Appropriating Sacred Space: Private-Chapel Patronage and Institutional Identity in Sixteenth-Century Rome-The Case of the Office of Ceremonies

By DeSilva, Jennifer Mara | The Catholic Historical Review, October 2011 | Go to article overview

Appropriating Sacred Space: Private-Chapel Patronage and Institutional Identity in Sixteenth-Century Rome-The Case of the Office of Ceremonies


DeSilva, Jennifer Mara, The Catholic Historical Review


The author explores the efforts of papal ceremonialist Paris de' Grassi (1504-28) to transform the Office of Ceremonies from a group of semi-corporate, specialized papal attendants into a curial college with fixed regulations and social clout. The reform bull Pastoralis officii (1513) permanently reserved benefices at the Church of Ss. Celso and Giuliano in Rome, where de' Grassi served as archpriest. Between 1524 and 1551 ceremonialists endowed three private chapels at Ss. Celso and Giuliano; in 1578 another ceremonialist established a chapel at the Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, where a personal monument did not reference or depend on de' Grassi's legacy. The construction of memorial chapels at Ss. Celso and Giuliano allowed ceremonialists to establish both individual and collected corporate identities and reveals the continued entwining of private and institutional goals in both patronage and the papal bureaucracy.

Keywords: Church of Ss. Celso and Giuliano; Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina; de' Grassi, Paris; liturgy; patronage

In 1448 the Florentine merchant-banker Tommaso Spinelli received permission from the chapter of the Church of Ss. Celso and Giuliano to endow a chapel for his private use. The license issued by the chapter confirmed the chapel's dedication to the Apostle Thomas, the chapel's location within the church, and the chapter's continued goodwill toward Spinelli. As patron and holder of ius patronatus, Spinelli's obligations included the chapel's decoration and provision, as well as financing a chaplain to perform religious services. In the 1440s Spinelli joined Pope Nicholas V and the dello Mastro family as patrons of the church in rione Ponte.1 As a result of this endowment the chapter and Spinelli established a connection that provided substantial reciprocal benefits. The chapter of canons acquired a wealthy patron who was bound to contribute financially to the church for the foreseeable future. Spinelli expanded his patronal identity through valuable institutional and spiritual connections that asserted his honor and position in the Roman social and curial hierarchy. Emphasizing the practical benefits of this connection, in a will dated 1468, Spinelli instructed his heirs to maintain the chapel if they wished to continue doing business in Rome.2

This article presents a series of Roman chapels that go beyond the common mold of a private memorial chapel in the Spinelli vein, in which a single patron initiates the endowment through private wealth for the cultivation of his own soul. Although individually the chapels fulfill this model, the series reveals a pattern that reflects a greater strategy for institutional patronage and appropriation of ecclesiastical space. The earliest chapel foundation set the standard for later patrons, all of whom belonged to the same corporate group, the papal Office of Ceremonies.3 The series includes three chapels, endowed by papal ceremonialists between 1524 and 1551 at the parish church of Ss. Celso and Giuliano in Rome, as well as a fourth chapel founded by a later ceremonialist at the Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina in 1578. This series highlights the multipurpose nature of ecclesiastical endowments and the process of constructing identity through spaces and institutional connections over several generations.4

Paris de' Grassi, the papal master of ceremonies (1504-28),5 endowed the earliest chapel in 1524 in his capacity as archpriest of Ss. Celso and Giuliano, and as part of a campaign to expand and codify the privileges and stature of the Office of Ceremonies. De' Grassi used his unique dual position to appropriate ecclesiastical space in the service of the Office. In the early-sixteenth century the Office was a semi-corporate collection of specialized papal attendants, which, following the 1513 reform bull Pastoralls offící,became a curial college that was bureaucratically consistent with the larger colleges of apostolic secretaries and protonotaries. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Appropriating Sacred Space: Private-Chapel Patronage and Institutional Identity in Sixteenth-Century Rome-The Case of the Office of Ceremonies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.