The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Clement XI (1700-1721)
Consistory of December 17, 1703 (I)
Celebrated in Rome


(1) 1. PIGNATELLI, seniore, Theat., Francesco (1652-1734)

Birth. February 6, 1652, Senise, diocese of Anglona-Tursi. Of the noble family Pignatelli di Monteleone. Neapolitan patrician. Son of Giulio Pignatelli, marquis of Cerchiara, prince of Noja, and his third wife, Beatrice Carafa (1). Nephew of Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700). Other cardinals of the family were Francesco Maria Pignatelli, iuniore (1794); Domenico Pignatelli di Belmonte, Theat. (1802); and Ferdinando Maria Pignatelli, Theat. (1839).

Education. Entered the Order of the Clerics Regular Theatines, 1665; professed, February 18, 1669, church of S. Paolo, Naples, for the Theatine House of Ss. Apostoli (2). Obtained a doctorate in theology.

Priesthood. Ordained (no information found). Lector of philosophy and theology in houses of studies of his order in Rome and Madrid, Spain. Recommended by King Carlos II of Spain for promotion to the metropolitan see of Taranto.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Taranto, September 27, 1683. Consecrated, October 3, 1683, church of S. Andrea della Valle, Rome, by Cardinal Carlo Pio, bishop of Albano, assisted by Giuseppe Bologna, former archbishop of Benevento, and by Gregorio Giuseppe Gaetani, titular archbishop of Neocaesarea. In the same ceremony was consecrated Giacomo Cantelmo, titular archbishop of Cesarea, future cardinal. Nuncio in Poland, March 20, 1700. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, April 16, 1700. Transferred to the metropolitan see of Naples, February 19, 1703.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of December 17, 1703; with the apostolic brief of December 5, 1703, the pope sent him the red biretta; received the red hat and the title of Ss. Marcellino e Pietro, February 11, 1704. Opted for the order of bishops and the suburbicarian see of Sabina, April 26, 1719; he kept the archdiocese of Naples. Participated in the conclave of 1721, which elected Pope Innocent XIII; the Spanish king presented a veto against his election. Participated in the conclave of 1724, which elected Pope Benedict XIII. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Frascati, June 12 (or 13), 1724. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Porto e Santa Rufina, November 19 (or 11), 1725. Vice-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. In June 1726, he declined the see of Ostia e Velletri, which corresponded to him by seniority, in order to remain as archbishop of Naples. Participated in the conclave of 1730, which elected Pope Clement XII.

Death. December 5, 1734, Naples. Buried in the chapel of the Santissima Concezione, which he had built in the Theatine church of Ss. XII Apostoli, Naples.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, 75-76; Notizie per l'anno 1734. Rome : Nella Stamperia del Chracas, presso S. Marco al Corso, 1734, p. 258; Notizie per l'anno 1736. Rome : Nella Stamperia del Chracas, presso S. Marco al Corso, 1736, p. 203, no. 17; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen V (1667-1730). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1952, pp. 24, 41, 42, 43, 47, 283 and 368. ; Zigarelli, Daniello Maria. Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli con una descrizione del clero, della cattedrale, della basilica di s. Restituta e della cappella del tesoro di s. Gennaro. Napoli: Tipografico di G. Gioja, 1861, pp. 206-215.

Links. Biography, in Italian, diocese of Frascati; his genealogy, Tab. VI, Genealogical Tree Pignatelli; and his portrait, diocese of Verona, Italy.

(1) This is according to Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 206; his genealogy, linked above, indicates that his mother was Giulia Bardi, marchioness of Sambuca.
(2) According to Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 214-1215, he was the 122nd bishop of the Theatine order; its 25th archbishop; its 8th nuncio; its 4th cardinal; its 2nd archbishop of Taranto; its 3rd archbishop of Naples; its second bishop of Sabina, of Frascati, of Porto e Santa Rufina.

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