The city of Biella, the see of the diocese of that name, is an important industrial centre (anciently called Bugelia) of Piedmont, Italy, in the province of Novara. The diocese contains about 200,000 inhabitants, and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Vercelli . Until 1772 Biella had no bishop, but was under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Vercelli. In that year Clement XI, yielding to the desire of King Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia, established the Diocese of Biella by the Bull "Praecipua". The first bishop was Giulio Cesare Viancino, formerly Archbishop of Sassari in Sardinia. In 1803 Napoleon suppressed the diocese, which again fell under the jurisdiction of Vercelli, but was re-established in 1817 by Pius VII who appointed as bishop the Minor Observantine, Bernardino Ballato. It is difficult to determine when the Gospel was first preached at Biella; certainly not before it reached Vercelli. According to the opinion of the Fedele Savio, S.J., the latter city received the Faith in the second half of the third century from Milan.
In the shrine of Maria Santissima d'Oropa, situated on a lofty mountain near Biella, the diocese preserves a memorial of St. Eusebius, the great Bishop of Vercelli, who was banished to the Orient by Emperor Constantius for his courageous defence of Catholic truth against Arianism. St. Eusebius , according to tradition, upon his return from the East, is said to have brought three pictures of the Madonna painted on cedar wood, one of which, the image of Oropa, he placed in a small oratory he had built. In the tenth century the chapel was placed in charge of the Benedictines. The latter having abandoned the place, Pius II, in 1459, made over the shrine to the chapter of the collegiate church, now the Cathedral of Biella, to which is has since belonged. In the sixteenth century, the inhabitants of Biella, in thanksgiving for their deliverance from the plague, built a stately church over the chapel. Even today the shrine of Oropa draws many devout pilgrims.
Among the religious edifices of the city of Biella, the most notable is the Gothic cathedral, built in 1402. Its beautiful choir is by Galliari. The baptistery, in the form of a small temple, is said to be an ancient Roman edifice.
St. Francis of Assisi
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online