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Archbishop of Tarragona

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Archbishop of Tarragona

The Archdiocese of Tarragona (Latin, Tarraconensis) is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory located in north-eastern Spain, in the province of Tarragona, part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. The archdiocese heads the ecclesiastical province of Tarragona, having Metropolitan authority over the suffragan dioceses of Girona, Lleida, Solsona, Tortosa, Urgell and Vic.

The archdiocese, created in Roman times, was reestablished in 1118.


Roman period (until the 5th century)

Tarragona is one of the most ancient cities of Spain, probably of Iberian origin, as its coins and Cyclopean walls indicate.

The Romans selected Tarragona as the centre of their government in Spain. In the division of the peninsula it was the capital first of Hispania Citerior (Hither Spain) and then of the Province of Hispania Tarraconensis.

The Church of Tarragona is undoubtedly one of the most ancient in Spain, holding as it does the tradition of the coming of St. James and St. Paul. The visit of St. Paul to Tarragona is not altogether beyond the range of possibilities, supposing that he came from Rome to Spain, as he promised to do, in the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 15:24), and as St. Jerome affirms that he did.

The first written testimony which we have concerning the bishops of Tarragona dates from the third century. This is in the Acts of the Martyrdom of the bishop St. Fructuosus and his deacons Augurius and Eulogius. The list of the bishops of Tarragona, therefore, begins with St. Fructuosus, but it is supposed that other bishops, whose names have been lost to us, preceded him.

The see of Tarragona, which was vacant at that time, was represented at the Council of Arles (314) by two procurators, the priest Probatius and the deacon Castorius. Himerius, who sent the priest Basianus to Pope St. Damasus, and who obtained a letter from Pope St. Siricius, was Archbishop of Tarragona in 384.

It is also conjectured that the Hilarius who was the subject of the Decretal issued by Pope Innocent I was also a Bishop of Tarragona. Ascanio was bishop in 465.

In the fifth century Tarragona was overrun by the Vandals, Suevi, and Alani.

Visigoth period (5th to 7th centuries)

The Visigothic king, Euric, took possession of Tarragona in 475 and totally demolished it. During the occupation of the Visigoths it flourished once more.

Previous to 516 we find the name of Archbishop John, who, on 6 November, 516, assembled all the bishops of his province and held the first provincial council of Tarragona, at which ten bishops were present. In 517 he assembled another provincial council in Girona.

Sergius, who was bishop from 535 to 546, held councils in Barcelona and Lleida (546). St. Justus, Bishop of Urgel, dedicated to him his commentary on the Song of Solomon. Tranquillinus was bishop for many years previous to 560. He had been a monk in the Monastery of Asana, under the direction of St. Victornus.

Artemius, bishop prior to 589, was not able to attend the Third Council of Toledo (589), but sent a substitute, Stephen. He called provincial councils at Zaragoza (599) and Barcelona.

Eusebius (610-632) held the council of Egara (Terrassa) to enforce the canons of the Council of Huesca. Audax (633-638) was present at the Fourth Council of Toledo (633), and Protasius (637-646) at the Sixth (638) and Seventh (646) Councils of Toledo. Cyprianus (680-688) sent representatives to the Thirteenth (683), Fourteenth (684), and Fifteenth (688) councils of Toledo. Vera assisted personally at the Sixteenth (693) and Seventeenth (694).

Muslim period (ca. 719-1116)

In time of Vera or in that of his successor, George, the Muslim invasion took place. The Arabs destroyed Tarragona in 719.

Louis the Pious appears to have temporarily taken possession of the city. A portion of its territory was bestowed on the Bishop of Barcelona, and the metropolitan rank was given to the Bishop of Narbonne, but was recovered in 759.

Caesarius endeavoured to obtain recognition as titular Archbishop of Tarragona, but was not successful, although he was consecrated by the bishops of Leon and Galicia, and obtained from the pope the abbey of Santa Cecilia, which belonged to the Archbishop of Tarragona.

Borrell, Count of Barcelona, induced Pope John XIII to confer the title of Archbishop of Tarragona on Atton, bishop of Vich in 957-971, although he never was called Archbishop of Tarragona but of Ausona.

Berengarius of Rosanes, Bishop of Vich in ca. 1078-ca. 1099, petitioned Pope Urban II for permission to promote a crusade for the reconquest of Tarragona. Count Berenguer Ramón II the Fratricide succeeded in taking the city and made it a fief of the Holy See. The pope, in recognition of the efforts of the Bishop of Vich, conferred on him the pallium as Archbishop of Tarragona, transferring to him all rights to the city and its churches which had previously belonged to the Holy See. The new bishop, however, was to remain in possession of the Church of Vich.

A similar concession was granted to St. Olegarius, Bishop of Barcelona in 1116-1137, who was permitted to retain possession of his former Church until he had obtained complete and peaceful possession of that of Tarragona, of which he had been named Archbishop.

