Melchior a Pobladura on Bernardino of Colpetrazzo 2

A Critical Study on the Life and Writings of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo: Prolegomena

by Melchior a Pobladura OFM Cap[1]

Translated by Paul Hanbridge OFM Cap

© 2020 Capuchin Friars of Australia

Table of Contents

At the beginning of our commentary we wish to inform the kind reader that we are going to publish the history of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin described by Bernardino of Colpetrazzo in three volumes. Indeed each of these volumes has it own preface. Nonetheless an introduction is really not possible unless we briefly touch upon some questions pertinent to the second and third volumes summarily.

Art. I – The author of the work

The biographical sources, both published and unpublished, from which we have drawn the information we are to use, have been listed and described elsewhere. Therefore, it should be enough to recall one writer of the annals, namely Zacharia Boverius, who wrote more extensively about the historical details of Fr. Bernardino of Colpetrazzo. Therefore it is generally the only source up to today from which others have published biographical information about him[2].

We think it difficult to establish an irrefutable chronology of the life of Fr. Bernardino. Little is known from the sources about the timing of events and it is often difficult to reconcile the narrated facts with each other. Nonetheless we can distinguish between what is certain and uncertain, as well as those things that are appear more probable, endorsed and upheld by historical arguments.

1. Bernardino takes religious vows with the Observant Friars

He was born in the town of Colpetrazzo in the diocese of Todi, his father Nicolo Croli and his mother Franceschina. It was 25 November 1514[3]. Already by the time he reached the age of five or six he had begun to think about religious life. In the meantime however he went to school and avidly read and meditated on the lives of the Holy Fathers. He was no more than twelve years old when he insisted on joining the Friars Minor of the Observance. However because of his young age he had to wait about four years before he could do so[4]. Finally, on the vigil of the feast of Saint Bernard in 1531, with all the difficulties happily overcome, he entered the friary of Monte Santo in the city of Todi[5]. On the 13 April 1532[6] he received the habit and under the instruction of Father Feliciano of Foligno he began his apprenticeship[7] in religious life. He took religious vows the following year at Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi.

Nothing much is known about his life and stay with Observant Friars from the brief and sparse information he has given us. When he heard about the pontifical decrees issued against the Capuchins he was in the community of Saint Anthony of Persignano near Trevi in Umbria. These decrees prohibited[8] transfer from the Observant Friars. Furthermore he would have been there at the time of discussion about the Friars of Calabria, that is, in 1532. It would have arrived later in the province of Saint Francis and to Spello when some Friar returned from the General Chapter at Messina[9] and spoke about it.[10] The news would have arrived even later at Terni and the friary of Our Lady of Graces.[11]

2. He joins the Capuchin Friars

The reform movements that stirred the feelings of religious at the time, especially in the Province of Saint Francis, could not have remained hidden from the young Bernardino. He would have heard talk about the followers of Matthew of Bascio more then once, especially about the fear of imminent excommunication threatening those who dared to join them[12]. When he heard that certain serious Fathers had gone across, and persuaded by the advice of a venerable old friar, he left the Friary of Our Lady of Graces at Terni on the 11th January 1534 and went with a companion to Foligno to join the Capuchins[13]. As teachers he had outstanding men worthy of every praise: Bernardino of Asti, Francis of Iesi and Bernardino of Mont’Olmo[14]. From them he learned the practice of the religious virtues and was instructed in Capuchin ways.

3. His responsibilities and tasks

The offices he fulfilled tell us about the remarkable gifts with which he was endowed.

The offices he fulfilled tell us about the remarkable gifts with which he was endowed.

The offices he fulfilled tell us about the remarkable gifts with which he was endowed. He was placed in charge of directing the young Friars, because of which his ingenuous sensibility was quite troubled[15]. He was the vicar in various friaries as well guardian, novice master, vicar provincial, and preacher of the word of God. He excelled greatly in the gift of counsel because of which the superiors sent him their subjects to find peace and rest with him[16]. Around the year 1550 when the unhappy Louis Fossombrone thought to return to the Order, the Vicar General sent Bernardino to him to resolve the matter in amicably[17]. During their journeys and visitations he was the companion and advisor of Matthew of Schio,[18] Francis of Iesi – whom he followed with special affection[19] – and Bernardino of Asti from whom he received bodily health.[20] We think it not too audacious to affirm, as we shall see from what is said below, that by works and advice he assisted in the growth of the Order and carried out many difficult tasks.[21]

It not necessary here to list all the friaries where Bernardino often dwelt. From the sparse information found here and there, it is clear to us that he lived in at least twenty-four communities. These religious houses were situated not only in his home province of Umbria, but even in provinces of Rome, Romagna, Piedmont, the Marches and Tuscany. No one should wonder at this when he considers that in those early days, before some stability was organised, there was not yet a great deal of choice in the appointment of superiors both because of the lack of religious and of suitable friars. Some excelled more and some less in establishing, spreading and directing the new Reform.[22]

It will be necessary nonetheless to discuss his leadership of the province of Umbria separately. We have often found it asserted that Bernardino was Vicar Provincial of the province of Saint Francis between 1558 and 1561.

In our view there is enough doubt or uncertainty about this since in a recently edited document we read that he was guardian at the friary (commonly called the Carcerelle[23]) in Assisi from 1558-1560.[24] Furthermore, if we are not mistaken, grounds for the solution of the question may be found mentioned the writings of Bernardino himself. He says that when he was vicar provincial and worked for the sick of Bettona, he himself received physical health from Bernardino of Asti, the general Moderator of the whole congregation[25]. It is certain that Bernardino of Asti governed all the Order from 1535-1536-1538, 1546-1552[26]. Therefore it must be said that he moderated the province of Umbria before 1552. Given the lack of documentary evidence, we are of the opinion that this relates to the last triennium of Bernardino of Asti (1549-1552), and that he did not participate as vicar provincial in the general chapter held in Naples in 1549. He was also at the other general chapter in Rome together with Honorius of Montegranaro[27].

No acta of his time of leadership have been kept and we have searched in vane for contemporary documents. Therefore the words of someone else may suffice: “When he had assumed the office of Vicar Provincial, he visited the entire province of Umbria barefoot and without sandals. Travelling everywhere he shone with extraordinary example on the life of the Province and made it grow in perfection by virtue and regular observance.”[28]

When unrestricted by his other weighty tasks Bernardino also bore the abundant fruit of souls by preaching. His sermons were seen as coming more from divine rather than human wisdom. We have no sample of his preaching. However we can know about his simple and evangelical kind of preaching from what he praised highly in Capuchin preachers[29]. Moreover, he testifies to a certain kind of fruitfulness of the old Fathers, who in no way required special studies for the office of preaching[30]. They show him that he does not have to give himself much to the task of studies, So then “to bend souls to penance and urge them to the virtues, he was accustomed to draw more material from prayer than from the study of theological matters, about which matters he deliberated very little.”[31]

The special monument of his apostolate is the monte di pietà, called that of grain or abundance. It was established for the farms of Colpetrazzo and Torre Lorenzana by his persuasion and exhortation “for the purpose of providing for and helping all the inhabitants in those farms”. Church authority approved its statutes or ordinances on 31 October 1592[32].

4. His character and ways

Bernardino was a meek and kindly man, even towards seculars, so that when they came to us he offered them every form of charity and humanity and believed they should be treated so[33]. He showed them the greatest sense of humanity and affability, whether they were friends or adversaries, who at the beginning of the Capuchin Congregation constantly threatened to destroy it. Nonetheless he sharply reprimanded superiors who mitigated the pristine rigor of the Reform for any reason[34].

Among his highly praised virtues are a certain innocence of life, simplicity of spirit, the assiduous study of prayer, austerity and poverty. Others[35] have treated extensively his gift of prophecy and the other charisms that bestowed God upon him. He was a vigorous promoter of regular observance and tirelessly dedicated to observing the integral life of the early Fathers in austerity, poverty and contemplation. Even if he provoked the opposition of others[36] still maintained a remarkable love for that life. Because of this he conscientiously showed most of the virtues. Furthermore Bernardine did not hide his opinion or mince words about the path the Capuchin Friars had to travel. Often the image of the Seraphic Father challenges and openly declares that the Friars, especially the Capuchin Friars, cannot be called perfect unless they strictly take up again the gospel life in whose footsteps they promised to follow and examples to imitate[37]. Studies are often seen in opposition to this form of gospel life since they strongly reduce the spirit of prayer and devotion or extinguish it within. In fostering studies he recognised a further danger. He did not doubt that they would bring great troubles to the Order[38].

5. His death and posthumous reputation

While there is a common opinion about the year of the death of Bernardino many authors disagree when they state the day and month. Some, whose view we accept, affirm that it was the 7 February 1594[39]. Others say 11 May[40] and others again the 3 October[41] of the same year, in the friary usually called Acquasparta or Portaria.

Finally, it is more certain that after Bernardino’s holy death, as a sign of friendship and veneration, the Duke of Acquasparta Frederick Cesi ordered that the body be embalmed and he sought to have it entombed in a lead sarcophagus in the his church at Monte Scoppio. “When the report of his passing had spread, such a countless multitude of persons came from everywhere round about to kiss and revere the holy body with heartfelt devotion that they cut his entire habit to pieces. Hence it was necessary to clothe the body again.[42]” Today his memorial has been completely lost and the place of his tomb is unknown[43].

The things that have been said to this point about the author of work being published seem to suffice in order to identify and know his person.

Art. II – The Work Being Published

Among “all the exceptionally great” writers from whom Z. Boverius draws his history Annalium Capuccinorum, the fourth one he lists in his Indice rerum singularum in volume I is: “Brother Bernardino of Colpetrazzo, a speaker of extraordinary power. He saw the Order in its early times begin under the influence of Matthew of Bascio and Bernardino of Asti and made an ample account of the facts in a volume. His life lived in great virtue and adorned with many miracles clearly confirms the truth of these things, and the course of his years is to be written down.”[44]

At the end of 1579 or at the beginning of the following year, Jerome of Montefiore, the supreme Moderator of the Capuchin Order, enjoined on Bernard to put into writing the life, abstinence and miracles of the early Friars. Little time was lost, for he offered the first lines of the work to the Vicar General before 21 March 1580. We believe that the only exemplar of this redaction of the Chronicles is codex A. Indeed, when Bernardino mixed up historical facts a lot with biographical information, the Vicar General – omitting everything else – ordered that a copy (apographon) of the biographies be made, whose exemplar is shown in codex An and codex F. Then Jerome himself added other biographies and so a new family of codices was born (codices Ro, N, Ne, etc.) Meanwhile he wanted to finish a work he had begun on his own initiative. Thus he completed the Second Redaction (1582-1584) which is partially preserved in Codex C and fully preserved in Codex As. Then when the 1584 general Chapter decided to bring out a Chronicle of the Order and that this task be entrusted to Bernardino, perhaps the work had not yet been completed when he was freed for the task. Last but not least, he was fulfilling the wishes of Duke Frederick of Cesi who, in 1592-1993, insisted that the work be completed. This fact is preserved in codex R, which we are publishing here.

This is a summary of the matter. Now we shall elaborate on these things more amply in sequence. It is clear from our schema that our account differs somewhat from the opinions of who have dealt in some way with this question. We submit this difference to the eyes of the readers while at the same time we also give the reasons upon which we rely.

So that this weighty question not be overlooked, the authenticity of the work is to be discussed briefly first of all.

