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Diocese of Teruel

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A suffragan of Saragossa, comprises the civil province of the same name, excepting the town of Bechi (Castellón). It is believed by some that Teruel and the ancient Turba are the same. Turba was the city whose disputes with the Saguntines gave Hannibal an excuse for attacking Saguntum and beginning the Second Punic War. According to the annals of Teruel it appears that Turba was not situated on the site of the present city of Teruel, but at its boundary line. Teruel was founded in 1176 by Sancho Sánchez Muñoz and Blasco Garcés Marcilla. It formed a separate community and was governed by the Fuero de Sepúlveda until 1598, when the inhabitants abjured it before the courts of Aragon, in order to come under the Government of Aragon. Jaime I received its support in the conquest of Valencia, and the standards of Teruel were the first to wave in the gateway of Serranos. In 1271 it joined in the war against Castile, invaded Huete and Cuenca, and sided with Pedro IV in his war against the "Union". In recognition of this the king visited the city in 1348 and conferred upon it the title of exenta (exempt). Gregory XIII at the earnest solicitations of Philip II created the diocese in 1577. The first bishop, Juan Pérez de Artieda, was elected but not consecrated ; the first bishop installed was Andrés Santos, who was transferred to Saragossa in 1579. All the churches of Teruel are contemporary with its foundation, as the founders built nine churches, one, Santa Maria de Media Villa, in the centre, and the remaining eight in a circle following the circuit of the walls. The central church, was made a collegiate church in 1423 and named the cathedral in 1577. It was originally built of brick and rubblework, but since the restoration in the seventeenth century it has lost its primitive character. The Doric choir stalls were the gift of Martin Ferrer, Bishop of Teruel, and later of Tarazona.

Ferdinand and Isabella visited Teruel in 1482, took the oath in the cathedral, and received the freedom of the city. The founding of the Inquisition in 1484 produced serious changes because the converts were numerous and powerful. The inquisitor, Juan de Solivellia, was forced to leave. Property to the amount of 133,000 sueldos was confiscated and turned over to the city. The Churches of San Martín and El Salvador are remarkable for their Arabic towers. The first, Moorish in style, was built in the twelfth century. Pierre de Bedel, builder of the Arcos de Teruel (Aqueduct) and of the Mina de Daroca, repaired its foundations from 1549 to 1551. The tower of the Church of El Salvador, Moorish style of the thirteenth century, was reinforced in the nineteenth century by brick additions. In the Church of San Pedro rest the bodies of the famous "lovers of Teruel", Diego Martínez de Marcilla and Isabel de Segura. The seminary, dedicated to St. Toribio de Mogrovejo, was founded by the bishop Francisco José Rodríguez Chico, who after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1769 was granted the use of their magnificent college by Charles III. During the wars of independence and the civil wars that followed, the building was taken over for military quarters and shortly afterwards the seminary was suppressed. It was re-established in 1849 by Don Antonio Lao y Cuevas, who gave his own palace for the purpose. The Jesuit college has since been restored to the order. The episcopal palace is in no way remarkable except perhaps for its courtyard, which has a well-proportioned Ionic colonnade. The Casa del Capítula , where the ecclesiastical chapter used to assemble, has an altar dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and to St. Emerentia, patroness of the city.

Among the distinguished citizens of Teruel must be mentioned Jerónimo Ripalda, S.J. ; the jurisconsult Gaspar de Castellot; Miguel Jerónimo de Castellot, judge of the courts of Aragon, 1665; Fray Juan Cebrian de Perales, Bishop of Albarracin, and Juan Martínez Salafranca, Viceroy of Aragon, founder of the Academy of History.

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