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The Inquisitors in Malta 1561-1798

19 Feb

Information taken from “Birgu – A Maltese Maritime City” Vol II

Inquisitor

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Domenico Cubelles 1561-1566
Martino Royas da Porta Tubeo 1573-1574
Pietro Dusina 1574-1575
Pier Santo Humano 1575-1577
Rinaldo Corso 1577-1579
Domenico Petrucci 1579-1580
Federico Cefalotto 1580-1583
Pier Francesco Costa 1583-1585
Ascanio Libertano 1585-1587
Giovanbattista Petralata 1587
Paolo Bellardito 1587-1591
Angelo Gemmario 1591
Giovanni Ludovico Dell’Armi 1592-1595
Innocenzo Del Bufalo de’ Cancellieri 1595-1598
Antonio Ortensio 1598-1600
Fabrizio Verallo 1600-1605
Ettore Diotallevi 1605-1607
Leonetto Della Corbara 1607-1609
Evangelista Carbonese 1609-1614
Fabio Delagonessa 1614-1619
Antonio Tornielli 1619-1621
Paolo Torelli 1621-1623
Carlo Bovi 1623
Onorato Visconti 1624
Nicolo Herrera 1627-1630
Ludovico Serristori 1630
Martino Alfieri 1631-1634
Fabio Chigi 1634-1639
Giovanni Battista Gori Pannellini 1639-1646
Antonio Pignatelli 1646-1649
Carlo Cavalletti 1649-1652
Federico Borromeo 1653-1655
Giulio Degloi Oddi 1655-1658
Gerolamo Casanate 1658-1663
Galeazzo Marescoti 1663-1667
Angelo Maria Ranuzzi 1668
Carlo Bichi 1668-1670
Giovanni Tempi 1670-1672
Raniero Pallavicini 1672-1677
Ercole Visconti 1677-1678
Giacomo Cantelmi 1678-1686
Innico Caracciolo 1686-1691
Francesco Acquaviva d’Aragona 1691-1694
Tommaso Ruffo 1694-1698
Giacomo Filiberto Ferrero di Messerano 1698-1703
Giorgio Spinola 1703-1706
Giacomo Caracciolo 1706-1711
Raniero D’Elci 1711-1718
Lazzarao Pallavicini 1718-1720
Antonio Ruffo 1720-1728
Fabrizio Serbelloni 1728-1730
Giovanni Francesco Stoppani 1730-1735
Carlo Francesco Durini 1735-1739
Ludovico Gualterio Gualtieri 1739-1743
Paolo Passionei 1743-1754
Gregorio Salviati 1754-1760
Angelo Durini 1760-1766
Giovanni Ottavio Mancinforte Sperelli 1766-1771
Antonio Lante 1771-1777
Antonio Felice Zondadari 1777-1785
Alessio Falconieri 1785
Giovanni Filippo Gallarati Scotti 1785-1793
Giulio Carpegna 1793-1798

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Some information about each of the Inquisitors, describing his more important activities in Malta, and what became of him after leaving the island. With the sole exception of one, namely Paolo Bellardito, none of them returned to Malta after the end of their term of office. However, many of them remembered Malta after they had left.  62 Inquisitors resided at the Inquisitors’ Palace in Birgu, 2 were subsequently elected Supreme Pontiffs and 22 were made Cardinals. Paolo Passionei was the longest serving Inquisitor in Malta (1743-1754).

1. DOMENICO CUBELLES (1561-66) was born in Zaragoza in Spain. He was Conventual Chaplain of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and Grand Prior of the Conventual Church of St Lawrence at Birgu. Emperor Charles V presented him as a candidate for the bishopric of the Maltese diocese and Pope Paul III nominated him on 10 December 1540. In 1562, he announced the establishing of the Roman Inquisition -in Malta and he was appointed as the first Inquisitor. Cubelles administered the Inquisition from Birgu until 1565, when all activity of the tribunal was suspended on account of the Great Siege. This Bishop of Malta, however, remained Inquisitor until the day of his death, 22 November 1566.

2. MARTINO ROYAS (1573-74) was born in Portalruvio in Spain. He obtained a doctorate in law and, as a priest, he was accepted as conventual Chaplain of the Order of St John. He was Vice-Chancellor of the Order and represented it during the third session of the Council of Trent (1562-63). On 5 November 1572, Pope Gregory XIII appointed him Bishop of Malta and later, on 20 March i573, Inquisitor. His term as Inquisitor was a troubled one. The Knights did all in their power to have him removed from his first office and they succeeded; towards the middle of 1574, Royas’ brief as Inquisitor was withdrawn. “While remaining Bishop, of Malta, Royas left the island in 1576. He died in Rome on 19 March 1577.

3. PIETRO DUSINA (1574-75) was born in Brescia, Italy. For a time, he was vicar to Cardinal Carafa of Naples. On 3 July 1574, he was appointed Inquisitor and Apostolic Delegate for Malta. All his successors were Apostolic Delegates as well. He is best remembered for his Apostolic Visitation to this diocese in 1575. He was a man of very strict discipline, and continued to look to Bishop Royas for support. He left Malta for Rome, on 12 June 1575, and not much else is known about him.

4. PIER SANTO HUMANO (1575-77), a Canon of the Lateran Basilica, he was appointed Inquisitor for Malta on 20 April 1575, by Pope Gregory XIII. He, too, collaborated with Bishop Royas and toiled incessantly to bring about peace between the Church and the Order of St John. After Martino Royas had left Malta, in 1576, Humano was elected Protector of the Diocese on 12 January 1577. He left Malta at the beginning of April 1577. In Rome he became Assessor to the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office.

5. RINALDO CORSO (1577-79) was born in Verona in 1525.  He was a man of letters. On 23 June 1576, Pope Gregory XIII appointed him Inquisitor for Malta. He clashed violently with both Grand Master de la Cassiere and with Bishop Gargallo. He left Malta towards the end of June 1579 when he became Bishop of Strongoli. He died around 1582.

