Archdiocese of Siracusa

Archidioecesis Syracusana
Ecclesiastical provinceSiracusa
Area1,341 km2 (518 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
289,162 (97.3%)
DenominationCatholic Church
RiteRoman Rite
Established2nd century
CathedralCattedrale della Natività di Maria Santissima
Secular priests103 (diocesan)
37 (Religious Orders)
16 Deacons
Current leadership
ArchbishopFrancesco Lomanto
Bishops emeritusGiuseppe Costanzo
Salvatore Pappalardo
Map of the ecclesiastical province of Siracusa

The Archdiocese of Siracusa, also known as Syracuse, (Latin: Archidioecesis Syracusana) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in Sicily. It became an archdiocese in 1844.[1][2][3] The current archbishop is Francesco Lomanto.


Syracuse claimed to be the second Church founded by St. Peter, after that of Antioch. It also claims that St. Paul preached there. As its first bishop it venerates St. Marcianus,[4] whose dates are uncertain, though some claim he was ordained by S. Peter himself.[5] Little trust can be placed in the authenticity of the list of the seventeen bishops who were predecessors of Chrestus, to whom the Emperor Constantine wrote a letter.[6]

In the times of St. Cyprian (mid-3rd century), Christianity certainly flourished at Syracuse, and the catacombs located there attest to Christian worship there in the 2nd century. Besides its martyred bishops, Syracuse claims other Christian martyrs, such as St. Benignus and St. Evagrius (204), St. Bassianus (270); and the martyrdom of the deacon Euplus and the virgin St. Lucy under Diocletian are thought to be historical.

The names of the known bishops of the following century are few in number: Germanus (346); Eulalius (465);[7] Agatho (553), during whose rule Pope Vigilius died at Syracuse; another bishop was denounced by Pope Honorius for the protection which he accorded to prostitutes; St. Zozimus (640), who founded the monastery of Santa Lucia fuori-le-mura; St. Elias (d. 660).

Of Marcianos II it is said that he was consecrated not at Rome, but at Syracuse, since the Emperor Leo the Isaurian (726) had removed Southern Italy from the jurisdiction of Rome, and had then elevated Syracuse to the dignity of a metropolitan see, over the thirteen other dioceses of Sicily. Bishop Stephen II (c. 768–787) was present at the Second Council of Nicaea,[8] and carried to Constantinople the relics of St. Lucy for safety against the Saracen incursions.

Archbishop Gregorios Asbestas was deposed by Ignatius, who had become Patriarch of Constantinople in 847, though Ignatius' election and then his act of deposition of Gregory were condemned by Pope Leo IV. Gregory and two other bishops had appealed to Rome, and Pope Leo insisted that no bishop should be deposed without the consent of Rome.[9] Gregory then became the principal supporter of Patriarch St. Photius, and actually carried out his consecration in 857.[10] He lost his See when Syracuse fell to the Arabs.[11]

After Syracuse fell to the Arabs in 878, Bishop Sophronius was thrown into prison at Palermo together with the monk Theodosius, where he died in a dungeon. Until the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century the names of other bishops are not known. The series of bishops begins again in 1093 with Bishop Rogerius,[12] who received the pallium from Pope Urban II.

On 19 October 1188 Pope Celestine III wrote to the Archbishop of Monreale, Guglielmo, finally settling the dissention between Siracusa and Monreale over the right to metropolitan status, which had turned into a scandal. The Pope decided that the pallium, which the Archbishops of Siracusa had been accustomed to wear through the indulgence of the Holy See, should not be used by the bishop of Syracuse and his successors. The diocese of Siracusa became suffragan of the archdiocese of Monreale.[13]

Among the bishops of this period are:

