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DIOCESE OF CARTAGENA (CARTHAGINIENSIS)

Suffragan of Granada in Spain since the concordat of 1851, previously of Toledo. It includes practicably the provinces of Murcia and Albacete, with some towns in those of Alicante and Almeria. The bishop resides at Murcia, the civil capital of the province which has a population of 111,539. Cartagena was almost completely destroyed by the Vandals in 425, and some writers, e.g. La Fuente, infer that it lost at that time its dignity of metropolitan see. On the other hand the decrees of the Second Council of Tarragona (516) are signed, among other, by a Bishop of Cartagena named Hector. There is no evidence for the statement that St. Fulgentius , brother of St. Isidore of Seville , was Bishop of Cartagena. The city was rebuilt by the Byzantines, and under them attained some measure of its former splendour. At the end of the sixth century Bishop Licinianus was known as author of several epistles on theological subjects, some of which have been preserved (P.L., LXXII, 689-700). In 674 the Byzantines were expelled, and Cartagena ceased to be an episcopal see. Under Moorish rule there is a record of a Bishop of Cartagena name John (998). In 1247 the city was retaken from the Moors, and the see was restored. Its first bishop was a Franciscan, fray Pedro Gallego, the confessor of King Alfonso X. In 1291 Nicholas IV transferred the residence of the bishop from Cartagena to Murcia, the former city being much exposed to piratical attacks. Among its best-known bishops have been Juan Martinez Siliceo (1540), tutor of Philip II, and later Archbishop of Toledo (1546), and Cardinal Luis Belluga (1704), a great promoter of agriculture. The Catholic population of the diocese is 691,382; there are 132 principal parishes and 87 filial parishes, 620 priests, and 217 churches.


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