1. The authenticity of the Chronicles

We will offer intrinsic and extrinsic arguments to demonstrate the authenticity of the Chronicles of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo. This question could certainly be omitted since it has never been called into doubt[45]. On the other hand we hope these things which we gather here in a general way can contribute to a fuller understanding of the matter.

1. In the first place we should consider the writers who speak about the writings of Bernardino without distinction. a) The manuscripts of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo also tell of the norms for the collection and composition of Chronicles of the Capuchin Order, probably brought out in the sixteenth century[46]. b) Furthermore, the Minister General, John Mary of Noto mentions the manuscript works of Fr. Bernardino in letters sent to Zachariah Boverius on 7 and 24 February 1628[47]. c) Finally “the archives of the general chapters of the Capuchin Friars Minor of Saint Francis from 1529 until 1596, which are missing in the books of the General Definitory,” and are taken from the manuscript books of Fr. Bernardino[48].


2. Then if we take a closer look the first and second composition of the Chronicles, first of all one observes that in all the codices the name of the author is passed over in the title, even though not just once is Bernardino named in the text[49]. Even a certain annotator in cod.As attributes this codex explicitly to Bernardino of Colpetrazzo[50]. Furthermore, from the things which we will say, it will be as clear noon day that the author of these compositions is the also the same author of the composition cod.R.

There are also explicit testimonies that assign these compositions to our Bernardino. a) Marius of Mercato Saraceno in his third Narration refers the reader to the writings of Bernardino, which we will show he could not have known about except from an earlier composition[51]. b) In a letter to James of Salò dated 6 August 1619, Felix of Nocera OFM Cap makes a reference about some attached Constitutions of 1536 taken from the Chronicles of Bernardino, and which are only read in the first and second compositions[52]. c) Alexis of Perugia OFM Cap, who after the passage of time in the second half of the eighteenth century collected memories[53], transcribed the life of Albert of Naples from the works of Bernardino, and whose biography is found nowhere else but in cod.R.[54]

3. Finally, the authenticity of the third composition is obvious from what we say is contained in cod.R a) From Bernardino’s own salutation at the end of the commendatory letter, as well as the title, preface and introduction of the work, it is clearly evident that he is the author of these Chronicles. His name is often cited in the text as well. That he is one and same author of the entire work is clear from the frequent citations in which the writer tells the readers words or sayings that were made to himself[55]. b) It is superfluous here to discuss each of the witnesses who attribute the work of cod.R to Bernardino, since all who used it did so without exception. Therefore it may be enough to indicate Paul Vitelleschi of Foligno and Zacharia Boverius who made abundant use of the Chronicles and their testimonies correspond exactly with the pages of this cod.R.

2. The First Composition in 1580

a. The time of this composition

We should resolve the previous question concerning the biographies generally attributed to Fr. Bernardino. Since these will have varied somewhat from the biographies in the first redaction of 1580, another confusion has emerged.

Recent authors affirm in common that in 1575 Fr. Bernardino wrote a collection of biographies under the mandate of Jerome of Montefiore, the vicar General[56]. However we believe that this opinion may no longer be sustained. The principal and only reason for this opinion is taken from a letter that Luciano of Brescia sent to James of Salò on 1 May 1612. Asked about the author of the biographies, in his letter to James of Salò he answers. Jerome of Montefiore was elected Superior General in 1575. At the end of the same year he visited the province of Milan and on the feast of the Epiphany the following year he assembled the Chapter and gave to the Friars a manuscript of biographies to be read. Its title was: The lives of some holy Capuchin Friars described by Fr. Bernardino of Colpetrazzo, at the order of the Reverend Minister Fr. Jerome Montefiore, General. Furthermore, Luciano of Brescia, the author of this information, adds that he has in his possession an exemplar of the manuscript[57].

We accept the attribution given to Fr. Bernardino but we further believe that it is actually false that he wrote the work before January 1576. Indeed, apart from the testimony of Marius of Mercato Saraceno in III Relationes[58] and of Luciano of Brescia, who explicitly affirm it, it is enough to compare the twenty-three biographies of Fr Jerome’s small work[59] with cod. A to recognise and demonstrate who its author is. Not only are they transcribed literally, further more, where in Fr Jerome’s codices the author is indicated by the letter N, in Cod. ABernardinus’ is written explicitly[60]. Indeed Bernardino testifies that he carried out this work under the mandate of the same Jerome[61]. Therefore there can be no doubt indeed that the biographies be attributed to Bernardino. However something else has to be said about the time of its composition.

In the first place, the testimony of Luciano of Brescia is obviously irreconcilable with the eloquent words of Jerome, whose testimony in this matter is certainly preferable. Certainly he wrote his opusculum in the second half of 1581. It is clear from the preface that the biographies had been transcribed after the death of Marius of Mercato Saraceno (6 May 1581), when he (Jerome) had also completed his second triennium (12 May 1581).[62]

Furthermore he begins the life of John of Seminara with these words: Mortuus est anno elapso, anno dico 1580.[63] Now while he was explaining the history or origin of his work, he asserts first that he knew about the lives of the old Friars that were to be written down. He states that he was coming quickly to the end of his term of office and that he was only anticipating the work to be done by more expert Fathers. Meanwhile during the few visitations he conducted during his last days in office, he also asked for information for this purpose[64]. He could not affirm then that the praiseworthy biographies were written in 1575, at the beginning of his term of office.

In 1578 it happened that when Marius of Mercato Saraceno described[65] the first things of the Order under the authority of the Minister General, he completely overlooked these biographies, even if he really hoped that some of the deeds, virtues and miracles of the confreres should be narrated[66]. Why then did Jerome of Montefiore not approach him with his collection of biographies that he might be better informed? Or why was Marius, a diligent inquirer for the truth, unable to present them?

Nor is Bernardino to be passed over in silence. Time and again he speaks about his own literary effort, but about this alleged series of biographies he makes no reference at all when he could have done so quite well. In 1580 he accepted the mandate to write, something to which he referred straight away. We will show that this should be understood as the first composition of the Chronicles.

All else considered carefully, we believe that the testimony of Luciano of Brescia – asserting that Bernardino narrated the lives of the Friars before 1576 – cannot stand. Add that his confusion can be explained without difficulty. The vicar General, Jerome of Montefiore, visited the province of Milan twice, namely in the year 1575 – 1576, as Luciano indicates[67], and in the month September-October 1580, at which time he could have brought an incomplete copy of the first composition with him so that the Friars might read it.

Indeed this judgement is in no way weakened on the authority of Nicholas of Tolentino OFM Cap. In a letter dated 3 February 1589 he informed Matthias Bellintani that Jerome of Montefiore had the lives of the old Friars read in some provincial chapters and perhaps even in a general chapter[68]. Even if he is hesitant about which general chapter he is speaking, it is certainly cannot be understood as the chapter of 1578, while it could have been the one in 1581.

With these difficulties solved, it is necessary to address the positive question so that the matter may be examined further.

About the origin of the first composition of the Chronicles we are adequately informed. Although Bernardino mentions three distinct times[69] about having to narrate the virtues of the friars under the mandate enjoined on him by Jerome, we are convinced that it was only done once. As more and more error spread regarding the origins of the Capuchin Reform, the Cardinal of San Severina and Protector of the Order, Antonio Santori, urged and appointed Marius, the Vicar General, to diligently seek out the truth[70]. The Cardinal requested that he and other Friars whom Marius judged more suitable apprise him of the matter. Among all these the best known is Bernardino of Colpetrazzo, one of those staying at Montecasale, to whom he sent the letter from Perugia dated 1580, so that he would accurately describe the life, abstinence, miracles and visions of the holy men[71]. Nothing was dearer to Bernardino that to transmit to posterity the example of the first Friars for imitation. Without any delay he quickly set to the work and within a space of about two months he sent a draft to the Vicar General. On the 21 March of the same year, 1580, in a letter sent to Bernardino, he refers to having received it, indicating that he had received the volume contrary to all expectation, read it entirely and found it excellent. Nonetheless, that which concerns historical events can be taken from it since Marius intends to compose a general history. The biographical part is occupied with the height of perfection, which may have been very much sought. Because of this he had a copy made so that the Friars could admire and imitate the holy life and customs of their comrades. He would retain the original exemplar and return it later.[72]

b. The codices

From[73] the way things are said, the reader could suspect with great probability that the Chronica of Bernardino will be found in various codices either in its entirety or a large part of it. We know indeed codices of both kinds. Since the biographical codices are to be discussed in the second volume of the edition, here we present a description of one cod.A, which contains the entire work.

α. The Assisi codex = Cod. A

This is a codex of miscellaneous sheets transcribed by many hands in the 16th century, bound with parchment. It contains 505, 95mm x 130mm sheets. It is now preserved in the Archives of the Capuchin Province of Saint Francis. It is without a signature. On the back is erroneously written: Biografie / Angelo Tancre[di].

Folios 1-347r / [Chronica P.F. Bernardini a Colperazzo]

It begins (f.1r): Quantunque tutte le scientie, Padre Reverendo et mio sempre cordialissimo in Christo (come ben sapete) apportino qualche perfettione alli intelletti nostri.

It ends (f.347r): Et sappia ognuno che io non scrivo a un gran pezzo quello che potrei scrivere, che sarebbe ancora utile a semplici. Et questo io fo per non tediare che lege et che ode. A laude et gloria del Nostro Signore Giesù Christo, della sua dolcissima Madre et del nostro Padre San Francesco. Amen. Il fine.

This first part, which begins without a title, is written by the same hand. The writing has been eaten away by humidity so that it is difficult to read. The older numbering of the pages is erroneous because f.143r passes to f.145r as well as f.345 to f.347. The work is divided into 60 chapters, which present the history and the biographies confusedly. Apart from thirty-nine biographies, the author also describes the main events of the reform in which Matthew of Bascio and Louis of Fossombrone took part (f.2r – 48r), he discusses the assembly of the chapter of Albacina and the Bull Religionis zelus (f.66r – 73v). Finally, at the end of the volume, he traces from the general chapter in S. Euphemia in Rome up to the disastrous consequences of the apostasy of Bernardino Ochino (f.320v -–347r).

Folios 349r-455v (in another hand). Jesus Maria Franciscus. / Nel nome del N.S. Jesu xpr et della sua / Matre S.Ma et del B.P. Francesco incomin / cia il prolago sopra la Regola / evangelica da Dio revelata al S. Confess. de / X0 Francesco de una / expositione fatta / sopra l’intesa / Regola da / uno de’ / soi Compagni chiamato Frate Angelo / Tancredi.

It begins (f.349r): Più volte pregato da voi, Frate Thomasso carissimo, et amabilissimo fratello nel S., con grande istantia, et me havete fatto pregare ancora da altri nostri fratelli.

It ends (f.455v): De questi pani dunque forma Francesco il pane con il quale intende cibare li suoi Frati, acciò che ben cibati luminosi et gloriosi con xpo vivino at regnino sempre in secula seculorum. Amen. Xro gloria, Virgini Mati, Patri Francisco.

This tractate of an exposition of the Franciscan Rule is erroneously attributed to Angelo Tancredi. (An earlier scribe had written; Augustinus). It is a simple Italian adaptation of the celebrated exposition of Angelo Clareno[74].

Folios 456rr-468r (in another hand). Jesus Maria Franciscus. / Meditatione della passione di no-/stro Jesù xpo del Reverendo / Padre Frate Bernardino da Mon-/te del Olmo.

