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The Masters of the Order.

Analytical commentary

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      From the foundation of the Order until today, there has always been a superior general called "The Master", "The Master General", "The Master of the Order", or simply "The General".

      As one can see, this is a long dynasty. (In monarchical terminology one might say that we are one of the "oldest houses" of Europe). It is a unitary dynasty. There have never been division in the Order, or times of vacancy or inter-regnum. Of course, during the Western Schism, with the Pope in Rome and "another Pope" in Avignon (1380-1418), even the highest authorities of the Order were two-headed, with one Master in Rome and another leading the Order in the regions faithful to the anti-Pope, but these latter were never recognised as legitimate successors of St. Dominic. It is a democratic dynasty, since from its very beginnings the Order has always elected its Masters during General Chapters by democratic and representative vote (by delegates, as we should say today: Provincials and Diffinitors with their respective socii).

      It also an international dynasty as is seen from the following list drawn up according to size:

Italians, 38: (6, 9, 10, 12, 15, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 40, 41, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 61, 66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72),

French, 24: (5, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 37, 42, 60, 63, 73, 76, 79, 83).

Spanish, 15: (1, 3, 7, 39, 44, 52, 58, 62, 64, 65, 67, 74, 78, 80, 82).

German, 2: (2, 4). Irish, 2: (81, 84). Austrian, 1: (75). Dutch, 1: (77). English, 1: (85). Mexican, 1: (59).

      In reality, there have been 86 Masters of the Order, since one of them, Marcial Auribelli (the 296h) was elected twice and he governed the Order during two Generalates: 1453-1462 and 1465-1473.

      A simple arithmetical operation shows us that each Master General has ruled on average for a period of 9.2 years. Obviously, their terms were not all equal. For example Alberto Chiavari (10) governed the Order for only three months, while Gerardo de Adaunario (17), Pierrer Rochin (27). Guido Flamochet (28), Barnaba Sansoni (34) and John Clerée (37) all died in the year of their election. On the other hand Antoine Cloche (20) holds the record for governing the Order for 34 years. In the period from 1686 to 1819 (i.e. 133 years) there were 7 Masters General, which gives un average of 19 years of government to each. In our own day, Fr. Gillet (79) comes close to this average with his 17 years of generalate 1929-1946.

      With regard to the age of the Master of the Order, one has to admit that they were not all called to govern at an age one might call "acceptable". Thus, to cite some extremes, Jordan of Saxony, first successor to St. Dominic and the one to complete his work, was elected when only 32 years old, dying at the age of 46 in a shipwreck off Syria during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land after having governed the Order for 15 years. On the other hand, Fr. Cormier (78) was elected at 72 and governed the Order for 12 years. It is probable that the elector of Thomas Ripoll (62) then aged 73, thought they were electing a transitional General. If this is so, they were seriously mistaken, because he lived to be 95 and governed for 22 years (1725-1747)! Only St. Raymond of Peñafort lived longer, because he reached the age of 100 years, although he served only two years as Master General.

      Relations with the Holy See were not always as cordial as could be hoped. The Masters of the Order Munio de Zamora (7), Nicola Radolfi (55) and Sisto Fabri (50) were deposed from their administration by the Popes. Others, Raymond of Peñafort (30), Humbert of Romans (5), Aimerico Placentinus (12), Simon Lingoniensis (21), Conrado de Asti (30), Vincenzo Ajello (72) and García de Paredes (78) resigned more or less spontaneously.

      The human, intellectual and spiritual quality of the men who have ruled the Order can be appreciated from the following data: two are saints (1, 3); five have been beatified (2, 6, 9, 23, 76); two hold the title of Venerable from time immemorial; at the present time two have open cases of beatifications (76, 78). One of the Master, Nicola Boccasini (9) was elected Pope with the name of Benedict XI. 14 others were named Cardinals, some of them very famous, such as Cardinals Cajetan (38), García de Loaysa (39), Vincenzo Giustiniano (47), Jerónimo Xavierre (52), Augustino Pipia (61), Juan Tomás de Boxadors (64), Andreas Früwirth (75) and Michael Browne (81). Nine others became bishops, archbishops, patriarchs or pontifical legates, etc.

      Other items of interest. One of the Masters, John the Teuton /4) was elected Master. Having been a bishop and having renounced his diocese, he identified himself in some documents as "Brother, Master and Bishop". Vincenzo Giustiniano (47) continued to be Master fron one year after being elected Cardinal. Only one Master, as we have already said, Marcial Auribelli (29) was elected twice. Three Masters were elected (by letter) "per schedas" without the Capitulars coming together in Chapter (68, 69, 74). 47 Masters died while in office. 10 left office to be elevated to ecclesiastical dignities. The others passed into the category of "ex Masters" who always retained their rights in the Order.

(Text: Fr. Eladio Neira OP, Secretary General between 1980 and 1986. The present text was published in a special number of IDI, April-May 1983, pp. 71-73, and in May 1992, pp. 78-81, on the occasion of the Elective General Chapters of Rome and of Mexico).


