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Archdiocese of Cagliari

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Cagliari, called by the ancient Caralis , is the principal city and capital of the Island of Sardinia, and an important port on the Gulf of Cagliari. It was founded by the Carthaginians, and after the War of the Mercenaries fell into the hands of the Romans, but in the fifth century A.D. was seized by the Vandals, and in the eighth, like the whole of Sardinia became subject to the Saracens. In 1022 the Saracens were expelled with the help of the Pisans, and from that time Cagliari was governed by a "Judge". In 1324 Jaime of Aragon captured Cagliari and with it the rest of the island, which remained under Spanish domination until 1714, when for a short time it acknowledged the authority of Emperor Charles VI; in 1717 it was placed under the Duke of Savoy, thenceforth known as the King of Sardinia. According to a legend, evidently false, the gospel was preached in Cagliari by Bonifatius, a disciple of Christ. Historians give a long list of bishops of Cagliari, said to have suffered for the faith during the persecutions, and St. Athanasius in his second letter to Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari, speaks of his predecessors as martyrs. It is certain that St. Juvenal, during the reign of Diocletian, escaped death by flight. Quintasius, who attended the Council of Arles (314), is possibly identical with the Bishop of Cagliari, present at the Council of Sardica (343). The best known of the early bishops is Lucifer (354-71), the champion of orthodoxy against Arianism and a friend of St. Athanasius. One of his contemporaries praises his unworldliness, his constancy in the Faith, and his knowledge of sacred literature. Towards the end of his life, however, he became the author of a schism, which persisted after his death. For this reason, considerable controversy arose in the seventeenth century as to the veneration of Lucifer. In 1615, the foundations of his church were discovered outside of the city, not far from the church of St. Saturninus, and in 1633 his relics were found in a marble urn, with two inscriptions. During the persecution of the Vandals, Sardinia, more especially Cagliari, offered a refuge to many Catholic bishops from North Africa, among them Sts. Eugenius and Fulgentius, who found there the freedom of worship denied them in their own country. Primasius was an important contemporary of these saints. St. Gregory the Great mentions in his correspondence two bishops of Cagliari, Thomas and Januarius. Deusdedit came twice to Rome during the reigns of Honorius I and Martin I. Citonatus assisted at the Second Council of Constantinople (681), was accused of treason, and proved his innocence. The acts of that council exhibit Cagliari at this early date as a metropolitan see. In 787, Bishop Thomas sent as representative to the Second Council of Nicea the deacon Epiphanius. In 1075, Gregory VII reproached (Epp., VIII, x) the Bishop of Cagliari for wearing a beard, a fashion which had been introduced into Sardinia at an earlier date ; the pope asked the "Judge" of Cagliari to oblige the clergy to abandon this custom. The same bishop and his colleages were blamed by Victor III (1087) for neglect of their churches. Under this pope, the Archbishop of Cagliari became known as the Primate of Sardinia. Archbishop Peter restored many churches, among them that of the martyr St. Antiochus. In 1158, the title of Primate of Sardinia and Corsica was given to the Archbishop of Pisa, but in 1409 it was reassumed by the Archbishop of Cagliari, whence arose a controversy between those sees, which has not yet been settled. Other famous bishops of Cagliari were: Ildefonso Lasso Sedeno (1597), commisioned by Clement VIII to reform the convents of Sardinia ; Ambrogio Machini, General of the Macedonians, historian of Cagliari and advocate of the canonization of Lucifer. In time several other sees were united to Cagliari: Doglia (the ancient Bona Dola), incorporated with Cagliari by Julius II ; Forum Trajani, which in the fifth century had its own bishop, and is believed to be the present Tortoli; Fasiana (Phausania), mentioned by St. Gregory the Great ; Suello (Susaleo), which in the ninth century had its own bishop, and was united to Cagliari by Martin V (1427). The cathedral was built by the Pisans, but has undergone many restorations of the barocco style. The archdiocese has 143,000 inhabitants, 81 parishes, 118 churches and chapels, 162 secular, and 38 regular priests, and contains 7 religious communities of men and 2 of women. The suffragans are Galtelli-Nuoro, Iglesias, Ogliastra.

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