jeudi 10 mai 2012

Saint ANTONIN de FLORENCE, religieux dominicain, archevêque et confesseur


SAINT ANTONIN

Archevêque de Florence

(1389-1459)

Saint Antonin naquit à Florence. A quinze ans il alla s'offrir aux Dominicains de Fiesole. Le supérieur, voyant cet enfant si délicat, craignit qu'il ne pût s'astreindre aux austérités de la règle:

"Qu'étudiez-vous? dit-il à Antonin.

-- Le Droit canonique.

-- Eh bien! ajouta le religieux pour le décourager, quand vous saurez le Droit par coeur, nous vous recevrons."

Un an après, Antonin revenait, possédant toute la science demandée. C'était un signe clair de l'appel divin, et les religieux n'eurent pas à se repentir de l'avoir admis, car il devint bientôt de tous le plus humble, le plus obéissant, le plus mortifié, le plus régulier.

L'onction sacerdotale l'éleva plus haut encore, et toutes les fois qu'il offrait le saint Sacrifice, on le voyait baigné des larmes de l'amour divin. Tour à tour prieur en huit couvents, il en renouvela la ferveur et la discipline. Quand il apprit, au retour de la visite d'un de ses monastères, sa nomination à l'archevêché de Florence, fuir et s'ensevelir dans la solitude fut sa première pensée; mais on le mit dans l'impossibilité de réaliser son projet. Il entra dans sa cathédrale pieds nus; sa tristesse faisait contraste avec la joie de son peuple.

Saint Antonin sut concilier les obligations de l'épiscopat avec l'austérité monastique. Sa maison ressemblait plus à un couvent qu'à un palais, et dame Pauvreté y tenait seule lieu de train et d'équipage. Il n'avait point de buffets ni de tapis, ni de vaisselle d'argent, ni de chevaux, ni de carrosses; il accepta dans sa vieillesse un mulet, dont il ne se servait que par besoin. Jamais il ne refusait à un pauvre qui lui tendait la main; s'il se trouvait sans argent, il vendait ses pauvres meubles pour subvenir à leurs besoins; il alla même jusqu'à se dépouiller pour couvrir des misérables.

Homme de prière, il le fut au point qu'il semblait être toujours en retraite; mais il était aussi homme des saintes études; il passait les nuits au travail, et c'est à cette privation de sommeil que nous devons ses précieux ouvrages.

Sa grande fermeté, jointe à son immense charité, opéra à Florence un bien incalculable. Un jour que l'autorité civile menaçait de le chasser, à cause d'une mesure pleine de vigueur qu'il avait prise, il dit: "Chassez-moi, je trouverai toujours un asile!" Et il montrait une clef de couvent pendant à sa ceinture. Il mourut à soixante-dix ans. Son nom reste dans l'Église comme le nom d'un des plus savants canonistes qui l'aient illustrée.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_antonin.html



Saint Antonin de Florence

(1389-1459)

Saint Antonin, ainsi appelé au lieu d'Antoine, parce qu'il était de petite taille, naquit à Florence en 1389 dans la famille des Pierozzi.

A l'âge de dix ans, il ne manquait pas d'aller tous les jours dans une église de St-Michel pour y faire ses prières au pied du Crucifix et à l'autel de la Sainte Vierge. Ce fut là que, quelques années après, il conçut le dessein de se faire religieux de l'Ordre des Frères Prècheurs. Il y entra à l'âge de 16 ans.

Il fut supérieur des couvents de Fiesole, Cortone, Florence, Sienne, Pistoia, Naples, Rome avant d'être nommé, contre son gré, archevêque de Florence. On l'appela «le prélat du peuple» et «le protecteur des pauvres».

Il est, entre autre, l'auteur d'une importante somme théologique.

Saint Antonin appliquait à la dévotion envers la Sainte Vierge, ce que Salomon a dit de la Sagesse : « Toutes sortes de bien me sont venus avec elle et j'ai reçu par ses mains des honneurs et des grâces sans fin.»

SOURCE : http://www.mariedenazareth.com/3950.0.html?&L=0

Entré à seize ans dans l’Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs de saint Dominique et devenu archevêque de Florence, saint Antonin excella dans sa charge pastorale par l’austérité de sa vie, sa charité et son zèle sacerdotal.

Sa prudence lui valut le titre d’Antonin des Conseils. Il mourut plein de mérites en 1459.

Saint Antonin naquit à Florence en 1389, Clément VII étant pape, Wenceslas empereur et Charles VI roi de France.

C’est à la protection de la très Sainte Vierge qu’il dut de conserver intacte, au milieu de la corruption du monde, l’innocence de son baptême. À quinze ans, il alla s’offrir aux Dominicains de Fiésole. Le supérieur, voyant cet enfant si délicat, craignit qu’il ne pût s’astreindre aux austérités de la règle :

« — Qu’étudiez-vous ? dit-il à Antonin.

« — Le Droit canonique.

« — Eh bien ! ajouta le religieux pour le décourager, quand vous saurez le Droit par cœur, nous vous recevrons. »

Un an après, Antonin revenait, possédant toute la science demandée. C’était un signe clair de l’appel divin, et les religieux n’eurent pas à se repentir de l’avoir admis, car il devint bientôt de tous le plus humble, le plus obéissant, le plus mortifié, le plus régulier. L’onction sacerdotale l’éleva plus haut encore, et toutes les fois qu’il offrait le saint Sacrifice de la Messe, on le voyait baigné des larmes de l’amour divin.

Dominicain, prédicateur, saint Antonin fut tour à tour prieur en huit couvents ; il en renouvela la ferveur et la discipline. Quel coup pour lui, quand il apprit, au retour de la visite d’un de ses monastères, sa nomination à l’archevêché de Florence. Fuir et s’ensevelir dans la solitude fut sa première pensée ; mais on le mit dans l’impossibilité de réaliser son projet. Il entra dans sa cathédrale pieds nus ; sa tristesse faisait contraste avec la joie de son peuple.

Saint Antonin sut concilier les obligations de l’épiscopat avec l’austérité monastique. Sa maison ressemblait plus à un couvent qu’à un palais, et dame Pauvreté y tenait seule lieu de train et d’équipage. Il n’avait point de buffets ni de tapis, ni de vaisselle d’argent, ni de chevaux, ni de carrosses ; il accepta dans sa vieillesse un mulet, dont il ne se servait que par besoin. Jamais il ne refusait à un pauvre qui lui tendait la main ; s’il se trouvait sans argent, il vendait ses pauvres meubles pour subvenir à leurs besoins ; il alla même jusqu’à se dépouiller pour couvrir des misérables.

On ne connaîtrait qu’un seul côté de sa vie, si on ne voyait en lui que l’homme d’oraison. Homme de prière, il le fut, en effet, au point qu’on eût dit qu’il était toujours en retraite ; mais il était aussi homme des saintes études, et son nom reste dans l’Église comme le nom de l’un des plus savants canonistes qui l’aient illustrée ; il passait les nuits au travail, et c’est à cette privation de sommeil que nous devons ses précieux ouvrages. Aussi saint Antonin était-il le conseiller des papes, au point qu’on l’avait surnommé Antonin des conseils.

Sa grande fermeté, jointe à son immense charité, opéra à Florence un bien incalculable. Un jour que l’autorité civile menaçait de le chasser de la ville, à cause d’une mesure pleine de vigueur qu’il avait prise, il dit : « Chassez-moi, je trouverai toujours un asile ! » Et il montrait une clef de couvent pendante à sa ceinture. Il mourut le 2 mai à l’âge de soixante-dix ans. C’était l’an 1459, Pie II étant pape, Frédéric III empereur et Charles VII roi de France.

SOURCE : http://www.cassicia.com/FR/Saint-Antonin-eveque-de-Florence-contemporain-de-Fra-Angelico-religieux-dominicain-fete-le-10-mai-No_237.htm


Saint Antonin de Florence et saint Vincent Ferrier

Saint Antonin de Florence

Frère prêcheur, archevêque de Florence (✝ 1459)

Dominicain italien qui remplit les diverses charges de son Ordre avant d'être nommé archevêque de Florence. Il a laissé de nombreux ouvrages de théologie morale, de droit canonique et d'histoire. (dominicain que nous fêtons aussi selon le calendrier de l'Ordre auquel il appartenait)

L'Église universelle fait mémoire de lui en ce jour et rappelle que c'est lui qui dirigea les travaux du Bienheureux Fra Angelico qui, par ses fresques, ornait de prière méditative les cellules de ses frères au couvent Saint Marc de Florence, leur faisant ainsi partager sa vie spirituelle.

