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Archdiocese of Sassari
Archdiocese in Sardinia, Italy, situated on the River Rossello in a fertile region: a centre of the oil, fruit, wine, and tobacco industries. The city has a university founded in 1634. There is a monument to the Duke of Maurienne in the cathedral; the Church of the Most Blessed Trinity contains a beautiful picture by an unknown artist of the Quattrocento. Other noteworthy buildings are the palace of the Duke of Vallombrosa, the Aragonese castle with its high tower, the Fontana del Rossello and a thirteenth-century wall. Sassari was unknown till about the eleventh century; it developed with the decay of the ancient Torres (Turris Lybissonis), which till then had been the principal city on the island. It was sacked by the Genoese in 1166. In 1291 it became a republic with the consent of the Genoese, who were pleased to see it thus withdrawn from the control of the Pisans. Its statutes of 1316 are remarkable for the leniency of the penalties imposed when compared with the penal laws of the Middle Ages. In 1390 it was united to the giudicatura of Arborea, of which it became the capital, but in 1420 it fell into the hands of the Aragonese. In 1527 it was sacked by the French. The ecclesiastical history of Sassari commences with that of Torres. In 304 the soldier Gavinus, Protus a priest, and the deacon Januarius suffered martyrdom there. Later Gavinus and Protus were reputed bishops, and said to have lived in the second and third centuries respectively. St. Gaudentius, who seems to have belonged to the beginning of the fourth century, is also venerated there. The first bishop whose date is known is Felix (404). Other bishops: Marinianus, a contemporary of St. Gregory the Great; Novellus (685), whose ordination caused a controversy between John V and the Archbishop of Cagliari; Felix (727), who took refuge at Genoa to escape the cruelty of the Saracens; almost nothing is known concerning bishops of Torres for the next three centuries, till Simon (1065). His successor, Costantino de Crasta (1073), was an archbishop. Other archbishops: Blasius (1199), representative of Innocent III, on several occasions; Stefano, O.P. (1238), legate of Innocent IV in Sardinia and Corsica; Trogodario (about 1278) who erected the episcopal palace in Sassari, to which Teodosio (1292) added the Church of St. Andrea; after this the archbishops resided habitually at Sassari. Pietro Spano (1422) was a restorer of discipline; under him the episcopal see was definitively transferred to Sassari by Eugenius IV. This bishop intended to erect a seminary for the training of the clergy, but his death frustrated the plan. Angelo Leonini (1509) was at the Fifth Lateran Council; Salvatore Salepusi (1553) was distinguished at the Council of Trent; Alfonso de Sorca (1585), highly esteemed by Clement VIII. At about the year 1500 there were united to the Archdiocese of Sassari the Sees of Sorca (Saralapsis) which is mentioned as a bishopric in 1106, and whose last bishop was Jacopo Poggi; and of Ploaghe (Plubium), the first known bishop of which is Jacentius (1090). The sees suffragan to Sassari are: Alghero, Ampurias and Tempio, Bisarchio, Bosa. The archdiocese contains 35 parishes, 140 secular; 41 regular priests: 112,500 inhabitants, 9 convents of religious, and 13 monasteries, 7 boys', and 5 girls' institutions.
CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d'Italia (Venice, 1870); FILIA, La Sardegna cristiana, I (Sassari, 1909).