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Ecclesiastical Region of Liguria


I - From the origins to the 10th century

The territory of what we now call Liguria constituted the IX Italic Regio of the Roman Empire. It was crossed by important Roman roads, such as via Aemilia Scauri and Julia Augusta. Furthermore, the via Postumia connected the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic. This was the geographical environment of the time of the first evangelization. Coastal area, with several easily accessible ports, it is very likely that Christianity arrived there soon. From the territory of Luni to Intemelium, from the second half of the third century. the first Christian communities were formed, albeit with unequal intensity and formation. The first testimonies are Christian tomb inscriptions from the Finale Ligure area. The first bishops whose life and pastoral service are documented are the bishops Diogenes of Genoa, who participated in the council of Aquileia in 381, Innocenzo di Tortona, Quintius di Albenga (451) and Felice di Luni, who participated in the Roman councils of 465 and 466. The possible presence of Martino di Tours on the island of Gallinaria would bring forward by a century the documentation of the Christian presence in the Ligurian territory. It is sufficiently acquired for Genoa that there were bishops at least from the beginning of the fourth century, including St. Siro, to whom tradition attributes a strong activity of the Christian apostolate. With the barbarian invasions, the picture gradually changed. The first insertion of the Lombards in Italy starting from 568 did not touch the coastal strip and the Apennine ridge of the territory now called Liguria. On 3 September 569, Alboino and his men occupied Milan, taking it away from the Byzantines: Archbishop Onorato with the clergy of the cathedral and some lay notables crossed the Apennines along the Via Postumia and found refuge in Genoa. In 643 King Rotari, taking advantage of the fact that the Byzantines were busy opposing Arab expansion, conquered the entire coastal strip. The archbishop of Milan Giovanni Buono, residing in Genoa, left the city and not without overcoming differences he returned to the Milanese see. The Genoese Church maintained the link with Milan, as a suffragan seat. In the Carolingian period, in Liguria the bishop Sabatino, who participated in the synod of Ravenna, stood out for his zeal and pastoral ability. Summoned by Pope John VIII, he welcomed the pontiff in Genoa in the spring of 878 and acted as a link between the pope and the imperial court.

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