6. DOMENICO PETRUCCI (1579-80) was born in Citta’ di Castello. He obtained a doctorate in law and in, 1579, Pope Gregory XIII appointed him Inquisitor to Malta. Grand Master de la Cassiere interfered with his work and the enmity between them increased when Petrucci turned to Rome for support. The Inquisitor was falsely accused of wanting to murder the Grand Master. The persecution by his enemies proved to be too much for him and, in September 1580, he escaped from Malta. In 1582, he was elected Bishop of Strongoli and, in 1584, Bishop of Bisignano. He died around 1598.

7. FEDERICO CEFALOTTO (1580-83) obtained a doctorate in law and, towards the end of 1580, Pope Gregory XIII appointed him as Inquisitor for Malta. His term of office was constantly troubled. In fact during his administration there were two events of consequence. Two decisions of the utmost gravity were taken: the Order suspended Grand Master de Ia Cassiere and the Inquisitor suspended Bishop Gargallo.  As an Inquisitor, Cefalotto was a complete failure. Towards the beginning of 1583 he departed from Malta and was soon forgotten.

8. PIER FRANCESCO COSTA (1583-84) was born at Albenga in 1544. He obtained a doctorate in law and later took Holy Orders. He was also well-trained in theology. In November 1583, he was sent by Pope Gregory XIII as Inquisitor to Malta. At a time when the Bishop was suspended, Costa, who was appointed Apostolic Vicar, administered with great prudence, always careful not to open fresh wounds; his office was described as that of superintendent of the bishopric appointed by His Holiness.  Costa supported the request by the Conventual Chaplains to have the Bishop of Malta elected from among them. Having done his duty well, Costa left Malta towards the end of March 1585. He soon became Major-domo of the Apostolic Palace and, in 1587, Bishop of Savona. In 1606, he was appointed Nuncio to the Kingdom of Savoia. He died on 26 December 1625.

9. ASCANIO LIBERTANO (1585-87) was born at Castelbarchio. He obtained a doctorate in law and, on 27 November 1584, was appointed by Gregory XIII as Inquisitor for Malta. In the absence of Bishop Gargallo, he served as Apostolic Vicar for Malta and, as such, conducted the Pastoral Visitation of the diocese in 1585. He was both prudent and determined. During his term of office, Bishop Gargallo returned in June 1586. The Inquisitor did not quarrel with the Knights because he did not meddle in their affairs. Before Libertano left island, his successor, Bishop Giovanni Battista Petralata, was already in Malta. It so happened that the latter died on the very day of his arrival, 21 July 1587.  Libertano left that same year. In 1591 he became Bishop of Cagli and died on 10 March 1607

10. PAOLO BELLARDITO (1587-91) was born at Lentini. In 1580, he became Bishop of Lipari and the Aeolian Isles. In 1585, he left his diocese and, on 15 September 1587, Pope Sixtus V appointed him Inquisitor for Malta. This appointment was not according to his wishes and, as he was rather unhappy with this position, a successor to him was appointed soon after. He left in March 1591 but was to return shortly after.

11. ANGELO GEMMARIO (1591) was a cleric from Florence. Pope Gregory XIV appointed him Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived in June 1591. Nothing on the island captured his interest and within two months of his arrival, he was removed as he was deemed to be incompetent. In spite of his reluctance to leave, he had to go and was replaced by his predecessor BeIlardito.

12. PAOLO BELLARDITO (1591-92) was reappointed provisionally but Gemmario, whom he replaced, obstructed his entry into the palace. Gemmario was threatened with imprisonment, and gave up his post soon after and left the island. Although appointed against his wishes, Bellardito gave efficient service. Pope Innocent XI appointed Matteo Saminiati as his successor, but Saminiati did not take up the appointment. Bellardito died suddenly on 1 March 1592.

13. GIOVANNI-LUDOVICO DELL’ARMI (15 92-95) was born in Bologna. He obtained a doctorate in law and Pope Clement VIII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 12 May 1592. He arrived in Malta at the height of the plague and the tribunal’s activity was consequently thrown into disarray. In 1592, the Collegium Melitense was established with his support as Apostolic Delegate. He completed his term of office with honour in 1595 but, after his departure, various accusations were directed against him before the Inquisition. Nothing very serious was proved against him but the incident marred the prospects for a career in the Church.

14. INNOCENZO DEL BUFALO DE’ CANCELLIERI (1595-98) was born in Rome. He obtained a doctorate in law and was canon at St Peter’s. Pope Clement VIII nominated him Inquisitor for Malta on 3 July 1595. After his election, the Inquisitors began to receive three distinct briefs that defined clearly their duties and activities. Del Bufalo was, undoubtedly, the most prominent Inquisitor of the sixteenth century. Throughout his stay in Malta he lived in Valletta. He was given various powers over the Knights, on whose behalf he worked, and by whom he was highly esteemed. He complained of the poor quality of bread in Malta and sought to remedy the situation. He commented on the large number of prostitutes on the island. Towards the middle of April 1598, he left Malta. He subsequently governed various cities and, in 1601, he became Bishop of Camerino and Apostolic Nuncio to the King of France. He became Cardinal in 1604 and died at the Roman Curia on 27 March 1610.

15. ANTONIO ORTENSIO (1598-1600) was born in Milan. Pope Clement VIII nominated him Inquisitor for Malta on 27 March 1598. The Order of St John unjustly opposed him on matters of jurisdiction so that his term of office was far from peaceful. Nonetheless he gave excellent service, although he was never reluctant to stand up for his rights. He left Malta towards the end of 1600. He subsequently worked as secretary to the Congregation of Bishops.

16. FABRIZIO VERALLO (1600-05) was born in Rome in 1570. He obtained a doctorate in law and became canon at St Peter’s in 1590. On 27 September 1600, Pope Clement VIII appointed him as Inquisitor for Malta. He was a prelate who worked for justice with moderation and soon began to feel uneasy about the many petty incidents he had to face. After protracted litigations on matters of jurisdiction, the Knights finally accepted Verallo as Inquisitor. He left Malta in March 1605 and, in the following year, became Bishop of San Severo in Puglia and Apostolic Nuncio for Switzerland. He became a cardinal in 1608 and died on 17 November 1624.

