The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Pius VI (1775-1799)
Consistory of April 15, 1776 (V)


(7) 1. VALENTI GONZAGA, Luigi (1725-1808)

Birth. October 15, 1725, Roveredo, diocese of Mantua. Son of Odoardo Valenti Gonzaga, president of the Senate of Mantua, and Francesca Castelbarco. Baptized on the day of his birth. Nephew of Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga (1738), who directed his education. Uncle of Cardinal Cesare Guerrieri Gonzaga (1819).

Education. Studied at La Sapienza University, Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, on August 24, 1751.

Early life. Dedicating himself to the ecclesiastical state, he entered the service of the Holy See. Pope Benedict XIV named him his privy chamberlain supernumerary; consultor of the S.C. of Rites; prelate of the S.C. of the Fabric of St. Peter's basilica; and protonotary apostolic supernumerary. Pope Clement XIII named him prelate of the S.C. of Ecclesiastical Immunity. Referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace. President of the Apostolic Chamber, July 1753. Abbot commendatario of S. Tommaso d'Acquarella, September 1756. Abbot commendatario of S.Maria di Brera in October 1758. Cleric of the Apostolic Chamber, September 1759; and later, its dean. Consultor of the S.C. of Rites in 1759. Relator of the S.C. of Religious Immunity. Cardinal Alessandro Albani named him vicar of the deaconry and basilica of S. Maria in Cosmedin. Received the subdiaconate on June 17, 1764; and the diaconate on June 24, 1764.

Priesthood. Ordained, June 29, 1764.

Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Cesarea, July 9, 1764. Consecrated, July 25, 1764, Pauline chapel of the Qurinale palace, Rome, by Pope Clement XIII, assisted by Giovanni Ottavio Bufalini, titular archbishop of Calcedonia, and by Giovanni Carlo Boschi, titular archbishop of Atene. In the same ceremony was consecrated Urbano Paracciani, archbishop of Fermo, future cardinal. Nuncio in Switzerland, with residence in Lucerne, July 27, 1764. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, August 10, 1764. Nuncio in Spain, September 2, 1773.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal and reserved in pectore in the consistory of April 15, 1776; published in the consistory of May 20, 1776; with an apostolic brief dated June 5, 1776, the pope sent him the red biretta to Madrid with ablegato apostolic Monsignor Cesare Guerrieri Gonzaga, his nephew and future cardinal; received the red hat on December 18, 1777; and the title of S. Agnese fuori le mura, March 30, 1778. Assigned to the SS. CC. of the Holy Office, Bishops and Regulars, Council, Propaganda Fide, Indulgences and Relics, Index, delle Acque; and Corrections of Books of the Oriental Church. Protector of the Canons Regular Lateran; of the monastery of S. Marta; of Collegio Germanico-Ungarico; of the Archconfraternity of Gesù e Maria; of the nuns of Corps Domini of Forlì; and of Castel Madama. Legate in Romandiola for a triennium, June 1, 1778; on July 8, 1778, Advocate V. Patuzzi, governor of Ravenna took possession of the legation for the cardinal; entered the legation on November 8, 1778; reappointed for another triennium, January 10, 1781, occupied the post until April 1783; he restored the sepulchre of Dante Alighieri in Ravenna. Prefect of the Economy of the S.C. of Propaganda Fide, succeeding Cardinal Antonio Visconti in 1788. Opted for the title of Ss. Nereo ed Achilleo, November 29, 1790. Prefect of the S.C. of Ecclesiastical Immunity, succeeding Cardinal Vitaliano Borromeo in 1793; occupied the post until December 1800. Opted for the order of bishops and the suburbicarian see of Albano, June 1, 1795. In 1798, after the occupation of Rome by the French revolutionary forces, he remained in the city with another twelve cardinals; on March 8, they were imprisoned, in spite of the fact that Cardinals Valenti Gonzaga and Rezzonico were gravely ill. After the death of Pope Pius VI, he was able to go to Venice for the conclave. Participated in the conclave of 1799-1800, which elected Pope Pius VII. Named librarian of the Holy Roman Church, January 12, 1802 until his death. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Porto e Santa Rufina, August 3, 1807. Sub-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. He was a patron of letters and culture. He founded seminaries and public schools.

Death. December 29, 1808, around 6 a.m., at the palace of Collegio Germanico-Ungarico, Rome, where he resided. Exposed in the oratory of that collegio for three days, in which mornings masses were celebrated; masses were also celebrated in the church of S. Apollinare, declared privileged by the pope; in the evening of the last day, the body was transferred to that church the following day the capella papale was celebrated in the presence of cardinals and prelates; the mass was sung by Cardinal Alessandro Mattei, bishop of Palestrina, who also imparted the final absolution. Burial was in the chapel of S. Luigi Gonzaga, in the church of S. Apollinare, as he had ordered; a simple marble slab was placed over the tomb.