Discussions about the small number of bishops on the island of Sicily and the large numbers of Catholics in their dioceses began as early as 1778 in the General Parliament of Sicily. On 5 April 1778 they petitioned King Ferdinand to have the number of dioceses increased to solve the problem, and he graciously agreed to their supplication. In 1802, when the Bishop of Syracuse died, the town Council of Caltagirone petitioned the King again, and in the bull of appointment of the new bishop Pope Pius VII reserved the right to divide the diocese at the appropriate moment. In 1806 the Pope and the Consistorial Congregation assigned the Archbishop of Palermo the task of carrying out the negotiations which would lead to a reordering of the dioceses of Sicily. A new bishop of Siracusa, Filippo Trigona, was appointed in 1807, and both he and the town council of Siracusa were opposed to the plan to diminish the size of the diocese. On 12 September 1816, however, Pope Pius VII proceeded to issue the instructions to detach the new diocese of Caltagirone from Syracuse, and the King followed with executorial letters on 8 April 1817.[14] On 15 May 1844, Pope Gregory XVI created the new diocese of Noto out of territory belonging to the diocese of Siracusa, and the action was approved by King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies on 2 July 1844. Noto was made suffragan to the diocese of Siracusa.[15]

On 6 May 1950,[16] Pope Pius XII established the new diocese of Ragusa out of the territory of the Archdiocese of Siracusa, and made it suffragan to the ecclesiastical province of Siracusa. The Archbishop of Siracusa, Ettore Baranzini, was appointed to guide the formation of the new diocese, and on 9 September 1950 the Papal Legate, Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini of Palermo, handed over the new diocese to Archbishop Baranzini. His Auxiliary Bishop, Francesco Pennisi, was appointed Vicar General of Ragusa and took up residence in the town of some 73,000. On 1 October 1955,[17] the definitive separation of the two dioceses took effect, and Bishop Pennisi became the first bishop of Ragusa.[18]


Diocese of Siracusa

Erected: 2nd Century
Latin Name: Syracusanus
Metropolitan: Archdiocese of Monreale

Before 1400


From 1400 to 1600

From 1600 to 1840

Archbishops of Siracusa

See also


  1. ^ He is not the Salvatore Pappalardo who was Archbishop of Palermo and who became a cardinal in 1973.


