Cicognani, Amleto Giovanni
CICOGNANI, AMLETO GIOVANNI
Vatican secretary of state and apostolic delegate to the United States; b. Brisighella, Italy, Feb. 24, 1883; d. Rome, Dec. 17, 1973. After attending the seminary at Faenza, Italy, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1905 and was sent to study at Rome, receiving doctorates in theology and canon law. Almost immediately he began a lifelong career of service to the Holy See. He first served with the Congregation for the Sacraments (1910–14) and then in the Consistorial Congregation (1914–28). In 1928 Pius XI appointed him assessor of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and in 1929 he became secretary of the Commission for Revision of Oriental Canon Law. In addition to his administrative duties, he taught canon law at the Juridical Pontifical Institute of Sant'Apollinare and served as chaplain to university students.
In 1933 Cicognani was appointed titular archbishop of Laodicea in Phrygia and named apostolic delegate to the United States, a post he held until 1958. During this period he traveled widely throughout the United States and saw extensive growth of the U.S. Catholic Church. During World War II he made special efforts to minister to Catholic prisoners of war held by the United States. Cicognani's tenure in Washington ended in 1958 when John XXIII raised him to the college of cardinals, a rank his older brother Gaetano already held.
Cicognani became secretary of the Oriental Congregation in Jan. of 1961 and the following August was appointed successor to Cardinal Domenico Tardini as secretary of state, an office he held until he resigned because of age in 1969. From March 24, 1972 until his death, he was dean of the college of cardinals. At the Second Vatican Council he served as president of the Commission for the Oriental Churches. Among his writings are Sanctity in America (1939), a book on Americans who had been proposed for beatification, and Canon Law (1925; Eng. tr. 1934), at the time considered one of the authoritative treatments of the subject.