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The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Palermo (Latin: Archidioecesis Panormitana) was founded as the Diocese of Palermo in the first century and raised to the status of archdiocese in the 11th century. The Archbishop of Palermo is Corrado Lorefice.
The archdiocese has the following suffragans in the ecclesiastical Province of Palermo:
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Palermo is just south of a major active seismic zone, and is subject to frequent earthquakes and occasional inundations (tsunamis). The events of 1693, 1726 and 1823 were particularly destructive. 
Pope Gregory I personally founded six monasteries in Sicily, including the monstery of S. Hermes at Palermo, according to Ugo Benigni in his article on Sicily in the Catholic Encyclopedia. He also founded the monastery of S. Hadrian and the Praetoritanum. Ugo Benigni attributes this interest to the numbers of bishops and monks who emigrated from Africa as a result of the policy of the Arian Vandals to the Orthodox Christians.
In 718 the Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (718-741) suppressed a revolt in Sicily, and then detached southern Italy and Sicily from the metropolitan jurisdiction of the Pope in Rome. In the ninth century, the Patriarch of Constantinople raised the See of Palermo to the rank of Metropolitan of all of Sicily. A protest against these actions was entered by Pope Nicholas I (858-867), in a letter of 25 September 860 to the Emperor Michael III.
Arab control over Palermo and its church
Benigni states, "Concerning the state of the Sicilian Church during the Saracen domination we have no information: not the name of a single bishop is known." This is misleading. There were bishops, but they were part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, not that of Rome, and Constantinople was in communion with Rome until the Great Schism of 1054. In 883, Pope Marinus I paid a ransom to the Emir of Palermo for the Archbishop of Syracuse and the bishop of Malta, who were being held in prison in Palermo. In 897, the Archbishop of Palermo was Sofronios (or Sonfronius). In 930, there was a seminary in operation under the direction of the Archbishop of Palermo; when Eustatius was about to pay the 12,000 'krus' per annum which was owed, the collector, who noticed the extreme poverty of the students, gave part of the funds to the Archbishop for the benefit of the seminary. In 957 an Archbishop named Arimattea was already occupying the See; in 964, Archbishop Arimattea was abused and imprisoned by the Grand Mufti of Palermo, from which he died. In 965, the Archbishop of Palermo was Andreas, who had been vicar of Archbishop Arimattea. In 976, according to Arabic sources, the Archbishop of Palermo died, and the priests and monks elected a new archbishop named Ananiah, who had been vicar of his predecessor. The Patriarch of Constantinople (Anthony the Studite) was requested by an embassy from Palermo to approve the election, which he did, expressing the wish that the archbishop-elect should come to Constantinople and be consecrated by him. The emperor did not approve of these patriarchal pretensions, and the Patriarch renounced them. The priests and monks told the Emir of Sicily that the custom had been for the bishops of Sicily to consecrate the archbishop. They asked permission to write to the pope, which was refused.
Arab invasions of Sicily had begun at the beginning of the eighth century with the capture of the island of Cossura (modern Pantelleria). Raids were launched in 730-731, 734-735, 740 and 752-753. Palermo was temporarily captured in 820, but the Arabs were driven out by pirates. The serious conquest of the island began in 827, from the Tunisian port of Susa, led by Asad Ibn Al-Furàt. Palermo fell in 831, Messina in 843, Leontini in 847, and Syracuse in 878. Taormina was captured in 902, completing the conquest of the entire island. From then until 1061, when the Norman conquests, began Sicily was an Arab land.
After the famine of 940, the Arabs deliberately drove Christians out of the western part of the island.
Norman control over the church of Palermo
On Christmas Day, 1130, Count Roger II was crowned King of Sicily in the Cathedral in Palermo. It is uncertain who crowned the king. One source names Count Roger of Capua, another Archbishop Peter of Palermo. The Cathedral was rebuilt by Archbishop Walter between 1170 and 1190.
The Archdiocese of Palermo was united with the Archdiocese of Monreale on 7 July 1775. The union was dissolved on 12 March 1802. Monreale lost its metropolitan status in 2000, however, and it is now a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Palermo.