17. ETTORE DIOTALLEVI (1605-07) was born in Rome. He was well-known for his wisdom and the exemplary life he led. In his youth, he was nominated as Inquisitor for Malta on 24 May 1605. The Knights considered him as too intransigent and ostentatious. His attitude was also remarked upon by Rome with a view to correcting his errors of youthful inexperience. His overzeal was at the root of most of his quarrels. He left Malta in January 1607 and, in the following year, was appointed Bishop of Sant’Agata dei Goti and later, in 1635, of Fano. He died in March 1643.

18. LEONETIO DELLA CORBARA (1607-08) was born in Rome. In his old age, Pope Paul V nominated him Inquisitor for Malta. He arrived in Malta in February 1607. He was incompetent and had to rely on his consultors for most decisions. He was often censured for his ineptitude and rumours were spread that he led a scandalous life. He was, by far, the worst Inquisitor of Malta. He left in October 1608 and thereafter performed some service in the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office.

19. EVAN GELISTA CARBONESE’(1608-14) was born in Bologna. He obtained a doctorate in law, was Vicar-General to the Archbishop of Bologna and later canon at St Peter’s in Rome. Pope Paul V nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 15 October 1608. He was extremely prudent but equally inflexible. A common complaint against him was that he exaggerated his problems. He vigourously protected the patentees of the Holy Office. His biggest mistake was that he personally saw to the execution of a criminal in the Birgu palace. He left Malta in June 1614, when he resumed his former post of canon at St Peter’s Basilica.

20. FABIO DELLA LAGONESSA (1614-19) was born in Naples around 1583. He was a competent jurist and, on 14 March 1614, was nominated Inquisitor for Malta by Pope Paul V. He was severe but, nonetheless, did not quarrel with the Knights. For some time, he also administered the diocese and was praised by his superiors for his achievements. He left Malta in June 1619, when he became consultor to the Holy Office. He received Holy Orders in 1621 and, in the following year, became Metropolitan Bishop of Conza. He was made Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium in 1627 and died in 1650.

21. ANTONIO TORNIELLI (1619-21) was born in Novara. On 10 May 1619, Pope Paul V nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta. His term of office was of a transitory nature, monotonous and of no particular interest. He was generally held in high esteem by his superiors, but he was censured when some captives under his care escaped. He left Malta in August 1621 and went to Rome, where he became deputy of the Cardinal Vicar and secretary to the Congregation of Bishops and Regular Clergy. In 1636, he became Bishop of Novara and died on 8 March 1650.

22. PAOLO TORELLO (1621-23) was born in Parma in 1576. He was awarded a doctorate in law and was sent to Malta as Inquisitor by Pope Gregory XV in April 1621.  From his time onwards Inquisitors acquired the title of lllustrissimi. He was not noted for any particular achievement, and left Malta on 23 July 1623. He became Consultor to the Holy Office and, in 1624, was ordained priest and became Metropolitan Archbishop of Rossano. He left his diocese soon after his appointment, and died in Rome on 3 April 1630.

23. CARLO BOVIO (1623-24) was born in Bologna in 1577. He obtained a doctorate in law and was a canon of St Peter’s in Bologna. In January 1622, he was ordained priest and became Bishop of Bagnoregio. On 12 June 1623 Pope Gregory XV nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta, but he did not turn out to be very suitable for the task as he lacked tact. Although he did not clash with anyone, his term was an unsuccessful one. He left Malta towards the end of July 1624, and in 1635 he became Bishop of Sarsina. He died in June 1646.

24. ON ORATO VISCONTI (1624-27) was born in Milan. He obtained a doctorate in law and, on 7 May 1624, Pope Urban VIII nominated him Inquisitor for Malta. He arrived in Malta on 24 June, and found the island steeped in poverty. His meddling in the knights’ affairs antagonized them. Although he was well satisfied with his work on behalf of the Holy See, his superiors encouraged him to try to heal the rift that he created. In 1625, he built the Girgenti summer residence. He was instrumental in the founding of the Discalced Carmelites’ convent at Bormla. He left Malta in May 1627, when he became Governor of the Marche region, and later, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland. In 1630, he was elected titular Bishop of Larissa. He died not later than 14 October 1662.

25. NICCOLO HERRERA (1627-30) was born in Rome. He obtained a doctorate in law and was appointed Corrector of Apostolic Letters. On 19 February 1627, Pope Urban VIII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta. He arrived in Malta in May of that year, when he was of a mature age. He worked hard and discharged his duty peacefully. He was most inconspicuous in his activities. He left Maita in June of 1630, and soon after was nominated as Apostolic Nuncio for Naples. The year of his death is not known.

26. LUDOVICO SERRISTORI (1630-31) was born in Florence in 1600. He obtained a doctorate in law and, having been nominated Inquisitor for Malta by Pope Urban VIII on 29 May 1630, he arrived on the island in October of that year. He scrupulously followed all directives from Rome. He is important for his activities as Apostolic Delegate. He chaired a Chapter-General of the Order of St John and led the Maltese diocese when Bishop Cagliares was found to be demented. Having left Malta towards the end of 1631, he soon became nominated as Consultor to the Holy Office. He was ordained priest in 1633, was later appointed Commissioner to the Church’s army in Ferrara and, in 1634, he became Bishop of Cortona. He died in August 1656.

27. MARTINO ALFIERI (1631-34) was born in Milan in 1590. He obtained a doctorate in law and was vicar at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome and Consultor to the Holy Office. Urban VIII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 10 October 1631, and sent him also as administrator of the diocese. Bishop Cagliares died in 1633 during his term of office. Alfieri’s work was praised by his superiors. He was still in Malta in 1634 when he was nominated as Bishop of Isola and Apostolic Nuncio to Cologne. He left the island in mid-May 1634 and became administrator to the Nunciatures of the Flanders. In 1639, he was appointed as an assistant to the papal throne and, in 1640, became Archbishop of Cosenza. He died at the beginning of August 1641.

