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Spalato-Macarsca (Salona)

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DIOCESE OF SPALATO-MACARSCA (SPALATENSIS ET MACARSCENSIS).

Suffragan of Zara. Salona is the most sacred ground in the Austrian monarchy, where Titus the pupil of St. Paul preached, where the followers of Jesus Christ first shed their blood as martyrs, and where beautiful examples of basilicas and other early Christian sculpture have been discovered. Byzantine art spread under Justinian I to the shores of the Adriatic Gulf, the baptistery in Salona dating from this period. Forty-seven bishops of Salona are known: Hesychius III is mentioned in the twentieth book of St. Augustine's "De Civitate Dei"; an epistle from Gelasius I is addressed to Honorius; Honorius III conducted a synod in 530; Natalis at a Council in 590, unjustly deposed his archdeacon Honoratus, but Gregory the Great took the latter's part. In 639 Salona was destroyed by the Slavs. In 647 the city of Spalato began to arise from the ruin of Salona, and after an interregnum of eleven years its archbishops took over the territory of the archbishops of Salona. Out of the long series of its seventy-nine archbishops may be mentioned St. Rayner (d. 1180), and the unfortunate Marcus Antonius de Dominis, who was deprived of his office after having filled it for fourteen years and died an apostate at Rome in 1624; Thomas, who resigned his office voluntarily (thirteenth century), is the author of a history of the bishops of Salona and Spalato.

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The Gregorian reform decrees were discussed at synods in Dalmatia as early as 1075 and executed in 1111 by Archbishop Ascentius. At the great provincial synod in St. Andrew's Church in 1185, Archbishop Petrus VII excommunicated the heretics and all who had taken possession of church property. He also prescribed the daily chanting of the Office of the Blessed Virgin. In the Council of 1292, John VII, Primate of Dalmatia, threatened to punish all bishops who interfered with other dioceses. With the death of Archbishop Laelius Cippico (1807) began another interregnum which lasted twenty-three years. The Church in Dalmatia was then reorganized, Macarsca united with Spalato, and the latter as a simple bishopric made subject to Zara. Paul Miossich was appointed first bishop of the new diocese in 1830.

The See of Spalato-Macarsca numbers 199,800 Catholics ; 231 secular priests ; 91 male religious in 15 stations; and 125 nuns in 9 stations.

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