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Gravina and Montepeloso

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DIOCESE OF GRAVINA AND MONTEPELOSO (GRAVINENSIS ET MONTIS PELUSII).

Gravina is a town in the Province of Bari (Southern Italy ) on a river of the same name, since the ninth century an episcopal see, suffragan of Acerenza and Matera. In 1818 it was united aeque principaliter with Montepeloso, which dates back to the twelfth century (some say the fifteenth) and was suffragan of Potenza. Montepeloso is situated on a hill in the Province of Potenza. In 975 it was defended against the Saracens ; in 999 Gregorio Tracomonte, a native of Bari, defeated there the Byzantines. The cathedral of Gravina treasures in a splendid reliquary an arm of St. Thomas à Becket obtained by Bishop Roberto in 1179. The first known bishop of Gravina is Leo; other bishops of note are: Samuele (1215), who built at his own expense the church of the Madonna di Altamura, afterwards an archipresbyterate nullius (i.e. exempt from the jurisdiction of the neighbouring bishop ; see EXEMPTION); Giacomo II (1302), who altered the rite from Greek to Latin by order of the Archbishop of Acerenza ; Vincenzo Giustianiani (1593), a Genoese nobleman, who founded the seminary, the church of the Madonna delle Grazie, and the Capuccinelle convent ; Domenico Cennini (1645), who built the episcopal residence; Fra Domenico Valvassori (1686), a patron of learning and founder of an "accademia teologica". The united dioceses, directly subject to the Holy See, contain 9 parishes and 28,000 souls, 7 convents for women, and 2 girls' schools.

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