An Italian Catholic friar, deacon, mystic, and preacher, St Francis of Assisi was the founder of the men's Order of Friars Minor and the women's Order of Saint Clare. He arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene in 1223. Also known as Francesco, he is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity.
Owing to his quality classical education, Anselm of Canterbury became one of the finest Latinists of his time. As Archbishop of Canterbury, he resisted the English kings and was exiled. He is now remembered as a significant figure in the Investiture Controversy, which pitted the king against the pope.
A 4th-century bishop of Milan, Aurelius Ambrosius was a strong supporter of the Latin church and a vocal opponent of Arianism and paganism. He also converted St. Augustine of Hippo. He is also remembered as an important literary figure and also composed several hymns.
Gregory of Nazianzus was a theologian and Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely regarded as the most renowned and talented rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. Much of Gregory of Nazianzus' theological work continues to have a significant impact on modern theologians.
Pope Gregory I served as the bishop of Rome from 590 until his death in 604. He is best remembered for sending the Gregorian Mission to Britain, which was successful in converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. He is also credited with developing the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and is widely regarded as its de facto author.
Robert Bellarmine was an Italian Jesuit and cardinal of the Catholic Church. One of the most important figures in the Counter-Reformation, he has been named a Doctor of the Church. He has also been canonized as a saint. He was a professor of theology at the Roman College and later became its rector. He became Archbishop of Capua in 1602.
Exorcist and Catholic priest Gabriele Amorth had been in charge of countless exorcisms in his career of over 6 decades. The founder-president of the International Association of Exorcists, he had also penned a few books on his experiences as an exorcist and had been part of World War II, too.
Bonaventure was an Italian philosopher, scholastic theologian, and Franciscan. A prominent philosopher, Bonaventure wrote on various subjects and his writings are considered substantial. Bonaventure, who served as the Cardinal Bishop of Albano, was canonized by Pope Sixtus IV on 14 April 1482.
Remembered as the first antipope, Hippolytus of Rome is believed to have gone against the Roman popes and led a group against the bishop of Rome. Before dying as a martyr, though, he reconciled with Pontian and called out to his supporters to reunite with Rome.
Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, daughter of an affluent silk trader, was well-versed in a number of languages as a child. Most of her work was regarding algebra, calculus, and the Witch of Agnesi. She was also the first female academic to write a math book and to teach math.
Italian Christian theologian Joachim of Fiore is best remembered as the man behind the San Giovanni monastic order. His brand of philosophy of history mentioned the ages of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Initially a notary, he began his spiritual quest after a visit to the Holy Land.
Tommaso Campanella was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, astrologer, and poet. His heterodox views often brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he was imprisoned for several years. In prison, he wrote The City of the Sun, a utopia describing an egalitarian theocratic society. He also defended astronomer Galileo Galilei in his first trial.
A 12th-century Italian bishop of Paris, Peter Lombard is remembered for his iconic book on theology, Four Books of Sentences. The book earned him the title of magister sententiarum, or “master of the sentences.” Though his teachings were challenged during his lifetime, they were approved by the fourth Lateran Council.
Bruno Platter, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, had also been the Rector of the Church of St. George earlier. A doctor of theology from the University of Innsbruck, he had also worked as a provincial economist. He was the President of Poland’s guest at the Battle of Grunwald’s 600th anniversary.
Italian reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli was born to a shoemaker and was initially an abbot at St. Peter ad Aram. He is best known for siding with the Calvinist doctrine of the Eucharist and had penned works such as Loci Communes. He also developed his very own idea of double predestination.
Lawrence of Brindisi was a Roman Catholic priest and a theologian. He was an accomplished linguist and could read and speak native Italian, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish, and German fluently. Ordained a priest at 23, he was elected the superior of the Capuchin Franciscan province of Tuscany at 31. He was canonized as a saint in December 1881.
Theologian Angelo Scola, a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, was named the Archbishop of Milan by Pope Benedict XVI and has also served as the Patriarch of Venice. The son of a truck driver, he later gained a doctorate in Christian philosophy. He has also penned works on bio-medical ethics and sexuality.
Remembered as the second anti-pope, Novatian was also the first Roman theologian who wrote in Latin. Apart from developing Novatian Schism and studying apostasy, he also built his own church, despite immense opposition. He is believed to have been martyred after fleeing Rome during the persecution of Christians.
