The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Clement XII (1730-1740)
Consistory of March 2, 1733 (V)
Celebrated in Rome


(13) 1. RIVIERA, Domenico (1671-1752)

Birth. December 3, 1671, Urbino. Son of Giovanni Carlo Riviera and Cinzia Pazzini. The family was originally from Aquila. Related to Albani family. He was the last cardinal of the counts of Marsi. His last name is also listed as Rivera. Relative of Cardinal Girolamo d'Andrea (1852).

Education. Studied at Collegio di S. Saverio, Bologna; and at the University of Urbino, where he obtained a doctorate.

Early life. Received the clerical habit in Urbino and then went to Rome. Coadjutor of Msgr. Raffaele Fabbretti, custodian of the secret archive at Castello Sant'Angelo, Rome, in the pontificate of Pope Innocent XII; Msgr. Fabretti became secretary of the Congregation delle Acque in 1730; , later, Msgr. Riviera became custodian; in 1733, when he was promoted to the cardinalate, he was succeeded by Msgr. Niccolò Maria Antonelli, future cardinal himself. Canon of the collegiate church of S. Maria in Via Lata, Rome. Sent by Pope Clement XI at the beginning of 1707 in a mission before Eugenio di Savoia, supreme commander of the Imperial forces that occupied Romagna, to negotiate the return of the territory to the Holy See; successfully accomplished his mission when on February 5, 1707 a treaty was signed agreeing on the devolution of the territory. Charged with other missions before Duke Vittorio Amedeo of Savoy; and the dukes of Parma and of Modena. Canon of the chapter of the Collegiata of S. Maria in Via Lata, Rome, for a brief time; and then, canon of the patriarchal Vatican basilica. Privy chamberlain of His Holiness. Secretary of the S.C. Consistorial and of the Sacred College of Cardinals, February 19, 1710 until July 24, 1730, when he resigned. Secretary of Latin Letters. Secretary of the Congregation delle Acque. Referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace, January 1716. Domestic prelate of His Holiness. Apostolic visitor to Romagna to stop the flood of the Reno River, 1716. Envoy to regulate with the government of Tuscany the course of the Chiana River. Secretary of the conclaves of 1721 and 1724. Secretary of the Cipher, May 1721. Attached to the mission of Cardinal Spinola for the investiture of Emperor Charles VI as king of Naples. During the pontificate of Pope Benedict XIII, he was consultor of the secret matters and member of the governing regency with Cardinal Niccolò Maria Lercari, secretary of State. Secretary of the S.C. of the Sacred Consulta of the Ecclesiastical State, July 17, 1730 until his promotion to the cardinalate, when he was succeeded by Msgr. Girolamo de' Bardi, future cardinal. Protonotary apostolic.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of March 2, 1733; received the red hat and the title of Ss. Quirico e Giulitta, April 13, 1733. Granted permission to receive the diaconate and presbyterate without time interval, March 21, 1733.

Priesthood. Ordained, March 21, 1733. In charge of Poland's affairs before the Holy See from 1735. Repeatedly declined the legation of Romagna. Prefect of the Congregation dei Confini, shortly after the death of its prefect Cardinal Niccolò Maria Antonelli, occurred on April 12, 1735. Prefect of the S.C. of Good Government, 1737, vacant for the death of Cardinal Renato Giuseppe Imperiale; while in that post, he developed a close friendship with Marquis Scipione Maffei, one of the most erudite men of his time. He was also a good friend of James Stuart, pretender to the British throne. Participated in the conclave of 1740, which elected Pope Benedict XIV. Opted for the title of Ss. XII Apostoli, January 2, 1741. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, January 25, 1745 until January 17, 1746. Protector of the Kingdom of Scotland; and of Collegio Scozzese. Protector of the Republic of S. Marino. Protector of Collegio e Nazione Picena in Rome. Protector of the Celestine monks.

Death. November 2, 1752, Rome. Transferred in the evening of November 4, 1752 to the basilica of Ss. XII Apostoli, where the capella papalis took place on November 5, 1752, with the participation of Pope Benedict XIV; and buried in that same church in the tomb that he had built for himself (1).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, 261-262; Forcella, Vincenzo. Iscrizioni delle chiese e d'altri edificii di Roma dal secolo XI fino ai giorni nostri. 14 v. in 7. Roma : Tip. delle scienze matematiche e fisiche, 1869-1884, II, p. 282, no. 864; Notizie per l'anno bissestile 1752. Rome : Nella Stamperia del Chracas, presso S. Marco al Corso, 1752, p. 109; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 7, 42, 48 and 56; Rivera, Giuseppe. Memorie biografiche dei cardinali Abruzzesi. Aquila : Tipografia G. Mele, 1924, pp. 132-146.

Links. His engraving by Girolamo Rossi, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali; and plaque in the house where he was born, via S.Margherita 19, Urbino (the date of his brith on the plaque in wrong).

(1) This is the text of the inscription on his tomb, taken from Forcella, Iscrizioni delle chiese e d'altri edificii di Roma dal secolo XI fino ai giorni nostri, II, p. 282, no. 864:

D     O     M
DOMINICVS
BASILICÆ SS. XII. APOSTOLICORVM
S. R. E.
PRESBYTER CARDINALIS RIVERA VRBINAN.
VIXIT ANN. LXXXI. MENS. XI.
OBIIT
DIE II. NOVEMBRIS AN. MDCCLII
ORATE PRO EO


When the basilica was renovated in the last quarter of the 19th century, the simple inscription that had been placed on his tomb was replaced by a more elegant and detailed one composed by Canon Domenico Mariangeli. This is its text taken from Rivera, Memorie biografiche dei cardinali Abruzzesi, p. 144:

DOMENICO RIVERA BASILICÆ XII APOSTOLORUM
S. R. E. PRESBYTERO CARDINALI JOANNIS CAROLI FILIO URBINATI
EX DYNASTIS MARSORUM ET PATRICIA NOBILITATE AQUILANA
FRANCISCUS DUX ET JOSEPHUS MILES HIEROSOLIMITANUS
CÆSARIS PATRICII ROMANI ET AQUILANI FILII
OSSIBUS IN TEMPLI INSTAURATIONE NOVO LOCO RECONDITIS
MAIORUM SUORUM NOBILISSIMO ANNO MDCCCLXXIX
VIXIT AN. LXXX M. XI D. VIII OBIIT III ID. NOV. MDCCLII
GRÆCE LATINEQUE ADMODUM SAPIENS
ITALICAS LITTERAS EX LABE SÆCULI XVII
PRISTINÆ INTEGRITATI RESTITUERE STUDENTIBUS
POTENTER SE ADIUNXIT
GRAVISSIMA CHRISTIANÆ REPUBLICÆ NEGOTIA IN DECUS ROMANÆ SEDIS
DEXTERE SANCTE FELICITER GESSIT
MUNERIBUS VISUS NULLIS ET HONORIBUS IMPAR

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