(1) 1. DAMASCENI PERETTI, Alessandro (1571-1623)
Birth. 1571, Montalto, Marche. Eldest of the four children of Fabio Damasceni, Roman gentleman, and Maria Felice Mignucci Peretti, niece of Pope Sixtus V on her mother's side. The other children were Felice Orsina, Flavia and Michele. When the male progeny of the Peretti was extinguished by the death of Francesco, brother of Maria Felice, killed by Paolo Giordano Orsini, Alessandro and his brothers took the surname Peretti. Grand-nephew of His Holiness. He was also known as Cardinal di Montalto. Uncle of Cardinal Francesco Peretti di Montalto (1641). He is also listed as Alexander Peretti; as Alessandro Peretti Montalto Damasceni; and as Alessandro Peretti Damasceni.
Education. The Pope himself took care of Alessandro's education. Together with his brothers he studied at the house of Lucrezia Salviati, wife of Latino Orsini. He studied law and canons. His educators were Jurisconsult Angelo Papio and Marquis Fabio Biondi, also a jurist.
Early life. Roman cleric. Promoted to the cardinalate when he was 14 years old. Venetian patrician, 1585.
Sacred orders. (No information found).
Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of May 13, 1585; received the red hat and the title of S. Girolamo degli Schiavoni, pro illa vice deaconry, June 14, 1585. Named governor perpetuus of Fermo, November 15, 1586. Opted for the deaconry of S. Maria in Cosmedin, April 20, 1587. Opted for the deaconry of S. Eustachio, September 11, 1587. Legate in Bologna, October 26, 1587. Vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, March 13, 1589 until June 2, 1623. Opted for the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, proper of the chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, pro illa vice deaconry, March 13, 1589. Governor of Città della Pieve, 1589. Abbot commendatario of Farfa and Santa Maria in Cellis, 1590-1620. Participated in the first conclave of 1590, which elected Pope Urban VII. Participated in the second conclave of 1590, which elected Pope Gregory XIV. Participated in the conclave of 1591, which elected Pope Innocent IX. Participated in the conclave of 1592, which elected Pope Clement VIII. Named, together with Cardinals Mariano Pierbenedetti and Antonmaria Salviati, to the prefecture of Rome, of the Sacred Consulta, and of the cities of the entire papal state, 1592. Legate in Bologna, November 13 (or 18), 1592; legation prorogated, October 23, 1595; prorogated again, July 30, 1598; and again, November 20, 1601; occupied the post until 1605. Participated in the first conclave of 1605, which elected Pope Leo XI. Participated in the second conclave of 1605, which elected Pope Paul V. Opted for the order of cardinal priests, March 30, 1620; his deaconry was restored to title. Cardinal protoprete (1).
Episcopate. Opted for the order of cardinal bishops and the suburbicarian see of Albano, retaining in commendam his title, April 6, 1620. Consecrated, Sunday morning July 19, 1620, papal chapel of the Quirinale Apostolic Palace, Rome, by Pope Paul V, assisted by Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani. Cardinals Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, Andrea Baroni Peretti, Alessandro d’Este, and Alessandro Orsini, assisted Cardinal Damasceni Peretti. Participated in the conclave of 1621, which elected Pope Gregory XV. His reputation as patron of the arts is surpassed by that of art collector.
Death. June 2, 1623, at 6 a.m., of congestion, in the palace of the chancery, Rome. Buried in the chapel of the Santo Presepio, Holy Crib, in the patriarchal Liberian basilica, Rome.
Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, V, 224-228; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, II, cols. 1791-1792; Combaluzier, Fernand. "Sacres épiscopaux à Rome de 1565 à 1662." Sacris Eruduri, XVIII (1967-1968), pp. 187-188; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 50, 63, 64, 73 and 74; Gauchat, Patritium. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, IV, 36, 43 and 58; Weber, Christoph. Legati e governatori dello Stato Pontificio : 1550-1809. Roma : Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1994. (Pubblicazioni degli archivi di Stato. Sussidi; 7), 152, 203, 242 and 835.
Webgraphy. Biography Simone Testa, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 82 (2015), Treccani; engraving, arms and portrat, Araldica Vaticana; Bust of Alessandro Peretti di Montalto, Wikipedia; his bust by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, copia-di-arte.com; his tomb, Requiem Datenbank.
(1) This is according to Gauchat, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, IV, 36, which says that sic iuxta decr. Clementis VIII evasit primus in ord. pbrorum., according to the decree of Clement VIII became the first in the order of presbyters, but does not indicate the assignation of the title of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, customarily occupied by the cardinal protoprete, perhaps because a week later, Cardinal Peretti opted for the order of cardinal bishops. Andreas Victorellus, in an addition to the cardinal's biographical entry in Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II col. 1791, says that Pope Paul V assigned him the title of S. Lorenzo in Lucina and transcribes the text of an inscription in that church: D. O. M. ALEXANDER. PERETTVS. CARDINALIS. MONTALTVS. S. R. E. VICECANCELLARIVS. RELIGIONI. CLER. REG. MINIMORVM. SIXTI. V. P. M. PROAVVUNCVLI. SIVI. AVCTORITATE. INSTITVTAE. ECCLESIAM. S. LAVRENTII. IN. LUCINA. A. PAVLO. V. PONT. MAX. SINGVLARI. FAVORE. OBTINVIT. DOMUNQV. AMPLAM. SVMMA. LIBERALITATE. ATTRIBVIT. None of the other sources consulted mention the assignation of this title to Cardinal Peretti.
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