Antoninus of Florence bigraphy, stories - Dominican friar and archbishop

Antoninus of Florence : biography

1 March 1389 - 2 May 1459

Saint Antoninus of Florence, O.P., was an Italian Dominican friar, who ruled as an Archbishop of Florence. He is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.


He was born Antonio Pierozzi (also called de Forciglioni) on 1 March 1389 in the city of Florence, then capital of an independent Republic, to Niccolò and Tomasina Pierozzi, prominent citizens of the city, Niccolò being a notary.

The young Anthony was received into the Dominican Order in 1405 at the age of sixteen at the new priory of the Order in Fiesole and given the religious habit by the Blessed John Dominici, founder of the community, becoming its first candidate. Soon, in spite of his youth, he was tasked with the administration of various houses of his Order at Cortona, Rome, Naples, as well as Florence, which he labored zealously to reform. These communities had become part of a new Dominican Congregation of Tuscany, established by John Dominici in order to promote a stricter form of life within the Order, which had been devastated through its division in the Western Schism of the preceding century.

From 1433-1446 Antoninus served as vicar of the Congregation. In this office, he was involved in the establishment of the Priory of St Mark in Florence. The priory's cells, including one for Cosimo de' Medici, were painted in frescos by Fra Angelico and his assistants.

Antoninus was consecrated Archbishop of Florence on 13 March 1446, at the Dominican priory in Fiesole, on the initiative of Pope Eugene IV, who had come to admire him through his participation in the major Church councils of the period. He came to win the esteem and love of his people, especially by his energy and resource in combating the effects of the plague and earthquake in 1448 and 1453. It was they who began the use of the diminutive form of his name which has come to prevail. Antoninus lived a life of austerity as archbishop, continuing to follow the Dominican Rule. His relations with the Medici regime were close but not always harmonious, with his serving several times as an ambassador for the Republic to the Holy See during the 1450s.

Antoninus died on 2 May 1459, and Pope Pius II conducted his funeral. The pope happened to be on his way to the Council of Mantua when he heard of the archbishop's death. The archbishop's wish was that he be buried at the priory which he had founded in the city.


Antoninus was canonized on 31 May 1523 by Pope Adrian VI, who himself held ideas of radical and drastic church reform similar to those of Antoninus.

His feast day, which was not in the Tridentine Calendar, was inserted in the General Roman Calendar in 1683, for celebration on 10 MayCalendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 122 as a Double, a rank altered in 1960 to that of Third-Class Feast. Since 1969, it is no longer in the General Roman Calendar, but the Roman Martyrology indicates that it is still observed, moved to 2 May, the day of his death.Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)

Antoninus is honored as the patron saint of Moncalvo, near Turin.


Antoninus had a great reputation for theological learning, and had assisted as a papal theologian at the Council of Florence. Of his various works, the list of which is given in Quétif-Échard, De Scriptoribus Ordinis Praedicatorum, vol. i.818, the best-known are his Summa theologica moralis (1477) and the Summa confessionalis, Curam illius habes (1472). The latter is one of three guides for confessors which he wrote, and it was highly regarded by the clergy as an aid for centuries. His writings were a major development in the field of moral theology. For a more up to date list of works and manuscripts, see Thomas Kaeppeli, Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum medii aevi, vol. 1 (Rome: Ad S. Sabinaa, 1970).

In 1477 Antoninus' the Chronicon partibus tribus distincta ab initio mundi ad MCCCLX was published; it was intended to be a history of creation from a religious perspective, up to the end of the 14th century. Though uncritical in its account of earlier ages, his accounts of more current events have been useful to historians.

Antoninus' writings, some in Italian, reflect a pronounced awareness of the problems of social and economic development. He argued in them that the state had a duty to intervene in mercantile affairs for the common good, and the obligation to help the poor and needy. His viewpoint on the vanity of women's dress made concessions to the social status of women of high birth or married to holders of high office.

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Living octopus

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