The Places

The residence of the patriarchs moved into five places of Friuli

Whereas Aquileia saved the title of the Aquileian cathedra as the Episcopal see of the diocese along the time, the places of the patriarchs’ residence moved as a result of political and military events and more generally due to the repeated upsets the territory of the Patriarchate was subject to in the thousand and five hundred years of its history. The first Christian community had established in the capital city of the Roman province and here the pastors of the Aquileian Church exerted their Episcopal function until patriarch Paul’s escape onto the island of Grado upon the imminent urge of the Lombard invasion in 568. In Grado patriarch Elijah [Elia] built the new basilica that housed the synod of the Aquileian ecclesiastical province in 579. The election of two patriarchs in the year 606 by two opponent factions, who were for or against the Schism of the three Chapters [scisma tricapitolino], did not only give start to a double series of bishops, but it also made the Aquileian bishops move back to the continent under the Lombard protection. The Cronica de singulis patriarchis nove Aquileie (eleventh century) documents that patriarch Fortunatus [Fortunato] escaped from Grado to Cormòns, a Lombard fortress on a hill not far from Forum Iulii. For the subsequent hundred-and-fifty years this was the residence of the patriarchs of Aquileia. This was the second step of an approaching process towards the Lombard world by the schismatic patriarchs, who moved towards the centre of the Foroiuliensis duchy ever since. The hill of Cormons was, as a matter of fact, the hub of the middle-east arimanniae, close to the Lombard chief-town, along the river Judrio flow, in the place where the road leading to the Isonzo river met the road that led from Aquileia up to Forum Iulii. In 737 patriarch Callixtus [Callisto] moved his residence from the fortress of Cormòns to Forum Iulii, the current Cividale del Friuli, the city of the Lombard duchy. Cividale would have ever since been the real residence of the patriarchs at least as long as to the fourteenth century, when the centre of gravity of the Friulian economic activity and the administration of the patriarchal curia in spiritualibus and in temporalibus moved to Udine. Therefore Udine was to become the capital of the Patria del Friuli after the Venetian conquest (1420) and, subsequently, the see of the patriarchs of Aquileia, as well, after the Council of Trent’s imposition of residence to the bishops.

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