Patriarch of Venice

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Patriarch of Venice
Moraglia Mira 1.JPG
Francesco Moraglia
Province Patriarchate of Venice
Diocese Archdiocese of Venice
Cathedral Saint Mark's Basilica
First incumbent Lawrence Giustiniani

The Patriarch of Venice (Latin: Patriarcha Venetiarum, Italian: Patriarca di Venezia) is the ordinary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. The bishop is one of the few patriarchs in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church (currently three other Latin sees are accorded the title of Patriarchate: Lisbon, the East Indies and Jerusalem). Currently, the only advantage of this purely formal title is the bishop's place of honor in papal processions. In the case of Venice an additional privilege allows the Patriarch, even if he is not a cardinal, the use of the colour red in non-liturgical vestments. The red biretta, however is still topped by a tuft, as is the custom with other bishops who are not cardinals.

The diocese of Venice was created in 774 as suffragan of the Patriarchate of Grado. It was only in 1457[1] that, in consideration of the political influence of the city, its bishops were accorded the title of patriarch by the Pope.

By tradition, the Patriarch of Venice is created a cardinal at the consistory following his appointment, although the pope is not bound by law to do so. A large number of the prelates holding this office have been elected pope. Three of these were in the 20th century alone: Pius X (1903), John XXIII (1958) and John Paul I (1978).

Ecclesiastical history

Early history

Saint Mark's Basilica, the Cathedral of the Patriarch of Venice.
For the early history of this title, see Patriarch of Grado and Roman Catholic Diocese of Castello.

The Venetian islands at first belonged to the diocese of Altino or the diocese of Padua, under jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Aquileia, believed to be the successor of St. Mark. During the Lombard invasion (568-572) many bishops of the invaded mainland escaped under protection of the Byzantine fleet in the eastern lagoons. The Archbishop himself took refuge in Grado, where he was claimed as Patriarch, during the schism of the Three Chapters. At the end of the invasion, many of the ancient dioceses of the mainland were restored by the Lombards, while the exiles supported the new sees in the lagoons. Two patriarchs emerged: the Patriarchate of Old Aquileia on the mainland and Patriarchate of Grado.

The islands of Venice had originally been subject to the Diocese of Padua. In 774 Pope Adrian I and John IV, Patriarch of Grado, authorized the establishment of an episcopal see on the island of Olivolo.[2] The Diocese of Olivolo was established in 774-75 by the Duke of Malamocco, who gave it his protection. Its cathedral was dedicated to Saint Peter.[3] The Bishop of Olivolo was subordinate to Grado and had jurisdiction over the islands of Gemini, Rialto, Luprio and Dorsoduro, the main islands of the city of Venice.[2] The bishopric, taken from the Diocese of Malamocco (Methamancus), formed a small new state, the nucleus of the state of Venice.[4]

In 828 the body of Saint Mark the Evangelist was smuggled from Alexandria, Egypt, to Venice.[5] When the ship reached Olivolo island in Venice, the saint made signs that showed he did not want to be placed in the custody of the bishop. Instead, he was taken to the Doge's chapel, and planning began to create a magnificent new temple, St Mark's Basilica, suitable for such important relics.[6]

In 1074, the Bishop of Olivolo began to be styled the Bishop of Castello. Enrico Contarini was the first to hold this title.[2] In 1084 the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos in his Golden Bull recognized the full independence of Venice, along with freedom from tributes, trade restrictions and customs duties. The Republic of Venice began its golden age under the Doge Enrico Dandolo (1192-1205). Under him the French crusading army was used to bring Trieste and Zara under Venetian sway, and then to obtain a large part of the Latin Empire of Constantinople along the east coast of the Adriatic, most of the Peloponnesus and settlements in the Sea of Marmora, the Black Sea and the Aegean.[4]

The relationship between the bishop, the patriarch and the doge was complex. The bishops of Olivolo, and then Castello, were technically suffragans of the Patriarch of Grado. In practice they maintained independence. From the middle of the 11th century the patriarchs took up residence for most of the time at San Silvestro, Venice, while the bishop was based at San Pietro on the east of the city. An important role was played by the primicerio, based in Saint Mark's, who represented the Doge and the city government. The primicerio invested the bishops, abbots and patriarchs.[7]

Patriarchate's history

Saint Peter's Chair, the oldest throne of the diocese of Venice in the co-cathedral of Saint Peter of Castello. It is likely an ancient Muslim gravestone transported from Antioch by merchants.

