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Archdiocese of Ravenna (Ravennatensis)

The city of Ravenna is the capital of a province in Romagna, central Italy, on the left of the Rivers Montone and Ronco, the confluence of which is at Ravenna, not far from the mouths of the Po. The Corsini Canal, constructed by Clement XII in 1736, connects the city and the wet dock with Porto Corsini, on the Adriatic Sea, which is now five miles away. Ravenna is situated on a vast alluvial plain, partly marshy. A pine grove that begins at a distance of two miles from the city, and extends as far as Cervia, was already famous in antiquity, when it extended to the north as far as Aquileia. This grove was greatly damaged by the winter of 1879-80, and also by a fire in 1905. The vast plains are cultivated by the intensive system; and the silk industry also flourishes there.

In ancient times, and in the early Middle Ages, Ravenna was on the coast, the sea forming at this place a lagoon that is shown on the maps of the sixteenth century; the city itself was traversed in all directions and surrounded by natural streams and artificial canals, the most important of which was the Augusta; so that Ravenna resembled Venice. Until the time of the first emperors, the houses were all built of wood, or on pile foundations. Its geographical position and the prehistoric objects that have been found at the city show Ravenna to be of ancient origin. It increased very much when the Umbrians and the Etruscans took refuge there at the invasion of the Gauls, against whom it allied itself with Rome, at a date that cannot be established with precision, retaining its own city regulations. After the Social War, it obtained Roman citizenship (88 B. C. ); and having sided with Marius, Sulla deprived it of its autonomy, and annexed it to the province of Cisalpine Gaul. Before crossing the Rubicon, Cæsar stopped there, concealing his designs under the apparent concern that he entertained for the creation of a school of gladiators. Augustus recognized the military importance of the city, protected, as it was, on the land side by water, and he made it the second station of the imperial fleet, the first being Misenum, near Pozzuoli.

Around the station of the fleet ( classis ) there soon sprang up a city which took that name, and which consisted of the dockyards and of the houses of employees connected with that place. Classis was surrounded by walls of its own; and thereafter, the Via Cæsarea, which connected it with Ravenna, became flanked with houses on either side, giving rise to the suburb of Cæsarea. Tiberius built a common wall around Ravenna and Classis. The chief public buildings were outside the Porta Aurea, among them the amphitheatre, the temple of Apollo, a circus, baths, and a manufactory of arms. Scarcely any of the buildings of that age are preserved, and the aqueduct of Trajan is completely covered by alluvial deposits; the Porta Aurea was torn down in the sixteenth century; and all that remains of the buildings of Classis are the columns of a few temples, scattered about in different churches of the city, while some of them were transported to Venice ; some sculptures are preserved in the museum ( Augustus and his family ), or serve to adorn a few churches (San Giovanni in Fonte, San Vitale); there is a mosaic pavement which is also of that period. Funereal monuments abound, especially of naval constructors; the most interesting one of them, in the collection of the Museum, is that of the Longidiena family. Thusnelda, widow of Arminius, and Marbod, King of the Marcomanni, were confined at Ravenna. In 404 this city became the imperial residence, Honorius preferring it to Milan, which was more exposed to the incursions of the barbarians and of Alaric, who was serving in the pay of the empire. At this time Ravenna was adorned with its most famous monuments, secular and sacred, the latter of which have been in great part preserved. Already about 380 Bishop Ursus had dedicated a splendid basilica to the Resurrection of Our Lord (called Anastasis in the Byzantine period); on its site the present cathedral stands, entirely remodelled in the eighteenth century, the only remains of the ancient basilica being a few sculptures and mosaics, and two sarcophagi, one of which is said to be that of St. Bartianus; there remain only a few fragments of the ambo of the bishop Angellus (sixteenth century).