The Cathedral of Palermo is dedicated to the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. The Chapter of the Cathedral had three dignities in 1677, and two dignities in 1775. In 1211 there were eighteen canons, but the number grew to twenty-four in 1431, when Pope Eugenius IV ordered their reduction to eighteen again. In 1523 the Emperor Charles V added six more canons, bringing the number back up to twenty-four. There were again twenty-four canons in 1677 and twenty-six canons in 1775. The chapter had the right to elect the archbishop.
^Dummett, p. 36. Falco of Benevento, 108 [J. P. Migne (editor) Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus Tomus 173 (Paris 1854), p. 1204], says that Cardinal Comes crowned Roger King, and that Count Robert placed the crown on the King's head. Falco's narrative is disputed by Hubert Houben (2002). Roger II of Sicily: A Ruler Between East and West. Cambridge University Press. pp. 55-57, esp. p. 56 note 48. ISBN978-0-521-65573-6.
^A bull of Pope Leo I, dated 21 October 447, notes that a recently consecrated bishop was alienating church property, according to complaints from his clergy: etiam Panormitani clerici, quibus nuper est ordinatus antistes simile querimonium, in sancta synodo, cui praesidebamus, de usurpatione prioris episcopi causam detulerunt. P. Jaffé, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum I, editio altera (Leipzig 1884), p. 61, no. 415. Lanzoni, p. 649.
^Gratianus episcopus Panormi: J.-D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus VI (Florence: A. Zatta 1761), p. 1086. Cappelletti, p. 528. Gams, p. 951. Lanzoni, p. 649.
^Agatho's name appears in Pope Gregory I's Dialogues IV. 57. Lanzoni, II, p. 649, no. 4.
^Both anonymous archbishops are mentioned in a letter of Pope Paschal I of 819 addressed to the latter. Pirro, I, pp. 39-40. Pirro argues strenuously against critics, pp. 40-42, that the letter is genuine. Cappelletti, p. 529.
^Ugo: Pirro, pp. 88-102. Cappelletti, p. 530. Gams, p. 951.
^Stephanus: Pirro, pp. 102-103. Cappelletti, p. 530. Gams, p. 951.
^Gualterius Ophamil: Pirro, pp. 103-113. Cappelletti, p. 530. Gams, p. 951.
^Bartolommeo was the brother of Walterius Ophamil and Bishop of Agrigento. He spent three years in Constantinople as ambassador of King William II of Sicily. He was Chancellor of Sicily for William III. Pirro, pp. 113-122. Cappelletti, p. 530. Gams, p. 951
^Pope Innocent III notified the Chapter of the Cathedral of Palermo that they should proceed to elect another Archbishop, since the Bishop-elect Parisius had been deposed. Eubel, I, p. 388, with note 2.
^Berardus was already Bishop of Bari, and was transferred to Palermo by the Pope. He died on 8 September 1252. Eubel, I, p. 388.
^Guilelmus had been Bishop of Olenenus, a suffragan of Patras (Greece). Eubel, I, p. 388, with note 3.
^Gams, p. 952, notes that he was killed in the Sicilian Vespers.
^In 1384 Nicolaus was compelled by the citizens of Palermo, led by Count Manfred of Clermont, to pay an annual tribute. Nicolaus instituted an annual observance on 15 August, delli Cilii Panormitani. This so annoyed the Clarimontani that they drove him from his See and forced his resignation. They then managed the election of one of their own partisans, one of the Cathedral Canons, Ludovico Bonito, the son of the nobleman Antonio Bonito. Pirro, p. 163. Eubel, I, p. 388.
^Pirro, p. 163, states that Ludovicus was elected in 1385; in any case he was sent the pallium by Urban VI. He was expelled from his See in 1392 and ended up in Rome. Ludovicus was transferred to the titular diocese of Antivari in Epirus in 1395 by Boniface IX (Roman Obedience). On 22 May 1396 he was named titular Archbishop of Thessalonica (Greece), and then, on 5 September 1399, Bishop of Bergamo. He was promoted to the Archdiocese of Pisa on 15 November 1400, and finally to Taranto on 29 July 1407. He was promoted to the Cardinalate by Gregory XII in 1408, but removed from his diocese after Gregory's fall. He died on 18 September 1413. Pirro, pp. 163-167. Gams, p. 952. Eubel, I, pp. 31, 388, 396, 400, 473.