À Florence en Toscane, l’an 1459, saint Antonin, évêque. Après avoir travaillé à la réforme de l’Ordre des Prêcheurs, il se dévoua à sa charge pastorale avec vigilance et se distingua par sa sainteté, l’ordre et l’utilité de sa Somme de théologie morale.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/1099/Saint-Antonin-de-Florence.html


Timbre-poste émis par le Vatican en 1959 pour le 5e centenaire de la naissance au Ciel de saint Antonin

Comme Antoine, Antonin est un nom d'origine latine qui signifie "inestimable".

Entré tout jeune dans l'Ordre de saint Dominique, Antonin se trouve engagé dans le puissant mouvement de réforme de Jean Dominici parmi les frères prêcheurs. Il avait eu comme compagnon de formation Jean de Fiesole, qui deviendra le peintre Fra Angelico. Frère Antonin est prieur du couvent saint Marc de Florence quand l'artiste mystique y réalise ses "divines fresques". Sa sagesse et son zèle pastoral le feront choisir comme évêque de Florence.

Celui qu'on appellera "l'Antonin des conseils" pour ses dons de discernement sera un évêque exemplaire par sa charité jusqu'au dépouillement, réformateur à la fois tenace et discret, prédicateur et catéchète infatigable. Son oeuvre majeure est sa "Somme théologique" destinée à la formation et au service des confesseurs et des prédicateurs. Saint Antonin est l'un des éminents théologiens moralistes de son temps. Il portait le souci des problèmes économiques et politiques de sa cité de Florence, livrée au pouvoir des Médicis. Il termine son combat de fidélité au Christ en 1459.

Rédacteur : Frère Bernard Pineau, OP

SOURCE : http://www.lejourduseigneur.com/Web-TV/Saints/Antonin-de-Florence

St Antonin, évêque et confesseur

Déposition à Florence le 2 mai 1459. Archevêque en 1446. Canonisé en 1525. Fête en 1707.

Leçons des Matines avant 1960

Quatrième leçon. Antonin, né à Florence de parents honnêtes, donna dès. son enfance des indices remarquables de sa sainteté future. Entré dans l’Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs à l’âge de seize ans, il commença dès lors à briller de l’éclat des plus hautes vertus. Il déclara une guerre perpétuelle à l’oisiveté : après un court sommeil, il était le premier à l’Office des Matines ; l’Office terminé, il employait le reste de la nuit à la prière ou à la lecture et à la composition de ses ouvrages ; et si quelquefois un sommeil importun venait surprendre ses membres fatigués, il appuyait un moment sa tête contre le mur, puis s’arrachant à l’assoupissement, il reprenait ses saintes veilles avec plus d’ardeur.

Cinquième leçon. Très sévère observateur de la discipline régulière, il ne mangea jamais de chair, si ce n’est lorsqu’il fut gravement malade. Il couchait sur la terre ou sur des planches nues ; il portait constamment le cilice, et souvent il y ajoutait une ceinture de fer sur sa chair ; il garda toujours la chasteté la plus entière. Sa prudence parut tellement dans les conseils qu’il donnait, que tous lui décernaient avec éloge le nom d’Antonin des conseils. L’humilité brilla en lui d’un tel éclat que, remplissant les charges de supérieur local et même de provincial, il se livrait avec empressement aux plus bas emplois du monastère. Promu à l’archevêché de Florence par Eugène IV, il donna, mais non sans regret, son acquiescement, dans la crainte des peines spirituelles dont le Pontife le menaçait s’il n’acceptait l’Épiscopat.

Sixième leçon. Il est difficile de dire à quel point il excella dans la charge pastorale par sa prudence, sa piété, sa chanté, sa mansuétude et son zèle sacerdotal Chose admirable, la puissance de son intelligence fut telle qu’il apprit à fond presque toutes les sciences sans 1e secours d’aucun maître. Enfin après beaucoup de travaux après avoir publié un grand nombre d’écrits remarquables par la doctrine qu’ils renferment, ayant reçu les sacrements d’Eucharistie et d’Extrême-onction, et embrassé l’image du crucifix, il vit venir sa mort avec joie, le six des nones de mai, l’an mil quatre cent cinquante-neuf. Illustre par ses miracles pendant sa vie et après a mort, Antonin fut inscrit au nombre des Saints par Adrien VI, l’an du Seigneur mil cinq cent vingt-trois.

Dom Guéranger, l’Année Liturgique

L’ordre des Frères-Prêcheurs, qui a déjà présenté à Jésus triomphant Pierre le Martyr et la céleste Catherine, lui envoie aujourd’hui l’un des nombreux Pontifes qu’il a nourris et préparés dans son sein. Au XVe siècle, époque où la sainteté était rare sur la terre, Antonin fit revivre en sa personne toutes les vertus qui avaient brillé dans les plus grands évêques de l’antiquité. Son zèle apostolique, les œuvres de sa charité, l’austérité de sa vie, sont la gloire de l’Église de Florence qui fut confiée à ses soins. L’état politique de cette ville ne lui fut pas moins redevable pour sa grandeur et pour sa prospérité ; et Côme de Médicis, qui honorait son archevêque comme un père, confessa plus d’une fois que les mérites et les services d’Antonin étaient le plus ferme appui de Florence. Lé saint prélat ne s’illustra pas moins par sa doctrine que par ses œuvres. On le vit tour à tour défendre la papauté attaquée dans le concile de Bâle par des prélats séditieux, et soutenir le dogme catholique dans le concile œcuménique de Florence contre les fauteurs du schisme grec. Admirons la fécondité de l’Église, qui n’a cessé de produire, selon les temps, des docteurs pour toutes les vérités, des adversaires contre toutes les erreurs.

Nous rendons gloire à Jésus ressuscité pour les dons sublimes qu’il vous avait départis, ô Antonin ! En vous confiant une portion de son troupeau, il avait doué votre âme des qualités qui font les pasteurs selon son cœur. Comme il savait qu’il pouvait compter sur votre amour, il commit ses agneaux à votre garde. Dans un siècle qui par ses désordres faisait déjà présager les scandales du siècle suivant, vous avez brillé de la plus pure lumière sur le chandelier de la sainte Église. Florence chérit encore votre mémoire ; dans ses murs, vous fûtes l’homme de Dieu et le père de la patrie. Aidez-la encore aujourd’hui du haut du ciel. Les prédicants de l’hérésie ne sont plus seulement à ses portes ; ils ont pénétré dans son enceinte. Veillez, ô saint Pontife, sur le champ que vos mains ont semé, et ne permettez pas que l’ivraie y prenne racine. Défenseur du Siège Apostolique, suscitez dans la malheureuse Italie des émules de votre zèle et de votre doctrine. Dans votre auguste basilique, sous son imposante coupole, vos yeux virent la réunion de l’Église byzantine à l’Église mère et maîtresse ; votre science et votre charité avaient eu leur part dans cette solennelle réconciliation qui devait, hélas ! durer si peu. Priez, ô Antonin, pour les fils de ceux qui furent infidèles à la promesse scellée sur l’autel même où vos mains ont tant de fois offert le divin Sacrifice de l’unité et de la paix.

Disciple du grand Dominique, héritier de son zèle ardent, soutenez le saint Ordre qu’il a fondé, et dont vous êtes l’une des principales gloires. Montrez que vous l’aimez toujours ; multipliez ses rejetons, et faites-les fleurir et fructifier comme aux jours anciens. Saint Pontife, souvenez-vous aussi du peuple chrétien qui vous implore en ces jours. Chaque année votre bouche éloquente annonçait la Pâque aux fidèles de Florence, et les conviait à prendre part à la résurrection de notre divin chef. La même Pâque, la Pâque immortelle, a de nouveau lui sur nous. Nous Pavons célébrée, nous la célébrons encore ; obtenez que ses fruits soient durables en nous ; que Jésus ressuscité, qui nous a donné la vie, la conserve dans nos âmes par sa grâce jusqu’à l’éternité.

Bhx Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum

Le plus bel éloge de cet évêque de Florence (+ 1453) gloire éclatante de l’Ordre des Prêcheurs, fut prononcé par les ambassadeurs de sa ville le jour où, reçus en audience par Eugène IV, ils lui demandèrent diverses faveurs pour quelques personnes auxquelles ils s’intéressaient. Le Pontife ajouta alors : « Et n’avez-vous pas quelque recommandation à faire pour votre archevêque ? » — « Très Saint-Père, répondirent les messagers, l’archevêque se recommande de lui-même. » Tant s’imposait la sainteté de cet homme qui, dans la ville joyeuse et insouciante de Florence, à l’époque où la fausse renaissance ouvrait déjà la voie au paganisme classique, offrait l’exemple d’un zèle pastoral ardent, joint à l’amour de l’étude et des vertus claustrales les plus austères.

La messe est celle du Commun : Statuit, sauf la première collecte qui est propre.

Dom Pius Parsch, le Guide dans l’année liturgique

Pour la conversion des âmes égarées.