Tyrannius Rufinus was a monk, historian, and theologian best remembered as a translator of Greek patristic material into Latin. He was born to Christian parents and chose to live the life of a monk. He spent many years of his life translating the numerous works of Christian scholar Origen from Greek to Latin. He also translated Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History.
Achille Silvestrini was an Italian cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was ordained a priest in July 1946 in the cathedral of Faenza and proceeded to earn a doctorate in canon and civil law at the Pontifical Lateran University. He served in the Vatican diplomatic corps for many decades and was appointed the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.
Augustinian philosopher and theologian Giles of Rome, known to be a disciple of St. Thomas Aquinas, was a major figure of St. Augustine’s Order of the Hermit Friars. Named Doctor Fundatissimus, which is Latin for the Best-Grounded Teacher, by Pope Benedict XIV, he is also remembered for his commentaries on Aristotle’s Organon.
Fausto Sozzini was an Italian theologian who co-founded the non-trinitarian Christian belief system known as Socinianism. His treatise De auctoritate scripturae sacrae, published in 1570, was highly influential on Remonstrant thinkers such as Simon Episcopius. He traveled a lot, spending time in Geneva, Florence, Basel, and Poland. He also authored several non-theological doctrines.
Antonio Rosmini was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and philosopher who founded the Rosminians, officially known as the Institute of Charity. A key figure in Italian Liberal Catholicism, he pioneered the concept of social justice. He had a doctorate in theology and canon law and was appointed as a political advisor to the government of Piedmont.
Giovanni Canestri was an Italian Catholic cardinal. He served as the Archbishop of Genoa from 1987 until 1995. Prior to this, he was the Archbishop of Cagliari from 1984 until 1987. Ordained a priest in 1941, he went on to become the spiritual director of the Pontifical Roman Seminary. He was later made a Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Andrea Della Valle.
Italian mystic and theologian Domenico Barberi was born into a peasant family and had no formal education. Ordained a priest, he later began his career as a lecturer of theology and a missionary. He was also the man behind four Passionist houses in England and had plans to establish one in Ireland.
Thomist school theologian and philosopher Thomas Cajetan began his spiritual career with the Dominican order. Initially a professor of metaphysics, he criticized Scotism. He is best remembered for his commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica. He also penned critical works and commentaries on Aristotle and others.
Caelestius was an influential theologian in early Christianity. He was a devoted follower of the Christian teacher Pelagius and the Christian doctrine of Pelagianism. With his propaganda, he was successful in convincing many people to convert. Since their teachings were opposed to Augustine of Hippo, Caelestius and Pelagius were repeatedly condemned and called “heretics.”
Ersilio Tonini was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as the Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia from 1975 to 1990. He was eventually elevated to the cardinalate. He was the pastor of the parish of Salsomaggiore for many years and was appointed the Bishop of Macerata-Tolentino by Pope Paul VI. He preached the Lenten spiritual exercises to the pope.
Paul Of Venice was a Catholic theologian, philosopher, and logician. He was also a metaphysician of the Order of Saint Augustine. He was just 14 when he joined the Augustinian Order at the convent of Santo Stefano in Venice. He then proceeded to complete his studies at the University of Padua and became a lecturer.
Gregory of Rimini was one of the most recognized and greatest theologians and scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages. He is credited with uniting the Parisian and Oxonian traditions in 14th-century philosophy. Such was the impact of his work, that the effects lasted late into the Medieval Period and Reformation. Many of his philosophical works influenced people like Pierre d'Ailly.
Felice Leonardo was an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. Ordained a priest in July 1938, he was later appointed a bishop to the Telese o Cerreto Sannita Diocese. He retired from this position in 1991. He lived to be 100 years old and was one of the oldest Roman Catholic bishops.
Jacobus de Varagine was an Italian chronicler and author who is credited with compiling a collection of the legendary tales of saints of the medieval church called the Golden Legend. His work became one of the most important and famous religious works of the medieval period. Jacobus de Varagine is also remembered for serving as the archbishop of Genoa.
Jacopo Aconcio was an Italian jurist, philosopher, theologian, and engineer. He is best remembered for his immense contribution to the history of religious toleration. He is also remembered for publishing a secular work that emphasizes the importance of a scientific approach.
Ambrose Traversari was an Italian theologian and monk. Revered as a saint by the Camaldolese Hermits of Mount Corona, Traversari was one of the most important and ardent supporters of the 15th century's papal cause. Ambrose Traversari was venerated in Roman Catholic Church and his feast day is observed on 20 November every year.