Domenico Serafini

Styles of
Domenico Serafini
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Spoleto

Domenico Serafini, OSB (August 3, 1852 March 5, 1918) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served in various pastoral, diplomatic, and curial posts, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1914.


Domenico Serafini was born in Rome, of ancient nobility, to Luigi Serafini and Costanza Di Pietro. His maternal grandfather, Giovanni Di Pietro, was a consistorial lawyer who, after becoming a widower, was ordained and named auditor of the Roman Rota by Pope Gregory XVI. Through his father, Domenico was related to Marchese Camillo Serafini, who served as the first and only Governor of the Vatican State (19291952).

Serafini entered the Order of Saint Benedict in 1871, joining the Cassinese congregation. He made his profession on June 16, 1874, and studied at different Benedictine houses of studies and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he obtained his doctorates in philosophy and theology. Serafini was ordained to the priesthood on October 21, 1877.

From 1877 to 1892, he was a member of the Benedictine community at the abbey of Subiaco, later serving as its master of novices (1889–1891) and lector of theology. After being named prior of the St Scholastica monastery, Serafini became the general procurator of his religious order in Rome in 1892. He was elected Abbot of the two monasteries of Subiaco and Abbot General of the Cassinese congregation on June 5, 1896.

On April 16, 1900, Serafini was appointed Archbishop of Spoleto by Pope Leo XIII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 6 from Cardinal Serafino Vannutelli, with Archbishops Casimiro Gennari and Tommaso Granello, OP serving as co-consecrators. Serafini was later named Apostolic Delegate to Mexico on January 4, 1904, assessor of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office on November 30, 1911, and Titular Bishop of Seleucia Pieria on March 2, 1912.

Pope Pius X created him Cardinal Priest of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere in the consistory of May 25, 1914. Some three months later, following Pius X's death, Serafini participated in the papal conclave to elect his successor. Serafini, supported by Gaetano Cardinal de Lai, was the leading candidate for the conservative cardinals, who believed he would continue the teachings and policies of Pius X. His main opponent was the more progressive Archbishop of Bologna, Giacomo della Chiesa, who was eventually elected on the tenth ballotaccording to Francis A. Burkle-Young, the final tally was della Chiesa 38, Serafini 18, and Agostino Richelmy 1and took the name "Benedict XV".

Serafini was made Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Religious on January 27, 1916. Upon the death of Cardinal Girolamo Maria Gotti, Benedict XV appointed him Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith on March 24, 1916, the congregation that oversees the Church's missionary work.

Cardinal Serafini died in Rome at age 65. He is buried in the Campo Verano.

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