Roman Catholic Diocese of Locri-Gerace
|Diocese of Locri-Gerace
Co-cathedral in Gerace
|Ecclesiastical province||Reggio Calabria-Bova|
|Area||1,248 km2 (482 sq mi)|
|(as of 2004)
|Cathedral||Cattedrale di S. Maria del Mastro (Locri)|
|Co-cathedral||Concattedrale di S. Maria Assunta (Gerace)|
Historically it was the Diocese of Gerace, becoming in 1954 the Diocese of Gerace-Locri and taking the current name in 1986.
Gerace probably owes its origin, or at least its importance, to the ruin of the town of Locri Epizephyrii, one of the earliest Greek colonies in Lower Italy, founded by the Ozolian Locrians (684-680 B.C.) and endowed with a code of laws by Zaleucus. Before its total ruin, Locri Epizephrii had a bishop of its own; but in 709, under Bishop Gregory, the see was transferred to Gerace.
The name Gerace is probably derived from Saint Cyriaca, whose church was destroyed by the Saracens in 915. They captured the town in 986, but in 1059 it fell into the hands of the Normans.
Until 1467 the Greek Rite was in use at Gerace, and such had probably been the custom from the beginning. As early as the thirteenth century efforts were made to introduce the Latin Rite, which accounts for the schism between Latins and Greeks about 1250-1253. The latter demanded as bishop the monk Bartenulfo, a Greek, whereas Pope Innocent IV, in 1253, appointed Marco Leone. In 1467, bishop Atanasio Calceofilo introduced the Latin Rite.
Other bishops were:
- Barlaam II (1342), Abbot of San Salvatore at Constantinople, and ambassador from the Emperor Andronicus to Pope Benedict XII, apropos of the union of the two Churches. Barlaam at one time had opposed the idea, but later reversed his position, and Pope Clement VI bestowed on him the see of Gerace. He taught Greek to Petrarch, Boccaccio, and others, and was thus one of the first of the Italian humanists.
- Simon Atumano (1348), humanist
- Bishop Ottaviano Pasqua (1574) wrote a history of the diocese.
- Giovanni Maria Belletti (1625), wrote Disquisitiones Clericales;
- Giuseppe Maria Pellicano (1818) rebuilt the cathedral, destroyed by an earthquake in 1783.