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Dear visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.


In Tuscany, central Italy

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Pisa, Archdiocese of (PISAE), in Tuscany, central Italy. The city is situated on the Arno, six miles from the sea, on a fertile plain, while the neighboring mountains yield marble, alabaster, copper, and other mineral products; mineral waters abound in the province. The famous duomo, or cathedral, begun (1063) by Buschetto and consecrated by Gelasius II (1118), is a basilica in the shape of a Latin cross, with five naves, the columns of which are of oriental granite. The upper portion of the facade is formed by five rows of columns, one above the other; the bas-reliefs of the four bronze doors were executed by Domenico Partegiani and Augusto Serrano, after the designs of Giambologna and others. The cupola was painted by Orazio Riminaldi and Michele Cinganelli; the altars are all of Luna marble. Among the notable objects in this cathedral are the octagonal pulpit, the urn of St. Ranieri, and the lamp of Possenti da Pietrasanta, under which Galileo studied the isochronism of the pendulum. In front of the duomo is the baptistery, a round structure, with a cupola surmounted by a statue of St. John the Baptist; it was erected in 1152. Beside the duomo is the celebrated leaning campanile. The cam posanto (begun in 1278, completed in 1464) is a real museum of painting and of medieval sculpture; its architect was Giovanni Pisano, by whom also are six statues placed over one of the entrances. The frescoes are by Giotto, Orcagna, Benozzo Gozzoli, Spinello Aretino, Simone Memmi, and Pietro Laurati. It contains the tomb of the Emperor Henry VII. Other churches are Santa Maria della Spina (1230; 1323); San Nicola, dating from about 1000; the church of the Knights of S. Stefano (1555), a work of Vasari; S. Francesco (thirteenth century); S. Caterina (1253), which belongs to the seminary and contains the mausoleums of Bishop Saltarelli and of Gherardo Compagni; S. Anna has two canvasses by Ghirlandajo; S. Michele (1018); S. Frediano (ninth century); S. Sepolcro (1150); S. Paolo (805?) called the old duomo; S. Pietro in Grado, which dates from the fifth century, and was restored in the ninth. The episcopal residence, of the twelfth century, has important archives. Other buildings of interest are the Loggia dei mercanti, by Bountalenti, and the university (1105-1343), with which were united several colleges, as the Puteano, Ferdinando, Vittoriano, and Ricci. Outside the city are the Certosa di Calci, the Bagni di Pisa, ancient baths which were restored by Countess Matilda, and the Villa Reale di S. Rossore.

Pisa is the ancient Pisae, in antiquity held to be a colony of Pisae in Elis. Later, it probably belonged to the Etruscans, though often troubled by the Ligurians. The people devoted themselves to commerce and to piracy. From 225 B.C., they were in amicable relations with the Romans, who used the port of Pisae in the Punic War, and against the Ligurians, in 193. By the Julian law, if not earlier, the town obtained Roman citizenship. Little mention is made of it in the Gothic War. In 553 it submitted to Narses, of its own accord; after the Lombard invasion, it seems to have enjoyed a certain independence, and it was not until the eighth century that Pisa had a Lombard dux, while, in the ninth century, it alternated with Lucca as the seat of the Marquis of Tuscany. The war between Pisa and Lucca (1003) was the first war between two Italian cities. In 1005, the town was sacked by the Saracens, under the famous Musetto (Mugheid al Ameri), who, in turn, was vanquished by the Pisans and Genoese, in Sardinia. In 1029, the Pisans blockaded Carthage; and in 1050, Musetto having again come to Sardinia, they defeated him with the assistance of Genoa and of the Marquis of Lunigiana; but the division of the conquered island became a source of dissension between the allied cities, and the discord was increased when Urban II invested the Pisans with the suzerainty of Corsica, whose petty lords (1077) had declared their wish to be fiefs only of the Holy See. In 1126, Genoa opened hostilities by an assault on Porto Pisano, and only through the intervention of Innocent II (1133) was peace reestablished. Mean-while, the Pisans, who for centuries had had stations in Calabria and in Sicily, had extended their commerce to Africa and to Spain, and also to the Levant.

The Pisans obtained great concessions in Palestine and in the principality of Antioch by lending their ships for the transportation of crusaders in 1099, and there-after people of all nations were to be found in their city. In 1063 they had made an attempt against Palermo, and in 1114 led by the consul, Azzo Marignani, conquered the Balearic Islands. Pisa supported the emperors at an early date, and Henry IV, in 1084, confirmed its statutes and its maritime rights. With its fleet, it supported the expedition of Lothair II to Calabria, destroying in 1137 the maritime cities of Ravello, La Scala, la Fratta, and above all, Amalfi, which then lost its commercial standing. The Pisans also gave their assistance to Henry IV in the conquest of Sicily, and as reward lost the advantages that they had then enjoyed.