Archdiocese of Tarragona (since 1116)

It was not until 1116 that Tarragona was definitively reconquered by Ramón Berenguer III the Great. Bishop Berenguer had died in 1110, after having assisted, in 1096, at the Council of Nîmes convoked by Pope Urban II.

His successor in the See of Tarragona, St. Olegarius, had been a canon regular at St. Rufus in Provence, later an abbot, and then Bishop of Barcelona in 1116-1137. To him is due the restoration of the metropolitan authority of Tarragona. In 1117 Count Ramón Berenguer III conferred on him the government of the city that he might endeavour to recolonize it, which work he carried on with great zeal.

He assisted at the councils of Toulouse and Reims (1109), of the Lateran (1123), and of Clermont (1130), and accompanied the Count of Barcelona as pontifical legate in the war which terminated in the imposition of a tribute upon Tortosa and Lleida. The Norman Robert Burdet also joined the forces of the Count of Barcelona, established himself in Tarragona and obtained dominion over a great part of the city.

On the death of St. Olegarius (6 March 1137), Gregory, Abbot of Cuxana, succeeded him in the vacant See of Tarragona, and was the first incumbent of that see to receive the title of archbishop.

The dissensions among the sons of Robert Burdet led to the murder by them of Archbishop Hugo de Cervellón 22 April 1171.

By special privilege of the pope, all the kings of Aragon were crowned at Zaragoza by the archbishop of Tarragona, until the metropolitan See of Zaragoza was re-established in 1318.

The dissensions between the archbishops and the kings, on account of the jurisdiction over Tarragona granted to the bishops who had begun its resettlement, continued during the time of king Alfonso II of Aragon, who bestowed the city as a dowry on his wife, Doña Sancha.

When king Jaime I, a child of six years, took the oath, the Archbishop of Tarragona, Don Aspargo Barca (1215–1233), carried him in his arms. Although he was far advanced in his years, he wished to accompany the king in his expedition to conquer Majorca, and when Don Jaime refused his consent, he contributed a thousand marks in gold and twelve hundred armed men.

In 1242 a provincial council was convoked at Tarragona to regulate the procedure of the Inquisition and canonical penances. In 1312 a provincial council was assembled in the Corpus Christi Chapel of the cathedral cloister, to pass sentence on the Templars, whom it declared innocent.

King Pedro IV the Ceremonious, who, after forcibly seizing the dominions of the archbishop, repented in his last illness and restored to St.Tecla, patroness of the city, all that he had unjustly acquired.

Don Pedro Zagarriga, Archbishop of Tarragona in 1407-1418, was one of the arbitrators at the Compromise of Caspe (1412).

One of the most celebrated prelates of Tarragona, Antonio Agustín y Albanell (d. 1586), a native of Zaragoza, was an eminent jurisconsult and numismatist. He put an end to the struggles referred to in Don Quixote, between the Narros and Cadells factions, which had disturbed the peace of Catalonia.

In 1912 it was bounded on the north by Barcelona and Lleida, on the east by Barcelona, on the south by the Mediterranean Sea and Tortosa, and on the west by Tortosa. It comprised the civil Provinces of Tarragona and Lleida, and the city of Tarragona had 24,335 inhabitants. Its suffragans were Barcelona, Lleida, Girona, Urgell, Vic, Tortosa and Solsona.

Archbishops of Tarragona (6th century - ca. 712)

All the names in italics are given in Spanish:

  • . ca. 259 : St. Fructuosus
  • . ca. 385 : Himerius — (before 385)
  • . ca. 402 : Hilarius
  • . ca. 420 : Ticiano
  • . ca. 465 : Ascanio
  • 470-520 : John
  • 520-555 : Sergius — (or 535-546)
  • 560-580 : Tranquillinus — (ca. 560 - after 580)
  • 589-599 : Artemius
  • . ca. 599 : Asiático
  • 610-632 : Eusebius — (ca. 610? - ca. 632)
  • . ca. 633 : Audax — (Mentioned in the Fourth Council of Toledo of 633, or 633-638)
  • . ca. 635 : Selva — (Mentioned in 635)
  • 637-646 : Protasius — (assisted to the Sixth (638) and Seventh (646) Councils of Toledo)
  • 646-668 : Faluax — (646-668?)
  • 668-688 : Cyprianus — (or 680-688)
  • . ca. 693 : Vera - (Mentioned in the Sixteenth (693) and Seventeenth (694) Councils of Toledo)
  • 711- . . . . : Próspero, Saint — (711-unknown)

In 711 the Muslim invasion took place, and the Arabs destroyed Tarragona in 719.

Bishops of Tarragona (8th to 11th centuries)

  • 956- . . . . : Caesarius — (956-unknown)
  • 970-971 : Atton — (also bishop of Vich in 957-971)
  • 1091-1099 : Berenguer Seniofredo de Llusá — (also Berengarius of Rosanes, also bishop of Vich in ca. 1078-ca. 1099)

Archbishops of Tarragona (since 1118)

Count Ramón Berenguer III the Great took Tarragona in 1116.