No vestige remains of the palaces of Honorius, of Ad Laurentum , and of Galla Placidia (425-50). Of the churches that were erected under Honorius, there remains Santa Agata, a basilica of three naves, which in 1893 was restored to its ancient form; it possesses a notable ambo, and ancient columns. San Pietro in Classis was torn down in the sixteenth century, to make room for fortifications. Under Galla Placidia there was built the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, which in the transformations that it underwent in the fourteenth century and in 1747 lost all the mosaics with which it was adorned, preserving only its columns and its atrium ; the Gothic portico dates from 1316. Of the Church of Santa Croce only one half remains. In the Church of San Giovanni Battista only the columns are ancient. Most important is the chapel of the archiepiscopal palace of San Pietro Crisologo, square in shape, and possessing mosaics, of which the beardless Christ in the centre is notable. The mausoleum of Galla Placidia, which is the Church dei Santi Nazario e Celso (440), contains the best mosaics of Ravenna. It is built in the shape of a Latin cross, and has a cupola that is entirely in mosaics, representing eight Apostles and symbolical figures of doves drinking from a vessel; the other four apostles are represented on the vaults of the transverse arm; over the door is a representation of Christ as the Good Shepherd, young, beardless, with flowing hair, and surrounded by sheep; opposite, there is a subject that is interpreted as representing St. Lawrence . There are three sarcophagi, but it is not known whose they were; the largest is said to have been that of Galla Placidia, and that her body was deposited there in a sitting position, clothed with the imperial mantle; in 1577, however, the contents of the sarcophagus were accidentally burned.

Of the same period is San Giovanni in Fonte, which was the baptistery of the Catholics, dedicated by Archbishop Neon (449-52). It is believed that the church was built over the caledarium of a bath on the same site. It is of octagonal shape, with the interior walls and vault adorned with mosaics. In the centre of the cupola is the baptism of Christ, on a golden field, with a personification of the River Jordan ; around are grouped the twelve Apostles on a blue field; and below are other figures, possibly of the prophets ; there are also arabesques, etc. The marbles of the socle seem to have been taken from secular buildings. The art of this period has the merits of ancient art applied to Christian subjects, although its technic already begins to show decadence; for the rest it is still Roman, showing no traces of Oriental influence. The same is true of the artistic period inaugurated by Theodoric, King of the Goths. After the battle of Verona, Odoacer withdrew to Ravenna, where he withstood a siege of three years by Theodoric. The taking of Rimini, however, deprived Ravenna of supplies, and thereby compelled the latter city to capitulate. Archbishop Joannes served as the peace mediator (493). Theodoric employed Roman architects for the building of profane as well as sacred structures. It has been suggested that in his buildings a Germanic influence may be perceived; but this is without foundation, for even in the Gothic period Ravenna preserved its western Roman character. Nothing remains of the palace that Theodoric built near San Apollinare Nuovo; what is called Palazzo di Teodorico today was an annex of the former, probably a barrack, and received its present form in the eighth century. Excavations are being made there at the present time.

The palace itself was sacked by the Byzantines in 539, and thereafter it became the seat of the exarchs, and of the King of the Lombards. Charles the Great took away the columns of this palace to embellish with them his own palace at Aachen. The last tower that remained of the palace of Theodoric was destroyed in 1295. Theodoric also built the Basilica Herculis, baths, and several churches for the Arians, e.g. San Martino, which is now called San Apollinare Nuovo, because the relics of San Apollinaris were transferred to that church in the ninth century. This church was near the palace of Theodoric, and was the cathedral of the Arians. Its apse and atrium underwent modernization at various times, but the mosaics of the lateral walls, twenty-four columns, and an ambo are preserved. The mosaics of the right side represent a scheme of twenty-six saints going to receive their crowns, towards a group representing Christ, beardless, enthroned amid four angels ; which lattter group is the best. This picture contains a schematic representation of the palace of Theodoric. After the Gothic government had passed away, this composition was somewhat transformed, as is shown by some hands that remain near a column. On the left are the virgins moving from the city of Classis towards the group of the Madonna with the Bambino on her lap, and surrounded by four angels ; on the two sides are the lines of windows, between which are mosaics representing sixteen saints ( Doctors of the Church ?) that have much more individuality than the figures already mentioned. On the third story are represented twenty-six scenes of the life and passion of Christ, in which latter, however, the crucifixion is lacking; between each two scenes there is the image of a saint. In another part of the church there is a rough mosaic containing the portrait of the Emperor Justinian.

