Diocese of Viterbo
|Ecclesiastical province||Immediately exempt to the Holy See|
|Area||2,161 km2 (834 sq mi)|
- Catholics (including non-members)
|(as of 2014)|
174,400 (est.) (96.3%)
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Cathedral||Basilica Cattedrale di S. Lorenzo Martire (Viterbo)|
|Co-cathedral||Basilica Cattedrale del S. Sepolcro (Acquapendente)|
Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore (Tuscania)
Concattedrale di S. Nicola (Bagnoregio)
|Secular priests||112 (diocesan)|
61 (religious Orders)
The Diocese of Viterbo (Latin : Dioecesis Viterbiensis) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in central Italy. From the 12th century, the official name of the diocese was the Diocese of Viterbo e Tuscania. In 1986, several dioceses were combined, and the title was changed to "Diocese of Viterbo, Acquapendente, Bagnoregio, Montefiascone, Tuscania and San Martino al Monte Cimino"; in 1991 the name was shortened to "Diocese of Viterbo".  
The diocese has always been exempt, immediately subject to the Holy See, not belonging to any ecclesiastical province. The diocesan cathedral is the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, in the episcopal see of Viterbo.
The name of Viterbo occurs for the first time in the 8th century, under Pope Zachary, when it was a village tributary to Toscanella, in Lombard Tuscany (Tuscia Langobardorum) on the Via Cassia. Charlemagne gave the pope all this Tuscan territory in feudal tenure, the imperial authority over it being still represented by a sculdascio (feudal sheriff) and later by a count.
Bishop Maurus is the first known bishop (649) of Toscanella. Among the successors of Maurus was Virbonus,  to whom Pope Leo IV addressed a bull on 23 February 852, determining the boundaries of the diocese.  In 876, Bishop Joannes was one of the legates of Pope John VIII at the council of Pontigny, and carried the imperial insignia to Charles the Bald. 
During the tenth century Toscanella was for some time under the Bishop of Centumcellae. The succession of its bishops recommences with Joannes (1027); another Joannes distinguished himself in the reform of Benedict (1049) and brought back the clergy of Tuscania to the common life. Gilbert (1059) and Giselbert (1080) were also promoters of reform. Bishop Richard (1086–1093),  however, adhered to the party of Frederick Barbarossa's antipope Clement III, who, in 1193, united Toscanella with Centumcellae and the see of Blera. 
In 1192 Pope Celestine III made it the diocese of Viterbo, on territory split off from the diocese of Tuscanella, but jointly held (aeque personaliter) with that see until 1913. The episcopal seat was transferred from Toscanella to Viterbo.
Viterbo was notorious as a center of heresy. During the episcopate of Bishop Raynerius (c.1200), the Paterini, who practiced a form of gnostic manicheanism, first appear in Viterbo. Pope Innocent III came to Viterbo personally in June 1207, and engaged in the search for Paterini and their sympathizers, most of whom had fled.  They were active, however, throughout the 13th century, and were still found there in 1304. 
In the fourteenth century the clergy of Toscanella repeatedly refused to recognize the bishop elected by the chapter of Viterbo, so that Pope Clement V (1312) reserved to the Holy See the right of appointment. 
The episcopal palace was completed in 1267, under the auspices of Raynerius Gatti, Captain of the People of Viterbo for the third time.  The territory of the diocese was stricken by a major earthquake on 28 May 1320. 
In 1353, Cardinal Albornoz, who was appointed Legatus a latere and Vicar in spiritualities and temporalities for all the lands in Italy subject to the dominion of the Church, came to effect the reconquest of the Papal States. He invested Viterbo with a siege, beginning in May 1354. On 23 June, Viterbo submitted, and built a fortress (Rocca) for the governor of the Patrimony.  In 1367, during the sojourn of Pope Urban V at Viterbo,  a quarrel between the populace and the retinue of one of the cardinals developed into a general uprising, which Cardinal Marcus of Viterbo, who had arrived at the papal court from Genoa on 8 September, quickly put down.  The incident is reported in great detail by Pope Urban V himself, in the bull "Pii Patris" of 1 December 1367, in which he lifted the censures imposed upon Viterbo because of the incident. 
On 31 August 1369, the diocese lost territory when Pope Urban V established the Diocese of Montefiascone. 
In 1375 Francesco di Vico took possession of the city, which joined in the general revolt against papal rule, but quickly submitted. When the Western Schism arose, Vico's tyranny recommenced; he took the side of Pope Clement VII and sustained a siege by Cardinal Orsini. The people rose and killed him (8 May 1387), and Viterbo returned to the obedience of Pope Urban VI. But in 1391 Gian Sciarra di Vico reentered the city and took possession of its government. In 1391 Cardinal Pileo, the papal legate of Clement VII, would have given the city over to Pope Boniface IX, but his plan failed, and he fled, so Vico came to an understanding with Boniface.
