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Christopher Royas de Spinola

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Bishop of Wiener-Neustadt, born of a noble Spanish family, near Roermond in Gelderland in 1626; died at Wiener-Neustadt, 12 March, 1695. Educated at Cologne, he entered the Franciscan Order at that place and for some time taught philosophy and theology. Going to Spain, he was made provincial of his order, and in 1661 accompanied Margaret Theresa, the first wife of Emperor Leopold I, to Vienna, where he became one of the emperor's influential diplomats. He was appointed titular Bishop of Knin in Dalmatia in 1668 and Bishop of Wiener-Neustadt, 19 January, 1686. In his endeavours to bring about a reunion between Protestants and the Catholic Church he had the support of Leopold I. His negotiations with well-known Protestant theologians, such as Molanus, Callistus, Leibniz, etc., and various Protestant courts, especially Hanover and Brandenburg, were encouraged by Innocent XI, and in 1683 led to a conference of Protestant theologians to whom Spinola submitted his plan of reunion. The plan was apparently approved by the Protestant theologians, but French influence and Spinola's too liberal concessions induced Innocent XI to take no action. On 20 March, 1691, the emperor appointed Spinola commissary-general of the movement for ecclesiastical reunion in Austria-Hungary. The extreme concessions which he now made to the Protestants of Austria-Hungary, such as Communion under both species, freedom for priests to marry, Mass in the German language, and suspension of the Tridentine decrees until a new council was held, were rejected by Rome.

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