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Diocese of Oran
Diocese in Algiers, separated from the Archdiocese of Algiers, 26 July, 1866, to which it is suffragan. In the early centuries there were no less than 123 dioceses in Caesarean and Tingitan Mauretania. Tlemcen (in the present diocese) was an important see. Victor, Bishop of Tlemcen, assisted at the Council of Carthage (411); Honoratus (484) was exiled by King Huneric for denying Arianism. Though the Arabs (708) destroyed many churches, according to Abou-Obed-el-Bekrii in his "Roads and Empires", there were in 963, churches and Christians at Tlemcen. Until 1254 Christian troops were in the service of the Moorish kings of Tlemcen; from a Bull of Nicholas IV (1290) it is evident that a bishop of Morocco, legate of the Holy See, had jurisdiction over this region, ravaged by a violent persecution in the second half of the thirteenth century
Oran, probably of Moorish origin, was taken by the Spanish in 1509. The expedition which Comte d'Alcaudette, captain general from 1534 to 1558, led against Tlemcen (1543) was in fact a crusade. The Spaniards ruled until 1708, and again from 1732 to 1792. The Bey having sought the protection of France, the French occupied Oran (10 December, 1830.
The pilgrimage of Notre-Dame du Salut at Santa Cruz near Oran was founded in 1849. Before the Associations Law of 1901 the diocese had Jesuits; Lazarists; and several orders of teaching Brothers, one native to the diocese, namely the Brothers of Our Lady of the Annunciation, with their mother-house at Misserghin. The Trinitarian Sisters, with their mother-house at Valence (Drôme) are numerous. The diocese in 1901 contained 273,527 Europeans, excluding the French army; in 1905 there were 5 canonical parishes; 77 succursal parishes, 13 curacies remunerated by the State; 14 auxiliary priests.
MORCELLI, Africa Christiana (Brescia, 1816): BARGES, Tlemcen, ancienne capitale du royaume de ce nom (Paris, 1859); DE PRATS, L'Eglise Africaine (Tours, 1894): RUFF, La domination espagnole a Oran sous le gouvernement du comte d'Alcaudette 1535-1558 (Paris, 1900).