Vincenzo Vannutelli

Cardinal Vannutelli

Vincenzo Vannutelli (5 December 1836 9 July 1930) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church for over forty years. When he died in 1930, aged 93, he was the oldest member of the College of Cardinals, the last surviving cardinal elevated during the 19th century, and the next to last surviving cardinal of Pope Leo XIII, the last to survive being Lev Skrbensky z Hriste.


He was born in Genazzano, Diocese of Palestrina, Lazio, and was from the beginning of his life destined for a high position in the Catholic Church. He was the younger brother of Serafino Vannutelli, whose career he followed closely. Vincenzo studied at the pontifical universities, the Collegium Capranica and the Pontifical Gregorian University. Ordained a priest in 1860, he was never a pastor in his almost seventy years of priesthood: his career began as a faculty member in seminaries and continued in the Roman Curia. Most of his early career was in Roman and foreign postings of the Secretariat of State, aside from two years starting in 1878 when he was an Auditor of the Roman Rota.

Styles of
Vincenzo Vannutelli
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

In 1880 he became a Titular Archbishop of Sardes and Apostolic Delegate to the Ottoman Empire and the Patriarch of Constantinople, and after further postings was named a cardinal in pectore in December 1889 and publicly announced in the consistory of 1890, becoming Cardinal-Priest of San Silvestro in Capite. His elevation was an exception to a rule in effect since 1586 barring the elevation of anyone whose brother was in the College of Cardinals, as Vincenzo's brother Serafino Vannutelli (1834–1915) had been elevated in 1887 and was still living. (Pope Leo XIII appointed his older brother Giuseppe Pecci a cardinal in 1879, but that was not a case of appointing the brother of a current cardinal.)

Cardinal Vannutelli became prefect of the economy of Propaganda Fide in 1892 and held that position for ten years, during which he served the first of his many appointments as a papal legate - most notably to the 11th Annual Eucharistic Congress in Brussels in 1898. He became Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina in the Holy Year of 1900, and served as the major lawyer along with Cardinal Pietro Gasparri in the codification of canon law began by Pope Pius X in 1904 and completed thirteen years later. Cardinal Vannutelli also served as prefect of the Commission for the Revision of the Provincial Councils from 1902 until 1908 - a commission designed to interpret past councils according to recent papal rulings.

He served as papal legate to four more Eucharistic Congresses between 1907 and 1910, and in 1915 succeeded his brother Serafino as Dean of the College of Cardinals. In the 1925 Holy Year he served as Papal legate for the opening and closing of the holy doors at the Patriarchal Liberian Basilica, as he had in 1900.



  1. Handelsblad (Het) 28-08-1878
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gustav von Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst
Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
16 December 1896 9 July 1930
Succeeded by
Bonaventura Cerretti
Preceded by
Angelo Di Pietro
Prefect of the Congregation of the Council
30 July 1902 15 December 1914
Succeeded by
Casimiro Gennari
Preceded by
Serafino Vannutelli
Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals
6 December 1915 9 July 1930
Succeeded by
Gennaro Granito di Belmonte
Preceded by
Isidoro Verga
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
20 October 1908 9 July 1930
Succeeded by
Michele Lega
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