The Patriarchate suppression

In 1751 the Patriarchate of Aquileia was suppressed.

In the age of absolutism sovereigns tried to make their kingdoms coincide with the borders of the national Churches so as to secure themselves from possible foreign power interferences in their internal affairs. The arguments connected with the cure of souls had certainly their plausibility, yet they played a secondary role with respect to the reason of state. Just after the provincial council that was celebrated in Aquileia in November 1565 in order to comply with the provisions of the Council of Trent, in his report to the archduke Charles of Styria, Vito of Dornberg proposed to dismember the huge Aquileian diocese into the Venetian territory and the Habsburg domain. In particular, after the war of Gradisca between the archduke of Austria and Venice (1615-1617), emperor Ferdinand II started to propose the Patriarchate suppression to Rome: indeed he could not accept that the patriarchs having their residence in Udine, all of Venetian patrician families, exerted their authority over the Habsburg territory. Therefore the Aquileian question, as a reflex of the controversies and conflicts between the Empire and the Republic of Venice, dragged on for more than two centuries, until in 1748 empress Maria Teresa decided to solve this issue by taking advantage of the weakness of Venice. Initially there were negotiations for a compromise that hypothesized a new Episcopal see or an apostolic vicariate for the Austrian part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. At the end Benedict XIV yielded to the demands of Vienna. On July 6th, 1751 with the papal bull Iniuncta nobis – which had obtained consent by the chancelleries of Venice and Vienna – Benedict XIV suppressed the Patriarchate of Aquileia, the wide diocese that bestrode Italy and the Eastern Alps, as well as the patriarchal province that united sixteen suffragan dioceses. Two dioceses, both with metropolitan dignity, replaced the Patriarchate: Gorizia (1752), which had been raised to archdeacon see of the Aquileian diocese since 1574, and Udine (1753) residence of the patriarchs. The archdiocese of Gorizia would have exerted its administration over the Episcopal sees in the territory of the Archduke, from Como to Inner Istria, from Trent to Carniola. The archdiocese of Udine was appointed with the eleven suffragan dioceses in the domain of the Serenessima Republic of Venice from the mainland to the coasts of Istria.

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