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 Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi 

On October 26, 1937 with the Apostolic Constitution Sedis the Holy See erected the Eparchy of Piana dei Greci (later of the Albanians) which included all the faithful, the clergy, the parishes of the municipalities of Piana degli Albanesi, Contessa Entellina, Mezzoiuso, Palazzo Adriano and the faithful who resided in Palermo and were part of the co-cathedral parish of S. Nicolò dei Greci alla Martorana. The first Eparch, as Apostolic Administrator, was the then archbishop of Palermo His Eminence Luigi Lavitrano and, consecrated bishop on the same date as the erection of the Eparchy, Mons. Giuseppe Perniciaro auxiliary bishop. In 1960 Pope St. John XXIII with the Bull Orientalis Ecclesiae entrusted the faithful, clergy and parishes of the Roman rite present in the territories of the five Arbëreshë municipalities to the Eparchy of Piana. And in 1967 Rome appointed Mons. Giuseppe Perniciaro as residential bishop.

The Eparchy, together with the other two Eastern Catholic circumscriptions of Lungro and Grottaferrata, celebrated two Synods in 1940 and 2005.

Since the early years of the last century, even before its erection, the ecumenical vocation of the Eparchy has turned its forces to spreading the knowledge of the Orthodox East by founding the Catholic Association for the Christian East (ACIOC) by opening offices in the main Italian cities, celebrating the Week for the Christian East every year and at the beginning of 1960 founding the magazine "Oriente Cristiano", still in publication. No less important is the effort to make the Catholic Church known to the Orientals by involving the Church of Sicily in exchanges of visits between the respective hierarchies of Greece and Sicily.

Mons.Giuseppe Perniciaro (first bishop of the Eparchy)

Mons. Perniciaro, was born in Mezzojuso (PA) on 11 January 1907. After studying at the Greek Albanian Seminary in Palermo, he was a pupil of the Pontifical Greek College in Rome. In the Eternal City I attend the best Pontifical Universities, where in 1928 he graduated in Theology and the following year he specialized in Oriental Ecclesiastical Sciences, at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. On 7 July 1929 at the Church of Sant'Atanasio in Rome he was ordained a priest by Mons. Isaia Papadopoulos, Assessor of the Oriental Congregation. In 1932 he was called to assume the post of Rector of the Greek Albanian Seminary of Palermo, founded by Father Giorgio Guzzetta in 1734.
On 26 October 1937, following the creation of the Eparchy of Piana dei Greci by Pope Pius XI, Papas Giuseppe Perniciaro was elected at the age of 30, Titular Bishop of Arbano and Auxiliary of the Archbishop of Palermo. On January 16, 1938 in the Cathedral of San Demetrio in Piana dei Greci, in the presence of Cardinal Luigi Lavitrano (Archbishop of Palermo and Apostolic Administrator of Piana dei Greci) Papas Giuseppe Perniciaro was consecrated Bishop. The consecrating Bishop was Mons.Giovanni Mele (Bishop of Lungro), assisted by Mons.Paolo Schirò (Titular Bishop of Bende and Last Ordinating Bishop of the Greek Rite in Sicily) and by Mons.Alessandro Evreinoff (Titular Bishop of Pario and Ordinant of Rite Greco in Rome). During the same Liturgy, Mons. Perniciaro conferred his First Presbyteral Chirotonia on the Deacon papas Matteo Sciambra da Contessa Entellina. On 12 July 1967, after the death of Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini, Blessed Pope Paul VI appointed Mons.Giuseppe Perniciaro Residential Bishop of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi (the name from Piana dei Greci in Albanesi, had been changed for political reasons in the 1941).
Monsignor Perniciaro actively participated as a Conciliar Father in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council; he was then a member of both the Italian and Sicilian Episcopal Conferences. During his long episcopate he accompanied with prayer, work and also with physical and spiritual suffering, the birth and development of the Diocese of Piana. Everything that the Eparchy has today owes it to Monsignor Perniciaro. Bishop Giuseppe Perniciaro concluded his earthly mission on June 5, 1981.

We thank for the biography and photos of the chirotonia of Mons.Perniciaro, Papas Giorgio R. Caruso , PhD in Ecclesiastical History and Cultural Heritage of the Church, pastor of the Parish of San Nicolò di Mira In Mezzojuso, Parish where he was baptized and raised Mons.Giuseppe Perniciaro.

This biography was written on the occasion of the 80th Anniversary (January 16, 1938 - January 16, 2018) of the Episcopal Chirotonia of Monsignor Giuseppe Perniciaro, the first residential Bishop of Piana degli Albanesi.