Solemn Pontifical on the day of the 550th anniversary of the Establishment of the Diocese of Casale Monferrato

Solemn Pontifical on the day of the 550th anniversary of the Establishment of the Diocese of Casale Monferrato
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Thursday 18 April, Cathedral of Sant’Evasio, at 6pm Solemn Pontifical on the day of the 550th anniversary of the Establishment of the Diocese of Casale Monferrato. The Eucharist was presided over by the President of the Piedmontese Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Franco Lovignana, with the presence of the Bishops of Piedmont. Also present was the Legate of His Holiness Bartholomew I Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

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On the feast of Sant’Evasio, last November 12, it was the papal legate Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, who solemnly opened the jubilee year in the Cathedral for the 550 years of the erection of the Diocese of Casale. Now, for the pontifical celebration on 18 April, the legate of the Archbishop of Constantinople Bartholomew I is expected, who will read a personal message from the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Diocese: he is Metropolitan Polycarpos, Orthodox Archbishop of Italy. Casale will also be accompanied by his auxiliary bishop Athenagoras. It was the bishop Msgr. Gianni Sacchi to write to the Patriarch in January, asking him “the high honor of welcoming one of his delegates to the celebration”. Now the positive response has arrived.
The 550th jubilee year, therefore, will ideally unite the two Churches that have lived apart for 800 years: that of the East and that of the West. In particular there is a link between Constantinople and Casale which has distant roots in history, closely intertwined with the path of the Diocese. In fact, the marquisate of Monferrato passed in 1306 to Theodore I Palaiologos, second son of Violante Aleramo, sister of John I, last exponent of the Aleramic dynasty, and of the emperor of Byzantium, Andronicus II Palaiologos. It was a descendant of Theodore I, the Marquis William VIII, who obtained the erection of the Diocese of Casale Monferrato from Pope Sixtus IV in 1474.

The Bishop’s invitation
This is the letter to the faithful from the bishop Msgr. Gianni Sacchi for the concelebration that will take place on Thursday 18 April in the Cathedral, at 6pm, for the 550th anniversary of the birth of the Diocese of Casale.
Dear dioceses, the much-cited and awaited date of April 18 is now approaching.
On that date 550 years ago our Diocese of Casale Monferrato was born.
On 18 April 1474, Pope Sixtus IV signed the bull “Pro execellenti preeminentia” which gave the start to this particular church.
On Thursday 18 April at 6pm in the Cathedral, we will solemnly celebrate the Eucharist to say “Thank You” to the Lord for the journey of five and a half centuries of history which has seen the succession of 38 Bishops at the helm of the Diocese.
Ours is not intended to be a triumphalistic celebration, but one of faith and love to gather around the risen Jesus and experience his presence of peace, which makes our hearts burn with the gift of his Word and the Bread of life.
We want to experience Him once again to be confirmed in faith and enlightened by the Breath of the Holy Spirit, to face the path that lies ahead of us.
Several bishops from Piedmont will be with us who will come to share this moment of celebration of a sister Church.
Furthermore, due to the historical ties with the Eastern Empire, a high-level delegation sent by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will be present.
The Archbishop Eparch of Košice Msgr. will also participate. Cyril Vasil, in whose diocese there is the Klokočov Sanctuary twinned with our Crea Sanctuary.
I joyfully invite all diocesan, civil and military authorities and above all our parish communities with their priests and deacons to be present at the celebration.
We witness the joy and beauty of being the Church of Christ in this beautiful territory that is our Monferrato.

+ Gianni Sacchi
Bishop of Casale Monferrato

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