The rest of Italy, with the Islands adjacent, containing the suburbicarian regions, or ten Provinces under the temporal Vicar of Rome, viz.
Campania, Tuscia and Umbria, Picenum suburbicarium, Sicily, Apulia and Calabria, Brutii and Lucania, Samnium, Sardinia, Corsica, and Valeria, constituted the proper Province of the Bishop of Rome. For the Council of Nice in their fifth Canon ordained that Councils should be held every spring and autumn in every Province; and according to this Canon, the Bishops of the Province met at Rome every half year. In this sense Pope Leo I. applied this Canon to Rome, in a decretal Epistle to the Bishops of Sicily, written Alippio & Ardabure Coss. A.C. 447. Quia saluberrime, saith he, a sanctis patribus constitutum est, binos in annis singulis Episcoporum debere esse conventus, terni semper ex vobis ad diem tertium Kalendarum Octobrium Romam aeterno concilio sociandi occurrant. Et indissimulanter a vobis haec consuetudo servetur, quoniam adjuvante Dei gratia facilius poterit provideri, ut in Ecclesiis Christi nulla scandala, nulli nascantur errores; cum coram Apostolo Petro semper in communione tractatum fuerit, ut omnia Canonum Decreta apud omnes Domini sacerdotes inviolata permaneant. The Province of Rome therefore comprehended Cicily, with so much of Italy and the neighboring Islands as sent Bishops to the annual Councils of Rome; Aquileia, Millain, Arles, &c. those Provinces having Councils of their own. The Bishops in every Province of the Roman Empire were convened in Council by the Metropolitan or Bishop of the head city of the Province, and this Bishop presided in that Council: but the Bishop of Rome did not only preside in his own Council of the Bishops of suburbicarian regions, but also gave Orders to the Metropolitans of all the other Provinces in the Western Empire, as their universal governor; as may be further perceived by the following instances.