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Diocese of Nocera dei Pagani
(NUCERIA PAGANORUM; dei Pagani="of the Pagans")
Diocese in Salermo, Italy, at the foot of Mt. Albinio, on the Sarno River; it was the Nuceria Alfaterna of the Nuvkrinum coins, captured by Fabius maximus in the Samnite War (307), and sacked by Hannibal (215). The appellation "of the pagans" dates probably from the ninth century, because of a Saracen colony established there with the connivance of the Dukes of Naples. In 1132 King Roger nearly destroyed the town because it took part with Innocent II, and in 1382 Charles of Durazzo beseiged there Urban VI. Nocera is the birthplace of Hugo de Paganis (Payus), one of the founders of the Templars; St. Ludovico, Bishop of Tolosa, a son of Charles II of Anjou; Tommaso de Acerno, historian of Urban VI; and the painter Francesco Solimena. St. Alphonsus Liguori founded his order there. At Nocera is the sanctuary of Mater Domini, which contains the tomb of Charles I of Anjou; the ancient church was rebuilt in the eleventh century, and given to some hermits; Urban VIII gave it to the Basilians, and when these were driven away in 1809 and 1829, it came into the hands of the Franciscans. Among its bishops were St. Priscus, the first bishop, not St. Priscus of Nola; and Coelius Laurentius, competitor of Symmachus (498). In 1260 the assassination of the bishop caused the suppression of the diocese, but Urban VI restored it in 1386. Later bishops were Giovanni Cerretani (1498), a jurist; the historian Paul Jovius (1528), succeeded by his nephew Julius and his great-nephew Paul, who rebuilt the episcopal palace; Simone Lunadoro (1602), diocesan historian. United to the See of Cava in 1818, it was reestablished in 1834. A suffragan of Salerno, it has 28 parishes; 60,350 inhabitants; 4 religious houses of men, and 11 of women; a school for boys, and 5 for girls.
CAPPELLETTI, Le Chiese d'Italia, XX.
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