It begins (f.456r): Sappi che sopra ogni cosa volendo tu sentir contentezza nel meditar questa altissima passione ti è di mestiero.

It ends (468v): Ti ringratio ancora delle molte lacrime che in croce per me spargesti nel hora della tua morte. Amen.

While all authors acknowledge that Bernardino of Monte’Olmo (Pausola) wrote some works, they never the less keep silent about these meditations[75].

Folios 468v – 498v (a fourth hand): / Protestatione cavata dal Sacerdotale.

Various prayers are transcribed from liturgical books with which to prepare the soul for death.

Folios 499r – 505: De re medica et coquinaria aliquae proponuntur formulae.

We believe we can demonstrate satisfactorily that cod. A is the first composition from these reasons, which demonstrate that it was written in 1580.

That the Bernardino is the author of this codex is demonstrated (f.81r, 86v, 89v,211v) and from its likeness with cod. As, C and F the one and the same author is satisfactorily evident.

The catalogue or tractate about the deeds of the Generals of the Franciscan Order is absent. However Bernardino himself advises the reader that it is missing from the first composition, expecting this to be done by Marius[76]. On the other hand, one reads that the historical part, which according to the opinion of Fr. Jerome could have been removed since it was not in accord with the intended purpose[77].

If indeed Gratian of Norcia, whose life is described in this codex[78], died in the month of March 1579[79], it is certain that that the codex, or rather the work, was produced after this date.

We have already said that the opusculum of Jerome was written in 1581. We have also said that twenty three biographies in this opusculum were taken from the Chronicles of Bernardino – biographies which without a doubt came from cod.A. In no way can this be said of cod. As and C[80]. Then Bernardino at least knew of the work of Jerome on 20 July 1582[81], although in the composition of cod. A it is not used, as in the other codices he made, as will be clear from what is to be said below.

Furthermore the author composed the work before he knew about the Third Narration[82] of Marius of Mercato Saraceno, which most certainly would have been current in 1581. In fact, when he discusses the chapter assembled at Albacina (f.66v) he explicitly states that at the time the Capuchin Friars numbered only eight. He is convinced of this. None the less, leaning on the authority of Marius, who asserts that they numbered twelve, this opinion is also included[83]. However in the Third Narration he not only referred to twelve being there, as he did in the First and Second Narrations, but to many others, and that the twelve were only the electors[84]. Above all, in his Third Narration Marius cites he writings of Bernardino. Although it is not certain that he read them, nevertheless all the things to which he refers or alludes are to be found in cod.A[85].

Joseph M. of Melicuccà OFM Cap. used cod.A towards the end of the 18th century (before 1794). He illustrated his catechism of Christian doctrine with examples of the first Capuchin Friars taken from the work of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo[86]. Indeed the author states this throughout his praiseworthy work[87]. That he used cod.A and not cod.As is based on these reasons. Reciting a certain sentence of Bernardino of Asti, he cites these words: Frate secolaresco, nemico di S. Francesco, words which only cod.As omits[88]. Furthermore not quite all the things which are taken from the writings of Bernardino in cod.A are distinguished in the margin with a certain conventional sign. Hence it is easy to suspect by simple conjecture that this was done on the occasion of a transcription. Cod.R is excluded since biographical fragments (e.g. those of Albert of Naples and Gratian of Norcia) are transcribed and which are missing in it. Again, cod.C contains text which is transcribed from the chapter: De ratione vivendi, and which are only found in cod.A and As.

Since cod. As and cod.C will be discussed below, other arguments will be presented which show the chronological priority of cod. A. More suitably their mutual relationship will be discussed there. Here it is only necessary to add that the composition of cod.A in 1585, as has been asserted sometimes[89], is not demonstrated at all.

β. The other Codices

Apart from cod.A, until this point in time we have not been able to find any other codex which makes unaltered reference to the first composition of the Chronicles. We have already indicated that other biographies have been taken from the work of Bernardino. However how many and which they were cannot be stated with certainty. However as regards the authority of cod.An and cod.F and other lost codices, as well as the testimony of Jerome of Montefiore who only attributes twenty three biographies to Bernardino[90], we believe it defensible that very probably forty[91] biographies were chosen and not twenty-three.

Indeed the codices of these biographies belong to two series. The series is found in cod.965 in the Angelica Library in Rome and in the Florentine codex in the Bibliotheca Nazionale, Magl.Cl.XXXVII, 313. It is evident that other lost or unexplored codices stemmed from the same root. And indeed, in a letter sent to Matthias of Salò, Nicholas of Tolentino informed him that he had a codex which contained the lives of Capuchins, written by order of Jerome of Montefiore and which were confirmed by his authority. He also offered a brief description which, regarding the number and arrangement of the biographies and the chapter de ratione vivendi, agrees completely with cod.An and cod.F[92]. Then, even though we know less about the codex used by Luciano of Brescia[93], nevertheless without hesitation we can surmise from the title of the transcript that the codex belongs to the same family. Finally we should mention the codex from which Ruffino of Siena of Siena transcribes the twenty-three biographies inserted in his Chronicles[94]. Not only is it possible to affirm that the codex belong to the same family, but it is also possible to state that it was unaware of other codices, if he also admits he could not treat of other famous lives because he did not have information[95]. The biographical part of the codex from folio 119 to folio 192 has been brought and published in L’Italia Francescana 7(1932) p.381 sq.

On the other hand those codices, whose biographies are arranged and referred to by Jerome of Montefiore and his companions, belong to the second series. They are the following: a) Cod.Ro, in the Capuchin General Archives, A. I. 6; b) two codices in the Bibliotheca Nazionale of Naples, namely, cod.IX. F. 58 and cod. IX. F. 75. Furthermore we have been informed from the following testimony about the existence of other codices belonging to the same series.

After Gabriele of Cortona transcribed the life of Vincent of Foiano, he added these words: “Composed by Fr. Jerome of Montefiore, while he was Vicar General of the Order. Copied from a little octavo book written in pen, found in the library of Montui at Florence … This life, together with the others composed by the aforesaid Fr. Br. Jerome have also been written by pen in some small books by Fr. Benedict of Barga and Fr. Br. Alessio of Pistoia, priests exact in everything.”[96]

3. The second composition 1582-1584

On his own free initiative, Bernardino carried out the second redaction of his work between the years 1582 and 1584. Its exemplar is preserved in two codices, namely As and C. It will be our task to examine it and to pose some particular questions.

a. Its nature and time of the composition

The first thing to be considered is that Bernardino does not mention this one in the official redactions of the Chronicles[97]. Nor after internal examination of both codices C and As does any indication appear that the account transcribed in them was done under any obligation or authority[98]. In the first redaction, which he wrote by order of the Vicar General, the author himself puts that quite explicitly. In effect, in 1580, he sent his incomplete enterprise to the superiors expecting that it would be useful to Marius of Mercato Saraceno for the history he was duly about to produce. When he saw his proposal come to nothing, he thought he to complete the work himself with an addition in the form of an introduction about the main events of the whole Franciscan Order[99]. He not only did this but he also added other biographical information and corrected those already written. Furthermore the present form of cod.C presents almost a third redaction since it is clear that in the course of time its original form, the same as cod.As, was changed by the author or with his direction[100].

In order to determine the precise time in which he made this private composition it is necessary that we examine separately its terminus a quo and terminus ad quem.

Many reasons can be offered to show that cod.As and cod.C were written after the redaction of 1580.

a. In Cod.A he says very little in the biography of Paul of Chioggia, asserting that no one could furnish him with accurate information about his past life. However in codices As and C, while omitting this assertion, he describes his life by a longer measure, probably from the Third Narrative of Marius or from the work of Jos. Zarlino[101]. One arrives at the same conclusion from an examination of the biographies of Francis of Macerata[102], Louis of Reggio[103], etc.

b. Discussing various miracles of Anthony of Corsica, the author says this in the various codices:

Cod. A, f.134v Cod.As p.519 and C, f.218v
Molti altri miracoli fece che per esser tempo assai et per esser in quel tempo io giovanetto, non me ne ricordo. Molti altri miracoli fece il Signore per lui and tra gl’altri che di nuova io ha hauti fu…

c. The same can be proven from this – that cod.As and cod.C evidently corrects some errors[104] of cod.A, and they later relinquish[105] the order or arrangement of cod.A which they followed the first time.

d. From his mode of speech it is clear that when the author made this redaction he knew about the Third Narration of Marius, otherwise he could not have affirmed that his first proposal was in vane.

e. Finally it can be stated with certitude that the redaction was composed after 20 July 1582. For at this time he received the work of Jerome of Montefiore at Foligno[106], and by means of which he described the deeds of Br. Louis of Reggio and the other Friars of Calabria which in cod.A are completely omitted[107].

Having briefly examined the terminus a quo, we may address a word to the terminus ad quem.

Bernardino completed his work before the month of August in 1584 in which he received the mandate to revise his own writings and those of Marius so that they could be sent to press[108]. Our affirmation submits that cod.As and C in no way present the official redaction of 1584, as common opinion unanimously records[109]. Indeed they in no way refer to the history which must have been made according to the wish of the superiors. Nor do they exhibit the division which it has, as Bernardino himself testified. To the reader it appears that codices As et C do not come from the Narrations of Marius. However this was enjoined explicitly in a letter of the Vicar General, James of Mercato Saraceno[110]. Furthermore, Bernardino tell us that the redaction between 1584 and 1585 was divided into three books[111]. You will look in vain for these books among the codices. Nor will you find all the matters examined in depth. If it is objected that the codices exhibit an imperfect redaction, we would answer that this must certainly be demonstrated and suitable reasons about this matter remain hidden to us.

b. The codices

Since we do not have an authentic example of the original hand-writing of Fr. Bernardino, we cannot make a sure judgement about his own script. It is probably that like cod.As, cod.C is a copy. We will try to demonstrate this when we discuss the relationship between all the codices. Meanwhile, a description of both now.

α. Codex Casanatense = Cod.C

This is a paper codex, bound with a thin membrane over compressed paper. It is kept in Rome in the Casanatense Library, with the reference mark ms. 1689 (previously D.VI.24). It has a double pagination, both of which are recent and erroneous. The upper numbering misses f.194a, while the lower pagination is erroneous after folio 240 where it misses a page (f.240a). Then both paginations are uniform up to f.331. Here the upper pagination skips to p.333and differs from the other pagination up to f.379. However since it does not number f.380, from this point until f.416 both paginations agree. Therefore the true pagination of the codex is this: (4)-417-(1) folios, 111mm x 170mm. From these folios 255, 263, 339-347, 408, 417 are blank.

On the spine of the volume one reads: RIFORMA / E CONGREG./ DE P.P. CA-PUCCINI. /, and on unnumbered folio 1: Cronica dell’Ordine / di S. Francesco e delle varie riforme / con la vita di diversi / servi di Dio. / Mancano alcune pagine, ma forse / tagliate dall’Autore. (21 Giugno 1875.)

Regarding the script of the codex, a complex question arises, since at least five different scripts are evident, arranged in a mixed up way.

1. One style of script, probably in which the entire codex was first made, is found: f.1r-61r, 70r-71v, 85r-88v, 97r-100v, 163r-178v, 179r-196, 215r-223r, 256r-260v, 308-322, 384-416r. Fragments written in of this style are found always with cod.As.

2. The second style of script is found: f.89-95, 101-131r, 155r-162v, 199-214v, 261r-278, 294-299v, 323r-338v. This script differs always from cod.As.