  1. ^ The Bull In suprema was issued by Pope Gregory XVI on 17 February 1844. Gaetano Moroni, ed. (1854). Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da s. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni (in Italian). Vol. LXV. Venice: Tipografia Emiliana. p. 315.
  2. ^ "Archdiocese of Siracusa" David M. Cheney. Retrieved February 29, 2016.[self-published source?]
  3. ^ "Metropolitan Archdiocese of Siracusa" Gabriel Chow. Retrieved February 29, 2016.[self-published source?]
  4. ^ Ottavio Gaetani (1657). Petrus Salernus (ed.). Vitae sanctorum Siculorum, ex antiquis graecis latinisque monumentis (in Latin). Vol. I. Palermo: apud Cirillos. pp. 1–6.
  5. ^ Gaetani, p. 1. Francesco Serafino, in: D'Avino, p. 634.
  6. ^ Lanzoni, pp. 636–637.
  7. ^ The bishops of the first half of the sixth century are known only from a list provided by the 16th century scholar Lucius Christophorus Scobar, De rebus praeclaris Syracusanis et peruetustis auspicatissime atque felicissime incipit opus, from whom they are copied by Cappelletti and Gams. Lanzoni, p. 638. Pirro, pp. 604–605.
  8. ^ Pirro, p. 610.
  9. ^ Judith Herrin (2013). Margins and Metropolis: Authority Across the Byzantine Empire. Princeton University Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-691-15301-8.
  10. ^ Romilly James Heald Jenkins, Byzantium: the Imperial centuries, 171 AD 610-1071, University of Toronto Press ISBN 978-0-8020-6667-1, p. 171.
  11. ^ Francis Dvornik indicates that Gregory was in Constantinople in 847 not as a refugee from the Saracens, but as an envoy of the bishops of Sicily: Francis Dvorník (1974). Photian and Byzantine ecclesiastical studies. London: Variorum Reprints. p. 200. ISBN 9780902089686.
  12. ^ Bishop Roger: Pirro, pp. 617–618.
  13. ^ Julius von Pflugk-Harttung (1886). Acta ponticum romanorum inedita (in Latin and German). Vol. Dritter Band (III). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. pp. 367, no. 422. Philipp Jaffé (1888). Regesta pontificum Romanorum: ab condita Ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII (in Latin). Vol. II (second ed.). Veit et Comp. pp. 551, no. 16333.
  14. ^ D'Avino, pp. 129–130.
  15. ^ Andrea Gallo (ed.), Codice ecclesiastico sicolo Libro II (Palermo: Carini 1846), pp. 73–74.
  16. ^ Pius XII, Bull Ad dominicum gregem, in: Acta Apostolicae Sedis Annus XLII, Series II, Vol. 17 (Vatican Polyglot Press 1950), pp. 622–625.
  17. ^ Pius XII, Bull Quamquam est, in: Acta Apostolicae Sedis Annus XLVII, Series II, Vol. 22 (Vatican Polyglot Press 1950), pp. 851–852.
  18. ^ Diocesi di Ragusa, La Diocesi, retrieved: 2017-04-17.
  19. ^ Bishop Crescens (or Chrestus, or Chrispus, or Cretus) was present at the Council of Arles in 314. C. Munier, Concilia Galliae, A. 314 – A. 506 (Turnholt: Brepols 1963), pp. 14, 16, 18, 19.
  20. ^ Eulalius is known only from the hagiographic Life of Fulgentius. Pirro, p. 604. Lanzoni, p. 638.
  21. ^ Maximianus' death brought about a contested election, with three candidates. Pirro, pp. 605–607. Lanzoni, p. 639, no. 5.
  22. ^ Pope Gregory I had suggested the name of Ioannes, Archdeacon of Catania, after he rejected the first candidate in February 595. In October 595 Bishop Ioannes was granted the pallium. Pirro, pp. 607–608. Lanzoni, p. 639, no. 6.
  23. ^ Gregory consecrated the Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople. He was transferred by the Patriarch Photios to the See of Nicaea (Turkey). Pirro, p. 612, column 1. Gams, p. 954. Hans-Georg Beck, in: Hubert Jedin; John Patrick Dolan (1969). Handbook of Church History. Vol. III. London: Burns & Oates. pp. 175–176.
  24. ^ Pirro, pp. 613–618. Gams, p. 954.
  25. ^ An Englishman, Richard Palmer was a friend of King William I and King William II of Sicily. Though appointed c. 1156, he was still bishop-elect in 1169. In April 1169 he was summoned by Pope Alexander III, who was at Benevento, and consecrated a bishop by the Pope personally; he was invested with the pallium, and it was announced that the archdiocese of Syracuse was thenceforth subject only to the Pope as its metropolitan. Palmer was transferred to the diocese of Messina by January 1183. Pirro, pp. 621–624. Sidney Lee (ed.), Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 43 (London: Macmillan 1895), pp. 146–148. Kamp, p. 1234.
  26. ^ Laurentius: Pirro, p. 624. Kamp, pp. 1234–1236.
  27. ^ Gottofredus: Kamp, p. 1237.
  28. ^ Adnreas: Kamp, p. 1238.
  29. ^ Adam: Eubel, I, p. 471.
  30. ^ Bartolomeo: Pirro, p. 625. Kamp, pp. 1238–1240.
  31. ^ Gualterus: Eubel, I, p. 417.
  32. ^ Corrado: Kamp, pp. 1240–1241.
