Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Catania, a seaport and capital of the province of the same name in Sicily, is situated on the eastern side of Mount Etna in a very fertile region. It was known to the ancients as Catana or Catina. Founded (c. 730 B. C. ) by Chalcidian emigrants from Naxos, Catania was soon a flourishing city. Hiero I, King of Syracuse, in 470 B. C. transported these first settlers to Leontini (now Lentini) and filled Catania with Syracusans and Polopennesians. The former inhabitants attempted to regain possession of the city, but were driven back by Dionysius and Agathocles. Catania accepted the Roman yoke during the First Punic War, and after the fall of the Roman Empire shared the fate of Sicily. The city has suffered much from the eruptions of Etna. Most of its old monuments are buried under the lava. According to legend the Faith was first preached there by St. Beryllus, an immediate Disciple of Christ. During the persecution of Decius the virgin St. Agatha suffered martyrdom. At the same period or a little later the Bishop of Catania was St. Everus mentioned in the acts of the martyrs of Leontini (303). This same year is marked by the martyrdom of the Deacon Euplius and others. Domninus, Bishop of Catania, was present at the Council of Ephesus (431); another bishop, Fortunatus, was twice sent with Ennodius by Pope Hormisdas to Emperor Anastasius I to effect the union of the Eastern Churches with Rome (514, 516). Bishops Leo and Junius appear in the correspondence of St. Gregory the Great . In 730 Bishop Jacobus suffered martyrdom for his defence of images. Another bishop, St. Leo II, was known as a wonder-worker ( thaumaturgus ). Bishop Euthymius was at first an adherent of Photius, but in the Eighth General Council approved the restoration of Ignatius as patriarch. Among other bishops of Catania may be noted, Giuliano della Rovere, later pope under the name of Julius II. The cathedral was destroyed by the earthquake of 22 January, 1693, in which thousands of people met their death. The church del San Carcere contains beautiful sculptures of the eleventh century and a fine painting of St. Agatha by Bernardino Negro. The church of San Nicolò possesses fine paintings and a magnificent organ of 2916 pipes, built under Abbot Donato del Piano. The adjoining Benedictine monastery is famous for its cloister, library, and rich collection of paintings. In the ninth century, while still a Greek city, Catania became suffragan to Monreale. In 1860 it was made an archiepiscopal see, immediately subject to the Holy See. The archdiocese contains 295,300 inhabitants, with 43 parishes, 16 religious houses of men and 17 of women, and 47 educational institutions.

The University of Catania was founded by Pope Eugenius IV in 1444 with the co-operation of Alfonso, King of Aragon and Sicily. The papal Bull of erection, besides establishing the usual faculties on the model of Bologna, authorized the teaching of Greek and Latin. Funds for the endowment were provided by the municipality of Catania and by royal grants. The privileges of the university were confirmed in 1458 and 1494. It comprises at present the Faculties of Law, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Letters, with 105 professors and 1100 students. The library, founded in 1755 by the Benedictine abbot, Vito Arnico, contains 120,000 volumes.

More Encyclopedia

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 between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:32--5:8
32 Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:10-17
10 One Sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues,11 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2016 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was ... Read More