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Campania ecclesiastical region


Defining the original phases of the dioceses of Campania, which in Roman times never constituted a politically homogeneous reality and whose geographic limits were long indeterminate, is very problematic, because the evidence is insufficient or of dubious reliability. Meanwhile, the discussion on the antiquity of the various churches seems to have definitively excluded the indications of those who, especially in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, gave prominence to the local histories and chronotaxis, largely rhapsodic and incomplete, which traced the foundation of the circumscriptions of the apostolic age. It is clear, as Filippo Lanzoni has already indicated, that most of those traditiones were produced by the attempt to give prestige to the episcopal see to strengthen the charismatic (and therefore doctrinal) function of the bishops. Therefore, the chronological and biographical data of some alleged "first" bishops, who would have been entrusted in the individual cities directly by Peter, or by Paul more rarely, in most cases must be considered unsafe, if not downright legendary. This section includes, as an example, Aspren from Naples, Fotino from Benevento, Prisco from Nocera (or from Capua), Simisio from Sessa Aurunca. Among the most significant historiographical controversies is the alleged Christian presence in the cities buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD; today's knowledge does not allow a definitive answer and any solution given to the vexata quaestio, negative or positive, includes a whole sequence of very complex issues and developments. Thus, the hypothesis of those who in the name Béryllos, graffiti in Greek on a wall of the villa of Poppea, in Oplontis (Torre Annunziata), saw the monogram of Christ obtained only a faint echo; equally, one of the tests considered to be among the most significant to answer the question in the affirmative, the so-called "Cross" of Herculaneum, was denied by the discovery, in a rustic villa of Boscoreale of the first century. BC-I century. AD, of wooden shelves whose detachment from the walls highlighted a cruciform sign similar to that of the "Bicentenary" house, therefore completely extraneous to the Christian symbol. The disputes over the Christian authorship of the so-called "magic square", the boustrophedic inscription found on a wall of the great gymnasium in Pompeii, which would contain the anagram of the Pater, and the epigraph found in 1862, also in Pompeii, on the wall of the atrium of the presumed "Hotel of the Christians", which would have the word christianos.

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