Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/United Dioceses of Narni and Terni

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UNITED DIOCESES OF NARNI AND TERNI (NARNIENSIS ET INTERAMNENSIS)

Located in Central Italy. Narni is the ancient Nequinum of the Sabines; in 300 and 299 B.C., it was besieged by the Romans, who destroyed the city and sent there a Latin colony, changing the name to Narnia. Luitprand captured the town in 726, but Pope Zacharias persuaded him to restore it to the Duchy of Rome in 742, after which it remained under pontifical rule. From 1198 to 1214, Narni was in rebellion against Innocent III, who temporarily suppressed its episcopal see. The churches of this city contain many paintings of the ancient Umbrian school. This town is the birthplace of the Blessed Lucia of Narni, a tertiary of St. Dominic, who died in 1544, and of the condottiere Erasmo Gattamelata. Narni venerates as its first bishop the martyr Juvenalis, who died in the second half of the fourth century; St. Maximus, who was bishop in 425, was succeeded by his two sons Hercules and Pancratius; St. Gregory the Great refers to the bishop St. Cassius, who died in 558; the same pontiff wrote a letter tot the bishop Projectinus which shows that, at Narni, at that time, there were still pagans to be converted; Bishop John (940) was succeeded by his son, who became John XIII; among other bishops were: William, a Franciscan, whom Urban V employed against the Fraticelli (1367); and Raimondo Castelli (1656); founder of the seminary.

In 1908, the sees of Narni and of Terni were united. Terni is on the river Nera, at its confluence with the Velino; the magnificent cascade of the latter is well-known through the noble description by Lord Byron in "Childe Harold". Terni is the ancient Interamna Nahars of the Umbrians, and its former splendour is witnessed to by the ruins of an amphitheatre in the garden of the episcopal palace, a theatre, and baths near the church of St. Nicholas. The cathedral, and other churches, are build on the sites of pagan temples. After the Lombard invasion, Terni belongs to the Duchy of Spoleto, and with the latter, came into the Pontifical States; it was at this town that Pope Zacharias entered into the agreement with King Luitprand for the restitution of the cities of Bieda, Orte, Bomarzo, and Amelia to the Duchy of Rome. It is believed that the gospel was preached at Terni by St. Peregrinus, about the middle of the second century. The townsmen have great veneration for St. Valentinus, whose basilica is outside the city, and was, probably, the meeting-place of the first Christians of Terni. There were other martyrs from this city among them, Sts. Proculus, Ephebus, Apollonius, and the holy virgin Agape. In the time of Totila, the Bishop of Terni, St. Proculus, was killed at Bologna, and St. Domnina and ten nuns, her companions, were put to death at Terni itself. After the eighth century Terni was without a bishop until 1217, in which year the diocese was re-established. Among its bishops since that time, were Ludovico Mazzanco III (1406), who governed the diocese for fifty-two years; Cosmas Manucci (1625), who gave the high alter to the cathedral, and Francesco Rapaccioli (1646), a cardinal who restore the cathedra. The untied sees are immediately dependent upon Rome; they have 57 parishes, with 66,600 inhabitants, 3 religious houses of men, and 11 of women.

CAPPELLETTI, Le Chiese d'Italia, VI; MAGALOTTI, Terniossia l'antica Interamna (Foligno, 1795).

U. Benigni.