3. The third style: f.72-84r, 133-154v, 279r-293v, 300r-307v, 343-383.

It is true that these three styles of handwriting are quite different, but we do not deny that they are from one and the same scribe.

But perhaps something of greater moment is in the description of the contents.

Folios 1r-37v. Incomincia una breve recolletta di tutti i Generali del / Ordine Minor e delle cose più notabili che furono fatte / al tempo di ciascun dal anno 1206 insino al / la riforma de’ Zoccolanti.

It begins (f.1r): Piacque al sommo creatore nel sopradetto tempo di nouvo per sua clemenza e bontà visitare questo nostro mondo.

It finishes (f.37v): la nostra Congregatione dunque di’ Capuccini incominciò nel’anno mille e cinqucento venticinque e fu come qui di sotto si dirà. A laude e gloria del nostro Signor Giesù Christo. Amen.

It briefly describes the deeds of the Ministers General who moderated the whole Order up until the time of Eugene IV when the Observants obtained an independent Vicar General. However the five who guided the Order from 1408 until 1443 are omitted. The faithfully described information is from the Memoriale Ordinis[112]. Finally it narrates the vicissitudes of the reform of John of Guadeloupe as well as the occasion of this redaction.

Folios 37v-385r. Del principio della riforma e Congregatione de’ Frati / Capuccini e delle vite e costumi di quei primi / Padri e santi huomini, e de’ miracoli, astinenze e rivelationi, che da essi santi huomini fuorono fatti. / Aggiuntovi nel fine la vita e gloriosa / morte del santo huomo Antonio Berrettaio da Perugia.

It begins (f.38r): Proemio. Quantunque tutte le scienze, P.R. et mio sempre in Christo, come ben sapete, apportano qualche perfectione.

It ends (385r): Piaccia al nostro Signor Dio di conservarci nella perfetta osservanza della Regula et in buona gratia di Sua Maestà. Amen.

It narrates the beginnings of the Order in the Marches and in Calabria and also what happened on the occasion of the apostasy of Bernardino Ochino, as in the redaction of 1580. However certain chapters are added. Fifty-seven biographies are described, the order or arrangement of which is different from all the other codices.

Folio (f.385v-404v). Del modo di vivere che tenevano quei primi Capuccini nell’ osservantia della povertà, della carità che era tra di loro, del silentio et altre buone creanze.

It begins (f.385v): Quei Ven. Padri che venevano alla Congregatione del corpo della Religione gli intervenne come al Patriarca Noè.

It ends (f.404v): ed I nostri laici assai bene spendon il tempo quando si affatigano nelli essercitij et offitij della Religione. A laude et gloria del N.S. giesù Xo et del nostro Padre S. Francesco. Amen.

This tract on the way of life of the first Capuchin Friars is more ample than the exposition in the 1580 composition which is transcribed literally into cod.As and in a primitive form into cod.C[113]. In cod.R it is expanded with new information and it is written more carefully both in regard to its division and its manner of speech. Fredegando d’Anversa has published the last chapter on the observance of the Testament of the Seraphic Father[114].

Folios 409r-416v. Del venerabil’ vecchio Anton Berettaio da Perugia.

The biography of this extraordinary benefactor is written at the beginning of the Capuchin Congregation in the region of Umbria. It is completely the same one as in cod.As, from which Francesco da Vicenza has published it[115].

Since we will deal explicitly with the order or arrangement of the material in the codex below, something should be added now about the time of composition. We were unable to derive any sure indication from an examination of the codex itself, but we can determine a time plus or minus a year. Fredegando d’Anversa[116] estimates that it was written around 1590. We would say with greater likelihood that it was before 1584-1585, for in its present form (which as we will see, is not the original) exhibits a certain original intermediate formulation between cod.As and the codices of the final redaction. Nor does the difficulty escape us that may arise from the biography of Jerome Rondinelli of Florence. Based on a certain old Bolognese codex some authors[117] maintain that he died on 15 August 1591. However we believe that their arguments are insufficient to overturn our opinion. The author of our codex already knew Jerome and was in the friary of the Holy Conception at Florence when he was clothed in the habit, at which time Michael-Angelo of Florence was moderating the province of Tuscany (1538-1541?). He asserts that Jerome lived among the Capuchins for around twenty years, and wonders at how he died so early[118]. It is difficult then to understand how he died in 1591. Therefore we would say better that the time of his death, as some authors have it, is not correctly indicated.

β. Assisi Codex = Cod. As

So that no one may be led into error, we wish the reader to be advised that this codex, said here to be from the city of Assisi, authors sometimes call the Foligno codex since it used to be kept in Foligno.

It is a paper codex from the end of the 16th century, bound with membrane. It has [6]-1398 pages, 95mm x 130mm. Three number sheets at the beginning are absent. The script is clear and elegant, and written uniformly by one and the same hand from beginning to end. Each page contains 18 lines. It is now kept in Assisi in the Capuchin Provincial Archives. Obviously it was once marked ms 51. Today however it may need a reference number.

Furthermore the codex contains nothing other than the Chronicles of Bernardino. On folio 3r a later hand wrote: Memorie de FF.Minori Cap-/ puccini scritte per ordine / del Reverendo P. Girolamo da Montefiore, Generale / d’essa Congregazione / dal 1525 fin al suo tempo (p.369.) Finally, another more recent scribe added: pag.108. Vedi anche pag.88-89. N.B. L’autor di queste Memorie è il P. Bernardino da Colpetrazzo, morto a Porteria li 7 febbraio 1594.

Pages 1-90. Incomincia una breve recoletta di tut-/ ti i Generali dell’Ordine Minore e delle / cose più notabili che fuorono fatte al tempo di / ciascuno, daò’anno 1206 insino alla Rifor-/ ma de Zoccolanti.

Both the beginning and the end as well as the text of this section differ in no way from cod.C.

Pages 91-1347. Del principio della riforma/e Congregatione de Frati Capuccini e/ delle vite e costumi di quei primi / Padre e santi huomini e de miracoli, a/ stinenza e rivelationi che da essi santi /huomini furono fatti. Aggiuntovi nel fine la vita e gloriosa morte del / santo huomo Antonio Berettaio da Perugia.

It begins (p.91): Proemio. Quantunque tutte le scienze, R.P. et mio sempre osservantissimo in xpr, come ben sapete, apportano qualche perfettione.

It ends (p.1347): E sappia ognuno ch’io non scrivo a un gran pezzo quel che potrei scriver’, che sarebbe ancora utile a semplici. E questo fo per non tediar’ che legge e chi ode. A laude e gloria del Nostro Signor Jesu Xpo, della sua dolcissimo Madre e del Nostro Padre San Francesco. Amen.

There is quite a difference between this section and cod.C. The major part of the codex has contains biographies, of which there are fifty-three. The life of Matthew of Bascio is not treated separately. Rather his deeds are recorded with the events of the first decade. The biographies occupy 817 pages and the historical events 513 pages. A word about differences in readings is found below.

Pages 1348-1390. Del venerabil vecchio Anton Berrettaio da Perugia. The biography of this of this venerable old man has been published by Francesco da Vicenza[119].

Pages 1392-1396. Tavola del presente libro.

Furthermore, the arguments we put forward about the date of composition of this codex are valid. While those who maintian that the time of the composition of the codex be referred back to 1585, these arguments clearly determine the time of composition after this year. Others again conjecture that Bernardino wrote himself it himself in 1593-1594. How then can an explanation be given for the omission of the biographies of Felix of Cantalice, Raniero of Borgo San Sepolcro and other outstanding men?

In the 18th century Cod.As used to be kept in the Provincial Archives of Umbria, which was then located in Perugia[120]. On page 1390 one may read the following note: “In the year 1538, 15 (?), the place of Montemalbe was taken up by Bernardine of Asti. On the 18th October of the same year the University gave the site from which Archive this record has been taken.”[121]

4. The third Composition 1584-1594

Here we discuss the redaction begun by order of the Vicar General in 1584 together with the one which was completed in 1592-1594 according to the wish of Duke Frederick. No entire, pre-existing exemplar was used. However some fragments in the other redaction have probably been retained in cod.R.

a. The history of the redaction

This history of this last redaction is very well known. In the general chapter assembled in Rome on 18 May 1584, it was decided to produce a Chronicle of the Order in print. In the month of August in the same year the Minister General, James of Mercato Saraceno, granted Bernardino to come to Rome to duly carry out this task[122]. On the 15th October the following year 1585 at the friary in Spoleto Bernardino signed the introduction to the work, which shows the speed of his writing. In this he relied very much on his very tenacious memory with which he could see the things to be narrated as if in they were present[123].

We should discuss whether the preface indicates the end of the composition or its beginning instead. The text of the introduction itself obviously indicates more the end rather than the beginning[124], and writers commonly interpret it as such[125]. Nevertheless the beginning of the third book asserts that the history is narrated up until the year 1585. Indeed the death of James of Mercato Saraceno is not mentioned[126]. Nonetheless significant doubt arises from these things which in the commendatory letter Frederick Cesi clearly indicates that he has not yet finished the work when he was relieved of the task[127].

Whatever it may be, it is confirmed that the Superiors, having left Bernardino aside, chose Matthias of Salò to prepare Chronicles for the press. At which time and for what reasons? We have based our opinion on this reason, that since they usually sought his advice at the general chapters, we also believe therefore that this is what happened in 1587[128]. On the 3rd February 1589 Matthias Bellintani began the work commissioned to him[129]. Good old Bernardino interpreted that the reason for this action by the Superiors was that they regarded Matthias as “more learned and suitable.”[130] Perhaps this was the only reason and nor is it necessary to suppose that the superiors did not consider Bernardino suitable to expounding faithfully the mind or spirit, redolent with the theories of the Spirituals, which at that time spread through the Order[131].

Therefore Bernardino, who had worked diligently and quickly, did not arrived at the desired goal. He was thinking to abandon the incomplete work when the Duke and Duchess of Acquasparta, who regarded him and all the Capuchins with great love, opportunely implored him with all their strength to complete the Chronicles so that they could be consigned to print. With a grateful heart he started to complete it[132]. Therefore without hesitation he approached the work. He took up the first redaction and re-arranged some chapters into a new order and added other information and biographies.

As for the matter and division of the work, Bernardino repeats the same thing twice, both in the preface of 1585 and in the commendatory letter of 1592. Therefore the work is divided into three books. The first is about the main events of the Congregation. The second described the lives of the first Fathers, especially their abstinence and miracles. Finally, the third summarizes the Ministers General of the whole Franciscan Order in the time when the Friars Minor used the oblong cowl, as well as the Vicars General of the Congregation of Capuchins and their Cardinal Protectors.

b. The Codices

We think it is superfluous to dwell at length to show that the third redaction is in no way contained in the codices A, As and C. The only exemplar known to us is cod.R, in which at least the narrative of other codices is taken up.

The Roman Codex = Cod. r

A paper codex from the 16th century (1585-1594?), 140mm x 190mm and 1392 pages. It is kept in Rome in the General Archives of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin: Arm. A, I, 9-10. It is bound in two volumes: vol.I, pages 1-601; vol. II, p.602-1392. On the spine of both codices is written: Cronica del P.Bernardino da Colpetrazzo. In fact this codex only contains the Chronicles of Fr. Bernardino, arranged in this order:

Pages 1-3. Litterae commendatitiae ad Fridericum Cesi datae in conventu S.Petri prope Acquasparta (Todi) die 2 sept. an. 1592.

