Suburbicarian diocese

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The suburbicarian dioceses are some of the oldest dioceses of the Latin Church in the vicinity of Rome , the rulers of which assisted the Pope in leading the Church as a whole.

History and function

From these bishops the class of cardinal bishops developed in the course of church history . The suburbicarian dioceses were all suffragan dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Rome . The bishops of the suburbicarian dioceses were subordinate to the bishop of Rome (Pope) in his capacity as metropolitan of this ecclesiastical province. The number and names of these dioceses were subject to slight historical fluctuations. For example, the bishopric Ostia-Velletri was divided by the Motu proprio Edita a Nobis of Pope Pius X on May 5, 1914.

The highest rank among them has always been held by the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia ( ex officio also Cardinal Dean ), who in the rare case that the elected Pope has not yet received episcopal ordination , has the privilege of conferring episcopal ordination on him as chief consecrator.

With the Motu proprio Suburbicariis sedibus of April 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII separated. institutionalized the leadership of the suburbicarian dioceses by the cardinal bishops and stipulated that the suburbicarian dioceses should be headed by their own diocesan bishops with full jurisdiction . Although it remained formally in existence, the diocese of Ostia has never been occupied by a diocesan bishop since then, but the cardinal vicar was appointed apostolic administrator in personal union and the rest of the management of the diocese was taken over by the vicariatus Urbis .

The cardinal bishops still take full possession of their respective diocese, but are no longer involved in the administration of the diocese.


There are currently seven suburbicarian dioceses:

Surname founding Cardinal Bishop nationality since cathedral
Ostia 3rd century Giovanni Battista Re Italy January 18, 2020 Sant'Aurea
Albano 4th century Angelo Sodano Italy January 10, 1994 San Pancrazio Martire
Frascati 3rd century Tarcisio Bertone SDS Italy April 30, 2008 San Pietro Apostolo in Frascati
Palestrina 4th century José Saraiva Martins CMF Portugal February 24, 2009 Sant'Agapito Martire in Palestrina
Porto-Santa Rufina 3rd century Beniamino Stella Italy 1st May 2020 Sacri Cuori di Gesù e Maria
Sabina-Poggio Mirteto 6th century Giovanni Battista Re Italy October 1, 2002 Santa Maria Assunta
Velletri-Segni 5th century Francis Arinze Nigeria April 25, 2005 San Clemente in Velletri

The six non-Oriental cardinal bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have patronage over these dioceses under canon law and are often referred to as their titular bishops .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Pius X: Motu Prop. Edita a Nobis , AAS 6 (1914), n. 7, p. 219s.
  2. Ioannes XXIII: Motu Prop. Suburbicariis sedibus , AAS 54 (1962), n. 5, p. 253ss.
  3. See Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2009 , Città del Vaticano 2009, p. 539.