Borri, Josefo Francesco (Burrus)

Borri, Josefo Francesco (Burrus), an impostor, born at Milan May 4, 1627. He was educated in the Jesuits' Seminary at Rome, after which he gave himself to the study of medicine and chemistry. He soon abandoned himself to a life of extreme irregularity and viciousness, which he cloaked under the appearance of extreme seriousness and devotion. He pretended even that he was inspired by God to effect a reformation among men; declaring it to be the will of God that there should be but one fold on earth, under the pope, and that all who refused to enter it should be put to death. To these he added the most atrocious blasphemies, declaring the Virgin to be the daughter of the Father, as Christ is his Son, and in all things equal to the Son; that the Holy Spirit is incarnate in her, etc. The Inquisition took proceedings against him, and sentenced him to be burned January 3, 1661; but he escaped to Strasburg, and afterward to Amsterdam and Hamburg. Here he ingratiated himself with Queen Christina of Sweden, who spent large sums under his dictation in the search for the philosopher's stone. Thence he went to Copenhagen, where Frederick III patronized him. On the death of that prince he determined to go to Turkey, but was arrested on the way at Goldingen, in Moravia, and handed over to the pontifical government, on condition that his punishment should not be capital. The Inquisition kept him in prison till the day of his death, Aug. 10, 1695.-Biog. Univ. tom. v, p. 193; Hoefer, Biog. Generale, v, 735.

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