The Protestant Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy

By Salvatore Caponetto; Anne C. Tedeschi et al. | Go to book overview

make marks...." Bystanders must have been stupefied when Master Ambrogio, in an indignant outburst, inveighed against those who entrusted their salvation to their own works rather than to Jesus Christ, pretending to be justified by their "cursed pater nosters," an unambiguous allusion to the recent introduction of the rosary.

The trial of Ambrogio Bolognesi, the culmination of a long process in the diffusion of Lutheran teachings on the island, brings us back to an environment of bitter polemics, opposition by the ecclesiastical authorities to ideas that had been espoused by many, sometimes even in the solitary meditation of the cloister, as seems to have been the case with Fra Ambrogio. The investigation did not turn up evidence that he had ties with persons who harbored erroneous opinions in matters of the faith.

Nevertheless, his was not an isolated case among Sicilian Augustinians. In 1543 Pietro Granata was reconciled in Messina and Giacomo Anfulio in Salemi; in 1549 it was the turn of Filippo Carboni. Giovanni Grasso, prior of the convent in Messina, was condemned in 1568 to wear the penitential garment for six years. He may have been related to the gentleman Melchiorre Grasso, who fled to Geneva in 1563 together with his son Colantuono, and to Norella Grasso, wife of the weaver Antonio, reconciled to the church the same year. Later yet, in 1574, Fra Giovanni Pietro Perrone of Messina, who had probably died in prison awaiting the conclusion of his trial, was burned in effigy.17


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

For the crisis experienced by the Augustinian order in the sixteenth century, the fundamental work is H. Jedin, Girolamo Seripando, 2 vols., Würzburg, 1937, also available in a reduced English translation: Papal Legate at the Council of Trent: Cardinal Seripando, tr. F. C. Eckhoff ( St. Louis: Herder, 1947). See also D. Gutiérrez, "Hieronymi Seripandi, 'Diarium de vita sud (1513-62)," Analecta Augustiniana 25 ( 1963).

Luther's coat of arms: a rose with a cross at the center.
____________________
17
See S. Caponetto, "Bartolomeo Spadafora e la Riforma protestante in Sicilia nel secolo XVI," Rinascimento, 7 ( 1956): 219-341 (repr. in the author's Studi sulla Riforma, 5-139, passim).

-17-

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