The reprisals of Innocent III in Sardinia led the Pisans to espouse the cause of Otto IV and that of Frederick II, and Pisa became the head and refuge of the Ghibellines of Tuscany, and, accordingly, a fierce enemy of Florence. The victory of Montaperti (1260) marks the culmination of Pisan power. Commercial jealousy, political hatred, and the fact that Pisa accorded protection to certain petty lords of Corsica, who were in rebellion against Genoa, brought about another war, in which one hundred and seven Genoese ships defeated one hundred and three ships of the Pisans, at La Meloria, the former taking ten thousand prisoners. All would have been lost, if Ugolino della Gherardesca, capitano del popolo and podesta, had not providently taken charge of the Government. But as he had protected the Guelphs, Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini took up arms against him, and shut him up (1288) in the tower of the Gualandi, where with his sons he starved to death (Inferno, XXXIII, 13). At the peace of 1290, Pisa was compelled to resign its rights over Corsica and the possession of Sassari in Sardinia. The Pisans hoped to retrieve themselves by inviting Henry VII to establish himself in their city, offering him two million florins for his war against Florence, and their fleet for the conquest of Naples; but his death in 1313 put an end to these hopes. Thereupon they elected (1314) Uguccione della Fagiuola of Lucca as their lord; but they rid themselves of him in the same year. At the approach of Louis the Bavarian, they besought that prince not to enter Pisa; but Castruccio degli Antelminelli incited Louis to besiege the city, with the result that Pisa surrendered in 1327, and paid a large sum of money to the victor. In 1329 Louis resided there again, with the antipope, Pietro di Corvara. Internal dissensions and the competition of Genoa and Barcelona brought about the decay of Pisan commerce. To remedy financial evils, the duties on merchandise were increased, which, however, produced a greater loss, for Florence abandoned the port of Pisa. In 1400 Galeazzo Visconti bought Pisa from Gherardo Appiani, lord of the city. In 1405, Gabriele M. Visconti having stipulated the sale of Pisa to the Florentines, the Pisans made a supreme effort to oppose that humiliation; the town, however, was taken and its principal citizens exiled. The expedition of Charles VIII restored its independence (1494-1509); but the city was unable to rise again to its former prosperity. Under Cosimo de’ Medici, there were better times, especially for the university.

Among the natives of Pisa were: B. Pellegrino (seventh century); B. Chiara (d. in 1419), and B. Pietro, founder of the Hermits of St. Jerome (d. in 1435); B. Giordano da Pisa, O.P. (d. in 1311); and Gregory X. Connected with the church of an Pietro in Grado there is a legend according to which St. Peter landed at Pisa, and left there his disciple St. Pierinus. The first known bishop was Gaudentius, present at the Council of Rome (313). Other bishops were St. Senior (410), who consecrated St. Patrick; Joannes (493); one, name unknown, who took part in the schism of the Three Chapters (556); Alexander (648); Maurianus (680); one, name unknown, taken prisoner by Charlemagne at the siege of Pavia (774); Oppizo (1039), the founder of the Camaldolite convent of S. Michele; Landulfus (1077), sent by Gregory VII as legate to Corsica; Gerardus (1080), an able controversialist against the Greeks; Diabertus (1085), the first archbishop, to whom Urban II gave the sees of Corsica as suffragans in 1099, the first Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; Pietro Moriconi (1105). In 1121, on account of the jealousy of Genoa, the bishops of Corsica were made immediately dependent upon the Holy See, but Honorius II (1126) restored the former status of Pisa as their metropolitan; in 1133, however, Innocent II divided them between Pisa and Genoa which was then made an archdiocese. Thereafter, Pisa received for suffragans also Populonia and two sees in Sardinia. Other bishops were: Cardinal Uberto Lanfranchi (1132), who often served as pontifical legate; Cardinal Villano Gaetani (1145), compelled to flee from the city on account of his fidelity to Alexander III (1167); Lotario Rosari (1208), also Patriarch of Jerusalem (1216); Federico Visconti (1254), who held provincial synods in 1258, 1260, and 1262; Oddone della Sala (1312) had litigations with the republic, and later became Patriarch of Alexandria; Simone Saltorelli; Giovanni Scarlatti (1348), who had been legate to Armenia and to the emperor at Constantinople; Lotto Gambacorta (1381), compelled to flee, after the death of his brother Pietro, tyrant of Pisa (1392); Alamanno Adinari (1406), a cardinal who had an important part in the conciliabulumof Pisa and in the Council of Constance; Cardinal Francesco Salviati Riario (1475), hung at Florence in connection with the conspiracy of the Pazzi; in 1479 he was succeeded by his nephew, Rafaele Riario, who narrowly escaped being a victim of the same conspiracy; Cesare Riario (1499); Cardinal Scipione Rebita (1556); Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici (1560), a son of Cosimo; Cardinal Angelo Niccolini (1564); Carlo Antonio Pozzi (1582), founder of the Puteano college, and author of works on canon and on civil law; Giulio de’ Medici (1620), served on missions for the duke, founded the seminary, introduced wise reforms, and evinced great charity during the pest of 1629; Cardinal Scipione Pannocchieschi (1636); Cardinal Cosimo Corsi (1853-70). Important councils have been in 1135, against Anacletus II and the heretic Enrico, leader of the Petrobrusiani in 1409, which increased the schism by the deposition of Gregory XII and of Benedict XIII, and by the election of Alexander V; in 1511, brought about by a few schismatic cardinals and French bishops at the instigation of Louis XII against Julius II.

Leghorn, Pescia, Pontremoli, and Volterra are the suffragans of Pisa; the archdiocese has 136 parishes; 190,000 inhabitants; 10 religious houses of men, and 29 of women; 6 educational establishments for boys, and 13 for girls; 1 Catholic daily paper.


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