      1. S. Patriarcha Dominicus (España) (1216)-1221 2. B. Iordanus de Saxonia (Deutschland) 1222-1237 3. S. Raymundus de Peñafort (España) 1238-1240 4. Ven. Ioannes a Wildeshausen (Deutschland) 1241-1252.5. Ven. Humbertus de Romans (France) 1254-1263 6. B. Ioannes a Vercellis (Italia) 1264-1283 7. Fr. Munio de Zamora (España) 1285-1291 8. Fr. Stephanus Bisuntinus (France) 1292-1294 9. B. Nicolaus Boccasini [Ben. XI Pp.] (Italia) 1296-129810. Fr. Albertus de Chiavari (Italia) 1300-130011. Fr. Bernardus de Iusico (France) 1301-130312. Fr. Aymericus Giliani (Italia) 1304-131113. Fr. Berengarius de Landora (France) 1312-131714. Fr. Hervaeus de Nédéllec (France) 1318-132315. Fr. Barbabas Cagnoli (Italia)……… . 1324-133216. Fr. Hugo de Vaucernain (France)…… 1333-134117. Fr. Gerardo de Adaumario [Daumar] (France) 1342-134218. Fr. Petrus de Palma [Baume-les-Dames] (France) 1343-134519. Fr. Garinus de Gyaco [Gy-l'Evêque] France) 1346-134820. Fr. Ioannes de Moulins (France) 1349-135021. Fr. Simon Lingoniensis (France) 1352-136622. Fr. Elias Raymond (France) 1367-138023. B. Raymundus de Vineis, Capuanus (Italia) 1380-1399In oboedientia Avenionensi: Fr. Elias Raymond (France) 1380-1389 Fr. Nicolaus de Troia (Italia) ……. 1391-1393 Fr. Nicolaus Vallisoletanus (España) 1394-1397 Fr. Ioannes de Puinoix (France) 1397-141824. Fr. Thomas Paccaroni (Italia) 1401-141425. Fr. Leonardus Dati (Italia) 1414-142526. Fr. Bartholomaeus Texier (France) 1426-144927. Fr. Petrus Rochin (France) 1450-145028. Fr. Guido Flamochet [ti] Avenionensis (France) 1451-145129. Fr. Martialis Auribelli Avenionensis (France) 1453-146230. Fr. Conradus de Asti (Italia) 1462-1465 Fr. Martialis Auribelli Avenionensis (France) 1465-147331. Fr. Leonardus Mansueti (Italia) 1474-148032. Fr. Salvus Cassetta (Italia) 1481-148333. Fr. Bartholomaeus Comazzi (Italia) 1484-148534. Fr. Barnabas Sansoni (Italia) 1486-148635. Fr. Ioachim Torriani (Italia) 1487-150036. Fr. Vincentius Bandello (Italia) 1501-150637. Fr. Ioannes Clérée (France) 1507-150738. Fr. Thomas de Vio seu Caietanus (Italia) 1508-151839. Fr. García de Loaysa (España) 1518-152440. Fr. Franciscus Silvestri (Italia) 1525-1528 41. Fr. Paulus Butigella (Italia) 1530-153142. Fr. Ioannes du Feynier (France) 1532-153843. Fr. Augustinus Recuperati (Italia) 1539-154044. Fr. Albertus de las Casas (España) 1542-154445. Fr. Franciscus Romeo (Italia) 1546-155246. Fr. Stephanus Usodimare (Italia) 1553-155747. Fr. Vincentius Giustiniani (Italia) 1558-157048. Fr. Seraphinus Cavalli (Italia) 1571-157849. Fr. Paulus Constabile (Italia) 1580-158250. Fr. Sixtus Fabri (Italia) 1583-158951. Fr. Hippolytus M. Beccaria (Italia) 1589-160052. Fr. Hieronymus Xavierre (España) 1601-160753. Fr. Augustinus Galamini (Italia) 1698-161254. Fr. Seraphinus Secchi (Italia) 1612-162855. Fr. Nicolaus Ridolfi (Italia) 1629-164256. Fr. Thomas Turco (Italia) 1644-164957. Fr. Ioannes-Bapt. Marini (Italia) 1650-166958. Fr. Ioannes-Thomas de Roccaberti (España) 1670-167759. Fr. Antoninus de Monroy (México) 1677-168660. Fr.Antoninus Cloche (France) 1686-172061. Fr. Augustinus Pipia (Italia) 1721-172562. Fr. Thomas Ripoll (España) 1725-174763. Fr. Antoninus Bremond (France) 1748-175564. Fr. Ioannes-Thomas de Boxadors (España) 1756-177765. Fr. Balthasar de Quiñones (España) 1777-79866. Fr. Pius Iosephus Gaddi (Italia) ut Vic. Gen. Ordin. (1798-1806) ut Mag. Ordin. 1806-1814 ut Vic. Gen. Ordin. (1814-1819)67. Fr. Ioachim Briz (España) 1825-1831)68. Fr. Franc.-Ferdinandus Jabalot (Italia) 1832-183469. Fr. Bened.-Mauritius Olivieri (Italia) 1834-183570. Fr. Thomas-Hyac. Cipolletti (Italia) 1835-183871. Fr. Angelus-Dom. Ancarani (Italia) 1838-184472. Fr. Vincentius Ajello (Italia) 1844-185073. Fr. Alex. Vincentius Jandel (France) ut Vic. Gen. Ordin. (1850-1855) ut Mag. Ordin. 1855-1582 Fr. Iosephus M. Sanvito (Italia), Vic. Gen. Ordin. (1873-1879)74. Fr. Iosephus M. Larroca (España) 1879-189175. Fr. Andreas Frühwirth (Österreich) 1891-190476. B. Hyacinthus M. Cormier (France) 1904-191677. Fr. Ludovicus Theissling (Nederland) 1916-192578. S.D. Bonaventura García de Paredes (España) 1926-192979. Fr. Martinus-Stanislaus Gillet (France) 1929-194680. Fr. Emmanuel Suárez (España) 1946-195481. Fr. Michaël Browne (Ireland) 1955-196282. Fr. Anicetus Fernández (España) 1962-197483. Fr. Vincentius de Couesnongle (France)1974-198384. Fr. Damianus Byrne (Ireland) 1983-199285. Fr. Timotheus Radcliffe (England) 1992-2001 puce


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