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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Capua
History

 

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Capua is an archdiocese (originally a suffragan bishopric) of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy, but its archbishop no longer holds metropolitan rank and has no ecclesiastical province.

 

History

 

According to the tradition, Christianity was first preached at Capua by St. Priscus, a disciple of St. Peter. In the martyrology mention is made of many Capuan martyrs, and it is probable that, owing to its position and importance, Capua received the Christian doctrine at a very early period.

The episcopal see is believed to be founded in the 2nd century as "Capuanus". The first bishop of whom there is positive record is Protasius, present at the Roman Council under Pope Melchiades in 313. He was succeeded by Protus Vincentius, a Roman deacon and legate of Pope Sylvester I at the First Council of Nicaea, who took a prominent part in the Arian controversies, and was present at the Council of Sardica (343). At the conciliabulum of Arles (353) he was led astray by Constantius and consented to the deposition of St. Athanasius, an error for which he made amends at Rimini.

Bishop Memorius, who held a council to deal with the Schism of Antioch and the heresy of Bonosus, is often mentioned in the letters of St. Augustine and St. Paulinus, and was the father of the ardent Pelagian Julian of Eclanum. In 443, Priscus, an exile from North Africa and a man of great sanctity, was elected bishop; possibly it is his name that popular tradition carried back to the head of the list of Capuan bishops. Another incumbent of this see was Germanus, whom Pope Hormisdas sent twice to Constantinople to restore unity with the Roman Church. In 541, Bishop Benedictus died and was ever afterwards held in repute of sanctity. His successor, Victor of Capua, (541-554), was a learned exegete.

In 841, during the bishopric of St. Paulinus, a band of Saracens destroyed Capua, and much of the population emigrated in a new town founded in another location. The episcopal see was moved there; later the old city, growing around the ancient basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, was repopulated and called Santa Maria di Capua (current Santa Maria Capua Vetere). It is part of the current archdiocese of Capua.

First bishop of the diocese of Capua Nova ("New Capua") was Landulf (843-879). In 968 pope John XIII took refuge in Capua, and in gratitude raised the see to archiepiscopal rank on 14 August 966. First archbishop was John (966-973).

In 1087, under pope Victor III, and in 1118, under Gelasius II, councils were held in Capua; at the latter Emperor Henry V and the antipope Gregory VIII (Burdinus) were excommunicated.

Since 1979, it is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Napoli in Naples, i.e. no longer has its own ecclesiastical province nor metropolitan status.