Roman Catholic Diocese of Viterbo

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Diocese of Viterbo
Dioecesis Viterbiensis
Viterbo Cathedral
Country Italy
Ecclesiastical province Immediately subject to the Holy See
Area 2,161 km2 (834 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2010)
162,837 (96.9%)
Parishes 96
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 6th century
Cathedral Basilica Cattedrale di S. Lorenzo Martire (Viterbo)
Co-cathedral Basilica Cattedrale del S. Sepolcro (Acquapendente)
Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore (Tuscania)
Concattedrale di S. Nicola (Bagnoregio)
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Lino Fumagalli
Emeritus Bishops Lorenzo Chiarinelli

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Viterbo (Latin: Dioecesis Viterbiensis) is a Catholic ecclesiastical territory in central Italy. It was called historically (from the 12th century) the Diocese of Viterbo e Tuscania. Its name was changed to Diocese of Viterbo, Acquapendente, Bagnoregio, Montefiascone, Tuscania and San Martino al Monte Cimino in 1986, and shortened to Viterbo in 1991.[1] The diocese is exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See, not belonging to any ecclesiastical province.


The name of Viterbo occurs for the first time in the 8th century, under Pope Zachary, when it was a village tributary to Toscanella, in Lombard Tuscany (Tuscia Langobardorum) on the Via Cassia. Charlemagne gave the pope all this Tuscan territory in feudal tenure, the imperial authority over it being still represented by a sculdascio (feudal sheriff) and later by a count.

The episcopal see of Viterbo was transferred from Toscanella, which venerates the martyrs Secundianus, Verianus and companions (who, however, were Romans). They suffered not far from the city, to which their relics were translated in the seventh century by Bishop Maurus, the first bishop known (649). Among the successors of Maurus was Homobonus, to whom Pope Leo IV (850) addressed a letter determining the boundaries of the diocese. In 876 Joannes, in the name of Pope John VIII, carried the imperial insignia to Charles the Bald.

In 1192 Pope Celestine III made it the diocese of Viterbo, on territory split off from the Tuscanello bishopric, but jointly held with that (now secondary) see until 1913. As direct subjects of the popes, many of its bishops were transferred to a richer see and/or even created Cardinals.

During the tenth century Toscanella was for some time under the Bishop of Centumcellae. The succession of its bishops recommences with Joannes (1027); another Joannes distinguished himself in the reform of Benedict (1049) and brought back the clergy of Tuscania to the common life. Gilbert (1059) and Giselbert (1080) were also promoters of reform, while Richard (1086) adhered to the antipope Clement III, who united with Toscanella Centumcellae and the see of Blera.

Among other bishops were Ranieri (c. 1200), in whose episcopate the Paterini came to Viterbo, still active in 1304. After him Cardinal Raniero Capocci was for a long time the administrator.

In the fourteenth century the clergy of Toscanella repeatedly refused to recognize the bishop elected by the chapter of Viterbo, so that Pope Clement V (1312) reserved to the Holy See the right of appointment.[2] In 1435 the Diocese of Corneto was separated and joined with the then recently erected Diocese of Montefiascone.

When Cardinal Albornoz came to effect the reconquest of the Papal States, Viterbo submitted and built a fortress (Rocca) for the governor of the Patrimony. In 1367, during the sojourn of Pope Urban V at Viterbo, a quarrel between the populace and the retinue of one of the cardinals developed into a general uprising, which the Viterban Cardinal Marco quickly put down.

On 31 August 1369 it lost territory to establish the Diocese of Montefiascone

In 1375 Francesco di Vico took possession of the city, which joined in the general revolt against papal rule, but quickly submitted. When the Western Schism arose, Vico's tyranny recommenced; he took the side of Pope Clement VII and sustained a siege by Cardinal Orsini. The people rose and killed him (8 May 1387), and Viterbo returned to the obedience of Pope Urban VI. But in 1391 Gian Sciarra di Vico reentered the city and took possession of its government. In 1391 Cardinal Pileo, the papal legate of Clement VII, would have given the city over to Pope Boniface IX, but his plan failed, and he fled, so Vico came to an understanding with Boniface.

After a century of trouble, peace was not re-established until 1503, when the government of Viterbo was subsequently, instead of the governor of the Patrimony, to a cardinal legate; after 1628 it was the residence of a simple governor. One of its cardinal legates was Reginald Pole, around whom there grew up at Viterbo a coterie of friends, Vittoria Colonna among them, who aroused suspicions of heterodoxy.