The Church of Santo Spirito (formerly San Teodoro) was the private church of the Arian bishops ; near it is Santa Maria Cosmedin, the baptistery of the Arians, the mosaics of which correspond to those of San Giovanni in Fonte; this baptistery also is an octagonal structure with a cupola. The Church of Sant' Andrea, which was built by Theodoric, was destroyed by the Venetians in 1447. After the Byzantine conquest the Arian churches were consecrated by Archbishop Agnellus for Catholic worship. The mausoleum of Theodoric, a decagonal structure, covered with a great monolith thirty-six feet in diameter, is the monument that reveals Roman art in its purest form, at once austere and graceful. In the Middle Ages the sarcophagus that was used as a church (Santa Maria della Rotonda) was removed, and there appeared in its place a Benedictine monastery. To Theodoric's patronage of the arts was due also the Churches of San Vitale, built by Archbishop Ecclesius (526-34), and San Apollinare in Classe, built by Archbishop Ursicinus (535-39); San Vitale, which is a work of the architect Julianus Argentarius, is an octagonal structure of nearly 114 feet in diameter, with an apse for the altar and presbytery. In 1898 it was restored to its original shape, there being preserved however only the frescoes of the cupola, which are by Barozzi and others; betweeen the eight columns that surround the central space there open eight niches of two stories, the upper one of which was a tribune for women ( matronæum ). The columns, which are placed by pairs between the single pilasters, above and below, are embellished with exquisitely beautiful capitals. The mosaics of the apse and the lateral walls are better than those of the epoch of Theodoric, although not equal to those of the period of the empire. In the apse is represented a juvenile Christ, seated upon the orb, and surrounded by two angels, St. Vitalis and the Archbishop Ecclesius; below to the right is represented the Empress Theodora with her suite, and to the left Justinian and his suite, there being in the latter the Archbishop Maximianus, in whose time (546-56) the mosaics were executed.

Other representations are of Abraham extending hospitality to the three angels ; the sacrifice of Isaac ; the sacrifice of Abel; the Eucharistic Sacrifice (table with bread and wine ), and the sacrifice of Melchisedec (these have a dogmatic value); there are also representatives of Moses, of the prophets, of the Apostles, and of other saints. Among the ancient sarcophagi, a notable one is that of the Exarch Isaac (641), in the Sancta Sanctorum, which must be a work of the fifth century, with representations of Daniel, of the adoration of the Magi, and of the resurrection of Lazarus. San Vitale was the model of the palatine chapel of Charles the Great of Aachen. San Apollinare in Classe is a work of that same Julianus. This church, which is a basilica of three naves, divided by two lines of marble columns, has preserved its ancient structure better. The marble incrustations of the walls were removed in 1449 by Sigismondo Malatesta. In the lateral naves there are the sarcophagi of eight archbishops, nearly all of them with metrical inscriptions. The mosaics of the apse have been restored; they represent, around a cross on a blue background, the Transfiguration, the preaching os St. Apollinaris, the sacrifice of Abel; Abraham, Melchisedec, the Emperors Constantine IV, Heracleus, and Tiberius granting privileges to the Archbishop Reparatus (671-77), and four are the portraits of bishops. Pope Leo III restored the church, to which later there was annexed a Camaldolese monastery.