Saint Antonin. — Jour de mort : 2 mai 1459. — Tombeau : à Florence, dans l’église Saint-Marc. Image : on le représente en évêque avec une balance à la main. Vie : Le saint naquit en 1389 ; il entra, à 16 ans, dans l’Ordre des Dominicains et y mena une vie de pénitence austère : « Il déclara une guerre éternelle à la paresse ; après un bref somme, il était le premier à Matines. Après la récitation des Matines, il passait le reste de la nuit dans la prière ou la lecture spirituelle et la composition d’ouvrages. Quand, en raison de son surmenage, il ne pouvait vaincre le sommeil, il s’appuyait quelques instants à la muraille et reprenait son travail avec une nouvelle ardeur. Il observait la règle de son Ordre avec la plus grande conscience. Jamais, sauf en cas de maladie grave, il ne mangea de viande. Sa couche était le sol ou bien quelques planches. Il porta continuellement un dur cilice. Souvent, il porta une ceinture de fer appliquée directement sur le corps. Il garda sans souillure sa pureté virginale pendant toute sa vie (Bréviaire). Il devint plus tard archevêque de Florence (1446-1459). En véritable Dominicain, il prêchait avec un succès merveilleux. C’était un directeur d’âmes expérimenté. On le surnommait « Antonin le conseiller ». Devenu évêque, il continua de vivre comme un pauvre moine, humble, simple, accessible à tous, impartial pour tous, franc et ferme contre les vices des grands. La messe est du commun des confesseurs (Statuit).

SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/10-05-St-Antonin-eveque-et


ANTONIN DE FLORENCE

(Florence 1389 - 1459)

*Le prélat du peuple. Sa sainteté et son amour du peuple en firent une force pour Florence, berceau de l'humanisme et de la Renaissance.

Fils du notaire Nicolo Pierozzi, Antonin se fit, à l'âge de seize ans, dominicain sous la direction de Giovanni Dominici, prieur de Santa Maria Novella de Florence. Durant son noviciat à Cortone, il eut pour condisciple Fra Angelico. Puis il partit pour la nouvelle fondation de Fiesole, où il impressionna tant ses maîtres qu'il fut rapidement nommé prieur de Cortone puis de Fiesole. Ensuite il dirigea la maison dominicaine de Naples et la Minerve de Rome en 1430 avant d'être élu supérieur de toute la province. À son retour a Florence en 1436, Antonin fonda le monastère San Marco, avec le soutien financier de Côme de Médicis. L'édifice est célèbre en raison des fresques que Fra Angelico peignit dans chaque cellule on remarque particulièrement celle de la scène de l'Annonciation de l'escalier principal. Le monastère devint un centre pour l'humanisme et les sciences de la Renaissance.

*Sa vie à Florence.

Antonin eut un rôle déterminant au concile général de Florence de 1438-1445, et le pape Eugène IV le nomma archevêque de Florence en 1446. Il vécut dans une pauvreté exemplaire, traversant à pied son diocèse pour prêcher, utilisant toute son autorité pour combattre l'usure, la magie, les jeux d'argent, et donnant l'aumône aux nécessiteux. Il fonda la fraternité Saint-Martin pour ceux qui avaient honte de mendier. Il était présent lorsque frappaient des fléaux naturels tels que la peste et les tremblements de terre, rencontrant les victimes et encourageant son clergé à faire de même. Côme de Médicis avoua publiquement que le salut de Florence, au cours de ces années terribles, était dû en grande partie à son archevêque, faiseur de miracles. Antonin se pencha aussi sur les problèmes de son temps : en cette période de développement économique, le commerce et ses rapports avec la doctrine chrétienne étaient d'actualité à Florence. Il se préoccupa aussi beaucoup des devoirs de l'État. Durant ses dernières années, Antonin, ambassadeur de Florence, fut aussi choisi par le pape Pie Il pour l'aider à réformer la cour papale Rome avait vite reconnu dans sa sainteté et son intégrité personnelle une habileté bien utile au monde changeant de la Renaissance. Le pape Nicolas V lui demanda souvent conseil sur toutes sortes de sujets ecclésiastiques et politiques. Parmi ses oeuvres, le plus célèbre est sa Summa de théologie morale. Il fut canonisé par le pape réformateur Adrien VI en 1523. Son emblème est une balance avec laquelle il pèse marchandises et parole de Dieu.

Fête: 10 mai

SOURCE : http://casimir.kuczaj.free.fr/Francais/Les%20Saints/antonin_florence.htm

St. Antoninus

Archbishop of Florence, b. at Florence, 1 March, 1389; d. 2 May, 1459; known also by his baptismal nameAntoninus (Anthony), which is found in his autographs, in some manuscripts, in printed editions of his works, and in the Bull of canonization, but which has been finally rejected for the diminutive form given him by his affectionate fellow-citizens. His parents, Niccolò and Thomasina Pierozzi, were in high standing, Niccolò being a notary of the Florentine Republic. At the age of fifteen (1404) Antoninus applied to Bl. John Dominic, the great Italian religious reformer of the period, then at the Convent of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, for admission to the Dominican Order. It was not until a year later that he was accepted, and he was the first to receive the habit for the Convent of Fiesole about to be constructed by Bl. John Dominic. With Fra Angelicoand Fra Bartolommeo, the one to become famous as a painter, the other as a miniaturist, he was sent toCortona to make his novitiate under Bl. Lawrence of Ripafratta. Upon the completion of his year in thenovitiate, he returned to Fiesole, where he remained until 1409, when with his brethren, all faithful adherents of Pope Gregory XII, he was constrained by the Florentines, who had refused obedience, to take shelter in theConvent of Foligno. A few years later he began his career as a zealous promoter of the reforms inaugurated by Bl. John Dominic. In 1414 he was vicar of the convent of Foligno, then in turn sub-prior and prior of theconvent of Cortona, and later prior of the convents of Rome (Minerva), Naples (Saint Peter Martyr), Gaeta,Sienna, and Fiesole (several times). From 1433 to 1446 he was vicar of the Tuscan Congregation formed by Bl.John Dominic of convents embracing a more rigorous discipline. During this period he established (1436) the famous convent of St. Mark in Florence, where he formed a remarkable community from the brethren of theconvent of Fiesole. It was at this time also that he built with the munificent aid of Cosimo de' Medici, the adjoining church, at the consecration of which Pope Eugene IV assisted (Epiphany, 1441). As a theologian he took part in the Council of Florence (1439) and gave hospitality in St. Mark's to the Dominican theologianscalled to the council by Eugene IV.


Despite all the efforts of St. Antoninus to escape ecclesiastical dignities, he was forced by Eugene IV, who had personal knowledge of his saintly character and administrative ability, to accept the Archbishopric ofFlorence. He was consecrated in the convent of Fiesole, 13 march, 1446, and immediately took possession of the see over which he ruled until his death. As he had laboured in the past for the upbuilding of the religious life throughout his Order, so he henceforth laboured for it in his diocese, devoting himself to the visitation ofparishes and religious communities, the remedy of abuses, the strengthening of discipline, the preaching of the Gospel, the amelioration of the condition of the poor, and the writing of books for clergy and laity. These labours were interrupted several times that he might act as ambassador for the Florentine Republic. Ill health prevented him from taking part in an embassy to the emperor in 1451, but in 1455 and again in 1458 he was at the head of embassies sent by the government to the Supreme Pontiff. He was called by Eugene IV to assist him in his dying hours. He was frequently consulted by Nicholas V on questions of Church and State, and was charged by Pius II to undertake, with several cardinals, the reform of the Roman Court. When his death occurred, 2 May, 1459, Pius II gave instructions for the funeral, and presided at it eight days later. He was canonized by Adrian VI, 31 May, 1523.

The literary productions of St. Antoninus, while giving evidence of the eminently practical turn of his mind, show that he was a profound student of history and theology. His principal work is the "Summa TheologicaMoralis, partibus IV distincta", written shortly before his death, which marked a new and very considerable development in moral theology. It also contains a fund of matter for the student of the history of the fifteenth century. Sowell developed are its juridical elements that it has been published under the title of Juris Pontificii et Caesarei Summa". An attempt was lately made by Crohns (Die Summa theologica des Antonin von Florenz und die Schätzung des Weibes im Hexenhammer, Helsingfors, 1903) to trace the fundamentals principles of misogony, so manifest in the "Witchammer" of the German Inquisitors, to this work of Antoninus. But Paulus(Die Verachtung der Frau beim hl. Antonin, in Historisch-Politische Blätter, 1904, pp. 812-830) has shown more clearly than several others, especially the Italian writers, that this hypothesis is untenable, because based on a reading of only a part of the "Summa" of Antoninus. Within fifty years after the first appearance of the work (Venice, 1477), fifteen editions were printed at Venice, Spires, Nuremberg, Strasburg, Lyons, and Basle. Other editions appeared in the following century. In 1740 it was published at Verona in 4 folio volumes edited by P. Ballerini; and in 1841, at Florence by Mamachi and Remedelli, O.P.

