Europe Italy
basilica of Saint Nicholas

A brief description.

Bari, situated in the province of the same name, in Apulia, Southern Italy. is now the principal city in the province, and is located on a peninsula which extends into the Adriatic. Anciently called Barium, it fell into the power of the Romans after the war with Pyrrhus, retaining, however, its autonomy. Being a seaport facing the Orient, Bari must have received Christianity at a very early date. According to a local tradition, St. Peter himself preached the Gospel there and consecrated the first Bishop. History, however, is silent as to the beginning of Christianity in this city.

The first known Bishop of Bari was Gervasius, who, in 347, assisted at the Council of Sardica. In the ninth century the Saracens laid waste Apulia, destroyed the city of Canosa (Canusium) and captured Bari.

In 841, however, the Byzantine army reconquered Bari, and in 844 St. Angelarius, Bishop of Canosa, then in ruins, brought to Bari the relics of Sts. Rufinus, Memorus, and Sabinus, which he had rescued from the ruins. Pope Sergius II conferred on him the title of Bishop of the two dioceses of Bari and Canosa, a title which the Archbishops of Bari retain to the present time. In 933 Pope John XI granted the Bishops of Bari the use of the pallium.

It seems that the Bishops were dependent on the Patriarch of Constantinople until the tenth century. In the eleventh century, Bari became a direct dependency of Roma.
In 1097 some Bari sailors, on their return from the East, brought with them the relics of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Mira, for which Roger, Duke of Apulia, built a splendid church; this became the object of great veneration and of innumerable pilgrimages.

About this time Pope Urban II, being in Apulia, went to Bari to venerate the relics of the holy wonder-worker and to consecrate the basilica.  Here also he held a council, attended by 183 Bishops, to consider the reunion of the Greeks with the Church of Roma. St. Anselm of Canterbury distinguished himself at this council by his learned defence of the procession of the Holy Ghost and the use of unleavened bread for the Holy Eucharist.

Another council had been held at Bari in 1064, presided over by Arnoldo, Vicar of Alexander II. Of the later provincial councils that of 1607 is worthy of mention. Among the Archbishops of Bari was the Dominican Tommaso Maria, of the Dukes of Bagnara (1684), who died in the odour of sanctity.

Source: U.Benigni, transcribed by Susan Birkenseer
             The Catholic Encyclopedia, volume II.
             Online edition, 2003, by Kevin Knight.

The building near the basilica, houses a community of Dominicans since 1951. They run an active ecumenical center. In 1966 an Orthodox chapel in the crypt  was established to provide for Orthodox liturgy. The ecumenical vision of the Dominicans sees St. Nicholas as everyone's saint, serving to bring together Christians of many varying expressions from both East and West.




In 1097 some Bari sailors, on their return from the East, brought with them the relics of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Mira, for which Roger, Duke of Apulia, built a splendid church in Norman architecture after 1097.

Vatican City 1987, Mi 934, Sc 803.
Postmark Bari 03.12.87, with the portrait of St.



Churches and Sanctuaries of Italy.
On the foreground the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari.

Italy1950, Mi 793, Sc 535.



Church of Saint Nicholas at the left.

Italy 1950, Mi 200, Sc 542.
Same with overprint: Triest 1950, Mi 111, Sc 84.



The 9th Centenary of the deposition of the relics of Saint Nicholas
in the crypt of the Basilica in Bari, 1089-1989.

Italy 1989, Mi 2074, Sc 1769.



In the crypt the devotion-lamp by A.Sodelli, 1936.
It designs a ship with at both sides a oil-lamp. On the ship the text:  Sancte Nicoläe - ora pro universa ecclesia catholica.
pax vobis - nolite timere. Ego sum Nicolaus protector vester.
On the lamp at the left: Ina pantes en osin.
On the right: Ut omnes unum sint. 

                                               Italy 1989. Postmark Bari 29.10.1989.


The foreground of the Basilica.

Italy 2003. Postmark Bari 11.04.03.




 The church of Saint Nicholas
  in Bari, Puglia. Italy.

 Italy 2006, Mi 3114, Sc - .



Pope John Paul II visited Bari and had a meeting with the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Konstandinidis of the Eastern Church in the basilica on 26th February 1984.
Each of them filled the devotion-lamp with oil.

Vatican City 1984. KimCover PW 342.


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