Ravenna is today substantially as it was at the beginning of the Byzantine period: subsequent ages have done nothing except to pass by, transforming, not always happily, the work of the fifth and sixth centuries. In 539 the city fell into the hands of Belisarius, who, pretending to accept the crown of Italy offered to him by Vittiges, was allowed to enter the town; but when the Goths attempted to retake it (548-550), it was held against them. At the close of the war, Ravenna became the seat of the Byzantine governor, and accordingly was better able than Rome to preserve its outward splendour. The Lombards attempted several times to take possession of the city; in 597 Faroald, Duke of Spoleto, succeeded in taking Classe, but was driven from it two years later by the German Droctulf; the same occurred to Ariulfo in 592, and in 716 to Faroald II, the latter of whom was compelled to restore Classe by Liutprand, who in turn took possession of it 726. Liutprand succeeded in taking Ravenna itself in 731, not, however, without the assistance of a party in the town that was averse to Byzantine domination. This aversion had already manifested itself in 692, when Constans II wished to take Pope Sergius to Constantinople; the militias of Ravenna and the Pentapolis hastened to the assistance of the pope, which happened again in 705 in the case of Pope John VI. When, by order of Leo the Isaurian the Exarch Paulus wished to destroy the sacred images about the year 727, Ravenna revolted, and in the fighting that followed the Exarch himself was killed. Agnello tells of a battle between the Ravennese and the Greeks at a time that is not well defined.

In 752 Aistulf, King of the Lombards, took Ravenna; then, however, Pope Stephen II (III) obtained the intervention of Pepin, and the exarchate was united to the dominions of the Holy See. Thereafter Ravenna and the exarchate were governed in the name of the pope by the archbishop, assisted by three tribunes who were elected by the people. Soon, however, the archbishops came to consider themselves feudatories of the empire; and in fact in the confirmation of their temporal power by Henry II and Barbarossa no mention is made of the sovereignty of the pope. The archbishops of Ravenna were the most faithful supporters of the rights and policy of the emperors in Italy, while the emperors on different occasions held their courts at Ravenna. In 1198, however, that city -- where the communal institutions had been greatly developed -- placed itself at the head of the league of the cities of Romagna and of the Marches against the imperial power; and consequently Innocent III was able easily to enforce the rights of the Holy See over Ravenna, which were ratified by Otto IV and Frederick II at periods when those princes needed the good will of the pope. In the war of 1218 the Guelph Pietro Traversari, having vanquished the faction of the Ubertini and Mainardi, declared himself Lord of Ravenna, and was succeeded by his son Paolo in 1226. Paolo fought against Frederick II, who in 1240 took the office of podestá from Paolo's son, also named Paolo. In 1248, however, the pope took Ravenna, and the Traversari returned to power; but in 1275 they were driven from the city by Guido Novello da Polenta, who was made perpetual captain.

His son Lamberto (1297-1316) abolished the democratic government, and having died without children was succeeded by his cousin Ostasio I and Guido Novello, of whom the latter was a lover of letters and of the arts; he received Dante with honours, and called to Ravenna Giotto, who painted the vault of San Giovanni Evangelista with frescos, while other artists who studied under him adorned with frescos Santa Maria in parta fuori (supposed portraits of Guido da Polenta, Dante, Chiara, and Francesco da Polenta), and Santa Chiara, founded by Chiara da Polenta in the thirteenth century. Dante died at Ravenna (1321) and was buried in the vestibule of the Church of San Francesco. His present mausoleum was erected in 1482 by Bernardo Bembo. Ostasio received from Louis the Brave and from Pope Benedict XII the title of vicar. Not less cruel than Ostasio was his son Bernardino (1345-59), against whom his own brothers conspired; they died, hwoever, in the same prison of Cervia into which he had been treacherously thrown. A better ruler was Guido Lucio, who in his old age in 1389 was thrown into prison by his sons, where he ended his days. He was survived by his son Ostasio IV, who died in 1431. Ostasio V in 1438 was forced into an alliance with Duke Filippo Maria of Milan by that prince, on which account the Venetians invited him to Venice, where he soon learned that the annexation to Venice had been proclaimed at Ravenna. He died in a Franciscan convent, the victim of a mysterious assassination. The Venetians governed Ravenna by provveditori and podestá . In 1509 Julius II attempted to retake all of Romagna that was held by the Venetians, and sent the Duke of Urbino with an expedition. Ravenna was defended by the podestá Marcello and by the captain Zeno; but at the news of the defeat of Agnadello, the republic ordered the restoration of Ravenna to the Holy See.