Of considerable importance are the manuals for confessors and penitents containing abridgments, reproductions, and translations from the "Summa" and frequently published in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries under the name of St. Antoninus. An unsuccessful attempt has been made to show that he was not the author of the Italian editions. At the most is should be granted that he committed to others the task of editing one or two. The various editions and titles of the manuals have caused confusion, and made it appear that there were more than four distinct works. A careful distinction and classification is given by Mandonnet in the "Dictionnaire de théologie catholique". Of value as throwing light upon the home life of his time are his treatises on Christian life written for women of the Medici family and first published in the last century under the titles:--(1) "Opera a ben vivere...Con altri ammaestramenti", ed. Father Palermo, one vol. (Florence, 1858) (2) "Regola di vita cristiana", one vol. (Florence, 1866). His letters (Lettere) were collected and edited, some for the first time by Tommaso Corsetto, O.P., and published in one volume, at Florence, 1859.

Under the title, "Chronicon partibus tribus distincta ab initio mundi ad MCCCLX" (published also under the titles "Chronicorum opus" and "Historiarum opus"), he wrote a general history of the world with the purpose of presenting to his readers a view of the workings of divine providence. While he did not give way to hisimagination or colour facts, he often fell into the error, so common among the chroniclers of his period, of accepting much that should historical criticism has since rejected as untrue or doubtful. But this can be said only of those parts in which he treated of early history. When writing of the events and politics of his own age he exercised a judgment that has been of the greatest value to later historians. The history was published atVenice, 1474-79, in four volumes of his "Opera Omnia" (Venice, 1480; Nuremberg, 1484; Basle, 1491; Lyons, 1517, 1527, 1585, 1586, 1587). A work on preaching (De arte et vero modo praedicandi) ran through four editions at the close of the fifteenth century. The volume of sermons (Opus quadragesimalium et de sanctissermonum, sive flos florum) is the work of another, although published under the name of St. Antoninus.

Sources

Unedited chronicles of the convents of St. Mark, Florence and St. Dominic, Fiesole: Quétif and Echard, SS. Ord. Praed.; Touron, Histoire des hommes illustres de l'ordre de S. Dominique; Maccarani, Vita di S. Antonino (Florence, 1708); Bartoli, Istoria dell' arcivescovo S. Antonino e de suoi più illustri discepoli (Florence, 1782); Moro, Di S. Antonino in relazione alla riforma cattolica nel sec. XV (Florence, 1899); Schaube, Die Quellen der Weltchronik des heiligen Antoninus (Hirschberg, 1880).

McMahon, Arthur. "St. Antoninus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 26 Apr. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01585b.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Curt Bochanyin.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01585b.htm

Antonino, Saint

(Antonio Pierozzi, 1389-1459)

Son of a Florentine notary, he was attracted to join the Dominican order in 1405 by the preaching of the anti-humanist friar Giovanni Dominici; and he remained suspicious of humanistic culture even though he became close to one of the humanists' great patrons, Cosimo de'Medici. He gained a reputation for piety, learning, and administrative ability and became prior of San Marco in 1436. In 1446 Pope Eugenius IV appointed him archbishop of Florence. Unlike many bishops of his time, he was no absentee but became an energetic pastor to the citizens, struggling to reform the morals and deepen the piety of a rich and worldly society.

As archbishop of one of the world's most active centers of capitalism, Antonino had to deal with the discord between the ordinary practices of the business world (such as charging interest on loans) and the laws of the medieval church, which regarded business activities, like all aspects of life, as subject to its moral and legal control. His numerous writings, such as his Summa moralia/A Compendium of Morality, are scholastic and traditional in manner and content. Antonino approved certain types of credit transactions but denounced many of the subterfuges by which businessmen tried to conceal their morally and legally questionable practice of charging interest. He was widely revered in his own lifetime as a holy and principled pastor and was canonized in 1523.

SOURCE : http://renaissance.academic.ru/27/Antonino,_Saint

Saint Antoninus, B.C.O.P.

Feast Day: May 10th

Profile

    The story of Antonino Pierozzi is that of a great soul in a frail body, and of the triumph of virtue over vast and organized wickedness. His father, Niccolo Pierozzi, had been a noted lawyer, notary to the Republic of Florence. He and his wife Thomassina had their only child baptized as Antonio, but because the saint was both small and gentle people called him by the affectionate diminutive 'Antonino' all his life.

    The world in which he lived was engrossed in the Renaissance; it was a time of violent political upheaval, of plague, wars, and injustice. The effects of the Great Schism of the West, over which Saint Catherine had wept and prayed a generation before, were still tearing Christendom apart when Antoninus was born--in the same year as Cosimo de'Medici. The fortunes of Florence were largely to rest in the hands of these two men.

    There are only a few known details about the early life of Antoninus, but they are revealing ones. He was a delicate and lovable child. His stepmother, worried over his frailty, often gave him extra meat at table. The little boy, determined to harden himself for the religious life, would slip the meat under the table to the cats. Kids!

    From the cradle his inclination was to piety. His only pleasure was to read the lives of saints and other good books, converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at Saint Michael's Church before a crucifix or in our Lady's chapel there. He had a passion for learning, but an even greater ardor to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but His grace to avoid sin, and to do His holy will in all things.

    Antoninus hitched his wagon to the star of great austerity and, at 14, discovered the answer to all his questions in the preaching of Blessed John Dominici, who was then the prior of Santa Maria Novella and later became cardinal-archbishop of Ragusa and papal legate. Antoninus went to speak with the preacher and begged to be admitted to the order.

    At the time, Blessed John was reforming the Dominican priories of the area according to the wishes of Blessed Raymond of Capua. John planned to build a new and reformed house at Fiesole (near Florence), which he hoped to start again with young and fervent subjects who would revivify the order. It had declined under the plague and the effects of the schism. As yet, he had no building in which to house the new recruits.

    Even were the monastery completed, it was to be a house of rigorous observance, and Antoninus looked far too small and frail for such an austere community. John Dominici, not wishing to quench the wick of youthful eagerness, had not the heart to explain all this. He told Antoninus to go home and memorize the large and forbidding book called Decretum Gratiani, supposing that its very bulk would discourage the lad.

    Antoninus, however, was possessed of an iron will. He went home and began to read the book straight through. By the end of the year, he had finished the nearly impossible task set before him, and returned to Blessed John to recite it as requested. There was now no further way to delay his reception into the order, so he was received into the Dominican Order "for the future priory of Fiesole" in 1405 by Blessed John.

    Due to the unsettled state of the Church, the order, and Italian politics, the training of the young aspirants was conducted at several different locations, including Cortona, and, for a time, the regular course of studies could not be pursued. Antoninus, nothing daunted, studied by himself. He was happily associated during these years with several future Dominican saints and beati, including Lawrence of Ripafratta, the novice master; Constantius of Fabriano; Peter Capucci; and his great friend, the artist, Fra Angelico.

    Ordained and set to preaching, Antoninus soon won his place in the hearts of the Florentines. Each time he said Mass, he was moved to tears by the mercy of God, and his own devotion moved other hearts. He was given consecutively several positions in the order. While still very young, he was made prior of the Minerva in Rome (1430). He served the friars in various priories in Italy (including Cortona, Fiesole (1418-28), Naples, Gaeta, Siena, and Florence). As superior of the reformed Tuscan and Neapolitan congregations, and also as prior provincial of the whole Roman province, Antoninus zealously enforced the reforms initiated by John Dominici with a view to restoring the primitive rule. Antoninus became a distinguished master of canon law and assisted popes at their councils. There is evidence that at some point he served as a judge on the Rota. Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to attend the general Council of Florence (1439), and he assisted at all its sessions.

    In 1436, he founded the famous priory of San Marco in Florence with the financial aid of Cosimo de'Medici in buildings abandoned by the Silvestrines. Under his guidance and encouragement, the San Marco's monastery became the center of Christian art. He called upon his old companion, Saint Fra Angelico, and on the miniaturist, Fra Benedetto (Angelico's natural brother), to do the frescoes and the choir books which are still preserved there. He also ensured that an outstanding library was collected.

    Antoninus is still remembered today in the exquisite 'Cloister of Saint Antoninus' with its wide arches and beautiful ionic capitals, designed in the saint's lifetime by Michelozzo for San Marco. In the lunettes of the cloister Bernardino Poccetti and others painted scenes from Antoninus's life. (When Giambologna restored and altered the church of San Marco in 1588, he built for the saint's body a superb chapel.)

