The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590)
Consistory of July 15, 1588 (VI)


(27) 1. MOROSINI, Gianfrancesco (1537-1596)

Birth. 1537, Venice. Of a patrician family. Son of Pietro Morosini and Cornelia Cornaro. Nephew of Cardinals Luigi Cornaro (1551); and Federico Cornaro, seniore, O.S.Io.Hieros. (1585). Uncle of Patriarch Giovanni Francesco Morosini of Venice.

Education. (No information found).

Early life. Senator and later, Venetian ambassador to Savoy, Poland, Spain, France, and bailiff before Sultan Amurat III of Constantinople (1).

Priesthood. Ordained in Venice (no further information found).

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Brescia, September 23, 1585 (2). Consecrated (no information found). Nuncio in France, 1587-1589; on the same day he was promoted to the cardinalate, the pope named him legate a latere with the mission of reconciling Henri I de Lorraine, third duke of Guise and his brother Louis II de Guise, second cardinal of Guise with King Henri III of France (3).

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of July 15, 1588; received the red hat and the title of Ss. Nereo ed Achilleo, July 27, 1588. Opted for the title of S. Maria in Via, March 28 (4), 1590. Participated in the first conclave of 1590, which elected Pope Urban VII. Participated in the second conclave of 1590, which elected Pope Gregory XIV. Participated in the conclave of 1591, which elected Pope Innocent IX. Participated in the conclave of 1592, which elected Pope Clement VIII. Protector of Germany and Hungary. He was a close friend of Filippo Neri, the future saint.

Death. January 10, 1596, Brescia. Buried in the cathedral of Brescia, next to the altar of S. Croce (5). He left all his wealth to the poor.

Bibliography. Berton, Charles. Dictionnaire des cardinaux, contenant des notions générales sur le cardinalat, la nomenclature complète ..., des cardinaux de tous less temps et de tous les pays ... les détails biographiques essentiels sur tous les cardinaux ... de longues études sur les cardinaux célèbre ... Paris : J.-P. Migne, 1857 ; Facsimile edition. Farnborough ; Gregg, 1969, cols. 1252-1253; Biaudet, Henry. Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes jusqu'en 1648. Helsinki ; Suomalainen tiedeakatemia, 1910, p. 149 and 275; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, V, 297-299 ; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, II, cols. 1811-1812; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 52, 67 and 140; Gams, Pius Bonifatius. Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae, quotquot innotuerunt a beato Petro apostolo. 2 v. in 1. Leipzig: K.W. Hiersemann, 1931.

Webgraphy. His portrait, Italian area, (post 1596), patriarchate of Venice, Beni Ecclesiastici in Web (BeWeb).

(1) According to Berton, Dictionnaire des cardinaux, col. 1252, the Venetians had treated some of the Turks in Corfu very cruelly. As a result, the sultan threatened Morosini with decapitation. The bailiff answered vigorously and replied that Venice would know how to avenge such action. At the same time, he did all he could to calm the sultan assuring him that whoever tolerated that outrage would be punished.
(2) This is according to Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, III, 140; Biaudet, Henry. Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes jusqu'en 1648, p. 275, indicates that he was elected in 1584; and Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae, p. 780, indicates that he was elected in 1590.
(3) When the mission failed and the brothers were executed by the king in Blois in 1588, the cardinal was accused of negligence and recalled to Rome. There, he explained his conduct to the pope and implored his pardon even if he had not been at fault. The pope accepted his explanation and apology and fully restored him to his position.
(4) Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, III, 67, indicates that other sources, which he does not name, say that he opted on March 23, 1590.
(5) This is his epitaph transcribed by Andrea Vittorelli in Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1812: D. T. V. IO. FRANCICCO MAVROCENO, Patritio Veneneto, prisca Gentis nobilitate, vitæ sanctitate, religione, omniq; virtutum genere, ac rerum gestarum gloria clarissimo; qui post amplissimasin Sabaudia, Gallia, Hispania, Polonia, Constantinopoliq; Reip. nomine, singulari cum integritate, fide, prudentia, animi excelsi, atque invicti magnitudine, ac denique omnium approbatione, obisas legationes a Gregorio XIII. primum ultro designatus, mox a Sixto Quinto creatus Brixiensis episcopus, & ab eodem in Galliam iterum ad Henricum III. summa cum potestate, difficillimis temporibus, missus, re feliciter gesta, absens, extra ordinem, S. R. E. Cardinalis, ingenti omnium bonorum acclamatione, factus est ; & simul Legatus a Latere, ad extremum, omnibus vitæ ornamentis cumulatus in Ecclesia sua gremio, incredibili euisdem, ac totius Veneta, atque aded Christianæ Reip. moerore, verus gregis Pastor, & liberalissimus pauperum Pater ex hac vita ad æternam demigravit. Anno MDXCVI. Mensis Ianuarii, die XIV. Pauperes huius civitatis Brixiæ hæredes ab eo ex asse instituti, ope Mariani Georgii ipsiusCardinalis consob. & in Episcopatu successoris, Parenti optimo grati animi monumentum PP. Vixit Annos LVIII. Mensis III. Dies XV. Sedit Annos X. Mensem I. Dies IX.

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