Girolamo Cardinal DeíMari Grimaldi-Cavalleroni
By Tom Frascella
He was born in Genoa around 1597, the son of Senator Grimaldi and Girolama Di Agostino de Mari. On his paternal side a member of the noble Grimaldi family one of the major ruling families of that city. On his maternal side he claimed descent from the family of the Baron of San Fele, a tie in to the ancient nobility of southern Italy. He was educated in Rome and entered the Church under the patronage of his uncle Domenico Grimaldi Archbishop of Avignon.
His talents and connections allowed him to quickly rise to positions of responsibility in the Church. In 1621 he became Vice-legate of Viterbo and in 1625 Governor. He was then made Governor of Rome in 1626. In 1628 thru 1632 he was appointed by the Pope to be Nuncio extraordinary to the Court of Ferdinand II of Austria.
His administrative and political duties and service within the Church continued with his appointment as Governor of Perugia in 1634 thru 1636 and Governor of the duchy of Urbino from 1636-1641. He was appointed Archbishop of Seleucia in 1641 and then appointed Nuncio to France later that same year holding that post until 1643. In 1641 he presided over the consecration of fellow Italian Julio Marazzino as Bishop in France. Marazzino was mentored and groomed as Cardinal Richelieuís replacement.
In July of 1643 Girolamo was elevated to the rank of Cardinal of the Church and briefly returned to Rome to attend the conclave of 1644. He returned to France in 1646 after the death of the French King Louis XIII in 1644. At the time of Louis XIII death his son and heir Louis XIV was only five years old. Marazzino upon the death of Cardinal Richelieu in 1644 was appointed his successor. Marazzino aggressively supported the regency of the Queen Mother Anne of Austria during the minority of Louis XIV. Upon the sponsorship of now Cardinal/French Prime Minister Julio Marazzino, known in France as Jules Marazin, Cardinal Grimaldi was installed as Archbishop of Aix in 1648. Cardinal Grimaldi would hold that position until his death in 1685.
It should be noted that between the mid 1630ís up and through the minority of King Louis XIV, Marazzino and Grimaldi were among the most powerful political and religious leaders in France. Their influence helped shape French foreign and domestic policy, including the expansion of Franceís colonial empire. Further, their direct influence helped shape the education and direction of Louis XIVís reign which saw French holdings in North America stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
After a long life and very successful career in diplomacy, politics and religious life Cardinal Grimaldi-Cavalleroni was buried in the Cathedral in Aix France. Some of his biographers note that when his successor as Bishop of Aix died some twenty years later Cardinal Grimaldi-Cavalleroniís crypt was reopened and his body was found to be uncorrupted. In those times such a finding was often associated with spiritual purity. Regardless, the Cardinal exercised significant influence during his lifetime and help shape the world as we know it.
© San Felese Society of New Jersey
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