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Gaetano Cicognani
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Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Frascati (suburbicarain)

Gaetano Cicognani (November 26, 1881—February 5, 1962) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from 1954 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII.


Gaetano Cicognani was born in Brisighella to Guglielmo Cicognani and his wife Anna Ceroni. His brother, Amleto, was born over a year later in 1883. To support Gaetano and his brother, their widowed mother ran a general store[1]. Cicognani studied at the seminary in Faenza, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Gioacchino Cantagalli on September 24, 1904. He then went to Rome to attend the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare and Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

After working in the Roman Rota and Apostolic Signatura, Cicognani taught at the Pontifical Roman Seminary and later entered the Secretariat of State in 1915. He became secretary of the Spanish nunciature on February 1, 1916, and a Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness on March 9, 1916. He was made auditor of the nunciature to Belgium on February 3, 1920.

On January 11, 1925, Cicognani was appointed Nuncio to Bolivia and Titular Archbishop of Ancyra. He received his episcopal consecration on the following February 1 from Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, with Archbishops Rafaello Rossi, OCD, and Giovanni Zonghi serving as co-consecrators, in the chapel of the Pontifical Collegio Pio-Latinoamericano in Rome. Cicognani was later named Nuncio to Peru on June 15, 1928, to Austria on June 13, 1936, and to Spain on May 16, 1938.

Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia in the consistory of January 12, 1953. Cicognani returned to work in the Roman Curia upon his appointment as Prefect of the Congregation of Rites on December 7 of that same year. He became Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on November 18, 1954, and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1958 papal conclave that selected Pope John XXIII. That December, his brother Amleto, by a special dispensation of canon law, was also elevated to the College of Cardinals. This law had so distressed Gaetano (as he felt it curbed his brother's career) that he once came close to tears when someone jokingly said, "Because of you, your brother cannot become cardinal"[2]. On December 14, 1959, he was named Cardinal Bishop of Frascati by Pope John.

He died in Rome, at age 80, and is buried in the collegiate church of S. Michele in his native Brisighella.

In April 1934, Archbishop Cicognani, then Nuncio to Peru, visited his brother, himself the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, whom Gaetano had not seen in seven years[3].


  1. Time Magazine. The Vatican's No. 2 August 25, 1961
  2. Ibid.
  3. TIME Magazine. In the Churches April 30, 1934

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Tito Trocchi
Nuncio to Bolivia
Succeeded by
Carlo Chiarlo
Preceded by
Joseph Petrelli
Nuncio to Peru
Succeeded by
Fernando Cento
Preceded by
Enrico Sibilia
Nuncio to Austria
Succeeded by
Maurilio Silvan
Preceded by
Federico Tedeschini
Nuncio to Spain
Succeeded by
Ildebrando Antoniutti
Preceded by
Clemente Micara
Prefect of the Congregation of Rites
Succeeded by
Arcadio Larraona Saralegui, CMF
Preceded by
Giuseppe Bruno
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
Succeeded by
Francesco Roberti

no:Gaetano Cicognani