    To his horror, Antoninus's wisdom and pastoral zeal made him a natural choice by Pope Eugenius IV for archbishop of Florence in 1446. Although Tabor reports that the pope had first chosen Fra Angelico, whose purity and wisdom had become known when he was painting in Rome. The artist entreated the holy father to choose Fra Antoninus instead, who had done great service by his unworldliness and gentle but irresistible power.

    Antoninus's appointment as bishop was a genuine heartbreak to a scholar who could never find enough time to study; in fact, he had been in Naples for two years reforming the houses of the province when he received word of the nomination and confirmation by the Florentines. For a time he tried to escape accepting the dignity by hiding himself on the island of Sardinia. That did not work. So he tried begging the holy father to excuse him because of his weak physical constitution. The pope would accept no excuses; he commanded Antoninus to proceed immediately to Fiesole under the pain of excommunication for disobedience.

    While he obeyed with trepidation, it was a blessing for the people of Florence that he was consecrated bishop in March 1446; they were not slow in demonstrating their appreciation of their good fortune. He was the 'people's prelate' and the 'protector of the poor' for he discharged his office with inflexible justice and overflowing charity. His love extended to the rich, too. The next year, the dying Pope Eugenius summoned Antoninus to Rome in order to receive the last sacraments from the holy bishop before dying in his arms on February 23, 1447.

    For the remainder of his life, Antoninus combined an amazing amount of active work with constant prayer. He allowed himself very little sleep. In addition to the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week; and the whole psalter on every festival. His prayer life allowed him to exhibit an exterior of serenity regardless of the situation. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his vita wished to see written in letters of gold: "To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can over enter."

    Because of his reputation for wisdom and ability, Antoninus was often called upon to help in public affairs, civil and ecclesiastical. Pope Nicholas V sought his advice on matters of church and state, forbade any appeal to be made to Rome from the archbishop's judgements, and declared that Antonino in his lifetime was as worthy of canonization as the dead Bernardino of Siena, whom he was about to raise to the altars. Pius II nominated him to a commission charged with reforming the Roman court. The Florentine government gave him important embassies on behalf of the republic and would have sent him as their representative to the emperor if illness had not prevented him from leaving Florence. Yet he also busied himself with the beauty of the chant, and personally attended the Divine Office at his cathedral.

    A distinguished writer on international law and moral theology, his best known work is Summa moralis, which is generally thought to have laid the groundwork for modern moral theology. He was conscious of the new problems presented by social and economic development, and taught that the state had a duty to intervene in mercantile affairs for the common good, and to give help to the unfortunate and needy. He was among the first Christian moralists to teach that money invested in commerce and industry was true capital; therefore, it was lawful and not usury to claim interest on it (combine this information with the fact that he was a staunch opponent of usury). All his many books were of a practical nature, including guidance for confessors (Summa confessionis) and a chronicle of the history of the world.

    His first concern, however, was always for the people of his diocese, to whom he set an example of simple living and inflexible integrity. He preached regularly, made a yearly visitation of all the parishes in the diocese on foot, put down gambling, opposed both usury and magic, reformed abuses of all kinds, and served as the example of Christian charity. Each day he held an audience for anyone who wished to speak with him. No one appealed for his help, material or spiritual, in vain.

    Antoninus was probably best known for his kindness to the poor, and there were many in the rich city of Florence. He pulled up his own flower garden and planted vegetables for the poor. He drove his housekeeper to distraction by giving away even his own tableware, food, clothing, and furniture. He never possessed any small precious objects, such as plates or jewels. His stable generally housed one mule, which he often sold to relieve some poor person. When that happened, some wealthy citizen would buy the animal and offer it as a present to the charitable archbishop. He kept in personal contact with the poor of the city, particularly with those who had fallen from wealth and were ashamed to beg. For their care he founded a society called the "Goodmen of Saint Martin of Tours," who went about quietly doing much-needed charitable work--much in the fashion of our modern Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. His particular establishment now provides for about 600 families.

    His charity did not end with the poor, but also extended to his enemies. A criminal, named Ciardi, who was called before the bishop to answer accusations, attempted to assassinate the archbishop. The saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard, which pierced the back of his chair. Yet Antoninus freely forgave the potential assassin and prayed for his conversion. God answered his prayers so that he had the comfort of seeing Ciardi become a sincere Franciscan penitent.

    When the plague again came to Florence in 1448, it was the saintly archbishop who took the lead in almsgiving and care of the sick. Many Dominicans died of the plague as they went about their priestly duties in the stricken city; sad but undaunted, Antoninus continued to go about on foot among the people, giving both material and spiritual aid. During the earthquakes of 1453-1455, he was similarly self-giving. The example of his own charity led many rich persons to likewise provide for the afflicted.

    Antoninus's was a role model in other ways, too. When he learned that two blind beggars had amassed a fortune, he took the money from them and distributed it to others in dire necessity. Was this an injustice? No, he provided for all the needs of the two for the rest of their lives. The bishop tried to hide his virtue from others and himself, until he would see reflections of them in his flock. By accident he discovered one such flame that he had sparked in a poor, obscure handicraftsman who continually practiced penance. The man spent Sundays and holidays in the churches, secretly distributed to the poor all he earned beyond that needed for subsistence, and kept a poor leper in his home, joyfully serving the ungrateful beggar and dressing his ulcers with his own hands. The leper, increasingly morose and imperious, carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who, discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honored it, while he punished the insolence of the leper.

    Cosimo de'Medici, who did not always have compliments for the Dominicans, admitted frankly, "Our city has experienced all sorts of misfortunes: fire, earthquake, drought, plague, seditions, plots. I believe it would today be nothing but a mass of ruins without the prayers of our holy archbishop."

    After 13 years as bishop, Antoninus died surrounded by his religious brothers from San Marco and mourned by the whole city. His whole life was mirrored in his last words, "to serve God is to reign." Pope Pius II assisted at his funeral, when he was buried in San Marco's church. Pius eulogized Antoninus as one who "conquered avarice and pride, was outstandingly temperate in every way, was a brilliant theologian, and popular preacher."

    His hairshirt and other relics were the vehicle for many miracles. It is significant that the canonization of Saint Antoninus was decreed by the short-lived Pope Adrian VI (August 31, 1522, to September 14, 1523), whose ideas for church reform were radical and drastic. His body was found uncorrupted in 1559, when it was translated with pomp and solemnity into a chapel richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Dominicans, Dorcy, Farmer, Husenbeth, Jarrett, Tabor, Walsh).

Born: March 1, 1389 at Florence, Italy

Died: May 2, 1459 at Florence, Italy

Canonized: May 1523 by Pope Adrian VI

Patronage: Fever

Representation: Antonius of Florence is generally portrayed in art as a Dominican bishop with scales. He might be shown (1) weighing false merchandise against the word of God; (2) as a Dominican with a pallium; (3) as a young man giving alms; (4) drifting down a river in a boat; or (5) holding a book in a bag (Roeder). The likeness of the archbishop was recorded by contemporary artists, as in the bust at Santa Maria Novella and a statue at the nearby Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Antonio del Pollaiuolo's painting of him at the foot of the Cross survives at San Marco, as does a series of scenes from his life in its cloister of San Antonino (Farmer) and a portrait by Fra Bartolomeo (Tabor).

Commemorations

First Vespers:

Ant. Thou art the praise of virgins, the glory of doctors, a prelate admired by all holy prelates, O Blessed Antoninus: cast thy fatherly eyes on us who likewise sing thy praises, alleluia.

V. Pray for us Blessed Antoninus, alleluia

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia

Lauds:

Ant. Truly to be glorified is Saint Antoninus, who cured the infirm, who ruled the elements, and who caused even inexorable death to tremble, alleluia

V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, alleluia.

R. And shall flourish forever before the Lord, alleluia.

Second Vespers:

Ant. Leader in faith, teacher of piety, luminary of the world, glory of the priesthood, by despising the flesh and clinging to God eternal, thou didst fulfill thine own teaching: O Blessed Antoninus, who with the ascending Christ didst also ascend the heavens, leave us not orphans in this land of exile, alleluia.

V. Pray for us, Blessed Antoninus, alleluia.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, alleluia.
 
Prayer:

Let us Pray: May we be assisted, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Blessed Confessor and Bishop, Saint Antoninus, that, as we  confess Thee to have been wonderful in him, so we may glory in Thy mercy towards us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


SOURCE : http://www.willingshepherds.org/Dominican%20Saints%20May.html#Antoninus

Antoninus of Florence, OP B (RM)

Born in Florence, Italy, in 1389 (or 1384?); died there on May 2, 1459; canonized in 1523.


The story of Antonino Pierozzi is that of a great soul in a frail body, and of the triumph of virtue over vast and organized wickedness. His father, Niccolo Pierozzi, had been a noted lawyer, notary to the Republic of Florence. He and his wife Thomassina had their only child baptized as Antonio, but because the saint was both small and gentle people called him by the affectionate diminutive 'Antonino' all his life.

