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Diocese of Fünfkirchen



(Hungarian PÉCS, QUINQUE ECCLESIENSIS)

Located in Hungary, in the ecclesiastical province of Gran. Christianity was introduced into this part of the ancient province of Pannonia (called Valeria since the time of Diocletian) before the fall of the Roman Empire. In Fünfkirchen itself, formerly the Roman colony of Sopianœ, there has been found an underground sepulchral chamber dating from early Christian times; it is still preserved, and contains religious paintings belonging to the second half of the fourth century (Henszlmann, "Die altchristliche Grabkammer in Fünfkirchen" in "Mitteilungen der Zentralkommission", Vienna, 1873, 57 sq. de Rossi, "Bullettino di arch. crist.", 1874, 150-152). It is probable that even at this early day a house of Christian worship existed where the cathedral now stands. During the "migration of the nations", city and country were devastated; in the ninth century, this territory formed part of the kingdom of the Christian Slavic prince Privina, and Archbishop Liupramm of Salzburg (836-859) consecrated the church of St. Peter in the city even then called "Ad quinque Basilicas" because of its five churches. By King Stephen I of Hungary Fünfkirchen was made a bishopric in the year 1009. The first bishop was the Frank, Bonipert, a Benedictine monk. His successor, Maurus (1036-1070), erected a cathedral, the original foundations of which still stand, on the site of the old church of St. Peter (restored, 1877-1896). Maurus is the first ecclesiastical writer in the kingdom of Hungary, and is honoured as a saint in this diocese, as well as by the Benedictines.

Of the succeeding bishops, the following are worthy of mention: Calanus (1188-1218), who, on account of his services in defending the Church against the Patarini, was permitted by Clement III to wear the pallium and to have the cross borne before him, a custom which led to many difficulties with the Archbishops of Gran, but was nevertheless confirmed by Benedict XIV (1754); Wilhelm (1360-1374), during whose episcopate the cathedral school was raised to the rank of a university (1367), which flourished for a time, but which ceased to exist after the defeat in battle of Louis II by Solyman I in 1526; Anton Vrancies (1553-1557) and Georg Draskovich (1557-1563) who worked zealously for the reform of the religious life and were elevated to the cardinalate. After the conquest of the city by the Turks in 1543, the cathedral was transformed into a mosque, and it was only in 1687, after the expulsion of the Turks, that it was again opened for Christian worship. Under Bishops Franz Nesselrode (1703-1732) and Georg Girk (1853-1868), diocesan synods were held. Bishop Ignatius von Szepesy (1828-1838) founded a lyceum with a faculty of theology and law. A restoration of the cathedral in approved style was made by Ferdinand Dulánszky. The cathedral chapter numbers ten canons, six honorary canons and two prebendaries. The diocese is divided into two archdiaconates and twenty-two vice-diaconates; it embraces 178 parishes, with 258 dependent churches and stations, and six curacies. Of the parishes 33 are German, 54 Magyar and the rest composed of mixed nationalities. The number of Catholics in the diocese amounted in 1906 to 503,981. In the same year, there were 306 secular priests and 40 religious. The following orders of men exist in the diocese: Cistercians (1 monastery, with a college); Franciscans (7 monasteries); Brothers of Mercy (1 convent); Orders and congregations of women: Canonesses of Our Lady (1 convent); Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (11 convents); Sisters of Providence, of the Holy Redeemer, of the Holy Cross (1 convent each). The territory of the diocese embraces the counties of Baranya and Tolna, and part of the counties of Somogy and Veröcze.

KOLLAR, Historia episcopatus Quinqueecclesiensis, 7 vols. (Budapest, 1782-1812); GERECZE, Der Dom zu Fünfkirchen (Fünfkirchen, 1894); Die katholische Kirche unserer Zeit (Munich, 1900), II, 590-593.

J. P. KIRSCH.








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