Ferentino (FERENTINUM), Diocese of, in the province of Rome, immediately subject to the Holy See. The town was in antiquity the chief place of the Hernici. Its ancient origin is borne out by the numerous remains of its cyclopean walls, especially near the site of the ancient fortress where the cathedral now stands. In the days of the kings there was strife between Rome and Ferentinum which then belonged to the Volscians. The Consul Furius gave it over to the Hernici, and in 487, A. u. c., it became a Roman town (municipium), and shared thenceforth the fortunes of Rome. Local legend attributes the first preaching of the Gospel in Ferentinum to Sts. Peter and Paul; they are said to have consecrated St. Leo as its first bishop. In the persecution of Diocletian the centurion Ambrose suffered martyrdom (304) at Ferentino; possibly also the martyrdom of St. Eutychius belongs to that period. In the time of Emperor Constantine the town had its own bishop; but the first known to us by name is Bassus, present at Roman synods, 487 and 492-493. St. Redemptus (about 570) is mentioned in the “Dialogues” of St. Gregory the Great; and he also refers to a Bishop Boniface. Other known bishops are Trasmondo Sognino (1150), who died in prison; Ubaldo (1150), legate of Adrian IV to the princes of Christendom in favor of a crusade, later the consecrator of the antipope Victor IV; Giacomo (A.D. 1276), legate of John XXI to Emperor Michael Palaeologus; Landolfo Rosso (1297), who rendered good service to Boniface VIII; Francesco Filippesio (1799), legate of Julius II to the Emperor Maximilian.
Ferentino has (1909) 19 parishes and 45,000 souls; 3 boys’ and 2 girls’ schools; 6 monasteries for men; and 8 convents for women.