The world in which he lived was engrossed in the Renaissance; it was a time of violent political upheaval, of plague, wars, and injustice. The effects of the Great Schism of the West, over which Saint Catherine had wept and prayed a generation before, were still tearing Christendom apart when Antoninus was born--in the same year as Cosimo de'Medici. The fortunes of Florence were largely to rest in the hands of these two men.

There are only a few known details about the early life of Antoninus, but they are revealing ones. He was a delicate and lovable child. His stepmother, worried over his frailty, often gave him extra meat at table. The little boy, determined to harden himself for the religious life, would slip the meat under the table to the cats. Kids!

From the cradle his inclination was to piety. His only pleasure was to read the lives of saints and other good books, converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at Saint Michael's Church before a crucifix or in our Lady's chapel there. He had a passion for learning, but an even greater ardor to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but His grace to avoid sin, and to do His holy will in all things.

Antoninus hitched his wagon to the star of great austerity and, at 14, discovered the answer to all his questions in the preaching of Blessed John Dominici, who was then the prior of Santa Maria Novella and later became cardinal-archbishop of Ragusa and papal legate. Antoninus went to speak with the preacher and begged to be admitted to the order.

At the time, Blessed John was reforming the Dominican priories of the area according to the wishes of Blessed Raymond of Capua. John planned to build a new and reformed house at Fiesole (near Florence), which he hoped to start again with young and fervent subjects who would revivify the order. It had declined under the plague and the effects of the schism. As yet, he had no building in which to house the new recruits.

Even were the monastery completed, it was to be a house of rigorous observance, and Antoninus looked far too small and frail for such an austere community. John Dominici, not wishing to quench the wick of youthful eagerness, had not the heart to explain all this. He told Antoninus to go home and memorize the large and forbidding book called Decretum Gratiani, supposing that its very bulk would discourage the lad.

Antoninus, however, was possessed of an iron will. He went home and began to read the book straight through. By the end of the year, he had finished the nearly impossible task set before him, and returned to Blessed John to recite it as requested. There was now no further way to delay his reception into the order, so he was received into the Dominican Order "for the future priory of Fiesole" in 1405 by Blessed John.

Due to the unsettled state of the Church, the order, and Italian politics, the training of the young aspirants was conducted at several different locations, including Cortona, and, for a time, the regular course of studies could not be pursued. Antoninus, nothing daunted, studied by himself. He was happily associated during these years with several future Dominican saints and beati, including Lawrence of Ripafratta, the novice master; Constantius of Fabriano; Peter Capucci; and his great friend, the artist, Fra Angelico.

Ordained and set to preaching, Antoninus soon won his place in the hearts of the Florentines. Each time he said Mass, he was moved to tears by the mercy of God, and his own devotion moved other hearts. He was given consecutively several positions in the order. While still very young, he was made prior of the Minerva in Rome (1430). He served the friars in various priories in Italy (including Cortona, Fiesole (1418-28), Naples, Gaeta, Siena, and Florence). As superior of the reformed Tuscan and Neapolitan congregations, and also as prior provincial of the whole Roman province, Antoninus zealously enforced the reforms initiated by John Dominici with a view to restoring the primitive rule. Antoninus became a distinguished master of canon law and assisted popes at their councils. There is evidence that at some point he served as a judge on the Rota. Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to attend the general Council of Florence (1439), and he assisted at all its sessions.

In 1436, he founded the famous priory of San Marco in Florence with the financial aid of Cosimo de'Medici in buildings abandoned by the Silvestrines. Under his guidance and encouragement, the San Marco's monastery became the center of Christian art. He called upon his old companion, Saint Fra Angelico, and on the miniaturist, Fra Benedetto (Angelico's natural brother), to do the frescoes and the choir books which are still preserved there. He also ensured that an outstanding library was collected.

Antoninus is still remembered today in the exquisite 'Cloister of Saint Antoninus' with its wide arches and beautiful ionic capitals, designed in the saint's lifetime by Michelozzo for San Marco. In the lunettes of the cloister Bernardino Poccetti and others painted scenes from Antoninus's life. (When Giambologna restored and altered the church of San Marco in 1588, he built for the saint's body a superb chapel.)

To his horror, Antoninus's wisdom and pastoral zeal made him a natural choice by Pope Eugenius IV for archbishop of Florence in 1446. Although Tabor reports that the pope had first chosen Fra Angelico, whose purity and wisdom had become known when he was painting in Rome. The artist entreated the holy father to choose Fra Antoninus instead, who had done great service by his unworldliness and gentle but irresistible power.

Antoninus's appointment as bishop was a genuine heartbreak to a scholar who could never find enough time to study; in fact, he had been in Naples for two years reforming the houses of the province when he received word of the nomination and confirmation by the Florentines. For a time he tried to escape accepting the dignity by hiding himself on the island of Sardinia. That did not work. So he tried begging the holy father to excuse him because of his weak physical constitution. The pope would accept no excuses; he commanded Antoninus to proceed immediately to Fiesole under the pain of excommunication for disobedience.

While he obeyed with trepidation, it was a blessing for the people of Florence that he was consecrated bishop in March 1446; they were not slow in demonstrating their appreciation of their good fortune. He was the 'people's prelate' and the 'protector of the poor' for he discharged his office with inflexible justice and overflowing charity. His love extended to the rich, too. The next year, the dying Pope Eugenius summoned Antoninus to Rome in order to receive the last sacraments from the holy bishop before dying in his arms on February 23, 1447.

For the remainder of his life, Antoninus combined an amazing amount of active work with constant prayer. He allowed himself very little sleep. In addition to the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week; and the whole psalter on every festival. His prayer life allowed him to exhibit an exterior of serenity regardless of the situation. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his vita wished to see written in letters of gold: "To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can over enter."

Because of his reputation for wisdom and ability, Antoninus was often called upon to help in public affairs, civil and ecclesiastical. Pope Nicholas V sought his advice on matters of church and state, forbade any appeal to be made to Rome from the archbishop's judgements, and declared that Antonino in his lifetime was as worthy of canonization as the dead Bernardino of Siena, whom he was about to raise to the altars. Pius II nominated him to a commission charged with reforming the Roman court. The Florentine government gave him important embassies on behalf of the republic and would have sent him as their representative to the emperor if illness had not prevented him from leaving Florence. Yet he also busied himself with the beauty of the chant, and personally attended the Divine Office at his cathedral.

A distinguished writer on international law and moral theology, his best known work is Summa moralis, which is generally thought to have laid the groundwork for modern moral theology. He was conscious of the new problems presented by social and economic development, and taught that the state had a duty to intervene in mercantile affairs for the common good, and to give help to the unfortunate and needy. He was among the first Christian moralists to teach that money invested in commerce and industry was true capital; therefore, it was lawful and not usury to claim interest on it (combine this information with the fact that he was a staunch opponent of usury). All his many books were of a practical nature, including guidance for confessors (Summa confessionis) and a chronicle of the history of the world.

His first concern, however, was always for the people of his diocese, to whom he set an example of simple living and inflexible integrity. He preached regularly, made a yearly visitation of all the parishes in the diocese on foot, put down gambling, opposed both usury and magic, reformed abuses of all kinds, and served as the example of Christian charity. Each day he held an audience for anyone who wished to speak with him. No one appealed for his help, material or spiritual, in vain.

Antoninus was probably best known for his kindness to the poor, and there were many in the rich city of Florence. He pulled up his own flower garden and planted vegetables for the poor. He drove his housekeeper to distraction by giving away even his own tableware, food, clothing, and furniture. He never possessed any small precious objects, such as plates or jewels. His stable generally housed one mule, which he often sold to relieve some poor person. When that happened, some wealthy citizen would buy the animal and offer it as a present to the charitable archbishop. He kept in personal contact with the poor of the city, particularly with those who had fallen from wealth and were ashamed to beg. For their care he founded a society called the "Goodmen of Saint Martin of Tours," who went about quietly doing much-needed charitable work--much in the fashion of our modern Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. His particular establishment now provides for about 600 families.
His charity did not end with the poor, but also extended to his enemies. A criminal, named Ciardi, who was called before the bishop to answer accusations, attempted to assassinate the archbishop. The saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard, which pierced the back of his chair. Yet Antoninus freely forgave the potential assassin and prayed for his conversion. God answered his prayers so that he had the comfort of seeing Ciardi become a sincere Franciscan penitent.

When the plague again came to Florence in 1448, it was the saintly archbishop who took the lead in almsgiving and care of the sick. Many Dominicans died of the plague as they went about their priestly duties in the stricken city; sad but undaunted, Antoninus continued to go about on foot among the people, giving both material and spiritual aid. During the earthquakes of 1453-1455, he was similarly self-giving. The example of his own charity led many rich persons to likewise provide for the afflicted.