Page 4. Incomincia una simplice et divota historia dell’/ origine della Congregatione de / Frati Capuccini; cioè, quando, / come et da chi hebbe il suo / principio. / Composta da me Fra Bernardino / Colpetrazzo Capuccino.

The first book, the Chronicles, is extends from page 4 to page 601.

It begins (page 4): Piacque al N. che essendo di gia la Congregatione de’ Capuccini pure assai per la Dio gratia cresciuta.

If finishes (page 601): Fu detto ch’ haveva fatti duoi miracoli molto notabbili, ma perchè io n’ho perfetta notitia, però non gli pongo. A laude et gloria del Nro Signor Giesù Christo, della sua dolcissima Madre et del Nro Padre San Francesco et a memoria della santa Donna Marta da Spoleti. Amen.

The second volume (pages 602-1392) contains the second and third books.

Page 602. Incomincia il second libro nel quale si scrivano / le vite et miracoli di S. Huomini della Congregatione de Frati Capuccini. /

The biographies of religious described in this second book number seventy-two. The first is Matthew of Bascio and the last is John Baptist of Faenza.

Pages 1222-1271. Incomincia il terzo libro nel quale si ragiona / del modo di vivere, delle virtù et buon / costumi di quei primi Padri, che diedono / principio alla santa riforma / de Cappuccini.

The matter in this book is divided into thirteen chapters that talk about the way of life and of the excellent religious virtues of the first Capuchin Friars[133].

Pages 1272-1359. Incomincia un breve et succinto trattato nel quale / si scrivano tutti li Generali che portorono l’habito / Capuccino, incominciando del Padre S. Francesco / insino che fu perso il capuccio aguzzo. / Aggiungendo quando da Frati Capuc-/ cini fu ripreso, con tutti / li Generali della nostra Congregatione con / una breve narratione di tutte / le cose notabili che ciascuno di loro fece nel suo generalato / et quando et dove fuorono / eletti.

The title of the book expresses its object clearly enough. He writes six chapters about Father St. Francis. More than a curriculum vitae, he presents his spiritual image and physiognomy[134]. The series of Ministers General of the Franciscan Order includes the first seventeen, that is, up to Michael of Cesena inclusive. Apart from the election of each of these, the author also examines the main events in the Order.

Pages 1360-1384. Incomincia una breve ricolletta di tutti i Generali / della Congregatione de’ Capuccini che sono / stati dal mille et cinquecento vinticinque insino / nell’ottantacinque.

In fact the catalogue lists the first sixteen Vicars General, i.e. up to Sylvester of Monteleone (6 June 1593). However his election as well as that of Jerome of Polizio were written by another hand[135].

Summary information is offered about Cardinal Andrea de la Valle, Francis Quiñones, Rudolph Pio Leonelli, Julius Ant. de Revere and Julius Ant. Santori.

The script of the codex, whose presentation is complex, clearly should be attributed to no less than four scribes. However this diversity can be explained. Before Bernardino gave the Chronicles to Duke Frederick to be read and published[136] – as was fitting – he revises the entire work and finds many unchangeable things that can remain, which he simply inserted in the volume. Other things, by means of the scribes, he had write again carefully[137]. Certainly the facts speak for themselves. For in the script we consider the oldest in the fragments made about certain friars, e.g. Raniere of Borgo San Sepolcro (†1589) and Domenic of Boschetto (†1589) the author discusses them as if they were alive among the living, in the others he numbers the same ones among the dead, or rather describes their biographies. Therefore we will examine each of the handwritings in the codex.

1. One example of script, which we consider to be older, is found on page four, that is, in the 1585 introduction. We conclude that this is the oldest of the codex: a) All the facts described in this style happened before 1585, which cannot be said of the other scripts. b) The early list of Ministers General OFM Cap finishes with the election of James of Mercato Saraceno (in the month of May 1584) and in the same place, on page 1382, his industriousness is described in another hand. Above all, the commendatory letter (page 3) the author promises to do something on the Cardinals and Protectors, which he nonetheless omits, both from the 1585 introduction and the title of the third book. c) The present arrangement of folios or pages also indicate that the fragments of this script were done first (cf. p.79-80, 235-236, 243, 247, 255, 351-352, 597, 946, 1100, etc.)

About 79 pages in volume one are written in this form of script. In the second volume there are more or less 465 pages with it. This is explained by variations made in the new arrangement of the historical part. Meanwhile the major part of the biographies and almost the whole of the third book remain unchanged.

2. Another script is distinguished on page 86 and following, as a bound unit of pages, and is found in between the first and third kind of script (cf. p.114, 154, 367, 433, 438, etc.) More are found in the first volume (175 pages) than in the second (32 pages), while it is less careful and more difficult to read.

3. Next, the commendatory letter is written in a third script, like other pieces of information from the year 1593 (cf. p.10, 109, 1384). From the binding of the pages it appears the fragments were added after the second script. This scribe wrote the largest part of the codex, about 500 pages. Of these 234 are in volume one and 262 in volume two. This script is clear but not so simple, so that there can never be any doubt as to its identity. Furthermore, one may observe a great likeness to the original script in Cod.C.[138]

4. Finally certain fragments are composed in another script (p.228 sq.), which in the present arrangement of the codex is seen to be the last (cf. p.235, 255, 263, 273, 351). Only 87 pages are written in this style: 41 in volume one and 46 in volume two. It is the writing of an old person. Although it always allows interpretation, generally it can never be read without some difficulty.

We cannot add much regarding the history of codex R. It was allowed for the use of Phillip of Milan OFM Cap. as deduced from the small note in the margin on page 101[139]. Paul Vitelleschi and Zacharias Boverius used it in the composition of the Annals. That at least twice some fragments are re-arranged in order is obvious not only from corrections but also from other indications. In the chapter with the heading: Qui si ragiona d’alcuni larghi che molto fecero rsistenza all’una e l’altra riforma de’ Padri Zoccolanti e Capuccini (p.483) the author himself refers to the reform movement in Calabria in these words: as will be said in its proper place (p.485). Nevertheless in Cod.R the story about the Friars in Calabria who came across to the Capuchins in 1532 is told before (p.394). It appears that this particular fragment is written in another hand. Indeed, perhaps this chapter occupies a more suitable place prior to the narration of the events of the Reform in Calabria, rather than after. What ever has to be said about the order or confusion of cod.R, it is certain to us that the arrangement was in place before Paul Vitelleschi and Zacharia Boverius, since their citations are always in agreement with these pages[140].

From the things examined to this point, we do not hesitate either to affirm cod.R as a composition of Bernardino or to present it as a certain and definitive work. Therefore it is rightly taken up as the model (archetypon) of the critical edition.

In the Capuchin General Archives in Rome a copy of this cod.R is on display, which under the care of Fr. Fredegando d’Anversa has not yet been completed.

5. The various families of codices

Although enough is known from the things that have been said and proven, nevertheless, notwithstanding a few certain repetitions, it seems opportune in a work dedicated to this question to discuss at a little more length how the codex may be regarded as a codex. The mutual relationship between the codices we have described may be shown in the following diagram.

In our opinion, cod.A presents an exemplar of the text of the work sent to Jerome of Montefiore from which he produced the copy of biographies contained in codices An and F. Later Jerome himself added others to these biographies as the codices N, Ne and Ro render them. Next, Bernardino took up his work, either that of cod.A or some other unknown exemplar. Better instructed from his own experience and by means of the opusculum of Jerome, he increased it significantly as cod.C showed and from which cod.As is transcribed. Then cod.C was changed into the present form. Meanwhile by order of the Superiors, he subjected the work to yet another study and brought it and brought it to completion also by the wish of Duke Frederick Cesi. Today this is rendered in cod.R.

For the compilation and designation of families of codices which they say should be done accurately and diligently, an unfinished and incomplete series of exemplars is no small obstacle.

Since we have discussed the codices of biographies deliberately in another place, now we should consider the four texts present in Bernardino’s justly named Chronicles.

Since it is already proven from external arguments that cod.A is the oldest, now the same thing will be demonstrated by textual criticism. We have already seen that cod.C is the work of many scribes. Nor does it present the original order. Even if now many fragments have deteriorated[141], they can still be read. From these is clearly obvious that its order always corresponds with cod.A. And that is surely true. In folio 84v we find the beginning of chapter VIII cancelled from cod.A. (f.45v), in which another scribe, or the same scribe at a later date inserted a new chapter (cod.C, f.85r-88v) and which is absent from cod.A. Then a third scribe in fact re-wrote the deteriorated and erased chapter in a somewhat changed form. In the same way, in another blotted out fragment in cod.C, f.223v, it is evident that the biography of Anthony of Corsica immediately follows the biography of John of Apulia, just as it does in cod.A, f.140v in fact. Add that the beginning and the end of the life of Bernardino of Asti (cod.C, f.307v and 347r) – both deteriorated – are no different from cod.A, f.263 sq.; and also earlier than this biography, the life of Francis of Jesi used to follow on. This order is clearly visible in cod.A, f.278 (279v). Examples of this kind are easily multiplied; cf. cod.C, f.70r with cod.A, f.66 and cod.As, p328; cod.C, f.154v with cod.A, f.101v and cod.As, p.428; cod.C, f.279r with cod.A, f.217v and cod.As, p.659; cod.C, f.303v and 304r with cod.A, f.257v and cod.As, p.969, etc.

Regarding the omissions of cod.A compared with the remaining codices, it is to be observed first of all that Bernardino wrote the first composition of Chronicles very quickly. Nor did he know about many of the things that he was to narrate, because he understood that Marius was about to do it. This is why he consciously omitted the history or catalogue of Ministers General (cod.C, f.1-37v and cod.As, p.1-90). The omissions of biographies that are found in the other codices are explained. partly by ignorance – for he learned afterwards from Jerome of Montefiore about the deeds of the illustrious men of Calabria; and partly since he did not think to treat of some of them earlier or was unable to do so, e.g. Jerome Rondinelli of Florence. Therefore cod.C omits more than eighteen biographies. It even omits the chapter on the tribulations of Matthew of Bascio (cod.C, f.50v-52v and cod.As, p.129-130) and the chapter on the persecutions of Louis Fossombrone (cod.C, f.85r-88v and cod.As, p.201-222) as well as the revelations of John of Spain (cod.C, f.186r-196r and cod.As, p.677-723.) The strictly historical text of cod.A retains the same shape entirely in the other two codices, however not all the things done by the first or second scribe in cod.C belong to the triple codex. The first chapter in cod.A, f.2r-7v, if we consider the form rather than the material, is not found in the others. In it the author, basing himself on the vision of Bernard of Quintavalle, speaks about the seven degrees or reforms of the Franciscan Order. However, the other codices treat the same matter in another shape at the end of the catalogue of Ministers General (cf. cod.C, f.35 sq., 38v and cod. As, p.81, 93.)

Whether cod.C in its first form may have transcribed directly from cod.A or indirectly from another unknown exemplar is uncertain; we have been unable to discern. Furthermore, nonetheless, we want to add that cod.A (f.12r) once leaves an empty space – perhaps because the scribe could not read could not read or interpret the original text – while in cod.C (f.45v) the entire text is written. Whatever the case may be, it seems to us that the arguments just given, by which we have shown that cod.A is older, clearly show that cod.C sometimes kept the same order.