28. FABIO CHIGI (1634-39) was born in Siena in 1599. He obtained a doctorate in law and, in 1629, became Vice-Legate for Ferrara. On 23 April 1634, Urban VIII chose him as Inquisitor for Malta. In that same year, he was ordained priest and, in 1635, he was elected Bishop of Nardo; it was Balaguer, Bishop of Malta, who consecrated him. His name became associated with the teaching of Arabic in Malta. He improved the Inquisitor’s palace and prisons and helped finance the building of the fortifications as far as his powers permitted. The Maltese resented his support for the Grand Master in the collection of taxes. He was an Inquisitor who was to be remembered as “a very bright star in the firmament”. During his term of office the good name of the tribunal was enhanced. He left Malta on 28 April 1639, and became Apostolic Nuncio for Cologne, papal legate, papal Secretary of State, Cardinal and Bishop of Imola. In 1655, he was elected as Pope Alexander VII. He died on 22 May 1667.

29. GIOVANBATTISTA GORI PANNELLINI (1639-46) was born in Siena around 1604. During his youth, he became a priest and obtained a doctorate in law. In 1634, he was elected Vice-Iegate to Cardinal Baldeschi for Bologna. On 13 April l639 Pope Urban VIII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived on the island on 6 June. His choice was not a very happy one. He was opposed by most and there was even an attempt on his life. His extreme severity led him to commit several injustices, as considerable numbers of innocent people were sentenced to imprisonment. Not only did he leave a very sour taste but, most unfortunately, his lnquisitorship turned out to be longer than preceding ones. He left Malta in the early days of October 1646, and was later sent as ambassador to King Philip IV of Spain by Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1649, he was nominated Bishop of Grosseto and he died at the beginning of 1664.

30. ANTONIO PIGNATELLI (1646-49) was born at Spinazzola in 1615. During his youth he was papal vice-legate for Urbino. On 24 October 1646, Pope Innocent X nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived on the island on 17 December. In Malta, he was not very happy but discharged his duties well. He did his utmost to remedy the injustices perpetrated by his predecessor and the tribunal regained its good name. He assisted missionaries in their preparation, worked for peace with the Knights, and gave capable service at a time of want. He was not a great Inquisitor but he ruled till the end with prudence and justice. He left Malta on 23 April 1649. His brilliant career included his appointment in 1652 as Governor of Viterbo, as Apostolic Nuncio to Tuscany and as Titular Archbishop of Larissa in Greece. In 1660, he became Apostolic Nuncio for Poland. Two years later, he was chosen as Bishop of Lecce, and in 1673 he became secretary to the Episcopal Congregation. In 1681, he was made a Cardinal. In 1682, he became Archbishop of Faenza, and in 1686, Bishop of Naples. He became Pope in 1691, choosing the name of Innocent XII. He died on 27 September 1700.

31. CARLO CAVALLETTI (1649-52) was born in Rome in 1614. On 27 March 1649 he was nominated as Inquisitor for Malta by Pope Innocent X and arrived in Malta at the end of May. He was a sickly Inquisitor and, consequently, not very dynamic. Tribunal trials continued, nonetheless, with regularity. During his last months he stopped writing altogether and a vicar led the tribunal in his stead. Cavalletti died in office at the age of 38 on 16 May 1652. He was buried in the church of the Discalced Carmelites at Bormla.

32. FEDERICO BORROMEO (1653-54) was born in Milan in 1617. He obtained a doctorate in literature, in theology and in law. He was Governor of Ascoli when Innocent X nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 13 November 1652. He arrived on the island on 18 February 1653. His writings include a valuable report entitled Relazione di Malta e suo Inquisitorato. He acted as mediator between the Grand Master and the Bishop. From his time the Inquisitors ceased to attend functions at St John’s as they had been deprived of “the dignity that merited their rank. He offered the Knights the relics of St Carlo Borromeo, his glorious ancestor. His activity was altogether laudable. His mother successfully intervened with His Holiness to recall her son to Rome on 29 August 1654. He soon became Patriarch of Alexandria and Nuncio for Switzerland. In 1665 he became secretary to the Congregation of Immunity. In1668 he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and in 1670, he was made cardinal. He died on 18 February 1673.

33. GIULIO DEGLI ODDI (1655-58) was born in Perugia. At a mature age, he was appointed Inquisitor for Malta by Pope Alexander VII at the beginning of April 1655. His appointment was rather unexpected because Stefano Brancaccio had already been nominated. He arrived on 13 June to find Grand Master Lascaris a decrepit old man and Bishop Balaguer a very sickly person. He soon began working out the best way to reform the island. He noted that Martino de Redin, Prior of Navarre, was determined to become Grand Master at all costs. On Lascaris’ death, by virtue of his power as Apostolic Delegate, Degli Oddi declared de Redin as unsuitable for the post of Grand Master, but the Knights, nonetheless, elected him as their leader and the Pope approved the election. Although both de Redin and the Inquisitor made attempts to reconcile their differences, it was Degli Oddi, with his characteristic lack of tact, that spoiled the situation. He left the island at the beginning of May 1658. He was sent immediately as Governor of Norcia and was soon forgotten by all. In a short while, he fell ill and, in 1660, he retired to Perugia with his family, where he died towards the end of that year.

34. GEROLAMO CASANATE (1658-63) was born in Naples in 1620, of Spanish descent. He obtained a doctorate in law and became Governor of Sabina, Fabriano, Camerino and Ancona. At the beginning of September i658, Pope Alexander VII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived on the island on 30 October. He kept peaceful control over the Bishop. During his term of office Grand Master de Redin died, was succeeded by Gessan, who died soon after his eiection, only to be followed by Rafael Cotoner. He is remembered for the case of two Quakers, whom he arrested as they were passing through Malta. He governed wisely and prudently. Having left Malta on 13 June 1663, he soon became a consultor and assessor at the Holy Office. He was created Cardinal in 1673 and later was ordained priest. He was Librarian of the Church of Rome. He established the Casanatense Library at Rome, which bears his name to this day. He died on 3 March 1700.