In 1451, upon the death of Domenico Michel, Patriarch of Grado, Pope Nicholas V suppressed the Patriarchate of Grado and the Bishopric of Castello, incorporating them both in the new Patriarchate of Venice by the Papal Bull "Regis aeterni." Thus Venice succeeded to the whole metropolitan jurisdiction of Grado's eccelsiastical province, including the sees of Dalmatia.

In 1466 the territory of the Patriarchate was expanded by merging the suppressed Diocese of Equilio (nowadays Jesolo).

The election of the patriarch belonged to the Senate of Venice, and this practice sometimes led to differences between the republic and the Holy See. Likewise, parishioners elected their parish priests, by the right of patronage. Girolamo Quirini, O.P. (1519–54), had many disputes with the clergy, the Government, and the Holy See. To avoid these disputes, the Senate decreed that in future only senators should be eligible. Those elected after this were frequently laymen. Giovanni Trevisano, O.S.B. (1560), introduced the Tridentine reforms, founding the seminary, holding synods and collecting the regulations made by his predecessors (Constitutiones et privilegia patriarchatus et cleri Venetiarum). In 1581 the visita Apostolica was sent to Venice; a libellus exhortatorius was published, in which the visita highly praised the clergy of Venice.

In 1751 the Pope abolished the Patriarchate of Aquileia by creating two new Archbishops in Udine and Gorizia. With this act the Patriarchate of Venice became sole heir to the throne of St. Mark in northeastern Italy.

After 1797 and the fall of the Republic of Venice under the rule of Napoleon, the bishopric rule of the Doge on the Basilica and St. Mark's relics was lacking. Then in 1807, by favor of the Viceroy of Italy, the Neapolitan Nicola Gambroni was promoted to the patriarchate and of his own authority transferred the patriarchal seat to the Basilica of St. Mark, uniting the two chapters. He also reduced the number of parish churches from seventy to thirty. The work of enlarging the choir of the basilica brought to light the relics of St. Mark (1808). In 1811 Napoleon I intruded into the See of Venice Stefano Bonsignore, Bishop of Faenza, but in 1814 that prelate returned to his own see.

In 1819 the Diocese of Torcello and Diocese of Caorle were merged in the Patriarchate of Venice, while the dioceses of the Venetian territory were placed under its metropolitan jurisdiction. Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto, afterwards Pius X, succeeded in 1893; he was refused recognition by the Italian Government, which claimed the right of nomination formerly employed by the Habsburg Emperor of Austria and in earlier times by the Venetian Senate, but after eleven months this pretension was abandoned.

Saint Mark's Basilica, the main altar: it retains inside the body of the Apostle St. Mark the Evangelist.

List of Patriarchs of Venice

For the earlier bishops and patriarchs in the area, see List of bishops and patriarchs of Aquileia, Patriarch of Grado, and Roman Catholic Diocese of Castello.

See also


Sources and references

  • Giovanni Tiepolo, 1571–1631, patriarch of Venice – See JSTOR: The Venetian Upper Clergy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth ... An example of this occurs in his analysis of the writings of the patriarch of Venice, Giovanni Tiepolo (d. 1631), which deal with the veneration of the ... [2]
  • Federico Baldissera Bartolomeo Cornaro, 1579–1653, Cardinal, patriarch of Venice 1631–1644 [3], [4]

ru:Патриарх Венеции