Seripando, Girolamo

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Theologian and cardinal legate at the Council of trent; b. probably at Naples, Oct. 6, 1492; d. Trent, March 17, 1563. Seripando entered the Neopolitan Convent of San Giovanni a Carbonara of the Hermits of St. Augustine in 1507, was named secretary of the order in 1514 by the superior general, and began in 1517 to serve as rector of the order's house of studies at Bologna. In 1524 he returned to Naples as vicar of the Congregation of San Giovanni a Carbonara. In 1530, stimulated by the members of the Academia Pontaniana, he composed his 109 Quaestiones, in which he espoused a Christian Platonism with Thomistic modifications. In 1538 he was named vicar-general of his order upon the death of the general, G. A. Aprutino; and the following year, upon the request of Paul III, he was elected general during the general chapter held at Naples. During his visitation of the order's houses in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, he fought the Lutheranism that had penetrated his order and worked for the reform of his religious. Since 1530 Seripando had been drawn into the quarrel over Italian evangelism; he rejected the spiritualism of Juan Valdés, while his own spirituality and his teaching on justification took on a Biblical-Augustinian character.

At the Council of Trent, Seripando tried to prevent tradition from being put on the same level as Holy Scripture and worked for the study of biblical languages. His ideas about concupiscence, the meaning of faith, and the justice of Christ were not incorporated into the decrees on original sin and justification, although as counselor of the legate, Cardinal M. Cervini, he had had a very influential part in the formulation of those decrees. After the transfer of the Council of Trent to Bologna, he continued to participate in the deliberations, but because of a stroke (1551), he was forced to resign as general of the Augustinians.

Seripando subsequently regained his health. In 1553, after the death of the viceroy, Pedro de Toledo, he accepted the city of Naples's commission to negotiate with the emperor in Brussels for a moderation of certain of the dead viceroy's measures. Elected archbishop of Salerno on March 30, 1554, Seripando convoked a diocesan synod the same year and conducted a visitation of the entire diocese between 1556 and 1558. He tried also to fulfill the Tridentine ideal of a bishop as preacher and pastor. The death of Marcellus II prevented Seripando from collaborating in that pope's plan of Church reform, for Paul IV deprived him of influence. However, Pius IV made him a cardinal on Feb. 26, 1561 and entrusted him with a revision of Paul IV's Index.

Having been named legate to the Council of Trent by Pius IV, Seripando directed chiefly the work on the dogmatic decrees during the council's third period. In the spring of 1562, however, he fell into disgrace in Rome, and his recall was considered because of his alleged support of the thesis that a bishop's obligation to reside in his own diocese is of divine law. During the conciliar crisis of the winter of 1562 and 1563, he tried to mediate the conflict between the Zelanti, on the one hand, and the French and Spanish party, on the other; he failed, however, because of Cardinal L. Simonetta. Though Seripando died at the height of the crisis, he went down in history as one of the most influential of the council Fathers.

The voluminous collection of Seripando's manuscripts was transferred from the library of the Convent of San Giovanni di Carbonara to the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples. During his lifetime only his Oratio in funere Caroli V was printed (Naples 1559), but after his death many of his works appeared in print: Commentarius in epist. Pauli ad Galatas (Antwerp 1567), bound together with a commentary on Romans (Naples 1601); Doctrina orandi sive expositio orationis Dominicae (Louvain 1661); Prediche sopra il simbolo degli apostoli (Venice 1567); Diarium de vita sua 151362 [ed. D. Guttiérrez, Analecta Augustiniana 26 (1963): 5193]; Commentarii in Concilium Tridentinum (Concilium Tridentinum, 13 v. [Freiburg 190138] 2:397488); and numerous treatises (ibid. 12:483496, 517521, 549553, 613636, 824849).

Bibliography: h. jedin, Papal Legate at the Council of Trent: Cardinal Seripando, tr. f. c. eckhoff (St. Louis 1947); "Seelenleitung und Vollkommenheitsstreben bei Kardinal Seripando," Sanctus Augustinus, vitae spiritualis magister, 2 v. (Rome 1959) 2:389410. e. stakemeier, Der Kampf um Augustin auf dem Tridentinum (Paderborn 1937). a. balducci, Girolamo Seripando arcivescovo di Salerno (Cava 1963). a. forster, Gesetz und Evangelium bei Seripando (Paderborn 1964). f. cesarea, A Shepherd in Their Midst: The Episcopacy of Girolamo Seripando (Villanova 1999); "The Reform of the Diocese of Salerno during the Episcopacy of Girolamo Seripando," Analecta Augustiniana 61 (1998): 97124.

[h. d. jedin]