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MESSINGHAM


217


MESSINGHAM


1676, the Messeiiians rebelled against Spanish domina- tion, and were assisted by a French fleet, sent by Louis XIV; Viscount Duquesne obtained a naval victory over the Spaniards, l)ut soon a royal order obliged the French to leave the city. Messina had a part in the wars for the union of Italy: it was bombarded in 1848; and in 1860, after a long resistance was taken by Gari- baldi.

The city has often been a prey to earthquakes, the most disastrous of which were those of 1783 and of 1908; the latter, on 28 December of that year, de- stroyed Messina almost entirely. The most beautiful of the palaces and of the churches were overthrown, among them the cathedral, a structure of three naves, containing six great columns of Egyptian marble that came from the ruins of Cape Faro (the ancient Pelo- rum Promontoriuin) ; the chief entrance of this temple was a jewel of Roman art, rich in little columns, fret- work, spirals, bas-reliefs, and statuettes; the marble pulpit, a work of Gagini, was in the shape of a chalice; the tribune was adorned with mosaics of the time of Frederick II; and the walls were decorated with fres- coes and oil paintings of great masters. The residence of the canons, and the sacristy also, had paintings by Buch masters as Salvo d'Antonio, Quagliata, Rodri- guez, Catalano, Alibrandi, Fiammingo, etc. On the cathedral square, before the fagade of the Franciscan convent, was a monumental fountain, the work of Gian Angclo da Montorsoli (1551). The most beauti- ful church of Messina is that of tlic Madonna of Mon- tevergine; other interesting churches are those of San Francesco del Mercadanti; the church and monastery of San Giorgio with pictures by Guercino and by other masters; Santa Maria dell' Alto where is preserved the only known picture by Cardillo (about 1200); the church of San Francesco d'Assisi, built in the Gothic style, but disfigured in 1721; lastly, the churches of SanNicolo and of San Domenico, the latter containing the mausoleum of the family of Cicala by Montorsoli and a fine Pieta in marble. The episcopal palace, spared by the last earthquake, and the adjoining seminary, are interesting Ijuildings; likewise, the city hall, with its Foimtain of Neptune by Montorsoli, and the vuiiviTKity dating from 1549, which had a most valualjle library of .3000 ediliones principes, 241 manu- scripts, and 10 parchments with miniature paintings, a gallery of pictures, and a collection of coins, all of which is yet buried under the ruins. The hospital of La Pieta and the fort ilicat ions, constructed mostly under Charles V, were (irnanients of the city.

According to the legeml, Christianity was brought hither by Saints Peter and Paul, and there is still pre- served at Messina a letter attributed to the Blessed Virgin, which, it is claimed, was written by her to the Messenians when Our Lady heard of their conversion by St. Paul. St. Bachirius or Bacchilus is venerated as the first Bishop of Messina. There is record of several bishops of Messene in the fourth and fifth cen- turies, but it is not known whether it be Messina, or Messene in Greece, to which reference is made; Eucar- pus, a contemporary of Pope Symmachus (498), Ls the first Bishop of Messina of known date; the bishops who are known to have followed him were FelLx (about 600), Peregrinus (641t), Benedict (682), Gau- diosus (787), and Gregory (868); the latter was for some time a follower of Photius. Nothing is known of the episcopal see during the time of the .Saracen occu- pation. In 1090, Roger established there, as bishop, Robert, who built the cathedral. Under Bishop Nicholas (1166) Messina was made an archbishopric. Among other bishops of this see may be mentioned the Englishman, Richard Palmer (11S2); Archbishop Lando, often an intermediary between Gregory IX and Frederick TI ; Francesco Fontana (12SS), expelled by the Messenians; Guidotto del Tabiati (1292), who.se mausoleum was one of the works of art of the cathe- dral; Cardmal Antonio Cerdani (1447); in 1473 the


