the re-establishment of the Catholic Faith were not taken until 1641. After that Catholicism made better progress. In 1776 the see was established, and Karl Salbeck appointed first bishop. Among his successors may be mentioned: Ladislav Pyrker, 1816-21, an eminent poet, later Archbishop of Agria and Patriarch of Venice ; Joseph Samassa, 1871-73, later Archbishop of Agria ; George Császka, 1874-91, later Archbishop of Kalocsa. Alexander Parvy is the present bishop (1910). The diocese includes the Komitate of Zips, Arva, and Lipto. It is divided into three archdeaconries and has in its territory one abbey and five titular abbeys, one provostship and thirteen titular provostships. The number of parishes is 165; that of the clergy 245. In the diocese there are 11 monasteries, with 83 inmates. The patronage is exercised by 34 patrons. The chapter includes 10 canons and 6 titular canons. The Catholic population is 237,140.


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