Bibliography. Fink, Urban. Die Luzerner Nuntiatur 1586-1873 : Zur Behördengeschichte und Quellenkunde der päpstlichen Diplomatie in der Schweiz. Luzern ; Stuttgart : Rex Verlag, 1997. (Collectanea Archivi Vaticani ; Bd. 40) (Luzerner Historische Veröffentlichungen ; Bd. 32), p. ; Karttunen, Liisi. Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes de 1650 à 1800. Genève : E. Chaulmontet, 1912, p. 266; Moroni, Gaetano. Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni. 103 vols. in 53. Venezia : Tipografia Emiliana, 1840-1861, LXXXVII, 249-250; 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. 31, 39, 40, 41, 47 and 137 Weber, Christoph. Legati e governatori dello Stato Pontificio : 1550-1809. Roma : Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1994. (Pubblicazioni degli archivi di Stato. Sussidi; 7), pp. 372-373 and 962.

Link. Galleria Museo Palazzo Valenti Gonzaga, in Italian; his sketch by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Musée Ingres, Montauban, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, France; his engraving by Antonio Capellan, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; and his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic.

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(8) 2. ARCHINTO, Giovanni (1736-1799)

Birth. August 10, 1736, Milan. Second of the four children of Filippo Archinto, count of Tainate, and Giulia Borromeo-Arese. The other children were Carlo, Lodovico and Giulia. Great-grand-nephew of Cardinal Giuseppe Archinto (1699). Nephew of Cardinals Alberico Archinto (1756); and Vitaliano Borromeo (1766), on his mother's side.

Education. Studied at the University of Pavia; and later at La Sapienza University, Rome, where he earned a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, on July 27, 1759.

Early life. Entered the Roman prelature. In 1749 he became abbot commendatario of S. Antonio di Milano. He owed his initial success to the interest and the protection of his powerful uncle, Cardinal Alberico, secretary of state of Benedict XIV. Privy chamberlain of Pope Clement XIII in 1758. In that same year, he was sent to France as ablegato apostolic to bring the red biretta to new Cardinal François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, future ambassador of France in Rome. While in Paris, he was able to earn the respect and sympathy of King Louis XV, with highly profitable results, because the king granted him the revenues of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Faron, in the diocese of Meaux. Referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace, September 20, 1759.

Sacred orders Received the subdiaconate on December 23, 1759. Vice-legate in Bologna, 1759-1763. Received the diaconate on March 2, 1760.

Priesthood. Ordained, March 3, 1760. Protonotary apostolic de numero participantium. Relator of the Sacred Consulta, June 1763. Abbot commendatario of S. Giuliano, Como, February 1764.

Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Filippi, December 1, 1766. Consecrated, December 8, 1766, Quirinale Palace, Rome, by Pope Clement XIII, assisted by Scipione Borghese, titular archbishop Teodosia, and by Ignazio Reali, titular archbishop of Atena. In the same ceremony was consecrated Giovanni Battista Caprara, titular archbishop of Iconio, future cardinal. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, December 8, 1766. Nuncio in Tuscany, December 20, 1766 until June 1769 (1). Abbot commendatario of S. Maria di Brera, Milan, 1766. Abbot commendatario of S. Lanfranco, diocese of Pavia. Secretary of Memoriali, June 20, 1769. Papal majordome and prefect of the Apostolic Palace, November 9, 1770. The Sacred College of Cardinals named him governor of the 1774-1775 conclave, in which was elected Pope Pius VI. The new pope confirmed him in his posts and renewed and increased the economic privileges of those charges. Abbot commendatario of Ss. Pietro e Paolo, Cremona, from November 1775; he exchanged that abbey for the one of S. Lanfranco, Pavia, April 1776.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal and reserved in pectore in the consistory of April 15, 1776; published in the consistory of May 20, 1776; received the red hat on December 18, 1777; and the title of Ss. XII Apostoli, July 15, 1776. Protector of the Orders of the Benedictines Olivetani, January 1777; and Saint Augustine, January 1781. Protector of the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles, November 1780. Prefect of the S.C. of Rites, January 1781. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals from 1785 until February 13, 1786. Abbot commendatario of S. Girolamo, diocese of Como, 1793. Opted for the order of bishops and the suburbicarian see of Sabina, June 1, 1795. After the French invasion and the proclamation of the Roman Republic in 1798, he was expelled from the city and took up residence in Milan, where he died shortly after.

Death. February 9, 1799, Milan. Exposed and buried (no information found).

Bibliography. Karttunen, Liisi. Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes de 1650 à 1800. Genève : E. Chaulmontet, 1912, p. 231; Moroni, Gaetano. Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni. 103 vols. in 53. Venezia : Tipografia Emiliana, 1840-1861, II, 277; 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. 31, 41, 42 and 337; Weber, Christoph and Becker, Michael. Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte. 6 v. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 1999-2002. (Päpste und Papsttum, Bd. 29, 1-6), I, 58; Weber, Christoph. Legati e governatori dello Stato Pontificio : 1550-1809. Roma : Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1994. (Pubblicazioni degli archivi di Stato. Sussidi; 7) pp. 160 and 461.

Links. Biography by Elvira Gencarelli, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Treccani; biography, in German, Wikipedia (the engraving is that of Cardinal Giuseppe Archinto (1699)); his engraving, arms and biography, in Italian, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving by Antonio Capellan, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his portrait, diocese of Sabina.

(1) This is according to Ritzler, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VI, 337. Karttunen, Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes de 1650 à 1800, p. 231, indicates that he was named on December 16, 1766.

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