Antoninus's was a role model in other ways, too. When he learned that two blind beggars had amassed a fortune, he took the money from them and distributed it to others in dire necessity. Was this an injustice? No, he provided for all the needs of the two for the rest of their lives. The bishop tried to hide his virtue from others and himself, until he would see reflections of them in his flock. By accident he discovered one such flame that he had sparked in a poor, obscure handicraftsman who continually practiced penance. The man spent Sundays and holidays in the churches, secretly distributed to the poor all he earned beyond that needed for subsistence, and kept a poor leper in his home, joyfully serving the ungrateful beggar and dressing his ulcers with his own hands. The leper, increasingly morose and imperious, carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who, discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honored it, while he punished the insolence of the leper.

Cosimo de'Medici, who did not always have compliments for the Dominicans, admitted frankly, "Our city has experienced all sorts of misfortunes: fire, earthquake, drought, plague, seditions, plots. I believe it would today be nothing but a mass of ruins without the prayers of our holy archbishop."
After 13 years as bishop, Antoninus died surrounded by his religious brothers from San Marco and mourned by the whole city. His whole life was mirrored in his last words, "to serve God is to reign." Pope Pius II assisted at his funeral, when he was buried in San Marco's church. Pius eulogized Antoninus as one who "conquered avarice and pride, was outstandingly temperate in every way, was a brilliant theologian, and popular preacher."

His hairshirt and other relics were the vehicle for many miracles. It is significant that the canonization of Saint Antoninus was decreed by the short-lived Pope Adrian VI (August 31, 1522, to September 14, 1523), whose ideas for church reform were radical and drastic. His body was found uncorrupted in 1559, when it was translated with pomp and solemnity into a chapel richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Dominicans, Dorcy, Farmer, Husenbeth, Jarrett, Tabor, Walsh).


Antonius of Florence is generally portrayed in art as a Dominican bishop with scales. He might be shown (1) weighing false merchandise against the word of God; (2) as a Dominican with a pallium; (3) as a young man giving alms; (4) drifting down a river in a boat; or (5) holding a book in a bag (Roeder). The likeness of the archbishop was recorded by contemporary artists, as in the bust at Santa Maria Novella and a statue at the nearby Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Antonio del Pollaiuolo's painting of him at the foot of the Cross survives at San Marco, as does a series of scenes from his life in its cloister of San Antonino (Farmer) and a portrait by Fra Bartolomeo (Tabor).


St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence, Confessor

From the bull of his canonization, his exact life by Castiglioni, a contemporary priest, canon of Florence, and other writers of that age, collected by F. Touron, t. 3, p. 319. See Papebroke, Act. Sanct. t. 1, Maij. p. 311. And the history of his chapel in the Dominicans’ church of St. Mark at Florence, and of the translation of his body into the same in 1589, printed at Florence in fol. 1728. Also S. Antonini Summa Theologica cum annotationibus et vitâ auctoris per Fratres Ballerinos, Petrum et Hieronimum, sacerdotes Veronenses, 4 vol. in folio, Veronæ, 1740.

A.D. 1459.

 ST. ANTONINUS, or LITTLE ANTONY, was born at Florence in 1389. His parents, named Nicholas Pierozzi and Thomassina, were noble citizens of that place, and he was the only fruit of their marriage. From the cradle he was modest, bashful, docile, and had no inclination but to piety, being even then an enemy both to sloth and to the amusements of children. It was his only pleasure to read the lives of saints and other good books, to converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer, to which he was much given from his infancy. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at St. Michael’s church before a crucifix, or in our Lady’s chapel there. And whether he applied himself to that holy exercise in his closet or the church, he always kneeled or lay prostrate, with a perseverance that astonished every body. By the means of a happy memory, a solid judgment, and quick penetration, assisted by an assiduous application, he became an able master at an age when others scarcely begin to understand the first elements of the sciences. But his passion for learning was not equal to his ardour to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but his grace to avoid sin, and to do his holy will in all things. F. Dominick, a learned and holy preacher of the Order of St. Dominick afterwards made cardinal, archbishop of Ragusa, and legate of the holy see, was then employed in building a convent at Fiesoli, two miles from Florence. Antoninus was wonderfully delighted with the unction of his sermons, and never went out of Florence, but to converse with that apostolic man, to whom he applied at last for the Dominican habit. The father judging him as yet too young, and his constitution too tender for so strict a life of perpetual abstinence, frequent fasts, long watchings, and other rigours, advised him to wait yet some years, and bid him first study the canon law; adding, that when he should have learned Gratian’s decree by heart, his request should be granted. So dry and difficult a task would have seemed to another equivalent to an absolute refusal. However Antoninus set about it, and joining prayer and severe mortifications with his studies, made an essay of the life to which he aspired; and in less than a year presented himself again to the prior of Fiesoli; and by answering his examination upon the whole decree of Gratian, gave him a surprising proof of his capacity, memory, and fervour. The prior hesitated no longer, but gave him the habit, he being then sixteen years of age. The young novice was most exact in complying with every point of the rule, and appeared the most humble, the most obedient, most mortified, and most recollected of his brethren. Being advanced to the priesthood, he augmented his exercise of piety; he was never seen at the altar but bathed in tears. Whether sick or well, he lay always on the hard boards; and so perfectly had he subjected the flesh to the spirit, that he seemed to feel no reluctance from his senses in the service of God. He was chosen very young to govern the great convent of the Minerva in Rome; and after that, was successively prior at Naples, Cajeta, Cortona, Sienna, Fiesoli, and Florence: in all which places he zealously enforced the practice of the rule of St. Dominick, and more by his actions than words. Besides his domestic employments he preached often, and with great fruit. The works which he published increased his reputation. He was consulted from Rome, and from all quarters, especially in intricate cases of the canon law. The learned cardinal de Lucca reckons him among the most distinguished auditors or judges of the Rota, though we do not find at what time he discharged that office. He was chosen vicar or general superior of a numerous reformed congregation in his Order. He would not remit any thing in his austerities or labours when exhausted by a decay, of which however he recovered. Pope Eugenius IV. called him to the general council of Florence; and he assisted in quality of divine at all its sessions, and at the disputations with the Greeks. During his stay at Florence he was made prior of the convent of St. Mark in that city, for which Cosmus of Medicis, called the father of his country, was then building a sumptuous church, which Pope Eugenius IV. consecrated. After having established in this house the true spirit of his Order, he visited his convents in Tuscany and Naples.

While employed in introducing the primitive discipline of his Order in the province of Naples, the see of Florence became vacant by the death of its archbishop. The intrigues of several candidates protracted the election of a successor. But Pope Eugenius IV. no sooner named F. Antoninus to the Florentines, as possessed of the qualities they had desired in their future bishop, namely, sanctity, learning, and experience, and his being a native of their own city, than they all acquiesced in his choice. Antoninus, who had then been two years absent from Florence, employed in the visitation of his monasteries, was equally surprised and afflicted that he should have been thought of for so eminent a dignity. And that he might escape it, he set out with the design of concealing himself in the isle of Sardinia; but being prevented in the execution, he was obliged to go to Sienna, whence he wrote to the pope, conjuring his holiness not to lay that formidable burden on his weak shoulders, alleging his being in the decline of life, worn out with fatigues and sickness; enlarging also upon his great unworthiness and want of capacity; and begging that he would not now treat him as an enemy whom he had honoured with so many marks of friendship. He could not close his letter without watering it with his tears. The pope, however, was inflexible, and sent him an order to repair without delay to his convent at Fiesoli. He wrote at the same time to the city of Florence, to acquaint them that he had sent them an archbishop to their gates. The principal persons of the clergy and nobility, with Cosmus of Medicis at their head, went out to compliment him on that occasion; but found him so averse to the dignity, that all their entreaties to take it upon him were to no purpose, till the pope, being again applied to in the affair, sent him an order to obey, backing it with a threat of excommunication if he persisted in opposing the will of God. After many tears, Antoninus at last complied; he was consecrated and took possession of his bishopric in March, 1446. His regulation of his household and conduct was a true imitation of the primitive apostolic bishops. His table, dress, and furniture showed a perfect spirit of poverty, modesty, and simplicity. It was his usual saying, that all the riches of a successor of the apostles ought to be his virtue. He practised all the observances of his rule as far as compatible with his functions. His whole family consisted of six persons, to whom he assigned such salaries as might hinder them from seeking accidental perquisites, which are usually iniquitous or dangerous. He at first appointed two grand vicars, but afterward, to avoid all occasions of variance, kept only one; and remembering that a bishop is bound to personal service, did almost every thing himself, but always with mature advice. As to his temporalities, he relied entirely on a man of probity and capacity, to reserve himself totally for his spiritual functions. He gave audience every day to all that addressed themselves to him, but particularly declared himself the father and protector of the poor. His purse and his granaries were in a manner totally theirs; when these were exhausted, he gave them often part of his scanty furniture and clothes. He never was possessed of any plate, or any other precious moveables, and never kept either dogs or horses; one only mule served all the necessities of his family, and this he often sold for the relief of some poor person; on which occasion, some wealthy citizen would buy it, to restore it again as a present to the charitable archbishop. He founded the college of St. Martin, to assist persons of reduced circumstances, and ashamed to make known their necessities, which establishment now provides for above six hundred families. His mildness appeared not only in his patience in bearing the insolence and importunities of the poor, but in his sweetness and benevolence towards his enemies. One named Ciardi, whom he had cited before him to answer certain criminal accusations, made an attempt on his life; and the saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard which pierced the back of his chair. Yet he freely forgave the assassin, and praying for his conversion, had the comfort to see him become a sincere penitent in the Order of St. Francis.

