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DIOCESE OF SEGOVIA (SEGOVIENSIS, SEGOVIAE).
Diocese in Spain; bounded on the north by Valladolid, Burgos, and Soria; on the east by Guadalajara; on the south by Madrid; on the west by Avila and Valladolid. It extends through the civil Provinces of Segovia, Valladolid, Burgos, and Avila. The episcopal city has a population of about 15,000. In ancient times this region was within the country of the Arevaci, and, according to Pliny, belonged to the juridical conventus of Clunia in Hispania Carthaginensis. As to the origin of the diocese, the spurious chronicle attributed to Flavius Dexter pretends that its first bishop was Hierotheus, the master of Dionysius the Areopagite, and disciple of St. Paul. This tradition, propagated by false chronicles, has been refuted by a Segovian, the Marqués de Mondejar. It is more probable that Segovia belonged to the Diocese of Palencia until the year 527, when, a certain bishop having been consecrated in violation of the canon law, the metropolitan of Toledo, Montanus, assigned to him for his becoming support the cities of Segovia, Coca, and Britalbo, which he was to keep for life. As Segovia had him for its bishop until his death, which did not take place for some length of time, it then claimed the right to name a successor, a demand favoured by the great size of the Diocese of Palencia. It is certain that, in 589, Petrus signed as Bishop of Segovia in the Third Council of Toledo; in King Gundemar's synod, Minicianus signed (610); in the Fourth to the Eighth Councils of Toledo, Ausericus; in the Eleventh (675), Sinduitus; in the Twelfth to the Fifteenth, Deodatus; in the Sixteenth (693), Decentius.
In their conquest of Spain, the Mussulmans took Segovia soon after conquering Toledo, about 714. With this calamity is associated the legend of St. Frutos, the patron of the city, who lived as a solitary in the northern mountains of the province, with his brother and sister, Valentine and Engracia, and received the Segovian fugitives. There is a fissure in the rocks which is called "la Hendidura de San Frutos" (the Gash of St. Frutos), and the legend runs that, as the Saracens were about to pass that spot, the saint went out to meet them and, with his staff, drew a line beyond which they must not come, upon which the mountain opened, making this chasm. The site of this monastic colony of fugitives was granted, after the reconquest, to the monks of Silos (1076), and the priory of San Frutos was founded. To the period of the Reconquest also belongs the tradition of Nuestra Señora de la Fuenciscla, an image of the Blessed Virgin which takes its name from the peak rising above Las Fuentes (Fuenciscla being derived from fons stillans, "dripping well"). A cleric hid this image in one of the vaults of the cathedral, supposed to have been what is now the parish church of San Gil, in which the tombs, according to Mondejar, are those of the ancient bishops. After the Reconquest the image was placed over the door of the old cathedral. An Arabic inscription of 960, cut on a capital, proves that Segovia was at that time subject to Abderramán III; the Mozarabs, however, preserved their religious worship there and for some time had bishops, of whom Ilderedo governed the diocese in 940, as appears in a deed of gift made by him to the Bishop of Léon, which Fray Atanasio de Lobera, in his "History of Léon", testifies to having seen. After that Segovia was, as the Toletan Annals tell us, "deserted for many years". It is beyond question, however, that Christians inhabited it in 1072, when it was laid waste by Alamun, King of Toledo, who, according to the Arab historians quoted by Luis de Mármol, made bold to levy war against Sancho II. The final restoration of Segovia took place in 1088; Count Raymond of Burgundy, son-in-law of Alfonso VI, repeopled it with mountaineers of Northern Spain, from Galicia to Rioja.
Alfonso VII re-established the episcopal see, the first bishop, Pedro, being consecrated on 25 January, 1120, according to the Toletan Annals, although Pedro had already signed the Council of Oviedo as Bishop of Segovia in 1115. The council placed under his authority the quarter of the city lying between the Gate of St. Andrew and the castle; in 1122 Alfonso I of Aragon made other grants to him, and in 1123 Queen Urraca. gave him the towns and domains of Turégano and Caballar. Callistus II confirmed all this in the Bull of 9 April, 1123, in which the events leading up to the restoration are explained. Alfonso VII was in Segovia on many occasions, on one of which he restored peace between its bishop and the Bishop of Palencia, who had been quarreling about the jurisdiction over certain towns. Pedro was succeeded, on his death in 1148, by Juan, who was soon after promoted to the See of Toledo, and Vicente, who died about the same time as Alfonso, the Emperor. Sancho III, shortly before his death, granted Navarres to Bishop Guillermo (13 July, 1158). In 1161 the Laras took Segovia from Alfonso VIII, then a child of five years, who yielded also the fourth part of the revenues of the cathedral. Bishop Gutierre Giron perished, with the Segovians whom he was leading, in the disastrous battle of Alarcos. In 1192 the fifth Bishop of Segovia from the restoration had been succeeded by Gonzalo; he was followed by Gonzalo Miguel, who lived until 1211.
