Birth. June 20, 1796, Sinnai, archdiocese of Cagliari, Sardinia.
Education. University of Cagliari, Cagliari, 1815-1818 (doctorate in law); Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles, Rome, 1818; La Sapienza University, Rome (doctorate in utroque iuris, both civil and canon law, December 4, 1826).
Priesthood. Ordained, December 24, 1826. Domestic prelate of His Holiness. Protonotary apostolic supernumerary. Canon of the cathedral chapter of Cagliari. Vice-legate in Bologna, 1819; in Benevento, 1822; in Spoleto, 1823; in Rieti, 1825.
Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Nicea, April 9, 1827. Consecrated, April 22, 1827, Rome, by Cardinal Giuseppe Spina. Nuncio in Sicily, April 24, 1827. Nuncio in Spain, November 13, 1832; expelled in 1835 when the diplomatic relations were broken.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of May 19, 1837; received the red hat, May 22, 1837; and the title of S. Maria in Via, October 2, 1837. Apostolic legate in Ravenna, December 19, 1837. Prefect of economy of the S.C. of Propaganda Fide, December 26, 1843. Participated in the conclave of 1846, which elected Pope Pius IX. Apostolic legate in Bologna, December 22, 1846. Commissary extraordinary of four legations, August 17, 1848. Ceased as legate in Bologna, October 28, 1848. Opted for the order of cardinal bishops and the suburbicarian see of Palestrina, March 15, 1852. Vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, sommista of apostolic letters, and commendatario of the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, September 27, 1852 until his death. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, March 7, 1853 until April 7, 1854. Archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian basilica, September 21, 1867. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Porto e Santa Rufina, October 8, 1870. As dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, opted for the suburbicarian see of Ostia and Velletri, March 12, 1877. Prefect of the S.C. Ceremonial. Participated in the conclave of 1878, which elected Pope Leo XIII. Commendatore of the Order of Sts. Mauritius and Lazarus.
Death. March 30, 1878, Rome. Exposed in the church of S. Maria in Vallicella, Rome, and buried, temporarily, in Campo Verano cemetery, Rome. Transferred to the church of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, Rome.
Bibliography. Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 29, 43 and 282; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 44.
Links. His engraving and biography, in German, Wikipedia; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek,
(35) 2. MAI, Angelo (1782-1854)
Birth. March 7, 1782, Schilpario, diocese of Bergamo. Of a humble family. Son of Angelo Mai, a modest coal merchat, and his wife, Pietra Mai dei Battistei. He was baptized by the pastor of the local parish, Father Govanni Grassi, who cultivated his first religious inclinations.
Education. First studies in Schilpario at Collegio Clusone, under Professor Angelo Cossali; then, at Seminary of Bergamo, from 1796 to 1797, where he studied rhetoric with Professor Gambirasio, an elegant poet; he enjoyed the protection of Archpriest Luigi Mozzi de' Capistani, a former Jesuit, who had returned to Bergamo when the Society of Jesus was disbanded in Italy; in that year, because of the French invasion, the seminary had to be closed and Angelo returned to Schilpario, where he his studies under the guidance of Provost Giovanni Grassi. After two years at home, in 1799 he left for Colorno, Parma, to request admission in the Society of Jesus; there he studied philosophy under Father Luigi Fortis; in 1803, he passed to the Jesuit house of S. Rocco, Parma, where he studied humanities and Hebrew under the celebre Orientalist Father Gian Bernardo de' Rossi; on November 12, 1804 he began to teach belle lettere in the school Gesù Vecchio, in Naples; he received the religious habit on November 20, 1804; when in 1806, the Napoleonic army dissolved the religious communities in Naples, he went to Rome and taught at at Collegio Romano; shortly after, calleed by Bishop Giovanni Battista Lambruschini of Orvieto, he arrived in that city on September 18, 1806. Two days later, he received the subdiaconate.