chapter elected the Basilian archimandrite, Leontios, and he not being acceptable to the pope or to the king, the friar, Jacob da Santa Lucia, was appointed in his stead, but was not received; Cardinal Pietro Sveglie (1510), who had served on several occasions as pon- tifical legate; Cardinal Innocenzo Cibo (1538); Car- dinal Gianandrea de Mercurio (1550), who had a con- troversy with the Greek bishop, Pamphilius, the latter claiming jurisdiction over the Greek priests of the archdiocese; Andrea Mastrilli (1618), convoked many synods, and rebuilt the epLscopal palace and the sem- inary; the Dommican, Tommaso Moncada (1743), who at the same time was Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Archbishop of Messina is also Archimandrite of San Sal- vatore ; this convent of Greek Monks of St. Basil was founded by Count Roger in 1094, and its archiman- drite had jurLsdiction over all the Basilian monasteries of the kingdom, of which there were forty-four, as well as over many parishes. In 1421, the archunan- dritate was secularized and was given in cnmmcndam to secular prelates, of whom Bessarion was one. In time the monastery fell into decadence; a fortifica- tion was erected on its site (1538), and the monks moved to the church of La Misericordia. LTrban VIII made the archimandritate and its territory immedi- ately subject to the Holy See, and Leo XIII in 1883 united it with the Archtliocese of Messina. The col- legiate church of Santa Maria del Graffeo, called the "Cattolica", is noteworthy in Messina: the so-called Grffico- Latin Rite is used there, its characteristics being a combmation of Latin vestments, unleavened bread, etc., with the Greek language: on solemn occasions, the Epistle and the Gospel are read, first in Latin and then in Greek. In certain functions, the canons of the cathedral anil those of the " Graffeo" officiate together, either at the latter church or at the cathedral. The clergy of the " Graffeo " have at their head a protopope who is under the jurisdiction of the archbishop. For- merly, the Greek Rite was in use in other churches of Messina, introduced there probably during the Byzan- tine domination. The archdiocese and the Abbey of San Salvatore together had 179 parishes, with 250,000 inhabitants, 22 religious houses of men, and 26 of women. The seminary was uninjured by the earth- quake, and since then the Jesuits reopened a college. There is a Catholic journal that appears three times each week. Within the territory of the archdiocese is the pralatuTa nuUius of Santa Lucia del Melo, which has 7 parishes, with nearly 15,000 inhabitants. The suffragan sees of Messina are those of Lipari, Nicosia, and Patti.

Cappelletti. LeCAi>se(Z'7/n!ia, XXI (Venice. 1S70). 558-71; MoHABlTO, Series episcoporum mcssnnensium (Naples, 1669); PiRRi, Sicilia sacra, I-III (163.3 sqq.); La Fajuna, Messina e i siwi monumenti (Messina, 1840).

U. Benigni.

Messingham, Thomas, Irish hagiologist, b. in the Didcrso iif Moalh, and studied in the Irish College, P;iris, proceeding to the degree of S.T.D. Among the Franciscan MSS. in l')ul>lin is an interesting tract sent by David Rothe, Vice-Primate of All Ireland, ad- dressed to my " loving friend Mr. Thomas Mcssingham at his chambers in Paris", dated 1615. It is evident that at this date Messingham was one of the staff of the Irish College in that city, and was commencing his studies on Irish saints. In 1620 he published Offices of SS. Patrick, Brigid, Columba, and other Irish saints; and in the following year was appointed rec- tor of the Irish College, Paris, in succession to his friend and diocesan, Thomas Dease, who was pro moted to the Bishopric of Meath, on 5 May, 1621. Messingham was honoured by the Holy See, and was raised to the dignity of prothonotary ,\postolic, and acted .-IS iigciit, for many of the Irish bishops. Though dilif,'eii( in the quest for materials with a view to an ecclesiastical history of Ireland, Messingham proved a most able and judicious rector of the Irish College, and