Three years later, in 1512, there took place near this city the disastrous battle in which the French defeated the allied Pontifical and Spanish troops. In 1527, notwithstanding their alliance with Clement VII, the Venetians occupied Ravenna and the Romagna, which, however, they were compelled to restore in 1529. The popes governed Ravenna through a cardinal legate. Of this period are: the monument of the battle of 1512, erected in 1557; the tombs of Guidarello Guidarelli, and Tullio Lombardo, in the Museo Nazionale; those of Luffio Numai and Tommaso Flamberti, in the Church of San Francesco (1509), and, above all, the church and the monastery of Santa Maria in Portu (1553), built on the site, and in part with the materials, of the Church of San Lorenzo in Cæsarea (fifth century); it has a Byzantine Madonna of the tenth century. Its construction was undertaken when the Regular Canons of Portu were obliged to leave Santa Maria in portu fuori; the church has three naves, and an octagonal cupola ; the stalls of the choir are adorned with beautiful carvings, and the loggia of the garden of the annexed monastery is of very pure style. The façade dates from 1784. The city was adorned with princely palaces, more especially the work of the architects Danisi, Grossi, Morigia, and Zamaglini, while Nicoló Rondinelli, at Santo Domingo, Cotignola, Luca Lunghi and his sons, Guido Reni, at the Duomo, and other painters adorned the churches. Meanwhile, the public works were not neglected. Besides the fortifications already constructed by the Venetians, which were enlarged, there was dug in 1654 the Canale Panfilio (named in honour of Innocent X ), by the cardinal legate Donghi, and, in the following century, the Canale Corsini, works that were necessary not only to facilitate maritime commerce but to preserve the city from inundation in consequence of the raising of the beds of the rivers. In 1797 Ravenna became a part of the Cispadan Republic, and later of the Cisalpine Republic. The Austrians took it from the French, who in turn drove the former from the city in 1800-01. The town was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy, after which it was attacked again by the Austrians, and finally was restored to the pope. Provisional governments were established in 1831, 1849, and 1859; and in 1860 the annexation of Ravenna to the Kingdom of Italy was declared.

The academy of fine arts has some paintings by well-known masters, mentioned above: San Romualdo, by Guercino; a collection of Byzantine and of Slav Madonnas, and sculptures by Canova and Thorwaldsen. The Museo Nazionale contains collections of Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins and inscriptions, and also coins and inscriptions of the Middle Ages ; fragments of ancient sculptures, and a bust of Innocent X by Bernini. It occupies the monastery of the Camaldolese of Classe, who moved into the city in 1515. The archiepiscopal palace also has a lapidary hall, ancient vestments, a Lenten calendar for the years 532 to 626, and a chiselled ivory throne of the sixth century, taken to Ravenna in 1001 by Ottone III, who received it from Pietro Orseolo, Doge of Venice.

According to local tradition, St. Peter himself founded the Church of Ravenna, and established as its first bishop St. Apollinaris, a native of Antioch, who according to the same tradition suffered martyrdom under Nero ; the acts of his martyrdom, however, have scarcely any historical value; they were probably written under the bishop Maruo (642-61), and intended, together with the alleged Apostolic origin of the See of Ravenna, to abet the autocratic aspirations of that bishop. However, in 1756 there was discovered near Classe a Christian cemetery in which there were found inscriptions that date from the second century; and in 1904 in Classe itself there was unearthed another graveyard, the upper layers of which date from the fifth century. It may be concluded, therefore, that Christianity was taken to Ravenna by sea. It is certain that St. Apollinaris was the first bishop, and that he suffered martyrdom. According to the list of the bishops of Ravenna, handed down to our times by Agnellus (ninth century), who received it from the bishop Marianus (546-56), of whose accuracy there is no reason to doubt, Severus was the twelfth of the series; and as he is among those who signed at the Council of Sardica (343), the epoch of St. Apollinaris may be established as belonging to the beginning of the third century, or possibly to the last decades of the second century, when the Church, under Commodus, enjoyed a measure of peace that was propitious to the development of hierarchical organization. Ravenna accordingly became a centre of Christianization for Emilia. The only martyr among its bishops was St. Apollinaris, whose martyrdom occurred, possibly, under Septimus Severus.