On 2 may 1936 it gained territory from the suppressed Territorial Abbacy of San Martino al Monte Cimino.

Episcopal Ordinaries[edit]

(all Roman Rite)

Exempt Bishops of Viterbo (and most also of Tuscanella)

  • Giovanni (1192 – 1199.04.06), earlier Bishop of Tuscanella (1188 – 1199.04.06), created Cardinal-Priest of S. Clemente (1189.05 – 1199.04.06); later promoted Cardinal-Bishop of Albano (1199.04.06 – death 1210)
  • Raniero (1199 – 1222), simultaneously Bishop of Tuscanella, as his successors would be for seven centuries
  • Filippo (1223 – ?), simultaneously Bishop of Tuscanella
  • Raniero Capocci, Cistercians (O. Cist.) (1226 – 1233 'see below), earlier created Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (1216 – death 1250?)
  • Matteo Sappolini (1233 – 1239)
  • Raniero Capocci, O. Cist. again (see above' 1243 – retired 1244)
  • Scambio Aliotti (1245 – 1253)
  • Alferio (1254 – 1258)
  • Pietro (1259 – ?)
  • Filippo (1263 – death 1285)
  • Pietro di Romanuccio Capocci (1286.08.25 – death 1312), previously Bishop of Ancona (Italy) (? – 1286.08.25)
  • Giovanni (1312.03.10 – 1318)
  • Angelo Tignosi (1318.03.19 – death 1343.12.08)
  • Bernardo del Lago (1344.02.06 – death 1347.07.27)
  • Giovanni (1348 – death 1348)
  • Giovanni (1348 – 1348), previously Bishop of Forlì (Romagna, Italy) (1342 – 1346)
  • Pietro de Pino (Pierre Pin) (1348.05.13 – 1348.07.15), later Bishop of Verona (northeast Italy) (1348.07.15 – 1349.07.27), Bishop of Périgueux (France) (1349.07.27 – death 1382)
  • Pietro Dupin (1348.12.10 – 1350.11.18), later Metropolitan Archbishop of Benevento (southern Italy) (1350.11.18 – death 1360)
  • Niccolò de’ Vetuli (1350.11.19 – death 1385.07)
  • Archbishop-bishop Ambrogio da Parma (1389 – 1391), previously Metropolitan Archbishop of Oristano (Italy) (1364 – 1377.02.20), Archbishop-Bishop of Cittanova (1377.02.20 – 1380.10.10), Archbishop-Bishop of Concordia (Italy) (1380.10.10 – 1389)
  • Giacomo Ranieri (1391 – death 1417.07.12)
  • Giacomo di Angeluccio Uguzzolini (1417.12.17 – death 1429.05.02)
  • Giovanni Cecchini Caranzoni (1430.02.10 – death 1460)
  • Pietro di Francesco Gennari (1460.05.19 – death 1472.08.03)
  • Francesco Maria Scelloni, Conventual Friars Minor (O.F.M.) (1472.08.31 – 1491.12.05), previously Bishop of Terni (Italy) (1472.02.14 – 1472.08.31); later again Bishop of Terni (Italy) (1491.12.05 – ?)
  • Matteo Cybo (1491.12.12 – death 1498)
  • Apostolic Administrator Cardinal Raffaele Sansone Riario della Rovere (1498.08.28 – 1506.09.16), while Cardinal-Deacon of S. Lorenzo in Damaso (pro illa vice Deaconry) (1480.05.05 – 1503.11.29, thereafter kept in commendam'(), Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church of the Reverend Apostolic Camera (1483.01.24 – 1521.07.09), Protodeacon of Sacred College of Cardinals (1503.09 – 1503.11.29), promoted Cardinal-Bishop of Albano (1503.11.29 – 1507.08.03)
  • Ottaviano Visconti Riario (1506.09.16 – death 1523.10.06)

to be completed


Exempt Bishops of Viterbo, Acquapendente, Bagnoregio, Montefiascone, Tuscania e San Martino al Monte Cimino


Exempt Bishops of Viterbo


Territorial abbacy of San Martino al Monte Cimino[edit]

This Benedictine territorial abbey (i.e. exerting diocesan authority, rather than resorting under any bishop) was established as such in 1300. On 1936.05.02, it lost its autonomous prelature status, as it was united (as mere) title with the then diocese of Viterbo and Tuscania.

Sources and External links[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Diocese of Viterbo and Toscanella". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.