^Gilfortus was deprived of his diocese by King Martin I of Sicily. He died in 1398, according to Eubel. Pirro, pp. 167-168. Gams, p. 952. Eubel, I, p. 388.
^Franciscus, Bishop of Mazzara, was elected to succeed Gilfortus in 1398, but King Martin did not approve. Pirro, p. 168.
^Ubertino was a Doctor in utroque iure, and a judge of the Royal Curia. (Civil and Canon Law). He was nominated by King Martin of Aragon, on 3 May 1409, but was resisted by the Chapter and people of Palermo. In 1411 Queen Bianca attempted to coerce the Canons, but they put her off, waiting until King Martin returned from Aragon. Ubertino was approved by the Pope on 20 June 1414, and was consecrated by John XXIII (1410-1415). He made his formal entry into Palermo on 21 October 1414. He wrote his Testament on 21 December 1433. His tombstone states that he died in 1434. Pirro, pp. 170-171, no. XXXIII. Eubel, I, p. 388.
^Nicolas was born in Catania, and was a Canon of the cathedral. He studied law in Bologna. He was a teacher of Canon Law in Siena, Parma, and Bologna. He was brought to Rome and made Auditor of the Rota under Martin V, and Apostolic Referendary under Eugenius IV. Alessandro Casano (1849). Del Sotterraneo della chiesa cattedrale di Palermo (in Italian). Palermo: Solli. pp. 42-43. He participated in the Council of Basel as a vigorous and vociferous defender of Eugenius IV and the Papacy against the Conciliarists. Mandell Creighton (1882). A History of the Papacy. Vol. II: The Council of Basel - the papal restoration, 1418-1464. London: Longmans. pp. 201-206.
^Orsini was transferred to Taranto on 30 July 1445 while still Archbishop-elect of Palermo. Eubel, II, pp. 211, 246.
^Simone Beccatelli was a member of a Sicilian noble family which had emigrated from Bologna. He was trained in Canon Law. His memorial inscription lauds him as Iuris pontificii non indoctus interpres ('a learned interpreter of Canon Law'. 'non indoctus' might suggest he held a doctorate). Beccatelli was nominated, at the age of 28, by King Alfonso, and approved by Pope Eugenius IV. He was consecrated in January 1446. He was rebuked by Pope Nicholas V on 24 March 1446 for attempting to assert his metropolitan authority over the Church of Agrigento, which was directly subject to the Holy See without a metropolitan intervening. In the decade 1450-1460 he was six times a delegate to the King of Aragon in the matter of the revision of the Sicilian law code. Simon died in the episcopal palace in Palermo on 8 January 1465. Pirro, pp. 174-178. Gams, p. 952. Eubel, II, p. 211.
^Pujades was a native of Mari (diocese of Barcelona), and a nephew of Guglielmo Puxades, Viceroy of Sicily. He had been Archdeacon of S. Maria de Man in Barcelona. He was consecrated by Pope Paul II. Pirro, p. 138, no. XXXVI. Eubel, II, p. 211.
^Visconti, a master of theology, had been the confessor of Pope Nicholas V and Pope Paul II. He was Provincial of the Sicilian Province of his Order in 1444, of the Roman Province in 1451, and again of the Sicilian Province in 1461. He rose to be Vicar General of Italy, and then Procurator General at the Roman Curia. He was appointed Bishop of Mazzara (a suffragan of Palermo) on 16 November 1467. Pirro, pp. 179-180, no. XXXIX. Eubel, II, pp. 188, 211.