Other martyrs were St. Ursicinus, SS. Fusca and Maura, St. Vitalis (not the St. Vitalis of Rome ), etc. Among the bishops, besides those already named, mention should be made of Joannes Angeloptes (430-33), so called because he had the gift of seeing his guardian angel ; he obtained through Galla Placidia the title and the rights of metropolitan of the fourteen cities of Emilia and Flaminia. The archbishops, as in the past, continued to be confirmed and to be consecrated by the pope ; St. Peter Chrysologus (433-49), formerly Deacon of Imola, was so confirmed and consecrated. For the rest, the presence of the imperial court, and later, of that of the exarch, aroused in the minds of the archbishops a great sense of their dignity and a certain spirit of independence in regard to Rome ; while the popes on the other hand were disposed to cede no measure of their rights, as was shown in the case of Simplicius, who threatened Joannes III with the forfeiture of the right to consecrate his suffragans; in the case of Felix IV, in regard to the questions that arose between Bishop Ecclesius (521-34) and his clergy ; and in the case of St. Gregory the Great, who was compelled to repress the excess of pomp of Archbishop Joannes V (575-595) and that of his clergy, and who, on account of those conditions, at the death of Joannes, caused the election of Mariniano (606), who had been a companion of the pope at the monastery of Sant' Andrea. The better to insure the subordination of the archbishops, the latter were forced to sign at the time of their consecration a declaration to that end ( indicula et cautiones ), in which were written the chief duties and rights of those prelates. In connexion with this declaration, there arose differences of interpretation between Pope Vitalianus and Archbishop Maurus (648-71), which led to the schism, Maurus having sought and obtained the privilege of autonomy from the Emperor Constans II, who was a Monothelite, and therefore ready to humiliate the pope ; even on his deathbed, Maurus exhorted his clergy not to subject themselves to the yoke of Rome ; and accordingly Reparatus (671-77) did not go to Rome for his consecration.

It is uncertain whether Reparatus or Theodorus (677-88), who also was consecrated by his suffragans, re-established the union with Rome. Theodorus adhered to the Roman Council of Agatho (680); for the rest, he was hated by his clergy for having suppressed many abuses among them. There followed St. Damianus (688-705); St. Felix (705-23), who at first also had aspirations to independence; but when Justinian II, having recovered the throne, sent a fleet to punish Ravenna for its complicity in his dethronement, as he believed, the archbishop was taken to Constantinople, blinded, and sent to Pontus, whence he was recalled by Philippicus Bardanes (712). Of the constancy of Ravenna against Iconoclasm, mention has already been made above. Sergius (748-69) also had differences with the popes. Georgius (835-46) went to France in search of a grant of autonomy, but was imprisoned by the troops of Charles and Louis II, at war at that time with Lothair (835), and with difficulty was able to return to his country. Matters again became acute under Archbishop Joannes X (850-78), who, moreover, had displeased the clergy and people of his own see and his suffragan bishops by his overbearing acts, consecrating bishops against the pleasure of the people and the clergy, imposing heavy expenses upon his suffragans in the visits that he made every other year, preventing his suffragans from communicating directly with Rome, etc. Accordingly, he was cited to appear at Rome by Nicholas I ; but Joannes having refused to obey the summons, the pope went in person to Ravenna, where he became convinced of the general aversion to the archbishop, who, being then deprived of the protection of the emperor, was compelled to appear before the council (861), which reprimanded him. Later, however, he again intrigued against Nicholas, with the Bishops of Trier and Cologne. He was the founder of the Benedictine monastery of Isola Palazziola.

