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A suburban see, comprising seven towns in the Province of Rome. Albano (derived from Alba Longa) is situated ten miles from Rome, on the Appian Way. It was a military post, and hence Christian soldiers must have been stationed there at a very early date. Appii Forum and the Three Taverns, where St. Paul was met on his way to Rome by the brethren are not far distant (Acts, xxviii, 14,15). In the very year of his consulate, Acilius Glabrio was compelled by Domitian to fight, unarmed, in the amphitheatre at Albano, a Numidian bear, according to Juvenal (Sat. IV, 99): an enormous lion, according to Dio Cassius (Hist. Rom., LXVI, iii). This same Acilius Glabrio is later included in a Christian group of the Flavian family as a molitor rerum novarum (Suet. D. 10). The "Liber Pontificalis" under the name Silvester (ed. Duchesne, Paris, 1886, I, 185) says: "fecit basilicam Augustus Constantinus in civitate Albanensis, videlicet S. Joannis Baptistae (Harnack, "Die Mission", Leipzig, 1902, p. 501). This basilica of the time of Constantine was destroyed by fire toward the end of the eighth century or in the beginning of the ninth (Lib. Pont., Leo III; ed. Duchesne, II, 32)" Franconi has established (La catacomba e la basilica Constantiniana di Albano Laziale, Rome, 1877) the identity of this basilica with the present cathedral, which still contains some remains of the edifice dedicated by Leo III to St. Pancratius. Under the basilica there was a crypt, or confessio, from which bodies were transferred to the cemetery near by. The foundation of the episcopal see of Albano is very probably contemporaneous with the erection of the Constantinian basilica. However, the first bishop of the see of whom we have any knowledge is Dionysius (d. 355). It is more than a century later (463) that we meet with another Bishop of Albano, Romanus. To these is to be added Ursinus, whose name is found on an inscription in the Catacomb of Domitilla. The consular date is either 345 or 395. The importance of this early Christian community is apparent from its cemetery, discovered in 1720 by Marangoni. Beeing near Rome, it differs but little from the Christian cemeteries found there. Its plan, clearly mapped out in the "Epitome de locis ss. martyrum quae sunt foris civitatis Romae," is considered by de Rossi as the synopsis of an ancient description of the cemeteries, written before the end of the sixth century: "per eandem vere viam (Appiam) pervenitur ad Albanam civitatem et per eandem civitatem ad ecclesiam S. Senatoris ubi et Perpetua jacet corpore et innumeri sancti et magna mirabilia ibidem geruntur." The saints here named are not known. St. Senator is inserted without further explanation in the martyrology for 26 September (et in Albano Senatoris). From this he passed to the Roman martyrology, where he is commemorated on the same day. But the first account of the martyrs of Albano is found in the "Almanac of Philocalus" (fourth century) on the eighth of August: "VI Idus aug. Carpophori, Victorini et Severiani, Albano, et Ostense septimo ballistaria, Cyriaci, Largi, Crescentiani, Memmiae, Julianae, et Smaragdi." The cemetery has valuable frescoes, painted at various times by unknown artists, which show the progess of Christian art from the fourth to the ninth century. The series of titular Bishops of Albano contains many illustrious names: Peter II, afterwards Pope Sergius IV (1009-12); Boniface (1049) with whom the series of Cardinal-bishops begins; Blessed Peter Igneus (1074-92) of Vallombrosa, the stern associate of Gregory VII in his work of ecclesiastical reform; Nicholas Breakspear, afterwards Pope Adrian IV (1154-59); St. Bonaventure of Bagnorea (d. 1272), the Seraphic Doctor; and Rodrigo Borgia, afterwards Alexandre VI (1492-1503). This see contains 12 parishes, 67 churches, chapels, and oratories; 60 secular priests; 26 seminarians; 79 regular clergy; 45 lay brothers; 289 religious (women); 15 confraternities; 8 boys' schools (360 pupils); 3 girls' schools (180 pupils). Population, 41,000.
Ughelli, Italia sacra (Venice, 1722), I, 247; Cappelletti, Le chiese d'Italia (Venice, 1866), I,657; Gams, Series Episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae (Ratisbon, 1873), XXII, 464; Marucchi, Di alcune inscrizioni recentement trovate e ricomposte nel cimitero di Domitilla, in Nuovo bull. di arch. crist. (1899),24; Ricci, Memorie storiche dell' antichissima citt di Alba Longa e dell' Albano moderno (Rome, 1787); Volpi, Latium Vetus, Profanum et Sacrum (Rome, 1726); Gioni, Storia di Albano (Rome, 1842); De Rossi, Le catacombe di Albano, in Bull. di arch. Crist. (1869); Leclercq, Albano (catacombe d'), in Dict. d'archeol. Chret. et de lit. (Paris, 1904).