Cristoforo Madruzzo

Portrait of Cristoforo Madruzzo by Titian (1552).Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo.

Cristoforo Madruzzo ([kriˈstɔːforo maˈdruttso]) (July 5, 1512 – July 5, 1578) was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal and statesman. His brother Eriprando was a mercenary captain who fought in the Italian Wars.


Madruzzo was born on July 5, 1512, at Calavino, into a noble family in Trento. He studied at Padua and Bologna, received in 1529 from his older brother a canonicate at Trento and the parish of Tirol near Meran, was in 1536 a Canon of Salzburg, in 1537 of Brixen, and in 1539 became Prince-Bishop of Trento. Being only a subdeacon at the time, he was promoted to the deaconship, priesthood and episcopate in 1542.

In January 1543, he was appointed administrator of the Bishopric of Brixen, and shortly afterwards, during the same year 1543, he was raised to the dignity of a cardinal by Pope Paul III. Having resigned his bishopric at Trento in 1567 in favour of his nephew Ludovico, he spent the latter years of his life in Italy, and became Cardinal Bishop successively of Sabina, Palestrina, and Porto. A few years after his death his remains were entombed in the family chapel, in the church of Sant'Onofrio, Rome.

Charles V and his brother, King Ferdinand I, afterwards emperor, esteemed him very highly and employed him in many important and delicate missions. He took an active part in the imperial Diet of Ratisbon as representative of the emperor, and upheld strenuously the Catholic teaching against the heresy of Martin Luther.

As cardinal, Bishop of Trent, and temporal ruler of that principality, he naturally played a prominent part in the Council of Trent. Among other things he insisted that the reform of the Church should be taken up in earnest, a matter much desired by Charles V, and by which it was hoped to win the Protestants back to the Church. It was largely due to his efforts, that this subject was discussed and enactments of that character were passed in each session together with decisions on doctrinal matters. He was also intent upon promoting a truly religious and Christian life among both the people and the ecclesiastics under his jurisdiction. He was himself cultured and learned, and patronized with great munificence the liberal arts and learning.

In addition to his two sees he received in 1546, by the favour of Charles V, a yearly allowance of 2,000 ducats from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

He died in Tivoli, Italy on July 5, 1578, his 66th birthday.


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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Christoph Fuchs von Fuchsberg
Bishop of Brixen
Succeeded by
Johann Thomas von Spaur
Preceded by
Bernardo III Clesio
Bishop of Trento
Succeeded by
Ludovico Madruzzo
Political offices
Preceded by
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo
Governor of Milan
Succeeded by
Gonzalo de Córdoba
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