The saint wanted not courage whenever the honour of God required it. He suppressed games of hazard; reformed other abuses in all orders; preached almost every Sunday and holiday, and visited his whole diocess every year, always on foot. His character for wisdom and integrity was such, that he was consulted from all parts, and by persons of the highest rank, both secular and ecclesiastical, and his decisions gave so general a satisfaction, that they acquired him the name of Antoninus the Counsellor. Yet this multiplicity of business was no interruption of his attention to God. He allowed himself very little sleep. Over and above the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week, and the whole psalter on every festival. In the midst of his exterior affairs he always preserved the same serenity of countenance, and the same peace of mind, and seemed always recollected in God. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his life wished to see written in letters of gold: “To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can ever enter.” Pope Eugenius IV. falling sick, sent for Antoninus to Rome, made his confession to him, received the viaticum and extreme-unction from his hands, and expired in his arms on the 23rd of February, 1447. Nicholas IV. succeeded him. St. Antoninus having received his benediction, hastened to Florence, where a pestilence had begun to show itself, which raged the whole year following. The holy archbishop exposed himself first, and employed his clergy both secular and regular, especially those of his own order, in assisting the infected; so that almost all the friars of St. Mark, St. Mary Novella, and Fiesoli were swept away by the contagion, and new recruits were sent from the province of Lombardy to inhabit those houses. The famine, as is usual, followed this first scourge. The holy archbishop stripped himself of almost everything; and by the influence of his words and example, many rich persons were moved to do the like. He obtained from Rome, particularly from the pope, great succours for the relief of the distressed. Indeed, the pope never refused anything that he requested; and ordered that no appeals should be received at Rome from any sentence passed by him. After the public calamity was over, the saint continued his liberalities to the poor; but being informed that two blind beggars had amassed, the one two hundred, and the other three hundred ducats, he took the money from them, and distributed it among the real objects of charity; charging himself, however, with the maintenance of those two for the rest of their lives. Humility made him conceal his heroic practices of penance and piety from others, and even from himself; for he saw nothing but imperfections even in what others admired in him, and never heard anything tending to his own commendation without confusion and indignation. He formed many perfect imitators of his virtue. An accident discovered to him a hidden servant of God. A poor handicraftsman lived in obscurity, in the continual practice of penance, having no other object of his desires but heaven. He passed the Sundays and holidays in the churches, and distributed all he gained by his work, beyond his mean subsistence, among the poor, with the greatest privacy; and kept a poor leper, serving him and dressing his ulcers with his own hands, bearing the continual reproaches and complaints of the ungrateful beggar, not only with patience, but also with joy. The leper became the more morose and imperious, and carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honoured it, whilst he punished the insolence of the leper.

Florence was shook by frequent earthquakes during three years, from 1453, and a large tract of land was laid desolate by a violent storm. The saint maintained, lodged, and set up again the most distressed, and rebuilt their houses. But he laboured most assiduously to render these public calamities instrumental to the reformation of his people’s manners. Cosmus of Medicis used to say, that he did not question but the preservation of their republic under its great dangers, was owing chiefly to the merits and prayers of its holy archbishop. Pope Pius II. has left us, in the second book of his Commentaries, a most edifying history of the eminent virtues of our saint, and the strongest testimonies of his sanctity. The love of his flock made him decline a secular embassy to the emperor Frederick III. God called him to the reward of his labours on the 2nd of May, 1459, in the seventieth year of his age and the thirteenth of his archiepiscopal dignity. He repeated on his death-bed these words, which he had often in his mouth during health, “To serve God is to reign.” Pope Pius II. being then at Florence, assisted at his funeral. His hair-shirt and other relics were the instruments of many miracles. He was buried, according to his desire, in the church of St. Mark, among his religious brethren, and was canonized by Adrian VI. in 1523. His body was found entire in 1559, and translated with the greatest pomp and solemnity, into a chapel prepared to receive it in the same church of St. Mark, richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati, 1 whose family looks upon it as their greatest honour that this illustrious saint belonged to it. Nor is it easy to imagine anything that could surpass the rich embellishments of this chapel, 2 particularly the shrine; nor the pomp and magnificence of the procession and translation, at which a great number of cardinals, bishops, and princes from several parts assisted, who all admired to see the body perfectly free from corruption, one hundred and thirty years after it had been buried.

The venerable Achard, bishop of Avranches, in his excellent treatise On Self-denial, 3 reduces the means and practice of Christian perfection to seven degrees of self-renunciation, by which he is disposed for the reign of love in his soul. These degrees he otherwise calls seven deserts of the soul. The first is the desert of penance. The second of solitude, at least that of the heart. The third of mortification. The fourth of simplicity of faith. The fifth of obedience. The sixth of the pure love of God. The seventh of zeal for his honour in the salvation of our neighbour. For a man, first, is to renounce sin by sincere repentance. Secondly, the world by solitude. Thirdly, the flesh by the mortification of his senses. Fourthly, though reason is man’s most noble excellency, yet this being obscured and often blinded by the passions, easily becomes the seat of pride, and leads into the most dangerous precipices and errors. Man is therefore bound to humble his reason by keeping it in due subordination, and in a certain degree to renounce it by simplicity of heart and sincere humility. And this is so far from being against reason, that it is the sovereign use of reason. Fifthly, a man is moreover obliged to renounce his own will by perfect obedience. Sixthly, he must moreover renounce all that he is by the pure love of God, which ought to have no bounds. Seventhly, none but one who has tasted the sweetness of heavenly contemplation, knows how incomparable an advantage he renounces who deprives himself of it. Yet zeal for our neighbour’s salvation, and tender compassion for his spiritual miseries, move the saints sometimes to prefer toils and sufferings to its pure delights and charms. By these rules we see by what degrees or means pious pastors attain to the apostolic spirit of their state, and how heroic their sacrifice is.

Note 1. St. Antoninus’s principal work is, his Summ of Moral Divinity, divided into four parts, in which all virtues and vices are explained; the former enforced by pathetic motives and examples, and the latter painted in the most striking colours, to inspire Christians with horror. His Chronicle, or tripartite historical Summ, is an abridgment of history from the creation of the world to 1458, the year before his death. He is faithful and candid; but in distant events liable to mistakes. His little Summ is an instruction to confessors. We have also his treatise on virtues and vices, and some few sermons. See Echard De Script. Ord. Præd. t. 1, p. 818, and Peter and Jerom Ballerini of Verona, in the life of St. Antoninus, in their new edition of his works. Mamachi gave an edition of his Summ, with prolix notes, printed at Florence in 1741. [back]

Note 2. Descrizione della Capella di S. Antonino, or, The Description of the Chapel of St. Antoninus, in the Dominicans’ church of St. Mark, at Florence: also the History of the Translation of his Body into this Chapel, printed in fol. in 1728, at Florence. [back]

Note 3. See this treatise published by the Ven. F. Simon Gourdan, in the seventh tome of his MS. Account of the Lives and Maxims of the eminent Men of St. Victor’s Monastery at Paris, kept in the library of that house. Achard was a native of Normandy, and of the prime nobility of that province. In his youth he studied in England, and was the glory of the clergy of this kingdom. Returning into France, he entered himself among the regular canons of St. Victor’s, under the blessed Gilduin, the first abbot of that house, whom, upon his death in 1155, he succeeded in that abbacy.
  Achard was made bishop of Avranches in 1160, and was highly esteemed by Henry II. of England, though he constantly defended the cause of St. Thomas of Canterbury against that prince, from the beginning of his persecution in 1164 to his martyrdom in 1170. Achard died in the odour of sanctity in 1171. See F. Gourdan, ib. t. 7. 
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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Voir aussi : http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/rvart_0035-1326_1990_num_90_1_347867