Ignatius Persico

Ignatius Persico
Born (1823-01-30)January 30, 1823
Died December 7, 1896(1896-12-07) (aged 73)

Ignatius Camillus William Mary Peter Persico (30 January 1823, Naples 7 December 1896) was an Italian Cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served with multiple assignments including as Vicar Apostolic, bishop, Apostolic delegate to Ireland, and Vicar of the Roman Colleges. He briefly served as the bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia from 1870 to 1873.


Persico entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order on 25 April 1839, and immediately after ordination was sent in November, 1846, to Patna, India. The vicar Apostolic, Anastasius Hartmann, made him his socius and confidant. In 1850 Persico accompanied Hartmann to Mumbai, when he was transferred to that vicariate, and assisted him in founding a seminary and establishing the "Bombay Catholic Examiner". At the time of the 1853 schism in Goa, then a part of the Portuguese Empire, the bishop sent Persico to Rome and London to lay the Catholic case before the Pope and the British Government.

Persico was consecrated bishop on 8 March 1854, and nominated bishop-auxiliary to Bishop Hartmann; but the next year he was appointed visitor of the Vicariate of Agra, and afterwards vicar Apostolic of that district. During the Indian Mutiny, he was nearly lost his life, and was compelled to return to Italy in 1860. Sent in 1866 on a mission to the United States, he took part in the Council of Baltimore.

On 20 March 1870, Persico was nominated Bishop of Savannah; but his health again failing, he resigned in 1873. In 1874 he was sent as Apostolic delegate to Canada; and in 1877 he was commissioned to settle the affairs of the Malabar schism.

On 26 March 1879, he was appointed Bishop of Aquino in Italy; but in March, 1887, he was promoted to the titular Archbishopric of Tamiatha and sent as Apostolic delegate to Ireland to report upon the relations of the clergy with the political movement. He quickly saw that the question must be considered not merely in relation to present politics but also in relation to the history of Ireland, and he delayed his final report in order to consider the question in this broader aspect. Meanwhile, on 23 April 1888, the Congregation of the Holy Office declared that it was not lawful to make use of the Plan of Campaign and boycotting. In June 1888 Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical "Saepe Nos" reinforcing and defending this condemnation.

"The promulgation of the Papal Rescript, condemning boycotting and the Plan of Campaign as grave offences against the moral law, took Mgr. Persico as much by surprise as it did Cardinal Manning; for both he and the Papal Delegate confidently expected that, in accordance with their joint suggestions, the condemnation of the immoral methods of the League would have been pronounced not directly by the Holy See, but by the Irish Episcopate." (Purcell, Life of Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, MacMillan, London, 1896, vol. II, p. 624.) Persico returned to Rome much disappointed. He was at once nominated Vicar of the Vatican Chapter. On 16 January 1893, he was created cardinal priest of the title of St. Peter in Chains.

See also


     This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ignatius Persico". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 

    Episcopal succession

    Catholic Church titles
    Preceded by
    Augustin Verot
    Bishop of Savannah
    Succeeded by
    William Hickley Gross
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