Roman Catholic Diocese of Imola

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Diocese of Imola
Dioecesis Imolensis
Cathedral of Imola
Country  Italy
Ecclesiastical province Bologna
Area 740 km2 (290 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
135,000 (93.1%)
Parishes 108
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 4th Century
Cathedral Basilica Cattedrale di S. Cassiano Martire
Secular priests 101 (diocesan)
12 (religious Orders)
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Tommaso Ghirelli
Emeritus Bishops Giuseppe Fabiani

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Imola (Latin: Diocesis Imolensis) is a territory in Romagna, northern Italy. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bologna.[1][2] The current bishop is Tommaso Ghirelli. It is noted for having had a number of its bishops elected to the Papacy.


The Christian origins of Imola are obscure. The episcopal see certainly antedates St. Ambrose, who sede vacante ordered the bishop of Vigorenza to visit the church of Imola and provide for the election of a pastor. The martyrdom of Saint Cassian is likewise certain, being described by Prudentius from pictures seen by him in the cathedral of Imola.

In 435 Emperor Valentinian III built the church of S. Maria in Arenula. The bishop then was Cornelius, whose archdeacon Peter was appointed Bishop of Ravenna by Pope Sixtus III and is known as St. Peter Chrysologus. His successor was Projectus, at whose ordination as bishop Chrysologus gave a magnificent eulogy of Bishop Cornelius. Chrysologus himself was buried at Imola, having died in his native city. His tombstone, discovered in 1698, was a rude block on which was written PETRUS. Of the gifts given by Chrysologus to the church of Imola there is still preserved a paten, with the figure of a lamb on an altar, surrounded by the metrical legend Quem plebs tunc cara crucis agnum fixit in ara. Hostia fit gentis primi pro labe parentis. These leonine verses, however, indicate a much more recent date.

Other bishops worthy of mention are: John (946), who restored the cathedral and embellished the tomb of St. Peter Chrysologus; Blessed Basil (1063); Ridolfo (1146) and Enrico (1174), who suffered for their adherence to Pope Alexander III, Enrico laid the foundations of the present cathedral, finished in 1271 under Bishop Sinibaldo; Pietro Ondedei (1416), a distinguished canonist and theologian; the Dominican Gaspare Sighigelli (1450), learned and saintly; Girolamo Dandini (1546), formerly nuncio at Paris, founder of an orphan asylum; Francesco Guarini (1566), the founder of the seminary; Cardinal Fabio Chigi (1652), afterwards Pope Alexander VII; Cardinal Filippo Antonio Gualterio (1702), founder of a mone frumentario to supply the poor peasant with seed; Cardinal Giovanni Carlo Bandi (1752), who rebuilt the cathedral and the basilica of Valentinian; Cardinal Barnaba Chiaramonti (1785), afterwards Pope Pius VII; Cardinal Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti (1832), afterwards Pope Pius IX.

The diocesan website currently (October 2016) lists 93 diocesan priests and 17 religious priests.[3]


Diocese of Imola[edit]

Erected: 4th Century
Latin Name: Imolensis
Metropolitan: Archdiocese of Bologna


  1. ^ "Diocese of Imola" David M. Cheney. Retrieved February 29, 2016
  2. ^ "Diocese of Imola" Gabriel Chow. Retrieved February 29, 2016
  3. ^ Diocese di Imola, Persone. Retrieved: 2016-10-02.
  4. ^ "Archbishop Vincenzo Ercolano (Herculani), O.P." David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
  5. ^ "Bishop Alessandro Musotti" David M. Cheney. Retrieved March 21, 2016
  6. ^ "Bishop Rodolfo Paleotti" David M. Cheney. Retrieved November 24, 2016