  1. 1118-1137 : Olegarius, Saint — (also bishop of Barcelona in 1116-1137)
  2. 1143-1146 : Gregory
  3. 1146-1163 : Bernardo Tort
  4. 1163-1171 : Hugo de Cervelló — (also Hugo de Cervellón)
  5. 1171-1174 : Guillermo de Torroja
  6. 1174-1194 : Berenguer de Vilademuls
  7. 1194-1198 : Ramón Xedmar de Castelltersol
  8. 1199-1215 : Ramón de Rocabertí
  9. 1215-1233 : Asparec de la Barca — (also Aspargo Barca)
  10. 1235-1237 : Raymond of Penyafort, O.P.
  11. 1237-1239 : Guillermo de Montgrí
  12. 1238-1251 : Pedro de Albalat
  13. 1251-1268 : Benito de Rocabertí
  14. 1272-1287 : Bernardo de Olivella
  15. 1288-1308 : Rodrigo Tello
  16. 1309-1315 : Guillermo de Rocabertí
  17. 1317-1327 : Jimeno Martínez de Luna y Aragón
  18. 1327-1334 : Juan de Aragón
  19. 1334-1346 : Arnaldo Sescomes
  20. 1346-1357 : Sancho López de Ayerbe
  21. 1357-1380 : Pedro Clasquerí
  22. 1388-1407 : Eneco de Vallterra
  23. 1407-1418 : Pedro de Sagarriga y Pau — (also Pedro Zagarriga)
  24. 1419-1431 : Dalmacio de Mur y de Cervelló
  25. 1431-1433 : Gonzalo Fernández de Hijar
  26. 1434-1445 : Domingo Ram y Lanaja
  27. 1445-1489 : Pedro de Urrea
  28. 1490-1511 : Gonzalo Fernández de Heredia y de Bardají
  29. 1512-1514 : Alfonso de Aragón y Sánchez
  30. 1515-1530 : Pedro Folc de Cardona
  31. 1531-1532 : Luis Folc de Cardona y Enríquez
  32. 1533-1558 : Girolamo Doria
  33. 1560-1567 : Fernando de Loaces y Pérez
  34. 1567-1568 : Bartolomé Sebastián Valero de Arroitia
  35. 1568-1575 : Gaspar Cervantes de Gaeta
  36. 1576-1586 : Antonio Agustín y Albanell
  37. 1587-1603 : Joan Terès i Borrull
  38. 1604-1611 : Juan de Vic y Manrique
  39. 1613-1622 : Juan de Moncada y Gralla
  40. 1624-1626 : Juan de Hoces
  41. 1627-1633 : Juan de Guzmán y Mendoza
  42. 1633-1637 : Antonio Pérez y Maxo
  43. 1653-1663 : Francisco de Rojas y Artés
  44. 1663-1679 : Juan Manuel de Espinosa y Manuel
  45. 1680-1694 : José Sanchís y Ferrandis
  46. 1695-1710 : José Llinás y Aznar
  47. 1712-1719 : Isidoro de Beltrán
  48. 1720-1721 : Miguel Juan de Taverner y Rubí
  49. 1721-1728 : Manuel de Samaniego y Jaca
  50. 1728-1753 : Pedro de Copons y Copons
  51. 1753-1762 : Jaime de Cortada y Bru
  52. 1763-1764 : Lorenzo Despuig y Cotoner
  53. 1764-1777 : Juan Lario y Lanzis
  54. 1779-1783 : Joaquín de Santiyán y Valdivieso
  55. 1785-1803 : Francisco Armañá y Font
  56. 1804-1816 : Romualdo Mon y Velarde
  57. 1818-1819 : Antonio Bergosa y Jordán
  58. 1820-1825 : Jaime Creus Martí
  59. 1826-1854 : Antonio Fernando de Echanove y de Zaldívar
  60. 1857-1864 : José Domingo Costa y Borrás
  61. 1864-1870 : Francisco Fleix y Solans
  62. 1875-1878 : Constantino Boney y Zanuy
  63. 1879-1888 : Benito Vilamitjana y Vila
  64. 1889-1911 : Tomás Costa y Fornaguera
  65. 1913-1918 : Antolín López Peláez
  66. 1919-1943 : Francisco Vidal y Barraquer
  67. 1944-1948 : Manuel Arce y Ochotorena
  68. 1949-1970 : Benjamín de Arriba y Castro
  69. 1970-1983 : José Pont y Gol
  70. 1983-1996 : Ramón Torrella Cascante
  71. 1997-2004 : Lluís Martínez Sistach
  72. 2004-today : Jaume Pujol Balcells

See also


This article draws only from other World Heritage Encyclopedia articles and these two sources:

  • (English) Tarragona
  • (Spanish) IBERCRONOX: Arzobispado de Tarragona (Tarraco)

Sources and external links

  • Archdiocese of Tarragona Official Website
  • public domain: 

Coordinates: 41°07′09″N 1°15′29″E / 41.11917°N 1.25806°E / 41.11917; 1.25806

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