35. GALEAZZO MARESCOTTI (1663-66) was born at Vignanello in 1626. He was Governor of Fano and of Ascoli Piceno. He was ordained as priest in 1662 and on 5 July 1663, Pope Alexander VII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta; he arrived in Malta on 15 August. Bishop Balaguer died soon afterwards and remained without a successor. Marescotti’s term of office is by far, the best documented. He was among the leading intellectuals of his time. He confronted his task with determination, and courage, drawing on years of experience. He was never corrupted with bribes or favours. In 1663, Grand Master Rafael Cotoner died, and was succeeded by his brother Nicolas. Marescotti left Malta at the end of April 1666, and soon became assessor of the Holy Office. In 1668 he was nominated Titular Archbishop of Corinth and Apostolic Nuncio for Poland. In 1675, he was created cardinal and, in 1679, Bishop of Tivoli. From Rome he advised many an Inquisitor in Malta on delicate matters. He died a centenarian on 3 July 1726.

36. ANGELO RANUZZI (1667-68) was born in Bologna in 1626. He was A Governor of Rimini, Rieti and Carnerino. Having been nominated Inquisitor for Malta on 27 October 1666 by Pope Alexander VII, he arrived on the island on 12 February 1667. He is remembered for his open mind and sense of justice. His writings include a lengthy document on the Order of St John and the island of Malta. He was balanced in his judgement on those with whom he disagreed. He spoke well of the Maltese people, and also recorded the harsh criticism that was levelled against the Inquisition. He left Malta on 7 April 1668, and was soon nominated Apostolic Nuncio for Turin and titular archbishop of Darnietta. He therefore received all orders, from the minor ones to the episcopate. He became Apostolic Nuncio for Poland in 1671, Governor of Ancona in 1675, and Bishop of Fano and Apostolic Nuncio for France in 1678. He was leader of the Marche region, and was created cardinal in 1686. He died on 27 September 1689.

37. CARLO BICHI (1668-70) was born in Siena in 1639. He never became a A priest but obtained a doctorate in law. In spite of the fact that a certain Mgr Corsi had been earmarked as Inquistor of Malta, Pope Clement IX nominated Bichi instead on 24 March 1668; he arrived in Malta on 22 August. He was, by far, the youngest of all the Inquisitors appointed to Malta but not successful. After the death of Bishop Buenos, he was in constant friction with the Knights. He abused his power, because he was not submissive to the will of his superiors. He left Malta on 23 May 1670. In 1687 he was elected Auditor and Protonotary Apostolic. In 1690, he was created Cardinal, and, in 1699, he became papal vice-legate for the region of Rornagna. He died on 7 November 1718.

38. GIOVANNI TEMPI (1670-72) was born in Florence. On 7 May 1670, Pope Clement X appointed him Inquisitor for Malta and he took up his position on 12 August, when Astiria had just been appointed Bishop of Malta. His term as Inquisitor was not very successful as he was rather lethargic and indecisive. He always waited for decisions to be taken in Rome, and avoided involving himself, being fearful of committing mistakes. In the end he satisfied neither Rome nor the Maltese. On 8 May 1672, he left Malta and was not trusted with any further responsibilities.

39. RANUCCIO PALLAVICINO (1672-76) was born in Parma in 1632. He obtained a doctorate in law and governed some cities in the Papal States. He was a very well-read man, who published various works in Italy and in Germany. In February 1672, Pope Clement X nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta; he arrived in Malta on 12 June. This prelate was most sensitive towards the needs of others and his decisions were always prudent. He was of great assistance to Bishop Astiria during his illness, defended ecclesiastical immunity and helped the Order in the collection of taxes to finance the building of the fortifications. During the great plague of 1675-76, he proved to be of great assistance. His love for the stricken Maltese was boundless. His exceptional greatness was manifest. His Inquisitorial activities were suspended during the time of the plague, particularly since he became suspect of having contracted the plague. The Maltese wept when he departed as none before him had performed so many good works. He left Malta in poor health on 18 May 1676, was taken to a public lazzarerto in Marseilles and eventually arrived in Rome on 6 November. He was appointed secretary to the Congregation of the Council and Governor of Rome. He became a cardinal in 1703 and worked in many of the Congregations. He was never ordained a-priest and died on 30 June 1712. He was, by far, the most outstanding of the Inquisitors.

40. ERCOLE VISCONTI (1677-78) was born in Milan in 1646. He obtained a doctorate in law and, on 17 December 1676, Pope Innocent XI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta; he arrived on the island on 13 April 1677. An important addition to the tribunal of the Inquisition during his time was the appointment of the Inquisitorial Minister for Gozo in the person of the Franciscan Conventual P. Bonaventura Vella. As a consequence of the great plague, many taxes were exacted. He defended the Maltese against injustices perpetrated by the Knights. Towards the end of his term of office, Malta had a new bishop, namely Mgr Michele Girolamo Molina. Visconti left Maita on 13 June 1678, and soon after, became Titular Metropolitan Archbishop of Damietta and later Apostolic Nuncio for Florence. In 1680, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio for Cologne in Germany and in 1687, he was elected Prefect of the Apostolic Palace and Governor of Castel Gandolfo. He died some time after 1691.

41. GIACOMO CANTELMO (1678-83) was born in Naples in 1640. He studied in Rome and Bologna. He was an excellent linguist and obtained a doctorate in law. Pope Innocent XI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 27 May 1678 and he arrived in Malta on 16 July. During his term of office, Grand Master Cotoner died and was succeeded by Gregorio Carafa. Bishop Molina renounced his Bishopric. During his term, there was a very great fear of the Huguenots that was stopping in Malta. Cantelrno managed to retain controi, even over his his own patentees. He was never keen on being dictated to by Rome regarding his decisions, which he took responsibly. He was an Inquisitor who displayed strong leadership skills. While in Malta, Cantelmo was ordained priest. He left the island on 2 June 1683, and soon became Titular Bishop of Caesarea. He was sent on several diplomatic missions. In 1685, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland and, in 1688, to Poland. In 1690, he was created Cardinal with his seat at Capua and, in the following year, he was appointed Archbishop of Naples. He died on 11 December 1702.

