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Pietro Ciriaci (December 2, 1885—December 30, 1966) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Council in the Roman Curia from 1954 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII.
Pietro Ciriaci was born in Rome to Giuseppe Ciriaci and his wife Maria Giuggiolini Magnaterra. Baptized in the church of San Crisogono, he received his first Communion on June 27, 1897. Ciriaci entered the Pontifical Roman Seminary on October 31, 1902, and then studied at the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare, where he obtained doctorates in philosophy (July 5, 1904), theology (July 6, 1909), and canon law (November 8, 1911).
Ordained to the priesthood on December 18, 1909, he was named vice-pastor of a Roman parish on July 18, 1910. Ciriaci then taught ethical philosophy and later fundamental theology at his alma mater of the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare until 1926. He entered the Roman Curia as a scrittore of the Apostolic Penitentiary on January 21, 1911, and was promoted to registratore of the same on the following December 15.
Before being raised to the rank of a Privy Chamberlain Supernumerary on October 26, 1918, Ciriaci was named an official of the Sacred Congregation of the Council (February 22, 1913) and of the first section of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs (June 16, 1917). He was named Undersecretary of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs on May 14, 1921, and a Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on March 27, 1922.
In 1927, Czechoslovakia replaced the holiday of St. John Chrysostom with that of Jan Hus, a heretic in the eyes of the Catholic Church. The situation had reached such a level that it even caused the Czech nuncio, Archbishop Francesco Marmaggi, to leave his post. On March 27 of that same year, Ciriaci was sent to Czechoslovakia as a special envoy to solve the problem and to conclude the modus vivendi between Czechoslovakia and the Holy See. He successfully solved the problem and an agreement was signed on the following December 17.
On February 15, 1928, Ciriaci was appointed Nuncio to Czechoslovakia and Titular Archbishop of Tarsus by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following March 18 from Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, with Archbishop Carlo Cremonesi and Bishop Agostino Zampini, OSA, serving as co-consecrators. Ciriaci was later named Nuncio to Portugal on January 19, 1934.
Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal Priest of Santa Prassede in the consistory of January 12, 1953. Ciriaci was made Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on March 20, 1954, and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law on May 31, 1955. After participating in the 1958 papal conclave, he attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and served as a cardinal elector in the conclave of 1963 that selected Pope Paul VI. On September 26, 1964, he opted for the cardinalatial title of San Lorenzo in Lucina.
Ciriaci died in his Roman residence on Via Rusticucci, at age 81. His funeral Mass was celebrated by Pope Paul on January 3, 1967, in the basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina. The Cardinal is buried in a chapel near the same basilica.
|Nuncio to Czechoslovakia
Giovanni Cardinale, OSB
|Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal
|Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Council
|President of the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law