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Diocese of Nola
Diocese; suffragan of Naples. The city of Nola in the Italian Province of Caserta, in Campania, is said to have been founded by the Etruscans or by Chalcideans from Cumae. On the most ancient coins it is called Nuvlana. In the Samnite War (311 B.C.) the town was taken by the Romans, in the Punic War it was twice besieged by Hannibal (215 and 214), and on both occasions splendidly defended by Marcellus. In the war with the Marsi, the latter took Nola, in 90 B.C., but, notwithstanding their brilliant defense of the city, it was retaken from them in the year 89, and its recapture put an end to that war. The city was sacked by Spartacus, for which reason Augustus and Vespasian sent colonies there. In A.D. 410 it was sacked by Alaric, in 453 by the Vandals, in 806 and again in 904 by the Saracens. From the time of Charles I of Anjou to the middle of the fifteenth century, Nola was a feudal possession of the Orsini. The battle of Nola (1459) is famous for the clever stratagem by which John of Anjou defeated Alfonso of Aragon. Nola furnished a considerable portion of the antiquities in the museum of Naples, especially beautiful Greek vases. In the seminary there is a collection of ancient inscriptions, among which are some Oscan tablets. The ruins of an amphitheatre and other ancient remains are yet to be seen in this city, where the Emperor Augustus, who died there, had a famous temple. Nola was the birthplace of Giordano Bruno, of Luigi Tausillo, the philosopher and poet, of the sculptor Giovanni Merliano, whose work is well represented in the cathedral, and of the physician Ambrogio Leo.
The ancient Christian memories of Nola are connected with the neighboring Cimitile, the name of which recalls the site of an ancient cemetery. There is the basilica of St. Felix, the martyr, built, and poetically described by St. Paulinus, bishop of the city, who shows that no sanctuary, after the tombs of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, was visited by as many pilgrims as came to this shrine. St. Felix, who lived between the middle of the second century and the middle of the third, was the first Bishop of Nola. The city has several other martyrs, among them, Sts. Reparatus, Faustillus, and Acacius, companions of St. Januarius, besides St. Felix, confessor. Other bishops of Nola were St. Marinus (about the year 300); St. Priscus, who died in 328 or, according to Mommsen, in 523; St. Quodvultdeus, who died in 387 and was succeeded by St. Paulinus. The body of the last-named saint was taken to Benevento in 839, and in the year 1000 was given to Otho III by the people of Benevento in exchange for the body of St. Bartholomew; in 1909 it was restored to Nola. In the fifth century the archpresbyter St. Adeodatus flourished at Nola; his metrical epitaph has been preserved. In 484 Joannes Taloias, Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, having been driven from his diocese, was made Bishop of Nola. It was St. Paulinus III (c. 505) who became a slave to free a widow's son; this heroic deed was afterwards attributed to St. Paulinus I. Bishop Lupicinus (786) restored several sacred buildings. Francis Scacciani (1370) erected the Gothic cathedral, which was finished by Bishop Gian Antonio Boccarelli (1469). Antonio Scarampi (1549) founded the seminary and introduced the reforms of the Council of Trent. Fabrizio Gallo (1585) founded several charitable institutions; G. B. Lancellotti (1615-56), who was Apostolic nuncio to Poland from 1622 to 1627, did much for the diocese; Francis M. Carafa (1704), a Theatine, was zealous for the education of the clergy; Traiano Caracciolo (1738) constructed the new seminary.
The diocese is a suffragan of Naples; has 86 parishes, with 200,000 inhabitants, 9 religious houses of men, and 19 of women, several educational establishments and asylums, and four monthly and bi-monthly periodicals.
CAPPELLETTI, Le Chiese d'Italia, XXI; REMONDINI, Storia della citta e diocesi di Nola (Naples, 1747-57.