Pietro Delfino

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Annalium Venetorum, 1943

Pietro Delfino or Delfin, O.S.B. Cam., (born at Venice in 1444; died 16 January 1525) was an Italian Camaldolese monk, patristic scholar, theologian, abbot, and Superior General of his religious Order.


Pietro Delfin was a patrician of Venice, member of the famous Delfin family, one of the oldest noble families in Venice. Pietro entered the Camaldolese Monastery of St. Michael, which was located on the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. In 1479, he was elected abbot of the same community. The following year he was made prior general of the Order, based at Camaldoli in the region of Arezzo. He held that office until the year 1513 when he resigned in favour of Paul Giustiniani, whom he had invested with the Camaldolese habit in 1510.

Delfin was the forty-sixth prior general from St. Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese, and he was the last elected for life--the office after him being held for three years only. From 1481 to 1508, Delfin was proposed to serve as bishop of Venice in five different occasions, but refused them all. In four different occasions he was also proposed to serve as Patriarch of Aquilea, but refused again. He was also presented with the cardinalate in two occasions, but respectfully declined to the Pope to continue serving the camaldolese order.

Delfin was one of the main oppossers to Savonarola, but still promoted the reform inside the Catholic Church which would lead to the Council of Trento.


The letters of Delfin, which number more than 4,000, addressed to different religious of his own and other orders and to various secular dignitaries, contain accounts of contemporary events in his own Order and the Church in general. A collection of his Latin letters was published at Venice in 1524. Several others that had been omitted in the Venetian editions were included later in Martène's "Veterum Scriptorum amplissima collectio". The "Apothegmata Patrum" and the "Dialogues" on Savonarola are still unedited.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pietro Delfino". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.  The entry cites:
  • MARTENE, Veterum Scriptorum et monumentorum ecclesiasticorum et dogmaticorum amplissima collectio, III, 915.