Michelangelo Celesia

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Styles of
Michelangelo Celesia, O.S.B. Cas.
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Palermo

Michelangelo Celesia, O.S.B. Cas. (January 13, 1814 – April 14, 1904) was an Italian Benedictine monk who served as the Archbishop of Palermo from 1871 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1884.


He was born Pietro Geremia Celesia in Palermo in 1814, the son of Lancellotto Celesia, Marchese of Sant'Antonino, and Giuseppa Caruso Azzolini. As a teenager, he felt called to become a monk of the Monastery of San Martino della Scala in his native city, which belonged to the Cassinese Congregation of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was received as a candidate of the monastery in 1833 and, at admission into the novitiate, he was given the religious name of Michelangelo. He made his solemn profession on January 15, 1835, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 24, 1836.

Celesia later served in various positions at the monastery in Palermo from 1840 to 1846, such as lector of philosophy, dean, professor of dogmatic theology. He was then appointed to serve as prior and Master of novices of the congregation's monastery in Messina, and later of the monastery (it) in Militello. He was named Abbot of the renowned Abbey of Monte Cassino, by papal decree, on March 25, 1850, and General Procurator of the congregation in 1858, as well as Abbot of Farfa Abbey.

On March 23, 1860, Celesia was appointed Bishop of Patti by Pope Pius IX, receiving his episcopal consecration on the following April 15 from Cardinal Girolamo D'Andrea. The Benedictine attended the First Vatican Council, and was later named Archbishop of Palermo on October 27, 1871.

Pope Leo XIII named him a Cardinal Priest, with his titular church that of Santa Prisca, in the consistory of November 13, 1884. Celesia opted for the titular church of San Marco on November 25, 1887. Although eligible, he was unable to participate in the papal conclave of 1903 due to ill health.

Celesia died in Palermo the following year, at the age of 90, at which time he was the oldest living cardinal. After lying in state in the Palermo Cathedral, he was buried in the church of the Capuchin friars in Palermo. His remains were transferred several years later to a side chapel of the cathedral.

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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Martino Orsino
Bishop of Patti
Succeeded by
Ignazio Papardo, C.R.
Preceded by
Ferdinando Pignatelli, C.R.
Archbishop of Palermo
Succeeded by
Alessandro Lualdi