Theologian, exegete, missionary; b. Fossombrone, Italy, 1540; d. Vilna, Lithuania, Oct. 22, 1588. In 1553 he joined the Conventual Franciscans, and after a brilliant student career, taught in university colleges of the order in Florence, Urbino, Naples, Milan, Padua, and Bologna. He was elected procurator general of his order (1578) and was later visitator general in Sicily and then in France. In 1583 he was appointed to the chair of Hebrew at the Sorbonne. Besides being proficient in theology and exegesis, Saraceni was well versed in many European and Oriental languages, in physics, astronomy, mathematics, and music. In 1586 he left Paris and went as a missionary to Vilna. There he established a public school to strengthen Catholics in their faith and to obtain the conversion of heretics. He died of the plague, to whose victims he had been ministering. His school, however, continued to produce good results for many years. His works, almost all unpublished, cover the whole of theology and a good part of scripture, physics, and philosophy.
Bibliography: j. franchini, Bibliosofiae memorie letterarie di scrittori francescani conventuali (Modena 1693) 455–497. j. h. sbaralea, Supplementum et castigatio ad scriptores trium ordinum S. Francisci a Waddingo, 2 vol. (Rome 1806) 2:244. a. teetaert, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 vol. (Paris 1903–50) 14.1:1108–09.
[p. d. fehlner]