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Diocese of Ariano
Diocese in the Archdiocese of Beneventum, comprising seven towns in the province of Avellino, four in that of Beneventum, and one in the province of Foggia. Ariano, a very ancient town of the Hirpini, is built on the hills, fifteen miles from Beneventum. Its name is of pagan origin: Ora Jani. There are no documents that fix the time of its conversion to Christianity. Beneventum, at the beginning of the fourth century, had a bishop, and the Gospel may have reached Ariano from that city. The Bishop of Beneventum was one of the nineteen prelates who were present at the Synod of Rome, held in the year 313. (See Routt, Reliquiae Sacrae, III, 312, and Harnack, Die Mission, etc., 501.) Ariano was an episcopal city from the tenth century and perhaps before that time. We find it first mentioned in the Bull of Pope John XIII (965-972) to establish the Archdiocese of Beneventum; it is named as a suffragan see. The first bishop known to have occupied this see was Menardus, a native not of Padua, Ughelli believed, but of Poitiers, which Vitale has shown. In 1070, he erected in his cathedral a marble baptistery on the walls of which verses were inscribed. In the following year Menardus was at the consecration of the church of Monte Cassino by Alexander III. Tradition has a whole series of bishops prior to him as is proved by a declaration of 1080 made in favour of the monastery of St. Sofia in Beneventum. This diocese contains 25 parishes; 90 churches, chapels, and oratories; 125 secular priests; 30 seminarians; 3 regular priests; 2 lay-brothers, 32 religious (women); 22 confraternities; 3 girls' schools (95 pupils). Population 50,400.
UGHELLI, Italia Sacra (Venice, 1722), VIII, 212; CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d'Italia (Venice, 1866), XIX, 117; GAMS, Series episcoporum ecclesiae catholicae (Ratisbon, 1873), 8, 52; VITALE, Storia della regia citta di Ariano e sua diocesi (Rome, 1794).