42. INNICO CARACCIOLO (1683-86) was born at Martina Franca in 1642. He had spent a short time in prison for taking part in a duel. He obtained a doctorate in law and was nominated as Inquisitor for Malta by Innocent XI on 30 April 1683. He arrived on the island on 4 July. During his term of office, Cocco Palmeri was elected bishop, and the two prelates soon clashed. Caracciolo faced the problems posed by the Knights with courage. He remarked with sadness on the high incidence of blasphemy among the Maltese. As an Inquisitor, he was loved by many. He left Malta on 30 May 1686. He renounced the first offers of episcopacy made to him, but in 1697 he accepted the bishopric of Aversa. In 1715, he was made Cardinal. He died on 6 September 1730.

43. TOMMASO VIDONI (1686-90) was born in Cremona in 1650. He obtained a doctorate in law and was Governor of Fabriano, Orvieto and Fermo. On 2 June 1686, Pope Innocent XI chose him to be Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived on the island on 27 June. His term of office was uneventful and he managed to set free a number of persons who appeared before him. The Knights complained of the large numbers of patentees of the Holy Office. The Inquisitor himself was rather bored with life in Malta and he left on 3 April 1690, soon to be elected Apostolic Nuncio for Florence and Metropolitan Archbishop of Edessa in Syria. He died in Rome on 29 October 1708.

44. FRANCESCO ACQUAVIVA D’ARAGONA (1691-94) was born Atri in 1665. He obtained a doctorate in law and was vice-legate for Ferrara. On 12 December 1690, Pope Alexander VIII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and Innocent XII confirmed his appointment. He only arrived in Malta on 3 November 1691, after a long delay due to the outbreak of plague at Naples. During his term of office, Malta was struck by the greatest earthquake in its history, namely that of 1693. He was an Inquisitor who worked incessantly for peace, making sure nevertheless that no one abused of him. He acted as mediator between the Bishop and the Grand Master, helping them to come closer together. When he departed from these islands on 19 April 1694, he left a good impression of himself. He soon became Maestro di Camera Apostolica and Titular Archbishop of Larissa in Greece. In 1700, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and was created a Cardinal in 1706. He died in Rome on 8 January 1725.

45. TOMMASO RUFFO (1694-98) was born in Naples in 1663. He obtained a doctorate in law. He shunned honours but later came to accept them in the name of service to others. He was vice-legate for Ravenna and, on 21 May 1694, Pope Innocent XII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta; he arrived on the island on 7 July. He was remembered for his integrity and prudence. He repaired the damages his palace suffered during the earthquake of 1693. He cooperated with Grand Masters Wignacourt and Perellos and the Order of St John was grateful to him. It was a rather peaceful term of office but he felt isolated. He left Malta on 12 January 1698, to be nominated Apostolic Nuncio for Florence and titular Metropolitan Archbishop of Nicea. He renounced the Archbishopric of Naples but accepted the Cardinal’s hat in 1706. He was made papal legate for Ravenna and Ferrara and eventually became accepted Archbishop of Ferrara. He was also the legate for Bologna. In 1738, he renounced the archbishopric of Ferrara and in 1740, became Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Velletri. He died in 1753.

46. GIACINTO FILIBERTO FERRERO DI MESSERANO (1698-03) was nominated Inquisitor for Malta by Innocent XII on 22 November 1698. From his time onwards, a copy of all correspondence with Rome was kept in Malta. During his term of office various works were undertaken at his palace and in the prisons. He was a rather tactless person, both clashing with the Order and Bishop Cocco Palmeri. He was nonetheless a moderate Inquisitor who opposed the use of torture. He left Malta on 7 June 1703 and was given no further appointments elsewhere.

47. GIORGIO SPINOLA (1703-06) was born in Genoa in 1667. He obtained a doctorate in law, was vice-legate for Ferrara and Governor of Civitavecchia, Viterbo and the whole of Umbria. On 4 July 1703, Pope Clement X nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived on the island on 22 July. He was keen on giving greater assistance to the poor and avoided quarreliing with the Knights. He was of assistance to several Knights individually. The many Maltese who persisted in corsairing activities were a constant source of worry for him. Towards the end of his term, Bishop Cocco Palmeri ordained him as a priest. He left Malta on 15 June 1706 and soon became Director of Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome and Consultor to the Holy Office. In 1711, he was chosen as Titular Archbishop of Caesarea, and was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain and later, in 1713, to Austria. In 1719, he was created a Cardinal. He was President of the Congregation of Immunity. In 1728, he was the papal legate in Bologna and died on 17 January 1739.

48. GIACOMO CARACCIOLO (1706-10) was born in Martina in 1675. He obtained a doctorate in law while in Rome, and was vice-legate for Bologna. On 30 June 1703, Pope Clement XI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta, and he arrived on the island on 25 August. He was very dedicated to his work and was praised for his meticulousness. It is known that during his term of office, the Inquisitor’s palace was in a very poor state of repair, and that he commissioned the architect Giovanni Barbara to effect the necessary renovations. He was not happy with the officers of the Inquisition, and peace with the Order of St John was not to be attained under his rule. In 1710, he was ordained as a priest in Malta and, soon after, he left the island on 4 March of that year. Not much later he became Titular Metropolitan Archbishop of Ephesus and Apostolic Nuncio for Switzerland. He died aged 42, on 17 January 1718.

49. RANIERI D’ELCI (1711-15) was born in Florence in 1670. He obtained a doctorate in law in Siena. He received Holy Orders and was Governor of Farm and Loreto. On 24 February 1711, Pope Clement XI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived in Malta on 19 June. During his term of office Bishop Cocco Palmeri died, in 171.1, and was succeeded by Cafraves, in 1713. During his term of office, there was a scare of invasion by the Turks. Trouble with the Order was incessant and he was not served well by his officials. He was against the use of torture to extract confessions. He discharged his duties conscientiously but he did not see eye to eye with his superiors in Rome. He left Malta on 26 October 1715, but a successor for him was not readily found. In 1719, he was sent as vice-legate to Avignon and, in 1730, he became Titular Archbishop of Rhodes and Apostolic Nuncio to France. He received a Cardinal’s hat in 1737 and, the following year, he was nominated as Bishop of Ferrara. He died, aged 91, on 22 June 1761.

