The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Pius VI (1775-1799)
Consistory of August 3, 1789 (XIX)


(62) 1. FLANGINI, Ludovico (1733-1804)

Birth. July 26, 1733, Venice. Of a noble family that came originally from Cyprus. Son of Marco Flangini and Cecilia Eleonora Giovanelli. His last name is also listed as Flangini Giovanelli.

Education. He received an excellent literary education with strong classical emphasis; he became a learned expert on the Greco-Roman world; and then began the traditional political career of Venetian nobles.

Early life. He assumed the Venetian patriciate when he was very young. He married Laura Maria Donato in 1759 and had a daughter, Cecilia (she married Giulio Panciera, count of Zoppola in 1779); his wife died on March 17, 1762 and he retired to Asolo. In 1763, having reached the age prescribed by the Venetian law, requested and was granted admission to the Consigli Serenisimi di Quarenta, which judged, alternating every eight months, civil and criminal cases. Elected avogadore del comune in 1766 and 1769. On August 31, 1774, he was named one of the five "correctors of the law" to study and propose changes in the social life of Venice. He openly supported the conservative philo-senatorial tendency and was hostile to the Quarantiotti; elected from among the correctors of the laws, in November 1774, he proposed to the Council of the Ten the closing of the Ridotto di S. Moisè (a public casino), considering it a strong fostering of gambling. He hoped for a rapid and brilliant career at the top of the Venetian political system, but in 1776, disappointed by the failure to be designated a procurator of S. Marco, he suddenly embraced the ecclesiastical state. The Venetian Senate for the first time made use of the privilege granted by Pope Clement XII and appointed him auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota on March 16, 1779.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of August 3, 1789; received the red hat on August 6, 1789; and the deaconry of Ss. Cosma e Daminao, December 14, 1789. Ascribed to the SS. CC. of the Tridentine Council, Rites, Examination of Bishops, Ecclesiastical Immunity and Discipline of the Regulars. Received the diaconate on March 28, 1790. Opted for the deaconry of S. Agata in Suburra, February 21, 1794.

Priesthood. Ordained, 1799, before entering the conclave. Participated in the conclave of 1799-1800, celebrated in Venice, which elected Pope Pius VII; author of a diary of the conclave which is very valued by historians. Opted for the order of priests and the title of S. Marco, April 2, 1800. After the conclave, he went to Vienna to collect the credits of his pro-imperial endeavors; he sought and obtained confirmation of the pension (10,000 ducati) canceled by the democratic Municipality after the fall of the Republic of Venice; as well as the election to the patriarchate. He was presented for the patriarchate of Venice by Emperor Franz II on November 14, 1801. He was the first patriarch nominated by Austria after the dissolution of the Republic of Venice on October 18, 1797.

Episcopate. Elected patriarch of Venice, December 23, 1801; on that same day he was granted the pallium. Consecrated, Sunday March 14, 1802, in Vienna, by Cardinal Christoph Anton von Migazzi, archbishop of Vienna. From Vienna he addressed the faithful his first pastoral letter, which central themes were the need for a better preparation of the clergy, the religious instruction of the people, and the struggle against the "false maxims of pseudo philosophers". He took possession of the see on the following November 24. In the short period of his episcopate, Cardinal Flangini reduced the stipend for masses; took some church funds and benefices in order to improve the economic condition of the clergy; erected new confraternities; oversaw the education of the clergy; improved the operation of the seminary; gave an impulse to the devotion of the Forty Hours; issued provisions on the robes of priests and women; punished the most serious abuses of some ecclesiastics; but did not have time to establish, as he desired, an academy of sacred eloquence. Privy counselor of Emperor Francis I of Austria. Named count of the Sacred Roman Empire. Opted for the title of S. Anastasia, May 24, 1802. In a conference with the Plenipotentiary Ministers Counts Franz von Bissingen and G. Maillat held on August 14, 1802, Cardinal Flangini tried in vain to obtain the restoration of the Court of the Holy Office (to fight against "secret societies" and "Free Mason sects"); the exclusive in judgments in matrimonial matters and in those of beneficiaries dei piovani e titolati; and the right of review of ecclesiastical books and broadsides; his insistence on submission of regular orders to their superiors general, rather than to the bishops; and the restoration of the suppressed Society of Jesus, were unsuccessful. He was more successful on other matters relating to the discipline of the clergy and the faithful: the cardinal could then choose among the priests of his diocese the chancellor of the patriarchal curia; he obtained allowances for the benefit of the school of catechumens, the patriarchal seminary (with the removal of the employee dependent of the primicerius) and the regular clergy, in order to reduce the convents Venetian to the state of "perfect community". Decorated with the grand cross of the Austrian Royal Order of Sankt Stefan of Hungary (Königlich ungarischer St. Stephans-Orden) in 1803. He initiated a pastoral visit to the diocese on May 2, 1803, but it was interrupted by his death; in 1804 and 1805, Vicar Capitular Nicolò Bortolatti continued the visit.

Death. February 29, 1804, Venice. Exposed and buried in the patriarchal cathedral of Venice.

Bibliography. Bertoli, Bruno. La visita pastorale di Ludovico Flangini nella diocesi di Venezia (1803). Roma : Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1969; Niero, Antonio. I patriarchi di Venezia. Da Lorenzo Giustiniani ai nostri giorni. Venice : Studium Cattolico Veneziano, 1961. (Collana storica, 3), pp. 155-158 and 254; Notizie per l'anno MDCCCII. In Roma MDCCCII : Nella Stamperia Cracas, con Licen. de' Sup. e Privilegio, p. 15; Orsoni, Alessandro. Cronologia storica dei vescovi Olivolensi detti dapoi Castellani e sucessivi patriarchi di Venezia. Corredata di annotazioni illustranti l'ecclesiastico-civile veneta storia. Venezia : Tip. G.S. Felice, 1828, p. 425-434; 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. 36-37, 50 and 51; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 40, 42 and 391.

Links. Biography by Paolo Preto, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 48 (1997), Treccani; his engraving and arms, Araldica Vaticana.

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