  33. ^ Gregorius: Pirro, p. 625. Kamp, pp. 1241–1242).
  34. ^ Matthaeus died c. 1268: Kamp, pp. 1243–1245. Pirro, p. 625, column 2.
  35. ^ Reynaldus: Pirro, p. 625, column 2. Kamp, pp. 1245–1247.
  36. ^ His father was Justiciar of Sicily. Pirro, pp. 625–626. Kamp, pp. 1247–1250.
  37. ^ Eubel, I, p. 471.
  38. ^ Pirro, p. 626 column 2.
  39. ^ Pedro de Moncada, a Catalan and member of the royal family, was brother of Bishop Gaston of Osca and of Guilelmo Raymundo de Montecateno, who had come to Sicily with King Peter of Aragon in 1282. Pirro, pp. 626–627. Eubel, I, p. 471.
  40. ^ A native of Catania, Thomas de Herbes was a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) and a monk of the Cathedral of S. Agatha in Catania. A papal Referendary, Thomas was appointed to Catania by Pope Boniface IX of the Roman Obedience. King Martin and Queen Maria, however, appointed the Catalan Jacobus de China, O.Min., which pleased neither the Pope nor the Canons of the Cathedral of Syracuse, who supported Thomas. Pirro, pp. 629–631. Eubel, I, p. 471.
  41. ^ Roger was a native of Syracuse and had been Dean of the Cathedral of Syracuse. His father Ioannes and brother were both familiars of King Alfonso, and his father had been a royal ambassador. Roger held the degree of Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law), and was an intimate of Queen Blanche, through whose influence he became Prior of S. Andrea de Platea. He was preferred to the diocese of Syracuse by King Alfonso. Pirro, pp. 631–632. Eubel, I, p. 471 with note 3.
  42. ^ Garsias had been Confessor and Major Chaplain of King Alfonso. He had previously been Bishop of Ales in Sardinia (1439–1444). He was transferred to the diocese of Mallorca on 3 February 1446. He died on 20 July 1459. Pirro, p. 632. Eubel, II, pp. 184, 244, 261.
  43. ^ A native of Aragon, Paolo de Santafe had been a Canon of Bordeaux and Auditor (judge) of the Rota and Sedis Apostolicae Referendarius in the Roman Curia for twelve years. He was a councilor of King Alfonso of Spain, who preferred him to the bishopric of Syracuse. He was consecrated a bishop by Pope Nicholas V on 17 March 1447. Pirro, pp. 632–634. Eubel, II, p. 244.
  44. ^ Venier (de Veneriis) was a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) and a Cleric of the Apostolic Camera in Rome. He was appointed Bishop of León on 16 September 1464, and consecrated a bishop in Rome on 22 December 1465 by Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville. He was therefore only bishop-elect of Syracuse. Pirro, p. 634. Eubel, II, pp. 174, 244 with note 1.
  45. ^ Tolomei, a native of Siena, was a nephew of Pope Pius II and the brother of Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius III. He was only twenty-six when appointed Bishop of Syracuse, and took possession of the diocese by proxy. He died in Rome in his brother's house on 12 June 1468. Pirro, p. 634. Eubel, II, p. 244.
  46. ^ Gabrielli had been Archdeacon of Gerona, which he was allowed to retain when Bishop. He was preferred to the diocese of Syracuse by King Ferdinand II of Aragon, and approved by Pope Paul II on 6 September 1469. He was given permission to be consecrated in Sicily by three Sicilian bishops, led by Bishop Guglielmo Belloni of Catania; this took place in Syracuse on 2 June 1470 in the presence of the Viceroy. He died on 13 January 1511. Pirro, pp. 634–637. Eubel, II, p. 244; III, p. 307 note 2.
  47. ^ Pirro, p. 637.
  48. ^ Urries: Eubel, III, p. 307 with note 4.
  49. ^ Platamonte was a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) and a papal Chamberlain. He had been Bishop of Sarno (1517–1518). Eubel, III, pp. 293 with note 5; 307.
  50. ^ Bologna: Eubel, III, p. 307, with note 6.
  51. ^ Arce was appointed Bishop of Catania. He died on 28 March 1576. Eubel, III, pp. 159 with note 12; 307.
  52. ^ Isfar y Corillas was transferred to the diocese of Patti. Eubel, III, p. 307.
  53. ^ Castellano: Eubel, III, p. 307.
  54. ^ Gauchat, Patritius (Patrice) (1935). Hierarchia catholica medii et recentioris aevi. Vol. IV. Münster: Libraria Regensbergiana. p. 325. (in Latin)
  55. ^ "Bishop Giuseppe Saladino" David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
  56. ^ Torres was a native of Messina, and was a Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law). He was a judex ordinarius in Sicily and Abbot of S. Maria de Terrana. He was appointed Bishop of Catania on the nomination of King Philip III of Spain on 19 October 1619, and subsequently Archbishop of Monreale. His name adorns the façade of the Episcopal Palace in Syracuse. Pirro, p. 645. Gauchat, IV, pp. 141, 325 with note 3.
