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Diocese of Zante

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(ZACYNTHOS).

This Greek diocese, the only suffragan of the Archdiocese of Corfu , is permanently united with the Diocese of Cephalonia. The diocese includes the Islands of Cephalonia, Zante, Ithaca, Santa Maura or Leucas, and Cerigo or Cynthera. Among 170,000 inhabitants there are scarcely 1200 Catholics of the Latin Rite. The diocese contains 2 secular priests, 4 Capuchin Fathers, 1 brother, 3 main stations and 1 auxiliary station, 7 churches and chapels. As early as the fourth century the Island of Zante was the see of a Catholic bishop, whose successors fell away to the Greek Schism. About 1200 a Catholic Latin diocese was again established in Zante, and in 1222 this was united with the Diocese of Cephalonia, which is also mentioned in the fourth century and later became schismatic. In 1386 both dioceses wee made suffragans of the Archdiocese of Corfu. After the union of the Ionian Island with Greece in 1863, the Catholics were much oppressed by the schismatics. At the present time the diocese has no bishop of its own but is administered by the Archbishop of Corfu, and does not seem to increase in strength.

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