Priesthood. Ordained, October 10, 1806, Orvieto, by Bishop Giovanni Battista Lambruscini of Orvieto. During the time he spent in Orvieto, he was initiated in the study of paleography by Spanish Jesuit Fathers Montero and R. Menchaca; and at the same time he deepened the study of Hebrew. Because of a Napoleonic edict ordering all the Italian subjects to go to their province of origin, he fixed his residence in Milan, instead of going to Rome as he had planned. Scrittore of Oriental languages, at the Ambrosian Library, Milan, August 9, 1810 until 1819; Father Mozzi obtained for him the admission to the library. Honorary member of the Ateneo Scienze Lettere ed Arti di Bergamo, 1818-1848. Left the Society in 1819 at the Pope's request and with the authorization of the superior general of the order; the pope declared that he was more useful to the Vatican Library than to the Society of Jesus. Custodian of the Vatican Library from the end of 1819 until April 15, 1833; Cardinals Ercole Consalvi, secretary of State; and Lorenzo Litta, recommended Father Mai for the post of custodian. Canon of the chapter of the patriarchal Vatican basilica, 1822. Domestic prelate of His Holiness, 1825. In 1825, he began the forty volume monumental collection in which he collected and ordered all the discoveries already made and those which followed. Protonotary apostolic, 1830. In the conclave of 1830, he pronounced the oration De eligendo pontifici. Secretary of the S.C. of Propaganda Fide, April 15, 1833. Consultor of the Supreme S.C. of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, May 1, 1833.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal and reserved in pectore in the consistory of May 19, 1837; published in the consistory of February 12, 1838; received the red hat and the title of S. Anastasia, February 15, 1838. On the same of the publication of his promotion to the cardinalate, he wrote to Count Pietro Moroni, podestà of Bergamo communicating the news. The city of Bergamo placed a portrait of the cardinal by Podesti in the municipal hall; the new cardinal donated to the muncipal library of Bergamo all his works and collections; in gratitude, the conservators of the library dedicated a bust of the cardinal by Pietro Tenerani. Prefect of the S.C. of the Index, March 11, 1843 until 1848. Honorary member of the Division of Historical Sciences and Philology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, December 16, 1843. Participated in the conclave of 1846, which elected Pope Pius IX. Prefect of the S.C. of the Tridentine Council, 1851 until July 1853. In 1852, he started the publication of Novae patrum bibliothecae. Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, June 27, 1853. A celebrated philologist and paleographer, considered one of the most learned men of his time, he continued his research and publications until his death. He was protector of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).
Death. September 9, 1854, at noon, of a strong colic, in Castelgandolfo, diocese of Albano. Exposed in his title, S. Anastasia, where the funeral took place in the presence of the pope and the Sacred College of Cardinals on September 13; and buried in that church; he had commission Bergamese sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni a sepulchral monument, which was built in that church; and composed his own epitaph (1). In his will, he declared his universal heir La Communità dei poveri of Schilpario; and left to the parish church his priestly ornaments and silver objects. In Bergamo, a solemn funeral was celebrated in S. Maria Maggiore, with the participation of the Bergamese prelates; Abate Pier Antonio Uccelli, of Clusone, a friend of the late cardinal, delivered the funeral eulogy. After his death, his library was acquired by the Vatican Library. In 1954, on the centennial of his death, the Civica Biblioteca di Bergamo was named after him.
Bibliography. Del Re, Niccolò. "I cardinali prefetti della Sacra Congregazione del Concilio dalle origini ad oggi (1564-1964)." Apollinaris, XXXVII (1964), pp. 136-137; Dentella, Lorenzo. I vescovi di Bergamo. (Notizie storica). Bergamo : Editrice Sant'Alessandro, 1939, p. 511-517; LeBlanc, Jean. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux du XIXe siècle : contribution à l'histoire du Sacré Collège sous les potificats de Pie VII, Léon XII, Pie VIII, Grégoire XVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII, 1800-1903. Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2007. (Collection Gratianus. Série instruments de recherche), p. 560-564; "Mai, Angelo". The English cyclopædia. A new dictionary of universal knowledge. Conducted by Charles Knight. London : Bradbury and Evans, 1854-72, IV, col. 54-56; Murphy, Francis Xavier. "Mai, Angelo." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Prepared by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America. 19 vols. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967-1996, 9, 79; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 29 and 40.
Links. Biography by Paul Lejay, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography by A. Carrannante, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Treccani; biography and bibliograohy by Georgios Fatouros, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon; biography, in English, The English cyclopædia: a new dictionary of universal knowledge, col. 54-56; his portrait, bibliography and biography, in English, Wikipedia; his portrait, bibliography and biography, in Spanish, Wikipedia; his astrology data, horoscope chart and biography, in English, Astrodienst AG; 1997 bibliographic items by or about Angelo Mai, WorldCat; Novae patrum bibliothecae by Angelo Mai, vol. 1-7, Internet Archive; his portrait in the Vatican Library, Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; his tomb by Giovanni Maria Benzoni, S. Anastasia, Rome, iccd immagini, Fototeca Nazionale; and Cardenales archiveros y bibliotecarios de la Santa Iglesia Romana, desde la fundación del Archivo Secreto Vaticano (1610) hasta hoy, in Spanish, Archivo Secreto Vaticano.
(1) This is the text, taken from Dentella, I vescovi di Bergamo, p. 517:
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