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Diocese of Ajaccio
Comprises the island of Corsica. It was formerly a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Pisa, but since the French Concordat, has been a suffragan of Aix. The first bishop known to history was Evander, who assisted at the Council of Rome in 313. Before the Revolution Corsica contained five other dioceses: Accia (vacant since 1563); Aleria, an ancient city of the Phocians, whose bishop resided at Corte; Sagone, a vanished city whose bishop resided at Calvi, while the Chapter was at Vico; Marlana, also a vanished city, whose bishop resided at Bastia; and Nebbio. Pius X, when appointing Mgr. Desanti Bishop of Ajaccio (in the summer of 1906), reserved the right of regulating anew the diocesan limits, in virtue of which the Diocese of Bastia may be restored. The Byzantine ruins at Mariana perpetuate the memory of the church built by the Pisans in the twelfth century. There is a legend to the effect that the bishops banished from Africa to Corsica in 484 by Hunneric, King of the Vandals, built with their own hands the primitive cathedral of Ajaccio. The present cathedral, dating from the end of the sixteenth century, owes its construction to the initiative of Gregory XIII, who while still Ugo Buoncompagni, spent some time at Ajaccio as papal legate. The see was left vacant for five years, during which time the diocesan revenues were applied to the building of the cathedral. It was finished by Bishop Giustiniani after his nomination. Services are held according to the Greek rite in the village of Cargese, founded (1676) by the descendants of Stephen Comnenus, whom the Turks had expelled from the Peloponnesus. The Diocese of Ajaccio contained (end of 1905) 295, 589 inhabitants, 70 first class, 351 second class parishes, and 91 vicariates formerly with State subventions.
CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d'Italia (Venice, 1861), XVI, 272-404; ARMAN, Notre Dame d Ajaccio (Ajaccio, 1844); Ajaccio, in Cornhill Magazine (1868), XVIII, 496; Eclectic Magazine (1868), LXXI, 1513; ARDOUIN-DUMAZET, La Corse (Paris, 1898); CHEVALIER, Topo-bibl. (Paris, 1894-99), 33.