Commendone Giovanni Francesco

Commendone Giovanni Francesco, a cardinal and papal legate in Germany, was born at Venice March 17, 1523. After studying law, he went (1550) to Rome, where he attracted the attention of Pope Julius III, and was employed as early as 1551 for a political mission. In 1552 he went as papal envoy to the Netherlands, and from there to England, where he had an important secret interview with Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII, who, on the death of her brother Edward, was to ascend the English throne. Mary gave him an autograph letter to the pope, and promised that the Roman Catholic religion should be re-established as the state Church. Commendone, having now gained the entire confidence of the pope, was at once employed for other important missions to Portugal, Spain, and France. Paul IV made him papal secretary and bishop of Zante. Pius IV sent him to Germany to invite the Protestant princes to send delegates to the Council of Trent. He addressed the Protestant convention at Naumburg (1561), and presented the papal bull of invitation and letters to the several princes, but met with no success, the letters being returned unopened and the invitation declined. Subsequent efforts to prevail upon the elector of Brandenburg and the kings of Denmark and Sweden to send deputies to the council remained likewise without effect. More successful was a mission to Poland in 1563. Whilst staying at the Polish:court he was appointed a cardinal. In 1566 and 1568 he was sent to the Emperor Maximilian, who was suspected of leaning toward Protestantism, in order to detain him from making concessions to the Protestants. Soon after he was again sent to Poland in order to secure the election of a French prince, who was known as a fanatical partisan of the Church of Rome, as king of Poland. He returned to Rome in 1573, and died in 1584. His life was written by A. Maria Gratiani, his secretary, and subsequently bishop of Amelia. See Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 1:707 sq.; Prisac, Die papstlichen Legaten Commendone und Cappaccini in Berlin (Neuss, 1846).

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