The Jesuits arrived in Split back in 1703. With the occupation of Split Archbishop Stjepan Cosmi, Father Ardelio della Bella arrived in Split from Dubrovnik that year. He worked permanently in the city and the surrounding dioceses for over 30 years, leaving a deep mark both in the spiritual and cultural fields. Since 1723, the Jesuits from Split have been living in a gifted house within the walls of Diocletian's palace, and that place serves as a base for their missionary work.
Namely, they were missionaries in a wide area from Cres to Kotor, as well as in Herzegovina. They did not have a mother church in Split, so they served mass in the church of St. Philip Neri, near Peristyle. The pastoral work of Father della Bella and his brothers was continued by other Jesuits, who worked in Split until the dissolution of the Society in 1773. Important was their work on religious renewal throughout Dalmatia, which was then under the rule of the Venetians, and lived between frequent wars, infectious diseases, danger from bandits and pirates, and spiritual and material poverty.
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