Giovanni Paolo Oliva

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Giovanni Paolo Oliva (4 October 1600 – 26 November 1681) was Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

Oliva was born at Genoa in 1600, and in 1616 he entered the Society of Jesus. A famous pulpit orator, he was Apostolic Preacher of the Palace under Popes Innocent X, Alexander VII, Clement IX, and Clement X. In 1661, during the disease of the Superior General Goschwin Nickel, the General Congregation XI elected him vicar-general with the right of succession. His chief aim was to remove all causes of dissension and of personal friction between his institute and other religious orders, towards which he showed himself most reverent and yielding. He extended and increased the missions, creating new ones outside of Europe, especially in Japan. His book of forty-odd sermons for Lent, and his work of six folio volumes, In Selecta Scripturae Loca Ethicae Commentationes, demonstrate his scholarship and piety. Remembering what had happened to cardinal Pietro Sforza Pallavicino, Oliva printed one thousand of his letters, in order that they might not be printed by others and be misconstrued. He died at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale in Rome.


Preceded by
Goschwin Nickel
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Succeeded by
Charles de Noyelle