Pavia was the capital of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy (from 570), and of their successors, the Holy Roman Emperors as Kings of Italy. There was a royal palace in Pavia, which saw frequent visits from the Emperors.
Pope Hormisdas (517–523) is said to have granted Bishop Ennodius and his successors as Bishops of Pavia the use of the pallium. This claim has, however, been challenged. Pope John VIII also granted the Bishops of Pavia the same privilege in a letter of 24 August 877.
In the last week of June 743, Pope Zacharias (741–752) visited Pavia and solemnly celebrated the Feast of S. Peter at the monastery of S. Pietro in Ciel d'oro.
Bishop Joannes (II) (874–911 ?) signed the confirmation of the accession of Charles the Bald and took the oath of allegiance in February 876.
Pope John VIII held a synod at Pavia in December 878, as he was returning to Rome from his trip to France.
In 885, Pope Stephen V (885–891) granted the Bishop of Pavia the duchy of Comacchio.
A synod met in Pavia in 889 to ratify the selection of Guido of Spoleto as King of Italy, and to swear feudal allegiance. A council was held at Pavia in 933 to expel Bishop Ratherius of Verona from his diocese for three years, because of his opposition to Hugh of Arles, King of Italy. He was restored by a synod under orders from Pope John XII.
On 2 April 987, Bishop Guido and the Canons of the Cathedral received a rebuke from Pope John XV because they had been harassing the monastery of S. Pietro in Ciel d'oro.
In 997, Pope Gregory V (Bruno of Carinthia) held a synod in Pavia. He had been expelled from Rome shortly after the Coronation of the Emperor Otto III, his cousin, who had procured his election to the papal throne, at the request of the Romans themselves. Shortly after his coronation, Otto condemned and expelled from Rome the former dictator of the City, Crescentius of Nomentum. As soon as Otto left the city, Crescentius returned and drove out Pope Gregory, who fled to Pavia. At the synod of Pavia, the rule against making agreements about a future pope during the lifetime of the present pope was reenacted, as were rules against simony. Crescentius was excommunicated, and, on the Pope's return to Rome, was beheaded in the Castel S. Angelo.
On 15 April 1123, Pope Calixtus II confirmed all the privileges belonging to the Church of Pavia, and issued a ruling that, at Roman synods, the Bishop of Pavia should hold the first seat on the left of the pope, perpetualiter.
Bishop Pietro Toscani (1148–1180) was deprived of his episcopal cross and his pallium by Pope Alexander III in 1175 or 1176, because of his support for the Antipope Victor IV and the excommunicated Frederick Barbarossa. Frederick continued to protect him, however, even though the city of Pavia joined the Lombard League. After the Lombard League triumphed over Frederick at the Battle of Legnano, the Bishop's position became precarious. When Alexander reached an agreement with Frederick at their conference at Venice, Bishop Pietro was among those forgiven for their crimes.
The Studium Generale (University) of Pavia was founded on 13 April 1361, by a diploma of the Emperor Charles IV, at the request of Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. The University Library was established in 1754 by order of the Empress Maria Theresa, who refounded the entire university, which had fallen into a long decadence. In 1867 the University had 926 students.
On 15 February 1743, by an Apostolic Brief of Pope Benedict XIV, the diocese of Pavia was united with the metropolitan diocese of Amaseia (Hellespont, Turkey). Thereafter the Bishop of Pavia was also an Archbishop.
Cathedral and Chapter
The Cathedral Chapter, in 1571, consisted of four dignities (the Provost, the Archdeacon, the Archpriest, and the Cantor) and twelve Canons. On 29 February 1572, Bishop Ippolito Rossi (1564–1591), acting in accordance with the Bull In Eminenti of Pope Pius IV of 30 May 1571, suppressed the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria in Pertica in the city of Pavia, and transferred its Provost and seven Canons to the Cathedral Chapter. The title of the Provost of Santa Maria was changed to that of Dean of the Cathedral Chapter, which thereafter had five dignities and nineteen Canons. In 1672 there were five dignities and sixteen Canons. On 25 April 1577 Bishop Rossi also provided new regulations for the College of Chaplains in the Cathedral. That college was led by a Prior, Mansionarii, and a Curate.
In 1110, Bishop Guido (1103–1118) granted the Cathedral Chapter of Pavia the right to the decima in the city of Pavia and for eight miles round about. This grant was confirmed by Bishop Petrus Spelta (1343–1356) on 4 November 1350.
