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San Severo

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(SANCTI SEVERINI)

Diocese in the Province of Foggia (Capitanata), Southern Italy, situated in a fertile plain, watered by the Radicosa and Triolo. The origin of the city is obscure. Under the Normans it became the residence of a prince, then passed under the Benedictines of Torre Maggiore, later under the Templars, on whose suppression it was disamortized. It suffered frequently from earthquakes, especially in 1627, 1828, and 1851. The Diocese of San Severo was established in 1580. The episcopal see is only the continuation of that of Civitate, which in turn succeeded the ancient city of Teanum. Civitate, where the papal troops were defeated by the Normans in 1052, was an episcopal see in 1062 under Amelgerio. Among the bishops of Civitate were: Fra Lorenzo da Viterbo, O.P. (1330), a distinguished theologian ; Luca Gaurico (1545), a distinguished astronomer ; Franc. Alciato (1561), later a cardinal. In 1580 the first occupant of the See of San Severo was Martino de Martini, a Jesuit ; other bishops are: Fabrizio Verallo (1606), nuncio in Switzerland, later a cardinal ; Franc. Venturi (1625), a distinguished canonist and defender of the rights of the Church ; Orazio Fortunati (1670), who restored the cathedral ; Carlo Felice de Mata (1678), founder of the seminary, which was enlarged by two of his successors, Carlo Franc. Giacoli (1703) and Fra Diodato Sommantico (1720), an Augustinian. To this diocese was added later the territory of the ancient Dragonaria, a city built in 1005 by the Byzantine Governor of Apulia. Cappelletti gives the names of twenty-eight bishops between 1061 and 1657. It seems never to have been formally suppressed. The diocese is suffragan of Benevento, and has 7 parishes, about 46,000 inhabitants, and 6 religious houses.

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