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Nicolò Albertini

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(AUBERTINI)

Medieval statesman, b. at Prato in Italy, c. ú d. at Avignon, 27 April, 1321. His early education was directed by his parents, both of whom belonged to illustrious families of Tuscany. At the age of sixteen (1266) he entered the Dominican Order in the Convent of Santa Maria Novella at Florence, and was sent to the University of Paris to complete his studies. He preached in Italy with success, and his theological lectures were especially well attended at Florence and at Rome. He was entrusted by his superiors with various important duties and governed several houses. He was made Procurator-General of the whole order of St. Dominic by Blessed Nicolò Bocassini, then Master General, and was afterwards elected Provincial of the Roman Province. In 1299, Boniface VIII made him Bishop of Spoleto and soon afterwards sent him as Papal Legate to the Kings of France and England, Philip IV and Edward I, with a view to reconciling them, a seemingly hopeless task. Albertini succeeded in his mission. The Pope in full consistory thanked him, and made him Vicar of Rome. Benedict XI was particularly attached to Albertini, with whom he had lived a long time in the same cloister. Shortly after his accession to the Papacy (22 October, 1303) he made Albertini Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Dean of the Sacred College, which office he held for eighteen or nineteen years. The civil wars that in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries had devastated a great part of Italy, especially Tuscany, Romagna, and the March of Treviso, caused the Pope again to invest the new Cardinal with the dignity of Apostolic Legate, and to send him to restore peace in those disturbed provinces. His authority was also extended to the Dioceses of Aquila, Ravenna, Ferrara, and those in the territory of Venice. He was well received by the people of Florence, but after many futile efforts to effect a reconciliation between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines he left the city and placed it under interdict. On the 29th of June (1312), in the name of Clement V, he crowned Henry VII of Luxembourg at Rome. Albertini is the leading figure in the trial that exonerated the Dominican, Bernardo da Montepulciano, from the charge of killing this king by giving him a poisoned host for Communion. He crowned King Robert of Sicily, son and successor of Charles II. The Cardinal of Ostia was known for his great love for the poor, especially for the poor of the City of Prato. He also gave generously to religious houses and towards the erection of churches. At Avignon he established a community of nuns similar to those founded by St. Dominic at San Sisto in Rome. He obtained for his Order the office of "Master of the Sacred Palace", that has always been held by a Dominican. Two small works are all that are known of his writings. One is a treatise on Paradise, the other on the manner of holding assemblies of Bishops. He was buried in the Dominican Church at Avignon.

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