Romanus (878-88) also was disaffected to the Holy See ; Joannes XII (905) became Pope John X. Petrus VI (927-71) was obliged to protect the property of the Church in two synods ; Gerbertus (998-99) became Pope Sylvester II ; under Leo II (999-1001) the Ravennese grammarian Vilgardus was condemned for heresy ; Arnoldus (1014-19) was a brother of St. Henry II, who gave to the archbishops temporal sovereignty over Ravenna, Bologna, Imola, Faenza, and Cervia, without mentioning the sovereignty of the pope ; of Archbishop Bebhardus (1027-44), St. Peter Damian says that he maintained himself unsullied in the general corruption of that day; Hunfredus (1046-1051) had been chancellor of Henry III ; under him there arose the question of precedence between the bishops of Milan and Ravenna at the imperial court, which gave room to an altercation between the suites of those prelates at the coronation of Henry III. Hunfredus, like his successor, Enrico (1052-71), who had been vice-chancellor of Henry III, was of the imperial party, and opposed to the pope ; Enrico favoured the cause of the antipope Cadalous. Guibertus, who was chancellor of Henry IV, caused himself to be elected antipope, in opposition to Gregory VII (1080), by whom he had been excommunicated since 1076. At the beginning of the twelfth century the blessed Petrus Onesti founded the Congregation of the Regular Canons of Santa Maria in Portu. Anselmus (1155-58), formerly Bishop of Havelberg, is famous for his legations to Constantinople, and for his polemical works against the Greeks. Guido da Biandrate (1158-69) favoured the schism of Barbarossa, who was his protector. In the time of Gherardo (1170-90), there arose the question between the monks of Classe and those of San Martino in regard to the body of St. Apollinaris, which, the monks of San Martino claimed, had been transferred to their church for its safety against the incursions of the Saracens.

Filippo Fontana (1251-70) preached the crusade against Enzelino. After his death the see remained vacant for four years, until Gregory X appointed to it Bonifacio Fieschi (1274-94). St. Rinaldo Concoreggi (1303-21) restored Christian life, and held six provincial synods. Rinaldo da Polenta was killed by his own brother, Ostasio (1322), who then usurped the Lordship of Ravenna. Fortuniero Vaselli (1342-1347) made a crusade against the Ordelaffi of Forli and the Manfredi of Faenza, and concluded a peace between Venice and Genoa. Pileo de Prata (1370-87), a man of stern doctrines, was made a cardinal by Urban VI, and sent as legate to Germany and Hungary, which countries he held in obedience to the Holy See. Cosmo Migliorati (1387) became in 1400 Pope Innocent VII , and named as his successor at Ravenna his nephew, Giovanni Migliorati (1400-10), whom he made a cardinal. Roverella (1445-76), later a cardinal, was a man of great learning, who was sent on various occasions as legate to England and elsewhere. Pietro Accolti (1524-32) had been professor of canon law at Pisa, and secretary to Julius II. Benedetto Accolti (1532-49), a famous man of letters and historian, was imprisoned under Paul III for unknown reasons. An awakening of Christian life, such as had taken place on former occasions in Italy, was effected at the time at Ravenna. The pious priest Gerolamo Maluselli established the congregation of secular priests of the Buon Ges&ú (1531); while there appeared a lay oratory, and the Blessed Gentile, widow, and Margherita de' Molli shone for their virtues. Cardinal Guilio della Rovere (1565-78) acquired great merit by the ecclesiastical reforms he effected; he held many provincial and diocesan synods, and built the seminary. His work was continued by Cardinal Cristoforo Boncampagni (1578-1603), Pietro Aldobrandini (1604-21), and Luigi Capponi (1621-1645), of whom the latter caused the paintings of the cathedral to be executed. Maffeo Farsetti (1727-41) restored the cathedral. In the revolutionary fury that broke out at Ravenna, Archbishop Antonio Codronchi displayed great firmness and prudence (1785-1826). Cardinal Enrico Orfei (1860-70) was for two years prevented by the new Government from taking possession of his see.

At the present time the suffragans of Ravenna are Bertinoro, Cesena, Forli, Rimini, and Sarsina ; Cervia was united to Ravenna in 1909. The ecclesiastical provinces of Bologna (1585), and Ferrara (1735), as well as Modena, until 1106 belonged to Ravenna. The archdiocese has 64 parishes, with 108,051 inhabitants, and 154 secular priests ; 3 religious houses for men, with 11 priests, and 10 religious houses for women ; 1 educational institution for boys, under the Salesians, and 6 for girls.


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1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 20th, 2014 Image

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
August 20: St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born ... Read More

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