On 4 December 1341, Canon Mascarino Tacconi, Vicar General of Bishop Giovanni Fulgesi (1328–1342), issued Statutes for the Cathedral Chapter of Pavia. The Canons, however, became more and more lax, until the Franciscan Bishop Guilelmus (1386–1402) issued a warning on 12 January 1387 concerning certain duties which they were expected to perform, including the obligation to say Mass in the Cathedral; the Bishop's warning included penalties for failing to comply. On 7 March, the Chapter passed on the warnings to the Chaplains of the Cathedral, with extensive instructions.
On 3 September 1484, the Cathedral Chapter on its own initiative compiled a new edition of the Statutes of the Cathedral Chapter. On 9 August 1507, Canon Vincenzo Beccaria, the Vicar General of the Bishop, Cardinal Francesco Alidosio (who was absent, serving as Papal Legate in Bologna), issued Statutes for the Canons and Chaplains of the Cathedral. The Canons themselves issued more specific regulations regarding residence and the performance of choir duties on 21 January 1518; these were confirmed on 6 February by Canon Girolamo della Porta, the Vicar General of Cardinal Antonio Ciocchi del Monte, who was not residential.
A meeting, sometimes called a synodus, was held in Pavia by the Emperor Louis II, the son of Lothair I. It was also called the Conventus Ticinensis, and was presided over by Archbishop Angilbertus of Milan, the Patriarch Theodemar of Aquileia, and Bishop Joseph the Archchaplain. Twenty-four canons regarding ecclesiastical discipline were agreed upon, and five chapters concerning political matters. Immediately thereafter, the Emperor visited Rome, where he was crowned emperor by Pope Leo IV. He held two other meetings in Pavia, with the same high ecclesiastical vassals presiding, one in February 855 and the other in July 855.
Bishop Guido Langasco (1295–1311) held a diocesan synod in 1297.
A diocesan synod was held in the Cathedral Chapter house in Pavia on 16 February 1317, during the Administratorship of Giovanni Beccaria, O.Min. (1320–1324), Latin Patriarch of Antioch (Syria). The Patriarch was not present, but was rather serving at the Papal Court in Avignon, dicto domino patriarcha administratore apud sedem apostolicam existente. The synod was therefore presided over by the Patriarch's two Vicars, the Archdeacon Bonifazio de Frascarolo, and Zonfredus de Castana, Canon of Monza. The decisions of the synod had mostly to do with legal matters, oaths, thieves, punishments, and with the collection of the decima. Bishop Giovanni Fulgesi (1328–1342) held another synod c. 1343, with exhortations and regulations concerning the seven sacraments, burials, the preaching of indulgences, and the decima and clerical debtors.
In 1518 a diocesan synod was held, though the Administrator of the diocese, Cardinal Antonio Maria Ciocchi del Monte (1511–1521) did not attend. He did send a letter of thanks to his Vicar, Giovanni Luchini Curzio, who presided and gave the opening address. Among other matters, the synod legislated on the sons of priests, the cohabitation of clerics and women, and clerical non-residence (the clergy of the Cathedral being exempted). A diocesan synod was held by Cardinal Ippolito Rossi (1564–1591) on 14 November 1566.
On 19 July 1576, the Apostolic Visitor by the mandate of Pope Gregory XIII, Bishop Angelo Peruzzi, Auxiliary Bishop of Bologna and titular bishop of Caesarea, issued a set of decrees for the diocese of Pavia in thirty-eight chapters, on the same themes as appear regularly in diocesan statutes. These statutes, however, took account of the various decrees of the recently concluded Council of Trent. Bishop Peruzzi had previously conducted a visitation of the diocese of Modena to the satisfaction of the Pope, who then assigned him to do the same at Pavia, Piacenza, and Parma.
Bishop Giovanni Battista Biglia (1609–1617) held a synod in 1612. A synod was held by Bishop Francesco Biglia ((1648–1659) in 1652.
Bishop Agostino Gaetano Riboldi (1877–1901) held a diocesan synod in Pavia on 10–12 September 1878, and had the decrees of the synod published.
The diocese's 100 parishes are all located in the (civil) region Lombardy: 97 in the Province of Pavia and 2 in the Province of Milan. There is one priest for every 1291 Catholics.