Nicetas

According to the Bishop Catalogues, the bishopric of Nicetas, bishop of Aquileia (455?-485?), is assigned to the years that followed a bishop named Secundus who probably had to be a fully powerless witness of the devastation of the city of Aquileia by Attila and his Huns (18 July 452). The name Nicetas, qualified as metropolitan bishop of the province of ‘Venetia’, appears in a letter sent to him by pope Leo the Great on 21 March 458. The bishops of Aquileia had been already for some decades exerting their authority over a very wide ecclesiastical province that went well beyond the borders of ‘Venetia et Histria’ and was also extended beyond the Alps to the Danube: the destruction of Aquileia had left very serious consequences of various kind, but mostly on moral and juridical matters the pope therein suggested to deal adequately with. It is not given to know whether Nicetas came soon back to destructed Aquileia. According to tradition he had temporarily fled to the island of Grado, which is quite reasonable also because it is ascertained that the building of the so-called Nicetian basilica, which had to serve as a cathedral, was started but not brought to completion: this structure would have been resumed, and up-to-date improved by Elias (Elia) in the years before the synod of 3 November 579. Those provisions and advice for the needs of legal, moral and social order that appear through Leo the Great’s letter are witness, a few years after 452, of a certain revival even in Aquileia, where the damages of buildings needed repairs in the southern, post-Theodorian, also called Chromatian basilica, and brought to the definitive abandonment of the northern, so-called Fortunatianian, basilica.

For further information see the entry Niceta, vescovo di Aquileia written by Sergio Tavano, in Nuovo Liruti, Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 1, Il Medioevo, edited by C. Scalon, Udine, Forum, 2006, 577-579.

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