Furthermore from each careful investigation of cod.C its present form is known to have been carried out at four different times and perhaps by the same number of scribes. Not quite all the things, as has been said, which the first two wrote are found in the same words and in the same order in codices A and As. Indeed the third scribe, or the first one at a later time, inverts the order somewhat and makes slight changes to the text. All these variations passed into cod.As (compare cod.C, f.48v and cod.As, p.201 with cod.A, f.45v; cod.C, f.279r and cod.A, f.217v with cod.C, f.181r and cod.As, p.659.) The exemplar As has been transcribed from a codex made in such a way. With this new exemplar now transcribed the new corrections and variations happened in cod.C which therefore were not received into cod.As.

Certainly if we carefully compare these codices with each other many reasons appear which convince that cod.As derives from cod.C.; unless a new and unknown exemplar is admitted which would be located between them both. Nonetheless, the existence of such a codex is not obvious from the arguments nor does necessity oblige such an admission.

Not just once in cod.C do we see other words put in the margin which are inserted into the text in cod.As (cf. cod.C,f-22r, line 26 and cod.As, p.51, line 9; cod.C, f.135v, lines 18-19 and cod.As, p.361, line 11.)

Sometimes the same necessary words are missing from both codices, e.g. cod.C, f.47r, line 20 and cod.As, p.116, line 12 (cf. cod.R, p.126, line 27); cod.C, f.82r, line 26 and cod.As, p.191, line 5 (cf. cod.A, f.41v, line 16), etc.

Every time the text of the second scribe in cod.C is changed, it is observed that the text, which is corrected, has been transcribed word for word from cod.A. The changed text then passes into cod.As word for word, in such a way that if some word is not deleted because of the thoughtlessness of the corrector, it too is copied into cod.As, even if it makes no sense (cf. cod.A, f.67v; cod.C,f.72r and cod.As, p.335; cod.A, f.38v; cod.C, f.80v and cod.As, p.183; cod.A, f.335r; cod.C, f.378v and cod.As, p.1304.)

Finally, add that some indications arouse the suspicion that the third scribe, whom we say advances the main changes here, had before his eyes exemplar which had the unchanged text of cod.As. We can suspect with great likelihood that it was in fact cod.C. No doubt, sometimes he unknowingly rewrote the defective first text, which he then immediately deleted and corrected. Indeed already the deleted text in no way corresponds with cod.As, in which nonetheless such corrections are missing, e.g. cod.C, f.243v-244r and cod.As, p.853, 853, 855; cod.C, f.246r and cod.As, p.863; cod.C, f.246v and cod.As, p.866.

Now then it is appropriate to ask how the omissions of one and the variations of the other may be explained, if cod.As relies so closely on cod.C? From the analysis and comparison of both codices it is certainly clear that cod.As is always in accord with the first two scribes, while it is always in discord with the others, either totally or partially, when changes were made in the transcription. Cod.As omits four biographies from cod.C, which are missing in cod.A, namely: Angelo of Sant’Angelo in Vado (f.119v-122v), Matthew of Cáscia (f.261r-272v); Peter of Todi (f.163r-166v) and James of Spello (f.171v-173v.) In regard to the first two biographies it is sufficient to be aware that they have been added in cod.C by a third scribe. The third and fourth were written by the first scribe at a later time. Furthermore the chapter on the shape of the habit is missing (f.62r-68). That the fragment, folios 384r-407v, was added later, is evident from the conclusion f.383v, which is the true conclusion of the codex. That conclusion is in complete conformity with cod.A and cod.As. It clearly asserts that the reason for the brevity the other author was that he could no longer proceed with the narrative. It is still necessary to remember that the chapter on the way of life of the first Friars in cod.C was cut out from its proper place (f.154v) because it was to be included and shown elsewhere for some other reason.

May what has been said about the three codices to this point be enough. Now it remains to examine cod.R in comparison with the other codices so that their conformity and differences may be better observed and more clearly known.

The first thing to strike the eye of the reader is another division of themes or arrangement of material in cod.R. It is certainly true that generally the entire text of the other codices is found in cod.R – done always in a new arrangement though not always in a new redaction. The division of treatise is clearer than in the other codices where the history and biographies are mixed together. Indeed, cod.R first explains the origin and development of the Congregation of Capuchins. It then describes seventy biographies individually. Finally, I might say, he enlarges upon life within the Reform. The list of Ministers General which codices C and As have as a kind of introduction to the whole work, he puts as an appendix to the third volume. As for the catalogue of numbers it is quite small. However in terms of information it is more extensive especially in those things pertaining to the Seraphic Father. That is does not review all the Minister General is for this reason. According to the opinion of the author it was only necessary to survey those who wore the oblong cowl, and to which had to be added the series of Moderators of the new Reform.

So that he could narrate much more copious biographical information, he intentionally omits as many as five biographies from cod.C: Albert of Naples, Gratian of Norcia, Jerome Rondinelli of Florence, Liberalis of Val dell’Esla and Matthew of Cascia. Since he had received very little information about these, and since the author knew nothing about their miracles, it is easy to understand why they could be omitted deliberately a work being edited about the whole Order.

Where it describes the kind of life of the first Friars, we find a triple redaction. One briefly presents the theme without any division. The next makes a division and adds new information. Finally, the third is the more ample and accurate of them all. In fact, if we search out their order of precedence, we certainly have the redaction of cod.C as the first ( codices A, As and all of the other codices which contain so many biographies.) upon which it closely depends and which prepares the way for the third, or cod.R. Nor does the absence in cod.R of some exemplars pose and obstacle since nearly all of them have set out in the biographies. Furthermore, if the chapter from cod.C (f.404v-407r) on the observance of the Testament of the Seraphic Father and on manual labour is missing in its proper form from cod.R, nonetheless its meaning is found here and there throughout, sometimes in its own very words.

6. Editions and versions

We are striving to bring to the light now for the first time the entire edition of the Chronicles of Fr. Bernardino. However other fragments, though few, have already been published. It may suffice to recall them.

1. Fredegando d’Anversa, on the fourth centenary of the Capuchin Order, published in Italian the third book, where it deals only with the way of life of the first Friars[142]. The transcript from cod.R produced in today’s writing usage is faithful and enriched with critical notes. Furthermore, at the end he publishes the Chapter On the observance of the Testament and manual work from cod.C, since this chapter is missing in cod.R.

2. The same Fredegando published a small fragment, thrown together from historical sources, about the life of the Seraphic Father and also taken from the same third book of the Chronicles[143].

3. Furthermore Cuthbert of Brighton popularized the chapter in which Francis of Iesi tries to show that the Congregation of Capuchins is that true and genuine Franciscan reform predicted more than once earlier in prophecies[144].

4. Lastly, in 1931 he produced in English a part of the third book form the edition of Fr. Fredegando[145]. The English interpreter faithfully renders the Italian discourse. However sometimes he summarizes or omits those things which seem to him to be less important[146].

7. The historical sources

Just to be aware[147] that the work is about principal events in the beginning of the Capuchin Reform that Bernardino, who was an observer of most of these things, narrated from a direct knowledge of them. He enjoyed a particular familiarity with the frontline troops of the Order who not only indicated to him the difficulties and tribulations, but they also put before him the genuine spirit and character proper to that time.

Do not the facts speak for themselves? If we examine almost any page, it repeats this or a similar sentence: as I saw with my own eyes; as I heard it from his own mouth; just as I learned from trustworthy witnesses, and so forth.

About the literary sources from which he especially drew Franciscan history, it will often be quite difficult to define with certitude which ones Bernard used. Never the less he no doubt relied very much on a cycle of writers, who refer to the tradition “of the three Companions.” We will list each of these authors.

1. Thomas of Celano. Bernardino refers only once to the historiographer of the Seraphic Father. From the Second Life of Thomas of Celano he refers to how Saint Francis would show great displeasure if some of his friars gave bad example to seculars, and he would curse them; while if they were offering good example he would bless them with an “abundant blessing”. This authority is missing in the third composition of the Chronicles, in which he explicitly asserts none the less that Thomas of Celano narrated the life of Saint Francis[148], but rather Bernardino erroneously lists him once among the authors of the Legend of the Three Companions[149].

2. Saint Bonaventure. In the opinion of our author Saint Bonaventure derived the major part of his Legend from the Legend of the Three Companions[150]. Bernardino does not narrate the facts and deeds of Saint Francis since the Seraphic Doctor did that satisfactorily[151]. He himself makes use of the same description[152] from the Legend about the anguish of the Seraphic Father, and at the same time testifies that Louis of Fossombrone desired to bring back the way of life of the early Friars which Saint Bonaventure described[153]. Furthermore in the first and second composition he adds to his testimony asserting that Saint Francis sought “solitary places, a friend for the distressed” and which “he filled with groaning.”[154]

3. Legend of the Three Companions. As regards the origin and writers of this book, Bernardino attributes it to brothers Leo, Rufino and Angelo who wrote it during the time of Crescentius of Iesi[155]. Once he wrote (which he later corrected) that the authors of the Legenda were Brothers Leo, Thomas of Celano and John of San Costantino[156].

It seems completely manifest to us that Bernard gives considerable importance and authority to the great collection and composition of the three Companions to which he explicitly and openly refers fifteen times. However if one asks which version he used it would not be easy to give a reply. More often the texts that Bernardino offers are not found in known versions[157]. Nor do we think it bold to affirm that rather than the true and proper Legend of the Three Companions he had in his hands the Legendam antiquam. It is found here[158] at least in part, as is the prologue of the Historia septem tribulationum. Indeed all the authorities to whom Bernard refers can be found in this Legenda.[159]

4. Angelo Clareno. Matthias Bellintani da Salò refers extensively to how John of Ventimiglia, who joined the Capuchins from the Observants in about 1530, brought with him an Italian version of the work of Angelo Clareno, which at that time the others searched for in vane. Already Fredegando d’Anversa has shown eruditely just how highly the first Capuchins esteemed this work[160]. On first glance it may seem truly amazing that Bernardino, who sings the praises of Angelo Clareno and devotedly transcribes his letters[161], nowhere makes any explicit reference to the Historia septem tribulationem. However one must be careful not to conclude that he did not know about it at all. Certainly anyone who reads the exposition of Bernardino about the debate of the Spirituals with the Friars of the Community and compares it with the narration of Angelo Clareno will immediately recognise the great similarity between the two, though I might not say identity. Indeed this can be asserted about the things which deal with the Ministers General Elias, John of Parma, Crescentius of Iesi, etc[162].

We have said that he does not refer to this work explicitly, however we believe that Bernardino drew from it in some way. Something can prove this affirmation of ours. The witnesses and arguments[163] that Bernardino acknowledges that he took from the Chronicles of the Order are found the Historia septem tribulationum. And he was prepared to forget in this place that that in the Latin and Italian codices this work of Angelo Clareno goes by the name of Chronicles.[164] Also it may be added that probably a co-student of the miscellaneous work, the Speculum seu Firmamentum trium Ordinum is indicating the work of Angelo Clareno with the common name, Chronicles[165]. However anyone who reads it should know that perhaps Bernardino also made use of the first two volumes of the work of Mark of Lisbon in the Italian edition[166].

5. Bartholomew of Pisa. He explicitly refers to the book de Conformitate vitae beati Francisci ad vitam Domini Jesu[167] at least four times. However since pages or folios are not indicated one cannot establish which edition Bernardino used. As for everything else the text of the versions agree.

