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Ecclesiastical Region of Emilia Romagna


Emilian-Romagna Christianity seems to "suppose a pluralistic origin" (Orselli). Next to the original single metropolis of Rome, in the fourth century. the metropolitan office of Milan was established; from these two centers began the Christianization of our region, that is, of the territory between Aemilia et Liguria and Flaminia et Picenum: if Ravenna and Rimini belonged to Rome, it is certain that Imola, Bologna, Modena, Piacenza were under the care of Milan (see , in this sense, the Letters of Ambrose). As it is easy to imagine, even in our region there was a previous phase of anonymous evangelizers, soldiers and merchants, who landed in the ports of Classe and Rimini and arrived in the various centers along the Via Emilia. A Christian presence on the coast between the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd century cannot therefore be excluded; the archaeological evidence (especially the Christian tombs) however ascertain a Christian presence in the region only towards the end of the second century. Bishop Apollinare, of Antiochian origin, would have stood out in the work of evangelization. The tradition of the ecclesia Ravennatum et Classicanum has thus always had as a reference, as regards its origins, the two Petrine see of Antioch and Rome. If Classe at the time of the first manifestations of Christianity was an autonomous civic community with respect to Ravenna, or a suburb to that united and remained such since the mid-fifth century, or even a military center of a single town of which Ravenna constituted the center, it is a question that even recent research has not answered. In Classe, and not in Ravenna, the first buildings of Christian worship were erected and there the first eleven or perhaps thirteen bishops were buried, if not resided, up to Severus or even Probus II; certainly they began to reside in Ravenna in the first quarter of the fifth century. The oldest Christian community in Emilia-Romagna is therefore the classense-Ravenna one (2nd century). From a century later, although certainly documented only from the beginning of the fourth century, are the churches of Rimini, Faenza and Bologna.

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