50. LAZZARO PALLAVICINO (1718-19) was born in Genoa in 1684. He obtained his doctorate in law from Rome and was Governor of Citta’ di Castello, Ancona, Tivoli and Spoleto. In 1718, Pope Clement XI chose him as Inquisitor for Malta after nearly three years without an Inqusitor; he arrived in Malta on 29 May 1718. He assisted Bishop Cafiaves in the reform of the diocese and effected the remaining repairs to the palace. He fell ill and retired to Gozo for health reasons, and to wait for permission to leave the island, which he did on 12 July 1719. In the following year, he was ordained as a priest and, in 1721, made titular Archbishop of Thebes and Apostolic Nuncio to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany‘. He died in Rome on 28 June 1744.

51. ANTONIO RUFFO (1720-28) was born at Bagnara Calabra in 1687. He studied at the Clementine College in Rome and became vice-legate for Ravenna. In 1720, Pope Clement XI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta and he arrived on the island on 13 July. His term of office was of a long duration during which the fear of Turkish invasion did not abate. For this reason and, in order that the safety of the island should be safeguarded, his patentees were not granted many of the usual exemptions. Grand Master Zondadari died and was succeeded by De Vilhena. Similarly, Bishop Cafiaves passed away and was succeeded by Gori Mancini who, in turn, was succeeded by Alpheran. Ruffo showed confidence in the Maltese clergy and made sure that his patentees did not abuse their position. Although sickly, he was very dynamic. He was kind and merciful towards the needy and gentlemanly in all his actions. He left Malta on 13 October 1728, when his successor was already on the island. After various appointments in the Roman Curia, he was made a Cardinal in 1743; in the following year, he was ordained priest. He died at Bagnara, his birth-place, on 22 February 1753.

52. FABRIZIO SERBELLONI (1728-30) was born at Milan in 1695. He received his doctorate in law from Pavia and was vice-legate at Ferrara. Pope Benedict XIII chose him to be Inquisitor for Malta in 1728, and he arrived on the island on 24 June. He took up residence at the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites in Bormla because his predecessor, Ruffo, had not yet vacated the Birgu Palace. His first engagement as Inquisitor took place on 24 October. He clashed with Grand Master De Vilhena. He demanded higher standing as Apostolic Delegate and was treated at par with the Bishop; he also quarrelled with Bishop Alpheran. His term of office was very low-key. He had a keen sense of justice, but did not know how to endear himself to people. He left Malta I towards the end of July 1730 and, in the following year, he became Governor of Loreto, Titular Archbishop of Patras and Apostolic Nuncio to Florence. In 1735 he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany and in 1746 as Apostolic Nuncio to Austria. In 1753 he became Cardinal and in .1763 he was made Bishop of Ostia and Velletri. He died on 7 December 1775.

53. GIOVANNI FRANCESCO STOPPANI (1731-35) was born at Milan in 1695. He obtained a doctorate in law from Pavia. During his youth, he belonged to the Congregations of the Buon Govemo and of the Concistorial. In November 1730, Pope Clement XII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta; he arrived on the island on 15 March 1731. He was of the opinion that his work was not very useful but, nonetheless, he was praised for his labours by his superiors. He continued to repair the palace. He was careful not to clash with the Grand Master but there were many times when he sensed that His Eminence felt offended. Bishop Alpheran strove to outstrip him in rank. He was appointed as executor of the Papal Bull to erect the Collegiate Church of St Paul Shipwrecked, Valletta, but did not succeed in completing his task because of the strong opposition. In 1734, he was ordained as priest in Malta and, at the beginning of the following year, he left the island. Soon after, he was nominated Titular Archbishop of Corinth and Apostolic Nuncio to Florence. In 1739 he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Venice, and in 1743, Apostolic Nuncio before Emperor Charles VII. In 1746, he was made President of Urbino and was created a cardinal in 1754. He died on 18 November 1774.

54. CARLO FRANCESCO DURINI (1735-39) was born in Milan in 1693. He received his doctorate in law from Pavia, was ordained as a priest and became Governor of Spoleto, Benevento and Ferrno. Clement XII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 4 April 1735, and he arrived on the island on 10 June. In Malta, he was soon faced with two great moral problems:
(a) the existence of huge number of Muslim slaves, and
(b) an equally large number of foreign prostitutes.
His relations with the Bishop were cordial. He brought to an end the execution of the Bull to erect the Collegiate Church of St Paul Shipwrecked and installed the canons publicly in their office. Grand Master Vilhena died and was succeeded by Despuig. Peace was also kept with the Grand Master. He felt the need of an official conversant with the English language. In February 1739, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland, and he left Malta in April of that year. Soon afterwards, he was nominated as Titular Archbishop of Rhodes. In 1744, he became Nuncio to France and, in 1753 was appointed Archbishop of Pavia and a Cardinal. He died at Milan on 25 June 1769.

55. LUDOVICO GUALTIERO GUALTIERI (1739-43) was born in Orvieto in 1706. He received his doctorate in law from the Um’versitt‘z La Sapienza of Rome. He was vice-legate for Ferrara and Governor of Spoleto. On 9 April 1739, Pope Clement XII nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta, and he arrived here on 1 June. He did not love Malta. He was instructed not to treat the Knights any differently from anyone else with the result that peace with the Order, as well as with the Bishop, remained elusive. French freemasonry took a foothold in Malta during his time. He left the island in November 1743 and, in the following year, he was made Titular Bishop of Myra, and was sent as Nuncio to Naples. In 1744, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to France and, in 1759, he was created a Cardinal. In 1761, he was sent as Iegate to Rornagna and died on 24 July of that same year at Villa Taverna, Frascati.