  57. ^ "Bishop Juan Torres de Osorio" David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  58. ^ Faraone: Pirro, p. 645. Gauchat, IV, pp. 141, 325 with note 4.
  59. ^ Antinori: Pirro, pp. 645–646. Gauchat, IV, pp. 141, 325 with note 5.
  60. ^ Rossi (Rubeus): Pirro, pp. 646–647. Gauchat, IV, pp. 141, 325 with note 6.
  61. ^ Capobianco: Pirro, pp. 647–649. Gauchat, IV, pp. 141, 325 with note 7.
  62. ^ Rini was a native of Palermo. He served as Provincial of the Sicilian Province of the Observant Franciscans, and was a Consultor and Qualificator of the Holy Office. He was Minister General of his Order. He was consecrated bishop in Rome by Cardinal Francesco Barberini on 7 October 1674. He was appointed Bishop of Agrigento on 19 August 1676. He died on 4 August 1696. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, pp. 73 with note 3; 366 with note 2.
  63. ^ Fortezza: Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 366 with note 3.
  64. ^ Termini: Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 367 with note 4.
  65. ^ Marino: Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 367 with note 5.
  66. ^ Trigona was born in Piazza (diocese of Catania) in 1679. He was Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) from the Sapienza in Rome (1732). He was a Canon and a Vicar General of the diocese of Catania. He was nominated archbishop by the Emperor on 10 November 1731, and approved by Pope Clement XII on 7 May 1732. He was named titular Bishop of Iconium (Turkey) on 1 April 1748. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 389 with note 2.
  67. ^ Testa was born in Nicosia (diocese of Messana) in 1704, and was Doctor in utroque iure (Civil and Canon Law) from the University of Catania (1724). He was capitular Vicar of Palermo, a fiscal advocate, and an Inquisitor of the Holy Office (Inquisition). He was a Canon of the Cathedral of Palermo. He was presented to the diocese of Siracusa by the King of Sicily, Charles III of Spain and V of Sicily on 30 April 1748, and approved by Pope Benedict XIV on 6 May. He was consecrated in Rome on 12 May by Cardinal Joaquin Fernandez Portocarrero. He was named Archbishop of Monreale on 22 April 1754. He died in 1773. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, pp. 297 with note 4; 389 with note 3.
  68. ^ Requeséns: Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 390 with note 4.
  69. ^ Alagona: Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 390 with note 5.
  70. ^ Bonnano was a Master of theology. He had been Canonical Cantor in the Chapter of the Cathedral of Syracuse and Vicar and Visitor General of the diocese. He then became Dean of the Chapter of the Cathedral.
  71. ^ Trigona was a member of the family of the Marchesi di Conio e Foresta, barons of Imbaccari and a priest of the diocese of Catania. He was born in Piazza (diocese of Catania) in 1735 and died on 2 January 1824. Annuario pontificio [Notizie per l'anno M.DCCC.XXII] (in Italian). Rome: Cracas. 1822. p. 320.
  72. ^ Amorelli was born in Sambuca (diocese of Agrigento) in 1787. G. L. (1842). Orazione funebre di monsignor arcivescovo D. Giuseppe M. Amorelli vescovo di Siracusa per G. L. (in Italian). Siracusa: tip. Sangiacomo.
  73. ^ Manzo was born in Naples in 1785. He was a Doctor of theology and Synodical Examiner of the diocese of Naples. He was consecrated a bishop in Rome on 21 April 1845 by Cardinal Pietro Ostini, suburbicarian Bishop of Albano and Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. He was transferred to the diocese of Chieti on 27 September 1852. Cattolica, Chiesa (1845). Atti del Concistoro segreto tenuto dalla Santità di Nostro Signore Papa Gregorio 16. felicemente regnante nel palazzo apostolico Vaticano il dì 21 aprile 1845 (in Italian). p. 4. Notizie per l'anno 1855 (in Italian). Roma: typographia della rev. cam. apostolica. 1835. p. 110. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, p. 852.
  74. ^ Born in Salemi in 1805, Robino was a priest of the diocese of Mazzara (Sicily), and was Canon of the Collegiate Church of Salemi. He had been a Synodal Examiner and Vicar Forane. He extended and decorated the Episcopal Palace in Siracusa. Privitera, III, pp. 430–431. Cappelletti, XXI, p. 628. Ritzler-Sefrin, VIII, p. 852.
  75. ^ "Il Vescovo Salvatore". Arcidiocesi di Siracusa (in Italian). Archived from the original on 9 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.


Reference Works



37°05′00″N 15°17′00″E / 37.0833°N 15.2833°E / 37.0833; 15.2833