6. Memoriale Ordinis Fratrum Minorum. Often published in the miscellaneous work Speculum seu Firmamentum trium Ordinum, this historical treatise contains details of Ministers General and of other illustrious men from the start of the Franciscan Order until the beginning of the 16th century. However from about 1443 it only follows a series of ultramontane[168] Vicars of the Observance. From this work therefore, which Bernardino calls “authentic,”[169] he transcribed most of the catalogue of Ministers General and their historical details. Furthermore he took the narration about the stigmata of Saint Francis from the same work[170].

7. La Franceschina. A work called by the common name La Franceschina by James Oddi of Perugia OFM in the second half of the 15th century (c.1474). Not so long ago it was compiled and published by N.Cavanna OFM in the common language[171]. The original title was Spechio de l’Ordine Minore, but apart from that name, from the 16th century it went by the name of Franceschina and it also pleased the editor to retain that title[172]. Our Bernardino used it in two places to demonstrate the existence and interpretation of certain prophecies[173]. From a comparison made with the published text it appears manifest that those prophecies are not found there at all. Since Bernardino gave this testimony from memory perhaps he was led into error[174].

8. Apart from these Franciscan sources, which we have named separately, Bernardino recalled other writers, even if only in passing: John of Ceperano[175], the Dicta of Blessed Giles of Assisi[176], the Actus beati Francisci (the Fioretti)[177], James of Todi (Jacoppone)[178], Alvaro Pelagio[179].

9. John (Giovanello) Romeo of Terranova. It is known that as a witness and observer he describes the beginnings of the Capuchin Reform in Calabria[180]. Although Bernardino acknowledges that he took some facts from the writings of Giovanello[181], in the third composition at least he takes these things directly from the Narrationes of Marius of Mercato Saraceno[182]. In the first two compositions he probably had the text of Giovanello before his eyes.

10. Marius of Mercato Saraceno. We have shown above that the writings of Fr. Marius we consigned to Bernardino to be taken up in his work and prepared for publication. Therefore it is no wonder if in the third composition he uses them abundantly and even transcribes the text literally, explicitly or implicitly in the name of Marius. Furthermore when he was preparing the first composition, he knew about the letter of Fr. Marius to Honorius of Montegranaro and he adopts the opinion expressed there about the chapter at Albacina[183].

11. Joseph Zarlino. Bernardino knew the study that the canon of Chioggia wrote on the origin of the Capuchins, although he did not embrace its opinion, adding erroneously that it tried to overturn the narration of Marius[184].

12. The biographies of Louis of Reggio and the other Friars who began the reform in Calabria are taken from the collection of Jerome of Montefiore, which Bernardino could have had in his hands on 20 July 1582[185].

13. The miracles of Raniero of Borgo Sansepolcro were taken from a list of them that Bernardino of Falcone prepared under the mandate of Cardinal Anthony San Serverina[186].

14. Finally apart from the opinions of some of the Fathers, he also expresses opinions of Aristotle[187], Tullio Cicero[188], John Cassian[189] and Peter Calzolari[190].

8. Its influence

From the description of the codices[191] one may to presage with easy conjecture the importance and influence of the Chronicles of Fr. Bernardino. The intention is not to list each and every author who drew historical information from these. Indeed it is no wonder that all of those who took up the task ex officio of narrating the history the Order after he had died would go to search out a great deal of material from his Chronicles.

1. We have already indicated that the annalist Z.Boverius lists Bernardino of Colpetrazzo among the “antesignanos ac fidelissimos historiae duces[192] whom he followed very carefully. He says, “From whom we have collected many facts conscripted to both our first and second volume of Annals.”[193] Anyone desiring some further of this should attentively consult the Index rerum singularum which is added at the beginning of each volume.

2. Regarding Matthias Bellintani da Salò, up until now there have been no sure arguments so that we might be able to affirm absolutely that he made use of the writings of Bernardino. However we know for certain that he makes many references to details about the person of Bernardino himself which were written in the first and second composition, and from which we believe it is possible to affirm with probability that this information was taken[194]. However, since he does not include any of writings[195] of the other and he could have drawn those facts from other sources – which we nonetheless think is not very probably – we cannot dare to state with certainty that he depended upon the other.

3. On the other hand there is Paul Vitelleschi of Foligno. After Matthias of Salò he was given the task to complete the Chronicles of the Order. Above all, here and there in the first book, he uses the work of Bernardino to the extent the pages of both authors correspond with each other very well[196].

4. Often the hagiographer L. Jacobilli refers the reader to the Chronicles of Bernardino if the reader desires better information about the Capuchin Friars, whose historical details he describes by way of fashion[197].

5. Then Gabriel of Modigliana OFM Cap., who narrates the acts and facts of many Capuchins, acknowledges that took a great deal of material from the manuscript books of Fr. Bernardino[198].

6. Just as we omit others, who in past times made use of one particular question or another from Bernardino, all those in our day who write about the beginnings of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin agree that the Chronicles of Bernardino are among the principal and weightier historical sources, e.g. L.Pastor,[199] Joseph M. of Monte Rotondo,[200] Eduardo d’Alençon,[201] Fredegando d’Anversa,[202] Cuthbert of Brighton[203] and not a few others.

9. Its authority and historical fidelity

It is indisputable that Bernardino lived in the best circumstances to describe the origins of the Capuchin reform. Just a few years after the Congregation appeared he joined the Capuchins and stayed with them for a period of sixty years. He knew all the initiators or promoters except three. Finally he traveled through various and far-away provinces and was perhaps the companion and collaborator of Vicars General on their visitations. Generally he was a witness and observer of all the things he narrates. It happens that for narrating things of the past he was endowed with a tenacious memory. He recognised that it was almost divinely infused so that clearly so many historical details of the confreres not be covered in perpetual oblivion[204].

Furthermore Bernardino diligently seeks to know the historical truth which he desires to present to readers without false show or decoration[205]. Nonetheless he does not always follow this intention. However it is necessary to remember that our critical reason and exposition differ very much from the critical art and way of accurate research of his time. From the sources that are available to him he accepts a borrowed general history of the Franciscan Order filled with its imperfections and errors. However he dictated the beginnings of the Capuchin reform from memory, because of which he sometimes is misled in the calculation of dates. At least the major part the things he narrates are true but may have happened to someone else at another time. It also happens that Bernardino may appear not to have been adequately preoccupied in diligently noting and observing the timing of events. No doubt he was more concerned to show how the Capuchin Friars, in closely following the in the tracks of the Seraphic Father Francis and his companions, were renewing the gospel or apostolic life in society and in the Church. Because of this he presented the example, words and undertakings of the early Fathers with great love for the admiration and inspiration of the brothers. In this he is especially worthy of praise since he presents a genuine and sincere description of the Capuchin vocation that is not drawn from codices or remote tradition, nor invented by the imagination or reason, but demonstrated from the examples and historical facts of those whom he himself knew.

Perhaps someone may think that Bernardino dwelt too much on describing various portents. He certainly seems to have been quite attracted to visions, prophecies, miracles and other things of this kind. Nonetheless it should be known that he neither imprudently accepts nor assigns the same importance to things as other contemporaries of his who, imbued with the Joachimist theories of the Spirituals, were accustomed to do[206].

If now we think to evaluate the kind of writing, we would have to say rather that elegance of discourse and beauty of words in the work are more lacking than abundant, especially in the first book. Furthermore the author himself confesses that he did not pursue this elegance in any way and declares a refined way of speaking extraneous to his writings[207]. He often digresses from the theme he starts with and more than once he repeats the same things. However this is of little importance since so many other things recommend the value and merit of the Chronicles. Surely since the defect or almost carelessness in writing is seen more in cod.R than the other codices, and appears more in those parts that were transcribed at a later time, the supposition behind it is that there was insufficient life in him to revise and correct the entire work. Whatever the case may be, the simplicity and frankness of the narration somewhat caresses and delights the heart of the reader.

Art. III – The Method of this Edition

All that remains is that we at least touch upon the norms and criteria with which this present volume has been done. Well then: a) the first thing that will have to be done concerns the transcription of the edited text; b) then the critical apparatus regarding wording; c) the third, finally, the historical and bibliographical apparatus.

a) From the things that have been said and shown up to this point we believe it sufficiently clear that the choice of an original codex brings with it no difficulty since codex R presents us with the entire and complete work of Fr. Bernardino. Therefore it will be our task to transcribe this codex most faithfully, using the current rules of punctuation and consequently in the use of upper and lower case letters, together with the accents which are usually noted today over the vowels. When the codex presents a grammatical form that is too vitiated through the negligence of the scribe we will amend it. Then the vitiated form will be included among the variant readings. Furthermore we wish to advise readers that the scribe often wrote figuoli for figliuoli and the letters v and u are never distinguished. We have chosen the form figliuoli without alteration and we have distinguished the two letters according the value of each. Furthermore the few abbreviations that are found we have written in full, e.g. xpo or Xo = Christ, S.S. = Sua Santità (His Holiness), etc. A variety is found sometimes in the transcription of one and the same word from which it is obvious that each scribe has used his own particular art of writing.

The author divided the text into chapters. We have used this division of chapters in this edition as well as the same titles. Summaries have been added in which we have used italics. To this we have also added individual numbers both for chapters and for paragraphs. We have kept the folio numbers of codex R in the margin no only so that the places referred to by writers up until now may easily be compared and confirmed, but also because in this volume we refer the reader to certain other texts which may only be published in subsequent volumes. Furthermore let the reader know that our additions which are obvious at first glance in the line numbering we have used in the margins are not to be regarded in any way as part of the text.

At the beginning of the first book of the third composition when Bernardino deals with the Franciscan reforms[208], he knowingly omits from the chronological list of those reforms discussion about the Capuchin reform in Calabria[209]. However since not only John of Terranova and Marius of Mercato Saraceno[210] – from whom Bernardino takes the text – and indeed all the minor codices refer to that series[211], it is seen as useful and fitting to preserve the integrity of the narration by transcribing from codex C that which codex R omits, as will be noted in the proper place.

b) In the critical apparatus of the text of codex R the variant readings of the codices are included but not corrections, erasures, etc. However, be aware, I pray, that codices A, As and C do not exactly present variant readings of codex R since they are not transcriptions or copies of the one original version, but rather are subsequent compositions or rewrites of the work. Furthermore these codices may not be completely overlooked since for the most part they bring a certain understanding to codex R. Now, therefore, for the rule we have followed when annotating variant readings. First of all the initials of the codices are inserted with the folio numbers. These folio numbers only indicate those places that have parallels, not that the text corresponds exactly with the particular pages of codex R. Whenever the initials are not noted, the codices omit the text completely, unless the argument of the chapter is in all the other codices, in which case the parallel locations are indicated just once at the beginning of the chapter itself. If one of the codices at least presents some new critical or historical element, that is always transcribed. However since codex A presents the vision of Bernard of Quintavalle and its interpretation differently, longer and more diffusely, it seemed more suitable to bring it to light in Appendix I[212]. The chapter in codex C that deals with the shape of the Franciscan habit is considered in the same way. Therefore it is published in Appendix II[213]. If the codices transcribe this same text, then individual variant readings are noted[214].

c) From the list of books, which are used in this edition, it is apparent with which bibliographical aids we wanted to furnish the work being published. The difficulty of keeping to the via media in this, and to offer a method agreeable to everyone, does not escape us. We have always used particular care with the historical sources that the author cites, examining at least those things which he tells about. As for the rest, we prefer those studies to be cited which by their intrinsic value add to the recent bibliography. As for those that concern the biographies proper of the Friars, we present just the necessary ones since these same things will be treated more suitably in the second volume. Sometimes we have explicitly indicated and amended chronological errors. At the bottom of the pages we have added other historical and bibliographical information which may clarify the truth, resolve confusion and expose mistakes.

