Mezzabarba, Carlo Ambrogio

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Patriarch of Alexandria and apostolic visitator to China; b. Pavia, c. 1685, d. Lodi, Dec. 7, 1741. Mezzabarba was accredited by Clement X with powers of legate a latere (Sept. 18, 1719); his mission to the Sino-Manchu Empire was to negotiate acceptance of the constitution Ex illa die of March 19, 1715, condemning the Chinese rites. In a series of audiences from Dec. 31, 1720, to March 1, 1721, Hsüan-yeh treated the papal plenipotentiary with marked honors, but angrily spurned the antirites decree and threatened repressive measures if it was enforced. Hoping to ease the grave tension, the legate issued a pastoral instruction (Macau, Nov. 4, 1721) in which he accorded eight qualifying permissions previously authorized by Rome itself in case of need, but which were quashed by Benedict XIV 20 years later (1742). Unsuccessful in his mission, Mezzabarba left China on Dec. 9, 1721, and on July 13, 1725, he was named to the See of Lodi. His confessor during the ill-fated legation, the Servite Sostegno Viani, wrote a diary of events, Giornale della Legazione (Cologne 1740), which was critical of the actions of the Beijing Jesuits in this affair.

Bibliography: l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages, 40 v. (London-St. Louis 193861): v. 1, 6th ed.; v. 2, 7th ed.; v. 36, 5th ed.; v. 78, 1112, 3d ed.; v. 910, 4th ed.; v. 1340, from 1st German ed. Geschichte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters, 16 v. in 21 (Freiburg 18851933; repr. 1955) 33:468484, follows Viani's Giornale, but with supplementary correctives. a. s. rosso, Apostolic Legations to China of the 18th Century (South Pasadena, Calif. 1948) 342390, gives translation of the Chinese "Mandarins' Diary," or official court record of the negotiations, plus relevant imperial decrees.

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