Roman Catholic Suburbicarian Diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina

Roman Catholic Suburbicarian Diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina

The Diocese of Porto and Santa-Rufina (Lat: Portuensis et Sanctae Rufinae) is a suburbicarian see of the Holy Roman Church and a diocese of the Catholic Church in Italy. It was formed from the union of two suburbicarian sees of Rome.

From 1967, the diocese has had both a titular Cardinal bishop, and a resident bishop who handles the diocesan business.


Early Christian history of Porto

Porto was in ancient times Portus, the chief harbour of Rome. It owes its origin to the port built by Claudius on the right of the Tiber, opposite Ostia; Trajan enlarged the basin, and in a short time there grew around it a city which soon became independent of Ostia.

It was near Porto that Julius Nepos compelled Emperor Glycerius to abdicate (474). During the Gothic War the town served the Goths (537 and 549) and the Byzantines (546-52) as a base of operations against Rome. In the 9th and 10th centuries it was sacked on several occasions by the Saracens. In 849 Pope Leo IV fortified it and established there a colony of Corsicans for the defence of the coast and the neighbouring territory; but the city continued to decay.

Christianity was early established there. Several martyrs of Porto are known, including Herculanus, Hyacinthus, Martialis, Saturninus Epictetus, Maprilis and Felix. The place was also famous as the probable see of St. Hippolytus.

In 314 Gregorius was bishop. The great xenodochium, or hospice, of Pammachius was built about 370. Among the other bishops should be mentioned

  • Donatus (date uncertain), who built the basilica of St. Eutropius
  • Felix, a contemporary of Gregory the Great
  • Joannes, legate to the Sixth General Council (680)
  • Gregorius, who accompanied Pope Constantine to Constantinople (710)
  • Gregorius II (743-61)
  • Citonatus, present at the consecration of the antipope Constantine (767)
  • Giovanni (797)[1]
  • Stephano (826)[1]
  • Radoaldus (853)[1]. He acted contrary to his instructions on the occasion of the difficulties with Photius at Constantinople (862), and who was deposed for having prevaricated in connexion with the divorce of Lothair II of Lorraine
  • Formosus (864)[2], who became pope (891)
  • Walpert (876)[1]
  • Valentino (883)[1]
  • Silvestro (891-898)[1]
  • Crisogno (after 904)[3]
  • Costantino (958)[4]
  • Benedictus (963-964 and again 967-969)[5], who consecrated the antipope Leo VIII
  • Gregorio (985-994)[6], who built the irrigation system of the territory of the diocese
  • Benedetto (998-1029)[7]
  • Giovanni (1036–1050)
  • Rolando (ca.1050/57)
  • Giovanni (1057–1089), joined the obedience of antipope Clement III in 1084
  • Giovanni (1087–1095)
  • Mauritius (1097–1101), sent by Pope Paschal II to establish order in religious affairs in the Holy Land
  • Callistus II (1119–24), who united to the See of Porto the other suburbicarian See of Silva Candida or Santa Rufina.

Early Christian history of Rufina

Santa Rufina grew up around the basilica of the Holy Martyrs Sts. Rufina and Secunda on the Via Aurelia, fourteen miles (21 km) from Rome; the basilica is said to have been begun by Pope Julius I, and was finished by Saint Damasus. In the 9th century this town was destroyed by the Saracens, and the efforts of Pope Leo IV and Pope Sergius III were unable to save it from total ruin: all that remains are the remnants of the ancient basilica and a chapel.

The first notice of it as an episcopal see dates from the 5th century, when its bishop Adeodatus was present at the councils held by Pope Symmachus; its bishop St. Valentinus, Vicar of Rome during the absence of Pope Vigilius, had his hands cut off by Totila. Among its other bishops mention should be made of

  • Tiberius (594)
  • Ursus (680)
  • Nicetas (710)
  • Hildebrand (906)
  • Peter (1026), whose jurisdiction over the Leonine City, the Trastevere, and the Insula Tiberina (island in the Tiber) was confirmed.

The residence of the bishops of Silva Candida was on the Insula Tiberina beside the church of Sts. Adalbert and Paulinus, while that of the bishops of Porto was on the same island near the church of San Giovanni. The bishops of Silva Candida, moreover, enjoyed great prerogatives in relation with the ceremonies of the basilica of St. Peter.

The most famous of these prelates was Cardinal Humbertus (1050–1061), who accompanied Leo IX from Burgundy to Rome; he was appointed Bishop of Sicily by that pope, but, having been prevented by the Normans from landing on the island, he received the See of Silva Candida, and later was sent to Constantinople to settle the controversies aroused by Michael Cærularius. He wrote against the errors of the Greeks and against Berengarius (1051–63).

