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Diocese of Jaen

Ecclesial territory in southern Spain

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Jaen, Diocese of (GIENNENSIS), in Southern Spain. The city of Jaen, capital of the province of the same name, is situated in northeastern Andalusia on the lower part of the northeastern slope of Monte Jabalcuz about 1800 feet above sea-level. In 1900 the population was 26,434. During the period 1013-90 the city of Jaen, the Romans’ Aurgi, was the capital of the independent Moorish Kingdom of Djayyan, and was reconquered from the Moors by St. Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon in April, 1246. According to local tradition the first bishop was St. Euphrasius, supposed to be one of the seventy disciples. He is said to have been sent to Southern Spain, together with St. Torquatus and five other pupils of the Apostles, by Sts. Peter and Paul, and to have settled at Iliturgis (now Andiijar), where he is reputed to have suffered martyrdom in the year 68 [cf. Henschenius, “De adventu in Hispaniam Sanctorum Torquati etc.” in “Acta SS.”, III, May (Brussels, 1680), 442-4; Terrones y Robres, “Vida, martirio, translation y milagros de S. Eufrasio, obispo y patron de Andiijar” (Granada, 1657)]. Other predecessors of the bishops of Jaen are, according to local investigations, the bishops of Cazlona (Episcopi Castulonenses), who were active in the period 298-656, and finally four of the bishops of Baeza (Episcopi Beatienses), flourishing between the seventh and the thirteenth centuries. The list of the bishops proper of Jaen does not begin until 1248, when the see was transferred from Baeza to Jaen. The last Bishop of Baeza was Fray Domingo, O.P. (1227-48); the first Bishop of Jaen was Pedro I Martinez (1249-50). The most notable among the sixty-four bishops who have governed the Diocese of Jaen are: St. Pedro III Pascual (1296-1300) and Gonzalo de Zuniga (1422-56), who both died as martyrs in Moorish prisons; the sixty-fourth bishop, Juan Jose Laguarda y Fenollera (1906-9), was appointed Bishop of Barcelona at the consistory of April 29, 1909, since which date the See of Jaen has been vacant.

STATISTICS.—The Diocese of Jaen is suffragan of Granada: it is bounded on the north by the Diocese of Ciudad Real, on the east by the Archdiocese of Toledo, on the south by the Archdiocese of Granada and the Diocese of Guadix, on the west by the Diocese of Cordova. According to the latest official diocesan statistics (January 1, 1905) it contains about 395,000 inhabitants, 12 deaneries (arciprestazgos) divided into 136 parishes, 136 parish churches, and 6 dependent churches. There are four male religious congregations with 4 monasteries, 10 cloistered female congregations with 27 houses, and 11 uncloistered with 29 houses. The chapter of the cathedral at Jaen has 12 canonries, besides which the old chapter (6 canonries) still exists at Baeza. There is also the theological seminary of San Felipe Neri at Baeza in addition to the diocesan seminary (Seminario Conciliar) at Jaen. Other educational institutions are the Colegio del Santisimo Sacramento for theological studies, and the Colegio de San Eufrasio for the education of choir-boys, both at Jaen. The massive Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin stands in the highest part of the city of Jaen. It was begun in 1532 by Pedro de Valdelvira, and is a fine specimen of early Spanish Renaissance. In a shrine by the high altar is preserved the famous Santo Rostro or Santa Faz, a handkerchief of Saint Veronica, which is annually exhibited to the people on Good Friday and on the Feast of the Assumption.


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