Oliva, Alessandro

Oliva, Alessandro a distinguished Italian Roman Catholic prelate, noted also as a prominent member of the monastic order, was born at Sassoferato in 1408 of poor parents. When three years old he fell into the water, and was taken out for dead; but, being carried by his mother into the church of the Holy Virgin, he recovered wonderfully, or, according to the papists, miraculously. He was now dedicated by his parents to the service of the Church, and when yet but a youth was admitted among the Augustinian monks. He studied at Rimini, Bologna, and Perusa, in which last place he was first made professor of philosophy, and afterwards appointed to teach divinity. At length he was chosen provincial, and some time after accepted, not without reluctance, the post of solicitor-general of his order. This office obliged him to go to Rome, where his learning and virtue became greatly admired, notwithstanding that he took all possible methods, out of extreme humility, to keep at a distance from papal notice. The cardinal of Tarentum, the protector of his order, could not prevail upon him to engage in any of the public disputations, where everybody wished to see a man of his great erudition: however, as he was a sublime theologian and a most eloquent orator, he attracted public attention by whatever he wrote and whenever he preached. He appeared in the pulpits of the principal cities in Italy, as Rome, Naples, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Mantua, and Ferrara; was elected first vicar-general, and then general of his order, in 1459; and at last created cardinal, in 1460, by pope Pius II. This learned pontiff gave Oliva afterwards the bishopric of Camerino, and made use of his abilities on several occasions. Oliva died shortly after at Tivola, where the court of Rome then resided, in 1463. He wrote, De Christi ortu Sermones centum: — De coena cum apostolisfacta: — De peccato in Spiritum Sanctum.: — Orationes elegantes. (J. H. W.)

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