^A native of Lerida in Catalonia, Remolins studied law at the University of Pisa, and became secretary of King Ferdinand of Aragon. He was named Governor of Rome in 1501. He was bishop of Fermo (1504-1518), and Archbishop of Sorrento (1501-1512). He was created a cardinal by Pope Alexander VI on 31 May 1503, and named Cardinal Priest of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo. He was Viceroy of Naples from 1511 to 1513. He was nominated Archbishop of Palermo by King Philip III, and approved by Pope Leo X on 23 January 1512. He attended the sessions of the V Lateran Council (1512-1517). Occupied with business in Rome, Remolins ruled Palermo through vicars. He died in Rome on 5 February 1518. Pirro, pp. 185-187. Lorenzo Cardella (1793). Memorie storiche de'cardinali della santa Romana chiesa (in Italian). Tomo terzo. Roma: Pagliarini. pp. 294-296. Eubel, II, p. 25, no. 36; III, p. 8, no. 38; p. 268.
^Cajetan was named a cardinal by Pope Leo X on 1 July 1517, and assigned the titular church of S. Sisto. He was appointed to Palermo on 8 February 1518 by Leo X, who claimed the right because Cardinal Remolins had died in the Roman Curia. According to Pirro, however, De Vio was rejected by the Royal Council of Sicily because he had not been appointed by the King, who held the right of nomination. De Vio never took possession of the diocese, and he resigned on 19 December 1519. He died in Rome on 10 August 1534. Pirro, pp. 187-188. Gams, p. 952. Eubel, III, p. 16, no. 27; p. 268-269.
^Giovanni Doria was a native of Genoa. He was named a cardinal at the age of 31 by Pope Clement VIII on 9 June 1604, and was appointed Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano; he was not yet a priest. Cardinal Doria was named Coadjutor Archbishop and titular Archbishop of Thessalonica (Macedonia) on 4 February 1608. He was consecrated in Rome by Pope Paul V on 4 May 1608. He succeeded to the See of Palermo on 5 July 1608. He died on 19 November 1642. Lorenzo Cardella (1793). Memorie storiche de' cardinali della santa Romana chiesa (in Italian). Tomo sesto (6). Rome: Pagliarini. pp. 113-115. Gauchat, Hierarchia catholica IV, p. 8; p. 272, with note 2; p. 335.
^Palafox was born in the diocese of Sagunto (Valencia, Spain). He was Doctor in utroque iure (Salamanca). He was presented to the See of Palermo by the King of Spain on 15 August 1677, and preconized (approved) by Pope Clement IX on 8 November 1677. He was consecrated in Rome by Cardinal Carlo Pio on 11 November 1677. He was presented by King Charles II of Spain on 20 September 1684, and appointed by Pope Innocent XI as Archbishop of Seville on 13 November 1684. Palafox died on 2 December 1701. Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 222, with note 4; p. 305 with note 3.
^Bazan y Manriquez: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 305 with note 4.
^Gasch: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, V, p. 305 with note 5.
^In secular life his name was Paolo Basile. As a Franciscan he was Fra Matteo from Pareta. Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 2.
^Rossi: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 3.
^Meléndez: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 4.
^Papiniano-Cusani: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 5.
^Filangeri: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 6.
^Sanseverino: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 8.
^Lopez: Gams, p. 952. Ritzler-Sefrin, VI, p. 327, with note 9.
^Born in Palermo in 1814, Pietro Celesia entered the monastery of S. Martino in Palermo and took the name Michelangelo, professing his vows in 1835. In 1840 he was named a lecturer in philosophy in the monastery, and in 1843 docent in theology. In 1846 he became Prior at Messina, and in 1850 Prior at Militello; in 1850 Pope Pius IX named him Abbot of Montecassino; in 1858 he was appointed Abbot of Farfa and Procurator General of the Benedictine Order at the Roman Curia. Celesia was named Bishop of Patti on 23 March 1860, and consecrated a bishop on 15 April 1860 by Cardinal Girolamo d'Andrea; he could not enter his diocese, however, until 1866 because of the liberation movement led by Giuseppe Garibaldi. He was appointed Archbishop of Palermo on 27 October 1871, and named a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII on 10 November 1884. He died on 14 April 1904. Martin Bräuer (2014). Handbuch der Kardinäle: 1846-2012 (in German). Berlin: De Gruyter. p. 129. ISBN978-3-11-026947-5.