The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758)
Consistory of April 22, 1754 (V)


(54) 1. SERSALE, Antonino (1702-1775)

Birth. June 25 (or 26), 1702, Sorrento. Second child of Cesare Sersale, signore of Capua, and Anna (Maria Antonia) Antinori, descendant of one of the principal families of Florence. He was given the name Antonino because of the great veneration his mother had for S. Antonino, archbishop of Florence. The other children were Pietro, Giacomo, Beatrice, and several others who died at birth.

Education. He received his initial education at home under Antonio Antinori, his maternal uncle; he then entered the Seminary of Naples, where he studied philosophy and theology; later, he attended the University of Naples, earning a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, on May 2, 1743.

Sacred orders. Received the subdiaconate, April 15, 1724; diaconate, September 23, 1724.

Priesthood. Ordained, May 26, 1725. Ascribed himself among the missionaries of the congregation of S. Maria Regina degli Apostoli, dedicated to preaching, instruction and catechesis of the people both in the churches of the capital city and those of the province. He was an assiduous confessor at the cathedral of Sorrento. Deciding to go to Naples to continue exercising his preaching, he was named chaplain of the Royal Chapel of the Treasury of S. Gennaro. Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, archbishop of Naples, named him canon presbyter of the cathedral chapter of Naples in 1741. For his great fame for his doctrine and zeal, he was destined by the S.C. of Propaganda Fide to conduct the missions in the city and kingdom of Naples; he achieved great success in his charge; among the attendants to his preaching was King Carlos III of Spain. Nominated archbishop of Brindisi by King Carlos III at the proposal of Cardinal Spinelli.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Brindisi, September 9, 1743 (1). Consecrated, September 29, 1743, Naples, by Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, archbishop of Naples. Transferred to the metropolitan see of Taranto, November 16, 1750 (2). When Cardinal Spinelli resigned the see of Naples to take residence in Rome, Archbishop Sersale was transferred to the metropolitan see of Naples on February 11, 1754.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 22, 1754; received the red hat on April 25, 1754; and the title of S. Pudenziana, May 20, 1754. Participated in the conclave of 1758, which elected Pope Clement XIII. Participated in the conclave of 1769, which elected Pope Clement XIV. Participated in the conclave of 1774-1775, which elected Pope Pius VI. Soon after the conclave, he returned to Naples and fell ill with respiratory problems and dropsy.

Death. June 24, 1775, Naples. His body was exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Naples, where the solemn funeral took place. The late cardinal was buried in the tomb of the archbishops. In the transversal nave of the cathedral of Naples a marble monument, made by Giuseppe Sammartino, was erected to his memory (3).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1797, IX, 55-57; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 17, 48, 132, 305 and 393; Seidler, Sabrina M.; Weber, Christoph. Päpste und Kardinäle in der Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts (1730-1777) : das biographische Werk des Patriziers von Lucca Bartolomeo Antonio Talenti. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang, 2007. (Beiträge zur Kirchen- und Kulturgeschichte, Bd. 18), p. 630-633; Weber, Christoph and Becker, Michael. Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte. 6 v. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 1999-2002. (Päpste und Papsttum, Bd. 29, 1-6), IV, 892; 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. 229-236.

Links. Biography, in Italian, Wkipedia; Famiglia Sersale, in Italian, Nobili Napoletani; plaque placed in the house where he was born, Chi era costui?; his portrait by Giuseppe Bonito, Araldica Vaticana; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Italia; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Italia; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Italia; his portrait, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Italia; , Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Italia; his engraving by Antonio Pazzi, CalcoGRAFICA - Istituto Nazionale della Grafica, Italy; his funeral monument in the cathedral of Naples, flikr.

(1) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VI, 132; Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 230-231, says that the papal bull of his election was dated September 20, 1745 and that his episcopal consecration took place on October 20, 1745.
(2) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VI, 393; Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 231, says that he was transferred in April 1749.
(3) This is the inscription in the monument transcribed from Zigarelli, Biografie dei vescovi e arcivescovi della chiesa di Napoli, p. 236:

ANTONIO. CARD. SERSALIO. ARCHIEP. NEAP.
QVEM. A. BRVNDVSINA.
AC. PORRO. TARENTINA. ECCLESIIS.
STRENVE. TOTO. DECENNIO. ADMINISTRATIS.
EVECTVM. AD. HANC. CATHEDRAM.
ROMANAQVE. PVRPVRA. DECORATVM.
APOSTOLICA. MVNIA. RITE. OBITA.
CLERCIALIS. DISCIPLINA.
AC. LITERARVM. CVLTVRA. AMPLIFICATA.
TVM. PROLIXA. IN. EGENOS. MVNIFICENTIA.
IMMORTALITATE. DONARVNT.
VIXIT. ANNOS. LXXIII.
OBIIT. VIII. KAL. IVL. A. MDCCLXXV.
HEREDES. P.

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