56. PAOLO PASSIONEI (1743-54) was born at Fossornbrone around the turn of the eighteenth century. Pope Benedict XIV nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 11 November 1743, and he arrived on the island on 23 December. During his stay in Malta, His Holiness requested him to go to Switzerland as Apostolic Nuncio but he declined the offer. For this reason, he missed the opportunity of becoming a bishop and he was left in Malta. His term of office turned out to be the longest in Maltese history, exceeding ten years. He left Malta on 23 March 1754 and, very soon afterwards, he was appointed vice-legate for Avignon in France. After some time, he was recalled to Rome and became Governor of the pontifical customs house, a post he retained until his death in 1766.

57. GREGORIO SALVIATI (1754-59) was born in Rome in 1722. He never took Holy Orders but was nominated as Inquisitor for Malta by Pope Benedict XIV on 4 December 1753; he took up his position in Malta on 20 June 1754. By virtue of a papal brief, he was ordered to visit officially the Carmelite Friars of Valletta. He clashed vigourously with Grand Master Pinto on questions of jurisdiction. He left Malta on 19 March 1759, and from that year till 1766, he was vice-legate for Avignon. Back in Rome in 1775, he became uditore generale della camera. He was created a Cardinal in 1777 although he was not a priest. He was protector of Ireland, of the Franciscans Conventual, and of the Order of St John. He died in Rome on 5 August 1794.

58. ANGELO MARIA DURINI (1760-66) was born in Milan in 1725. He obtained his doctorate in law from Universita’ La Sapienza in Rome and was Internuncio in Paris. On 7 December 1759, Pope Clement XIII sent him as Inquisitor to Malta, but he arrived on 3 October 1760. By order of the Supreme Congregation, a further reform of the Inquisitor’s patentees was effected to reduce the source of friction with the Grand Master. In 1766, he left Malta and was ordained as a priest and made titular Metropolitan Archbishop of Ankara in Galicia, and in the following year, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Poland. He was created Cardinal in 1776, and died on 28 April 1796.

59. GIOVANNI OTTAVIO MANCINFORTE SPERELLI (1767~71) was born in Assisi in 1730. He obtained a doctorate in law from Universita’ La Sapienza in Rome and was ordained as a priest. He was a canon of St Peter’s at the Vatican and Dean of the Congregation of the Buon Governo. On 8 October 1766, Pope Clement XIII appointed him as Inquisitor of Malta, where he was ordered to visit officially the Franciscans Observant. He arrived on 4 February 1767. During his term of office, Grand Master Pinto banished the Society of Jesus from Malta. He himself left Malta in 1771, soon to be appointed Titular Archbishop of Theodosia, and was afterwards sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Florence. In 1776, he was elected Prefect of the Apostolic Palace and, in the following year, Pope Pius VI created him Cardinal in pectore; his creation was announced in 1780. He died on 5 June 1781.

60. ANTONIO LANTE (1771-77) was born in Rome in 1737. He was Governor of Benevento and, on 22 March 17 71, Pope Clement XIV nominated him as Inquisitor for Maita. He arrived on 13 April. During his term of office, in 1775, the insurrection of the priests, under the ieadership of Mannarino, took place. Lante’s writings clearly show that freernasonry had infiltrated the island. His term of office spanned the reigns of three Grand Masters, namely Pinto, Ximenes and De Rohan. He left Malta in 1777 to become Governor of Macerata. In Rome, he was responsible for the pontifical mint. He was created Cardinal in 1816 and died in Rome on 23 October 1817.

61. ANTONIO FELICE ZONDADARI (1777-85) was born in Siena in 1740. He obtained a doctorate in law from La Sapienza in Rome. He was Governor of Rieti and Benevento. Pope Pius VI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta on 11 June 1777. He arrived on 9 July. While at Malta, in 1782, he was ordained as a priest. In the wake of the insurrection of the priests a general reform of ecclesiastical immunity was effected. It was a time of turmoil. For the first time during the knights’ reign, a bishop who was not a conventual chaplain was nominated; this was Bishop Labini. In 1785, Zondadari left Malta because he had been nominated Bishop of Adarna. In 1786, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and, in 1795, he became Bishop of Siena. He was made Cardinal in 1801, and he died on 23 Aprii 1823.

62. GIOVANNI FILIPPO GALLARATI SCOTTI (1785-93) was not earmarked as Inquisitor of Malta because Pope Pius VI had nominated Alessio Falconieri in 1785. However, Falconieri fell ill soon afterwards and was near death. For this reason, Falconieri’s nomination was withdrawn. Gallarati Scotti was born in Milan on 25 February 1747. At Pavia, he obtained a doctorate in law and he was Vice-Legate for Ravenna. On 5 July 1785, Pope Pius VI nominated him as Inquisitor for Malta in lieu of Falconieri; he arrived on the island on 25 September of that year. He was ordained as a priest in 1792 while in Malta. He quarrelled endlessly with Grand Master De Rohan and questions of jurisdiction were never lacking. An inscription at the summer palace of Girgenti recalls the granting of those lands on a lease of 99 years’ duration, which commenced on 1 July 1792. In Malta, he became aware of his nomination as Titular Metropolitan Archbishop of Side. He left the island on 6 February 1793. After his consecration as bishop in 1793, he was sent as Apostolic Nuncio to Tuscany and later, in 1795, as Nuncio to the Republic of Venice. He was created Cardinal in 1801. He was Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Economy Prefect of Propaganda Fide. He died on 7 October 1819 near Orvieto. He was the last of twenty-seven Inquisitors from Malta who became cardinals.

63. GIULIO CARPEGNA (1793-98) was born in Rome in 1760. While working at the Congregation of the Baon Governo, Pope Pius VI chose him to be Inquisitor for Malta on 7 August 1792; he arrived here on 24 January 1793. He was to be the last of the Inquisitors for Malta. During his term, in 1797, Ferdinand Hompesch was elected Grand Master. Carpegna was a benefactor of the Church of St Lawrence, Birgu. He had some problems with Bishop Labini on questions of legacies of Holy Masses entrusted to the Reverenda Fabbrica San Pietro and others, relating to privileges he was in the course of obtaining on behalf of the parish church of St Lawrence, Birgu. In 1798, the French occupied Malta. Rome recalled Carpegna and he fled from the island on 26 May 1798. He was to have no successor. Carpegna was not given any further important assignments in the hierarchy of the Church.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Malta

 

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