On the re-establishment of the see, attention was naturally turned to the rebuilding of the cathedral. Certain documents of 1136 speak of the Church of S. Maria as in course of being founded and in 1144 it is mentioned as having been founded, from which Diego de Colmenares, the historian of Segovia, infers that it must have been finished at that time. It certainly was not consecrated, however, until 16 July, 1228, by the papal legate, John, Bishop of Sabina. Situated on an esplanade to the east of the castle, it retains only a suggestion of its Byzantine structure, as it was entirely destroyed in the War of the Commons, when the Comuneros used it as a base of attack on the neighbouring castle. The relics and treasures of the basilica were saved in the church of S. Clara, in the Plaza Mayor, to which they were transferred in solemn procession on 2.5 October, 1522. About 1470 Bishop Juan Arias Dávila undertook the construction of a fine cloister, which, in 1524, Juan Campero caused to be removed, stone by stone, to the site of the new cathedral. The structure of the cloister being closely connected with the episcopal dwelling, the same bishop, Arias Dávila transferred the latter to the west of the church and there the bishops continued to reside even after the cathedral was transferred, until, about the year 1750, they moved into the episcopal palace in the Plaza de San Esteban, during the episcopate of Bishop Murillo y Argáiz The older dwelling was not totally demolished until 1816.
The old cathedral having been irreparably destroyed, Bishop Fadrique de Portugal selected, as a foundation for the new, the Church of S. Clara, which the nuns had left when they were incorporated with the community of S. Antonio el Real. On 24 May, 1525, Diego de Rivera, Bishop of Segovia, inaugurated the laying of the foundations, and on 8 June solemnly blessed the first stone and, with Gil de Hontaffon as master, began the works of the western side at the spot called Puerta del Perdón (the Gate of Pardon). Hontañón was succeeded, after six years, by his overseer, Garcia Cubillas. On 14 August, 1558, the new church was consecrated, and the mortal remains of Pedro, son of Enrique II, as well as of many prelates, were transferred to it. Not until the entry of Anne of Austria, bride-elect of Philip II, in 1570, were the ruins of the old cathedral razed, so as to clear the way to the castle. In August, 1563, Rodrigo Gil laid the foundations of the main choir. In 1615 the tower burned down the year before, was constructed under the direction of Juan de Magaguren. The baroque stone portal of the north transept was designed in 1620 by Pedro de Brizuela. Francisco de Campo Aguero, and Francisco Viadero executed the sacristy, the sanctuary, the archivium, and the chapter house. The brilliant windows which give its character to this cathedral are the work of Francisco Herráinz. The style of the structure is pure Gothic, with three naves and lateral chapels. It was consecrated in 1768, and its floor was flagged between 1789 and 1792. The retable, executed by Sabbatini in 1768, at the expense of Carlos III, is out of harmony with the style of the magnificent church. Among the chapels, the last one on the Gospel side, with the "Nuestra Señora de Piedad" of Juan Juní of Valladolid, merits special notice. In the chapel through which access is gained to the cloister is the "Cristo del Consuelo", as well as the tombs of Bishops Raimundo de Losana and Diego de Covarrubias.
Segovia has some very old parish churches, which, with their square Romanesque towers, were certain y built before the end of the thirteenth century. A celebrated one is that of San Miguel; its Gothic structure collapsed in 1532, and the rebuilding of it in its present form was completed in 1558. It contains the tomb of the famous Andres Laguna, physician to Julius III and to Charles V. San Estéban, opposite the bishop's palace, has the most beautiful Byzantine tower in Spain. In San Juan de los Caballeros (St. John of the Knights) repose the remains of Diego de Colmenares, the historian of Segovia, who was parish priest of that church, The parish churches of San Gil and San Blas dispute between them the honour of having been the original cathedral. The former was rebuilt in the thirteenth century by Bishop Raimundo de Losana. They are both in ruins. King Juan I instituted in the cathedral of Segovia an order of knighthood, that of the Holy Spirit (1390).
The city possesses a famous Roman aqueduct, probably built by Trajan; in the Plaza del Azoguejo its arches are 92 feet in height; it is 3000 (Spanish) feet in length, and has one hundred and seventy arches, thirty-six of which were reconstructed by Juan de Escobedo, a Hieronymite friar (1484-1489). The castle (alcázar) of Segovia, which Alfonso VI caused to be built in 1075, is a remarkable structure. It has a lofty rectangular tower, known as that of Don Juan II, and several other round ones surmounted with high conical roofs. In it Carlos III established the Artillery Academy which remained there until 1862, when a conflagration occurred which compelled its removal to the old Franciscan convent. The seminary, founded by Bishop Antonio Marcos de Llanes (1791), is under the invocation of Sts. Frutos and Ildefonso. In this diocese is the royal estate of San Ildefonso, or La Granja, the summer residence of the kings of Spain, built by Philip V on the site of an ancient hermitage dedicated to S. Ildefonso and an estate (granja) granted by the Catholic monarchs to the Hieronymites of Parral. Part of the royal estate, too, is formed by the collegiate church founded by Philip V and restored by Fernando VII.
In addition to authors cited in the body of this article, see also: FLOREZ Espana Sagrada, VIII (Madrid, 1849); CUADRADO, Segovia in Espana sus monumentos (Barcelona, 1884); MADOZ, Dice. geogr., XIV (Madrid, 1849); GEBHARDT, Hist. gen. de Esp. (Barcelona).
APA citation. (1912). Segovia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13684b.htm
MLA citation. "Segovia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13684b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Jeffrey L. Anderson.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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