Muzi, Giovanni

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Bishop of Città di Castello and first papal representative to come to the Americas; b. Rome, 1772; d. Spoleto, 1849. With independence, it became necessary for the Spanish-American republics to conduct their own ecclesiastical affairs with the Holy See. In 1822 a Chilean envoy, Archdean José Ignacio cienfuegos, arrived in Rome and requested that a nuncio be sent to Chile with ample power to settle the many critical problems of the Church there. Since Chile was not yet recognized as an independent country, it was decided to send an apostolic vicar, or non-diplomatic representative of the Holy See. Muzi, auditor of Nuncio Pablo Leardi in Vienna since 1817 and a former theology professor of the Roman College, was chosen for the mission. He was named titular archbishop of Filipos and was given faculties for Chile and for all Spanish American countries. These faculties included the naming and consecrating of bishops without further recourse to Rome.

The Muzi Mission, as it became known, left Genoa on Oct. 5, 1823, with Gian Maria Mastai, later Pope Pius IX, as chaplain to the archbishop, and Giuseppe Sallusti, who wrote a history of the mission, as secretary. Muzi's reception and later expulsion from Buenos Aires, his eight-month stay in Santiago, and his visit to Montevideo belong to the church history of these countries. Before returning to Genoa, where he arrived June 25, 1825, Muzi wrote a Carta apologética (Córdoba 1825) defending his mission against his many critics. In Rome the archbishop gave the first detailed report on the condition of the Church in the various countries he visited.

After the personal failure of his mission, he retired from the papal diplomatic service and accepted the bishopric of Città di Castello, where he published an important work of local history, Memorie ecclesiastichi e civili di Città di Castello (7 v. 184244). He was consulted regularly on Spanish-American Church problems by the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. A special report he had compiled on his mission to America was lost until recently, but it has been located in the Vatican Archives.

Bibliography: p. leturia, Relaciones entre la Santa Sede e Hispanoamérica, 3 v. (Rome 195960). p. leturia and m. batllori, "La primera misión Pontificia a Hispanoamérica, 18231825" Studi e Testi 229 (1964).

[w. j. coleman]