Gaetano Cicognani

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Styles of
Gaetano Cicognani
Coat of arms of Gaetano Cicognani.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Frascati (suburbicarain)

Gaetano Cicognani (26 November 1881 – 5 February 1962) was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 1954 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII. To date, he and his brother, Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, are the last pair of brothers to serve simultaneously in the College of Cardinals.

Coat of arms of Gaetano Cicognani


Cicognani was born in Brisighella to Guglielmo Cicognani and his wife Anna Ceroni. His brother, Amleto, was born over a year later in 1883. To support Gaetano and his brother, their widowed mother ran a general store.[1] Cicognani studied at the seminary in Faenza, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gioacchino Cantagalli on 24 September 1904. He then went to Rome to attend the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare and was, like his brother, summoned to the elite Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

After working in the Roman Rota and Apostolic Signatura, Cicognani taught at the Pontifical Roman Seminary and later entered the Secretariat of State in 1915. He became secretary of the Spanish nunciature on 1 February 1916, and a Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness on 9 March 1916. He was made auditor of the nunciature to Belgium on 3 February 1920.

On 11 January 1925 Cicognani was appointed Nuncio to Bolivia and Titular Archbishop of Ancyra. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 1 February from Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, with Archbishops Rafaello Rossi, OCD, and Giovanni Zonghi serving as co-consecrators, in the chapel of the Pontifical Collegio Pio-Latinoamericano in Rome. Archbishop Cicognani was later named Apostolic Nuncio to Peru on 15 June 1928, to Austria on 13 June 1936, and to Spain on 16 May 1938.

Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia in his second and last consistory of 12 January 1953. Cardinal Cicognani returned to work in the Roman Curia upon his appointment as Prefect of the Congregation of Rites on 7 December of that same year. He was appointed as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on 18 November 1954 and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1958 papal conclave that selected Pope John XXIII. That December, his brother Amleto, by a special dispensation of canon law, was also elevated to the College of Cardinals. This law had so distressed Gaetano (as he felt it curbed his brother's career) that he once came close to tears when someone jokingly said, "Because of you, your brother cannot become cardinal".[1] On 14 December 1959 he was named Cardinal Bishop of Frascati by Pope John.

He died in Rome, at age 80, and is buried in the collegiate church of S. Michele in his native Brisighella.

In April 1934 Archbishop Cicognani, then Nuncio to Peru, visited his brother, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, whom Gaetano had not seen in seven years.[2]


  1. ^ a b Time Magazine. The Vatican's No. 2 August 25, 1961
  2. ^ TIME Magazine. In the Churches April 30, 1934

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Tito Trocchi
Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia
Succeeded by
Carlo Chiarlo
Preceded by
Joseph Petrelli
Apostolic Nuncio to Peru
Succeeded by
Fernando Cento
Preceded by
Enrico Sibilia
Apostolic Nuncio to Austria
Succeeded by
Maurilio Silvan
Preceded by
Federico Tedeschini
Apostolic Nuncio to Spain
Succeeded by
Ildebrando Antoniutti
Preceded by
Clemente Micara
Prefect of the Congregation of Rites
Succeeded by
Arcadio Larraona Saralegui, CMF
Preceded by
Giuseppe Bruno
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
Succeeded by
Francesco Roberti