The last legitimate Bishop was Mainardo of Pomposa (1061–1074). During the schism of antipope Clement III there was a pseudocardinal-bishop Adalbert (1084–1102), later antipope Adalbert (1102).

Historically, the Bishop of Porto became the second cardinal, the Bishop of Ostia being the first, and officiated on Mondays in the Lateran Basilica; he obtained, moreover, the other rights of the Bishop of Santa Rufina, but lost jurisdiction over the Leonine City and its environs, when they were united to the city of Rome.


To 1500

  • Pietro Senex (1102–1134), a partisan of antipope Anacletus II from 1130
  • Theodwin, bishop of S. Rufina only (1134–1151), a German, sent on many missions to Germany and to the Holy Land
    • Giovanni (1134-1136/8), pseudocardinal of Anacletus II
  • Cencio de Gregorio (1154–1157)
  • Bernard (1158–1176), who exerted himself to bring about peace between Pope Adrian IV and Frederick Barbarossa
  • Guglielmo Marengo (1176–1178)
  • Teodino de Arrone (1179–1186), who examined the cause of Thomas Becket
  • Bobo (1189)
  • Pietro Gallocia (1190–1211)
  • Benedetto (1213–1216)
  • Cinzio Cenci (1217)
  • Conrad of Urach (1219–1227)
  • Romano Bonaventura (1231–1243), who obtained the confirmation of all the rights of his see
  • Otto of Tonengo, Ottone Candido (1244-1250/51), of the house of the marchesi di Monferrato, sent on several occasions as legate by Innocent IV to Frederick II
  • Giacomo da Castell'arquato (1251–1253)
  • John of Toledo (1261–1275)
  • Robert Kilwardby (1278–1279), formerly Archbishop of Canterbury, poisoned at Viterbo (1279)
  • Bernard de Languissel (1281–1290)
  • Matteo da Acquasparta (1291–1302), a former general of the Franciscans and a renowned theologian
  • Giovanni Minio (1302–1312), a former general of the Franciscans
  • Giacomo Arnaldo d'Euse (1313–1316), who became Pope John XXII
  • Bernard Castanet (1316–1317)
  • Berenger Fredoli the Younger (1317–1323)
  • Pierre d'Arabloy (1328–1331)
  • Jean-Raymond de Comminges (1331–1348)
  • Bernard d'Albi (1349–1350)
  • Guy de Boulogne (1350–1373)
  • Pietro Corsini (1374–1405), who adhered, later, to the Western Schism
  • Antonio Gaetani (1409–1412)
  • Antonio Corrario (1409–1431)
  • Louis, Duke of Berry (1412–1431)
  • Branda Catiglione (1431–1440)
  • Domingo Ram (1444–1445)
  • Francesco Condulmer (1445–1453)[8]
    • John Kempe, bishop of Santa Rufina only (1452–1454)[9]
  • Guillaume d'Estouteville (1454–1461)
  • Juan Carvajal (1461–1469)
  • Richard Olivier de Longueil (1470)
  • Filippo Calandrini (1471–1476)
  • Rodrigo Borgia (1476–1492), who became Pope Alexander VI



Cardinals since

Residential bishops

  • Andrea Pangrazio (1967–1984)
  • Pellegrino Tomaso Ronchi (1984–1985)
  • Diego Natale Bona (1985–1994)
  • Antonio Buoncristiani (1994–2001)
  • Gino Reali (2002–present)[10]

In 1826, Civitavecchia was separated from the Diocese of Viterbo and Toscanella and united with that of Porto, but in 1854, with Corneto, it was made an independent see. Mention should be made of the Cardinal Bishop of Porto Luigi, Lambruschini (1847), who restored the cathedral and the episcopal palace.

From the 16th century, the incumbency of prelates of this see was, as a rule, of short duration, because most of the cardinal-bishops preferred the See of Ostia and Velletri, which they exchanged for their own as soon as possible.

The Diocese of Cære, now Cerveteri, has been united with that of Porto since the 12th century. Cære was an ancient city, called at first Agylla, where the sanctuaries of Rome and the Vestals were hidden during the invasion of the Gauls; the Etruscan tombs scattered about its territory are important archleologically. Cervetri had bishops of its own until the 11th century; the first was Adeodatus (499), assuming that he was not the Adeodatus who signed himself Bishop of Silva-Candida in the third synod of Pope Symmachus (501). The last known was Benedictus, referred to in 1015 and 1029. The Diocese of Porto and Santa Rufina has 18 parishes, with 4600 inhabitants.


External links

Salvador Miranda: List of cardinal-bishops of Porto e S. Rufina

Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae, Leipzig 1931, pp. VIII-XI

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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