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Marsico Nuovo and Potenza

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(MARSICENSIS ET POTENTINA)

Suffragan diocese of Salerno. Marsico Nuevo is a city of the province of Potenza in the Basilicata (Southern Italy ), and is situated on the Agri. Its origin is obscure, but, after the destruction by the Saracens, of the ancient Grumentum, the town grew in importance, and became under the Normans the seat of a county. It became an episcopal seat, when Bishop Grimaldo of Grumentum established his residence there, retaining, however, his former title. There were bishops of Grumentum as early as the sixth century: it is said that a Saint Laberius or Saverius first preached the Gospel there. Other bishops were Enrico (1131), who finished the cathedral ; Blessed Reginaldo of Viperno, a Dominican (1275); Pietro (1329), several times papal legate ; the friar Paolo Caselli (1614), who restored the cathedral. In 1818 the diocese was united oeque principaliter to that of Potenza. This city is the capital of a fertile province in the Basilicata, over 2400 feet above the sea -- the ancient city of the Lucani was farther down in the valley of La Murata. Potenza was destroyed by Frederick II, and was rebuilt by Bishop Oberto in 1250, to be destroyed again by Charles of Anjou. On 21 December, 1857, it was greatly damaged by an earthquake. The town claims that it was evangelized by Saint Peter; Saint Aruntius and his companions suffered martyrdom there under Maximian. The first known bishop was Amandus (about 500). Other bishops were Saint Gerardo della Porta (1099-1119) -- to whom the above-mentioned cathedral, built by Bishop Oberto and restored by Giovanni Andrea Serra (1783-99), is dedicated -- and Achille Caracciolo (1616), who founded the seminary. Blessed Bonaventure of Potenza (1654-1711), a Franciscan Conventual priest, was from this city. It is to be noted that, in medieval documents, the Bishop of Marsico and the Bishop of the Marsi are both called Marsicanus , a source of some confusion. The united sees have 21 parishes, 96,500 inhabitants, one religious house of men and three of women.

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