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Sessa-Aurunca

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(SUESSANA).

Diocese in Campania, Province of Caserta (Southern Italy ). The city is situated on a hill in the midst of a fertile plain, and possesses a large and beautiful cathedral, built in 1113. A city of the Aurunci, it became a Roman colony 313 B.C. It was the birthplace of the poet Lucilius and of the philosopher Agostino Nifo. Local legend relates that the Faith was preached in Suessa (the Latin name of the city) by St. Peter himself. The inhabitants venerate as patron saint their Bishop, St. Castus, a martyr at the end of the third century. There still remain ruins of the ancient basilica dedicated to him, with which catacombs are still connected (cf. "Nuovo Bullettino d' Archeologia Cristiana", 1897, p. 140). The first bishop of certain date was Fortunatus (499); but until the end of the tenth century the names of the bishops are unknown. Of the others we mention: Erveo (1171), who rendered great services to the city, Pandulfo (1224), who donated the pulpit, adorned with mosaics, in the cathedral ; Giovanni (1259), who embellished the cathedral ; Angelo Geraldini (1462), a learned humanist ; Galeazzo Florimonte (1552), who played an important part in the affairs of the Holy See under Paul III and Julius III, and published various works; Giovanni Placidi (1566), founder of the seminary ; Ulisse Gherardini (1624), who restored the cathedral and the episcopal residence; Francesco Granata (1759), who promoted study in the seminary, and wrote various historical works. Later bishops were: Pietro de Felice (1797), who was cast into prison by the revolutionists; Ferdinando Girardi (1848), exiled in 1860. The diocese is suffragan of Capua ; it contains 42 parishes with 56,750 souls and 90 secular clergy.

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