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Located in Spain, suffragan of Tarragona; comprises about 6989 square miles, principally in the civil provinces of Tarragona and Castellon. Its principal cities are Tortosa and Castellon. The "Gerarchia Cattolica" (Rome) places the date of creation of the diocese in the fourth century. Local tradition and historians claim St. Paul as founder of the diocese, and St. Rufus, son of Simon of Cyrene, as first bishop. Villanueva (Viaje Literario, vol. V) would explain the origin of the tradition in regard to Sts. Rufus by the fact that the first bishop after the reconquest of Tortosa from the Moors was Godfrey (Gaufridus), Abbot of the Monastery of Sts. Rufus, Avignon. Lirioso (364) and Heros (about 400), presented by local historians as the first bishops of whom there is record, are not given by La Fuente or Gams. La Fuente gives Urso (516) as the first known bishop. During Moorish rule in Tortosa (715-1148) the diocese suffered greatly, and little is known of its history. However in 1068 Paternus, "Episcopus Civitatis Tortuensis", is found. After the capture of Tortosa on 31 Dec., 1148, by Raymond Bérenger, the diocese was restored to its ancient importance. The cathedral was begun in 1158, and consecrated in 1178 by Bérenger, Archbishop of Tarragona; rebuilt from May or June, 1347 until 1597; consecrated 8 June, 1597; again continued from 5 Feb. 1621 to 1725, with latter additions. It is of mixed style, mainly Gothic, and has merit. The cloister is thought to be originally of the twelfth century. A special chapel contains the holy ribbon or sash (La Santa Cinta) which is said to have been left on the main altar of the cathedral by the Blessed Virgin, in an apparition on the night of 24 March, 1178, and which since 1629 is sent to the palace in Madrid before a royal birth. The cathedral archives contain many valuable codices, Bulls, etc.

The diocese was the scene of a disputation between Christians and Jews in 1412-1414, and figured prominently in the Western Schism, as the antipopes Benedict XIII and Clement VIII resided in Peniscola, in the diocese. The provincial council of Tortosa (1429) did much to remove the evil effects of the schism. Among distinguished bishops of the diocese were Cardinal Augustin Spinola (1623-26) and Adrian VI, elected pope while holding the Bishopric of Tortosa 1516-22, and to whom the privilege of the red calotte worn by bishops of this diocese is attributed. The present bishop of Tortosa is Dr. D. Pedro Rocamora y Garcia (b. 1832). The diocese is divided into 12 archpriestships and contains: 193 parishes; 540 secular parochial clergy; a diocesan seminary; the Collegium Maximum of the Jesuits of the Aragon Province; a college of ecclesiastical vocations; 31 important convents and houses of sisters; numerous primary and secondary schools; one Catholic daily, "El Restaurador" (Tortosa); 5 Catholic weeklies; one Catholic fortnightly; and two Catholic monthlies.

Observatory of the ebro

Located at Roquetas, Catalonia, Spain. The founder and present director is Father Ricardo Cirera, S.J. The construction of the buildings was commenced in March, 1903; they were completed in Sept., 1904, and by 30 Aug. 1905, the date of a total eclipse of the sun, it was possible to make all the observations in the observatory. See "Instrucciones para la observacion del eclipse de sol del 30 de Agosto de 1905", issued by the observatory. The observatory comprises branches in astrophysics, meteorology, and geophysics.

With the exception of some of the meteorological apparatus, which is installed in the open air, the apparatus is distributed in six buildings, a seventh being devoted to the library and general offices, and a small building apart for the mechanician. All these buildings are separate, so as to obtain the greatest possible accuracy in the results. In the building for the magnetic observations, all iron or any other substance which could exert a contrary magnetic influence is carefully excluded. The observatory is at some distance from the nearest town, on an elevation which dominates the valley of the Ebro. There is no electric car line or other factor in this valley which could act as a disturbing influence. (See "Boletin Mensual del Observatorio del Ebro", vol. I, no. 1, with introduction, an observatory publication.)

The Government declared this institution a public utility on 18 October., 1904.

The observatory publishes a monthly bulletin, in which the observations, reduced to their absolute values, are given in tables. Other scientific treatises published by the observatory are: "Discurso relativo al Establecimiento de la nueva Seccion de Astronomia y Fisica del Globo", by Father Cirera; "La Seccion de Astronomia y Fisica del Globo y la Meteorologia espanola"; "Los Eclipses de 8 de Mayo de 1910 y 26 de Abril de 1911"; and "Recientes progresos de las Ciencias Astronomicas en Espana".


LA FUENTE, Historia Ecclesiastica de Espana (Madrid, 1873); GAMS, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae (Ratisbon, 1873); CORTES, Historia manuscrita de la ciudad de Tortosa (1747, authentic copy, Colegio Del Jesus, Tortosa); MARTORELL, Historia de la Hibera (Tortosa, 1626; reprinted, Tortosa, 1905); O'CALLAGHAN, Episcopologio de la Santa Iglesia de Tortosa (Tortosa, 1896); IDEM, La Cathedral de Tortosa (Tortosa, 1890); RISCO, Espana Sagrada, XLII (Madrid, 1801); VILLANUEVA, Viaje Literario, V (Madrid, 1806); FERNANDEZ, Historia de Tortosa (Barcelona, 1867); MIRALLES MESEGUER, Guia del Obispado de Tortosa (Tortosa, 1902); Directorium (Tortosa, 1911); for observatory of Ebro see Boletin mensual (Jano, 1910), Spanish and French; Nature (London, 23 March, 1911); Scientific American (New York, 15 Oct., 1910); Physikalische Zeitschrift (Gottingen, 1 July, 1911); Le Radium (Paris, July, 191); Ciel et Terre (Brussels, 1910), 438; Atti della Pontificia Academia Romana dei Nuovi Lincei (Rome, 1910-11), Sess. VI, 21 May, 1911.

About this page

APA citation. Mullaly, C. (1912). Tortosa. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Mullaly, Charles. "Tortosa." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the Christian Community of Tortosa.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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