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Diocese of Ascoli-Piceno
Diocese comprising sixteen towns in the Province of Ascoli-Piceno, two in that of Aquila, and two in that of Teramo, Italy. It is under the immediate jurisdiction of the Holy See. "Ascoli-Piceno is on of the cities of Italy", says Harnack (Die Mission, etc., Leipzig, 502), "which, because of its importance, we may believe has had a Christian community and a bishopric from the middle of the third century, when at the Synod held by Pope Cornelius in Rome sixty bishops were present" (Eus., VI, xliii). The traces of this bishopric, however, do not appear until the fourth century: St. Emidius, martyred under Diocletian; Claudius, present at the Synod of Rimini (Arian Controversy, 359), and, in the fifth century, Lusentius, present at the Synod of Milan which sent the famous letter to Pope Leo I (440-461), were Bishops of Ascoli. Worthy of note in Ascoli, from an artistic standpoint, is the baptistery dating from the twelfth century. One of its bishops, Giulio de'Medici, afterwards became Pope Clement CII (1523-34). The political importance of his pontificate, during the struggle between Charles V and Francis I is well known. Ascoli-Piceno contain 167 parishes; 305 churches, chapels, and oratories; 206 secular priests; 150 seminarians; 15 regular priests, 6 lay brothers; 126 religious (women); 118 confraternities, and a population of 120,210.
Ughelli, Italia Sacra (Venice, 1722), I, 436; Cappelletti, Le chiese d'Italia (Venice, 1866), VI, 663; Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae (Ratisbon, 1873), 667; Colucci, Antichita ascoliane illustrate con varie dissertazioni (Fermo, 1792); Appiani, Vita de S. Emidio, prima vescova e protettore di Ascoli e martire con un ragguaglio della stessa citta occasionato da s. Valentino martire, suo diacono, primo scrittore delle gesta del santo (ascoli, 1832); Lazzari, Ascoli in prospettiva colle sue piu singolari pitture sculture ed architetture (Ascoli, 1724).