Giovanni Benelli

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Giovanni Cardinal Benelli, 1978
Coat of arms of Giovanni Cardinal Benelli

Giovanni Cardinal Benelli (born May 12, 1921 in Poggiole di Vernio , Province of Prato , Italy , † October 26, 1982 in Florence ) was Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Florence .


Giovanni Benelli received his training at the seminary in Pistoia and at two universities in Rome . In 1943 he received the sacrament of ordination and was then appointed parish priest in the Diocese of Rome for seven years . After further studies, he entered the service of the Vatican State Secretariat in 1947 , where on August 1 of the same year he became the personal secretary of Giovanni Battista Montini, who later became Pope Paul VI. , has been. In 1950 Pope Pius XII appointed him . as Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland . Further stations in his diplomatic career took him to France from 1953 to 1960 and to Brazil from 1960 to 1962 . From 1962 to 1965 he worked as an advisor to the Apostolic Nunciature in Spain , and in 1965 and 1966 he was a permanent observer of the Holy See at UNESCO in Paris .

In 1966 Pope Paul VI appointed him. the Titular Archbishop of Tusuros and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Senegal and apostolic envoy to West Africa. He was ordained bishop on September 11, 1966, by the Cardinal Secretary of State and Cardinal Bishop of Frascati , Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani ; Co-consecrators were Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi , Secretary of the Congregation Propaganda Fide , and Mario Longo Dorni , Bishop of Pistoia .

On June 29, 1967, he returned to the Vatican State Secretariat. Under Cardinal Secretary of State Jean-Marie Villot , he gained a great deal of power as a substitute, which the dynamic, frequent worker made massive use of. His workforce and his way of working earned him the name "His efficiency". Among other things, he influenced Catholicism in Spain to implement a gradual departure from the Franco system . In a Christian-democratic way, Benelli also stood in clear contrast to French traditionalism . Within the church political spectrum in Italy, Benelli was considered to be moderately progressive.

As the favorite of the aging Pope, Giovanni Benelli was appointed Archbishop of Florence in 1977 and was accepted into the College of Cardinals on June 27, 1977 as a cardinal priest with the titular church of Santa Prisca . In the two conclaves of 1978 he was considered a promising candidate, but initially campaigned in favor of Cardinal Luciani ( John Paul I ) and in the October election for John Paul II.

Cardinal Benelli died on October 26, 1982 after a sudden heart attack in Florence and was buried in the metropolitan basilica there.



  • Il Cardinale Giovanni Benelli. Giovanni Battista Re, et al. Edizioni Studium, Rome 1992
  • Curia Arcivescovile di Firenze (Ed.): In memoriam di S.Em. Il Cardinale Giovanni Benelli, arcivescovo di Firenze. Arcivescovile Curia, Florence 1982

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Vatican intimate - series about the managers of Pope Paul. Der Spiegel 43/1974, October 21, 1974, accessed on September 25, 2015 .
  2. ^ Died: Giovanni Cardinal Benelli . In: Der Spiegel, issue 44/1982 ( online ).
  3. ^ POPE: Command of the hour. Der Spiegel 40/1978, October 2, 1978, accessed January 10, 2018 .
predecessor Office successor
Jean Émile André Marie Maury Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Senegal
Giovanni Mariani
Jean Émile André Marie Maury Apostolic Delegate for the West Africa Region
Giovanni Mariani
Angelo Dell'Acqua Substitute at the Vatican State Secretariat
Giuseppe Caprio
Ermenegildo Cardinal Florit Archbishop of Florence
Silvano Cardinal Piovanelli