On 5 December 1435, the city of Corneto was separated from the Diocese of Viterbo and erected as the Diocese of Corneto by Pope Eugenius IV, and joined with the then recently erected Diocese of Montefiascone. 
After a century of trouble, peace was not re-established until 1503, when the government of Viterbo was subsequently assigned to a cardinal legate, rather than to the governor of the Patrimony. One of its cardinal legates was Reginald Pole, around whom there grew up at Viterbo a coterie of friends, Vittoria Colonna among them (from 1541 to 1547), who aroused suspicions of heterodoxy.  After 1628 Viterbo was the residence again of a simple governor.
On 2 May 1936 the diocese of Viterbo e Toscanella gained territory from the suppressed Territorial Abbacy of San Martino al Monte Cimino. 
The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), in order to ensure that all Catholics received proper spiritual attention, decreed the reorganization of the diocesan structure of Italy and the consolidation of small and struggling dioceses. It also recommended the abolition of anomalous units such as exempt territorial prelatures.  These considerations applied to Viterbo and the other dioceses governed by its bishop.
On 18 February 1984, the Vatican and the Italian State signed a new and revised concordat. Based on the revisions, a set of Normae was issued on 15 November 1984, which was accompanied in the next year, on 3 June 1985, by enabling legislation. According to the agreement, the practice of having one bishop govern two separate dioceses at the same time, aeque personaliter, was abolished. Instead, the Vatican continued consultations which had begun under Pope John XXIII for the merging of small dioceses, especially those with personnel and financial problems, into one combined diocese.
By 1986, papal policy in the selection of bishops had concentrated in the person of Bishop Luigi Boccadoro the Diocese of Viterbo e Tuscania, the diocese of Acquapendente (since 1951), the diocese of Montefiascone (since 1951), and the Administratorship of the diocese of Bagnoregio (since 1971); he was also the Abbot Commendatory of Monte Cimino. On 27 March 1986, by the bull "Qui Non Sine", Pope John Paul II moved to consolidate these several small dioceses by suppressing them and uniting their territories  into the diocese of Viterbo e Tuscania, whose name was changed to the Diocese of Viterbo. There was to be only one cathedral, in Viterbo. The cathedrals in Acquapendente, Montefiascone and Bagnoregio were to become co-cathedrals, and the cathedral Chapters were each to be a Capitulum Concathedralis. There was to be only one diocesan Tribunal, in Viterbo, and likewise one seminary (the regional papal seminary), one College of Consultors, and one Priests' Council. All the priests of all the dioceses were to be incardinated in the diocese of Viterbo. 
The Fourth Lateran Council (1216) decreed that provincial synods should be held annually in each ecclesiastical province, and that each diocese should hold annual diocesan synods. 
A diocesan synod was an irregularly held, but important, meeting of the bishop of a diocese and his clergy. Its purpose was (1) to proclaim generally the various decrees already issued by the bishop; (2) to discuss and ratify measures on which the bishop chose to consult with his clergy; (3) to publish statutes and decrees of the diocesan synod, of the provincial synod, and of the Holy See. 
Bishop Angelo Tignosi (1318–1343) held a diocesan synod at Corneto on 16 May 1320, and another three years later in Viterbo. 
Cardinal Tiberio Muti (1611–1636) presided over a diocesan synod, his second, in Viterbo on 18–19 January 1624; its acts were published.  Cardinal Francesco Maria Brancaccio held a diocesan synod in Viterbo on 18 September 1639, and had the acts of the synod published.  Brancaccio held another synod on 21 November 1649, and published the acts.  A diocesan synod was held in the cathedral of Viterbo by Cardinal Urbano Sacchetti (1683–1701) on 24–25 May 1694; its acts were published. 
United: 12th Century with the Diocese of Tuscanella
Latin Name: Viterbiensis et Tuscanensis
Immediately Subject to the Holy See
United: 27 March 1986 with the dioceses of Acquapendente, Bagnoregio, and Montefiascone Immediately Subject to the Holy See
16 February 1991: Name Changed
This Benedictine territorial abbey  (i.e. exerting diocesan authority, rather than being subject to a bishop of a diocese) was established as such in 1300.  In 1927, San Martino al Monte Cimino had been given to Bishop Trenta of Viterbo as administrator. Then the right of patronage over the abbey was renounced by Prince Doria Pamphili. On 2 May 1936, Pope Pius XI issued a bull, suppressing the territorial abbey as an autonomous prelature, and united it to the diocese of Viterbo and Tuscania. The bishop of Viterbo was to enjoy the additional title of Abbot of San Martino al Monte Cimino. The Vicar General of the diocese of Viterbo was also to be the Vicar General of the abbey, and a Vicar Capitular (elected to administer the diocese during an episcopal vacancy) would also be administrator of the abbey. 
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