Up to this point therefore is the introduction to this edition. May the kind reader be indulgent towards us in friendliness if we are unable to fulfil his expectations.

  1. [Trans] Melchior of Pobladura, Historia Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum 1525-1593 by Bernardino of Colpetrazzo, t.I, Monumenta Historica Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum vol.II, Assisi, 1939, p.xxxix – lxxxix. That this was written after the Disquisitio critica de vita et scriptis P. Bernardini a Colpetrazzo in Collectanea Franciscana 9(1939) p. 30-73 is clear. In this introduction he refers to the Disquisitio, while in the Disquisitio he refers only to the folio number of cod.R rather than the page numbers of this edition.
  2. Cf.This biography of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo is found in Zacharia Boverius Saluti, Annalium seu Sacrarum Historiarum Ordinis Minorum S. Francisci, Qui Capucini nuncupantur, 1639, t.II, p.530-540, an.1594, n.7-44. For an Italian translation, Annali de’ Frati Minori Cappuccini, Composti dal M.R.P. Zaccaria Boverio, Diffinitore Generale dell’istesso Ordine. E tradotti nell’italiano da Fra Benedetto Sanbenedetti, Predicatore Cappuccino. 2 vols in 4 tomi, In Venetia. Appresso i Giunti. 1643, 1645 t. II, parte 2a, p.118-135, an.1594, n.6-45. Melchior of Pobladura Disquisitio critica de vita aet scriptis P. Bernardini a Colpetrazzo in Collectanea Franciscana, 9(1939) p.34-36.
  3. Cod.R, p.8. By mistake, therefore, A. De Santi, S.J., L’orazione delle quarant’ore e i tempi di calamità e di guerra, p.88, Roma, affirms that Fr. Bernardino was born in the year 1513.
  4. Cod.R, p.9. Regarding the calculation of the true time, it is necessary to keep in mind that earlier in the codex the fifteenth year is written instead of the twelfth.
  5. Cod. R, p.9. In fact, the date of this year is not explicitly indicated in the codex. Subsequent chronologies very much agree that it was not the year 1529 (cf. A.De Santi, op.cit., p.88). The feast of Saint Bernardino was celebrated Todi with great pomp (cf. Antonio d’Orvieto, OFM., Cronologia della provincia serafica Riformata dell’Umbria, p.254, Perugia, 1717.) Bernardino asserts (op.cit.) that he was admitted to the Order by Thomas Lallo of Norcia, at the time the minister provincial of the province of Saint Francis. However, perhaps it is to be understood that he was admitted to the novitiate in Gubbio the following year, since it is known that Thomas only guided the province of Saint Francis in the months of August and September 1531 as provincial commissary and that he was elected minister provincial at chapter on 20 January 1532 (cf. Agostino d Stroncone OFM Cap, L’Umbria serafica in Miscellanea Franciscana, 7(1898) p.25sq., 73; 12(1910) p.153.) The friary of Monte Santo was given the Observant Friars in 1448 and it went over to the Reformed Friars towards the end of the 16th century (cf Antonio d’Orvieto, op.cit., p.258)
  6. Cod. R, p.10. In this place the original text has been erased. We think it is probable that previously the year 1533 had been written (cf. cod. R, p.1030), the number has been correct here by another hand in this way: tempo di Clemente VII.
  7. Bernardino himself informs us that he spent his novitiate with Dominic of Boschetto who joined the Observants in 1533 (Cod. R, p.1030.) Furthermore we know from elsewhere (cf. cod. Ro, f.91r) Dominic had Peter of Todi as his novice master who more than a year earlier had left to join the Capuchins. The first part may be easy to resolve if we say that the two of them did not spend their entire novitiate together. The other part however is quite weakened if it is also shown the anonymous account cod. Ro, f.90v is to be attributed to Dominic of Boschetto.
  8. Cod. R, p.333
  9. The Disquisitio critca gives a date 12 May that year.
  10. Cod. R, p.484 sq.
  11. Cod. R, p.338.
  12. Cod. R, p.333 sq., 338 sq., cod. A, f.23r; As, p.144; C, f.57r.
  13. Cod. R, p.10, 278. Cf. Z.Boverius, Annales, t.I, an.1534, n.27, p.195. The day withint the Octave of the Epiphany of the Lord in 1534 took place on 11 January. Therefore he joined the Capuchins when he was twenty and not sixteen (cf. L. Pastor, Geschicte der Päpste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters, t.IV2, p.752, Freiburg i. Br., 1925.) He indicates in other places that he ws quite young. Cf. cod. R, p.752, 659, 667, etc. Originally it was written in the text (cod. R, p.10) that he did this eight years after thebeginning of the Capuchin Congregation, hence he wrote, “a few years” after the (Capuchin) Reform (Reformatio) began.
  14. Cf. cod. R, p.14 sq., 800, etc. Cf. cod. C, f.350r. [Trans] Mont’Olmo was modern day Corridònia.]
  15. Cf. cod. R, p.936 sq.
  16. Cf. cod. R, p.1050; Nicholas of Massa Martana, op.cit.; Z.Boverius, Annales, t.II, an.1594, n.17 sq., p.593
  17. Cod. R, p.472. Cf. Eduardo d’Alençon OFM Cap, Tribulationes Ord. FF. Min. Capuccinorum primis annis Pontificatus Pauli III, p.16-18, Romae, 1914.
  18. Cod. R, p.1023, Matthew of Schio died in 1550 (cf. collectanea Franciscana 7(1937) p.449
  19. Cod. R, p.16, 685, etc. (cf. cod. Ro, f. 61v et cod. C, f. 350r)
  20. Cod. R, p.16, 812, etc.
  21. “I had a close familiarity with all those fathers who governed our Congregation in the beginning. In a most familiar way they told me all the secret things that were being dealt with either in Courts or in the Chapters, since they loved me very much.” Cod. R, p.14. Cf. Gabriel of Cortona, op.cit.p.121.
  22. “There was a great zeal for holy obedience among all those Fathers, that it continued for many years that even thought the Provinces had been divided, nonetheless the General kept watch on those Provinces that suffered for a lack of Friars. From the Provinces that had ample he moved some of the Friars and supplied the others with such familiarity and ease that it seemed as if the whole Congregation was no more than one Province. And when the Friars were moved the familiarity and closesness of the whole congregation was such between them that they thought nothing of being moved from one Province to another. Great good come from this…There was such enthusiasm for the whole Congregation to go well that no one thought to much about being separated from some Province” Cod. C, f.399v – 400r
  23. The Carcerelle was the first Capuchin Friary in Assisi, taken up in 1539. It is situated half way along the road to the Carceri. Jospeh of Leonessa did his novitiate there. Cf. Francesco da Vicenza, e Carcerelle e I primi Cappuccini in Assisi in Collectanea Franciscana 5(1935) p.241-260; Ibid., Cenni biografici scritti dal P. Lattanzio da Terni in Collectanea Franciscana 10(1940) p.519, note 4.
  24. Cf. Collectanea Franciscana 5(1935) p.256. Giles of Turri governed the Province of Saint F rancis up until 19 September 1558. Cf. Z. Boverius, Annales, t.I, an.1558, n.13, p.557; L. Jacobilli, Vite de’ santi e beati, t.II, p.262.
  25. Cod. R, p.812
  26. Cf. AOC 5(1889) p.74; 44(1928) p.236; Melchior of Pobladura OFM Cap., Un catalogo inedito dei XV o XVI primi Superiori Generali in Collectanea Franciscana 8(1938) p.74 sq.
  27. Cod. As, p.846 and cod. C, f.241v
  28. Z. Boverio, Annales t.II, an.1594, n.23, p.535
  29. “At that time the Capuchins preached the commandments of God, the Gospel and the Sacred Scripture. They strongly reprimanded vices and exalted and extolled the holy virtues. This caused great amazement throughout all of Christendom, because it was a new preaching that by its fervour fired up everyone. For at that time preaching was only about the Questions of Scotus and Saint Thomas only. At the beginning of the sermon they always spoke about a dream, saying, ‘Last night it seemed to me that…’ they preached philosophy or Aesop’s fables, and always at the end they sang some verses from Petrarch or Ariosto. Never or rarely was the Gospel or Sacred Scripture mentioned.” Cod. As, p.474 sq. (cf. cod. R, p.1269 sq., in Liber Memorialis, p.169, Romae, 1928.) “He was a simple preacher but very effective in preaching.” Gabriele of Cortona, op.cit., p.10
  30. Among the instructions of his Master, Bernardino of Mont’Olmo, he makes this reference, “ ‘I would have the young Friars who have some understanding study cases of conscience. One cannot study anything more useful for the benefit of his neighbour.’ When I asked him if he thought I should study he replied, ‘You have compunction. Take a book of sermons. Study that and preach and seek nothing else.’” Cod. R, p. 667 (cf. cod. As, p. 392)
  31. Z.Boverius, Annales, t.II, n.21, p.534. “Brother Giles of Amelia, a lay Capuchin, used to tell about the time that the citizens of Viterbo compelled Bernardino to preach. He spent the entire night preparing a polished speech [orationem parat perpolitam]. However, when he began to give in the church he became dumbstruck and was incapable of saying anything. He recognised this as a divine act and put from his mind and tongue the prepared sermon. ‘Instead, presenting to those listening only what the spirit of the Lord dictated to him, he aroused such a great spirit of compunction in their hearts that everyone broke down into tears and weeping. When he finished the first sermon, because of the crowds running after him, he had to return to the friary.’” Cf. Benedetteo Sanbenedetti, Annali, Parte seconda, t.II, an. 1594, n.20, p.126.
  32. Cf. Bullarium Ord. FF. Min. Capuccinorum, t.II, p.101-103, Romae, 1743; Francesco da Vicenza OFM Cap., Il P. Bernardino da Colpetrazzo e I Monti frumentari in L’Italia Francescana, 1927, t.II, p.131-137.
  33. Z. Boverius, Annales, t.II, n.22, p.534
  34. “He showed himself intrepid in correcting Major Superiors when it seemed to him that they acted against zeal for the Rule. Fr. John Paul of Siena, who was with him at Montepulciano, testified to this.” Gabriele of Cortona, op.cit., p.120
  35. Cf. Lattanzio of Terni, op.cit., p.5 sq.; Z. Boverius, Annales, loc. Cit.; Gabriele of Modigliana, Leggendario cappuccino, t.II, p.149 sq., Francesco of Vicenza, Gli scrittori, p.28 sq.
  36. Cf. NicholaS of Massa, loc.cit.; Gabriele of Cortona, op.cit., p.120 sq.; Z. Boverius, Annales, t.II, n.23, p.535.
  37. “May the Divine Goodness… give us the grace to remain within the Reform, which was a return to the original form and way of life that Our Seraphic Father gave with all those first Companions of his. If we should distance ourselves from that original form then we deform ourselves. This was the work of the Capuchin Reform: to take up the life that Our Father Saint Francis led in which he founded his Order on most high poverty, disdain towards the world and continuous prayer and devotion.” Cod. R, p.585
  38. “The introduction of some studies [into the Congregation] was the occasion that many noble men entered the Congregation and made it illustrious before the world. May the Lord grant that it be more illustrious before His Majesty! Although we cannot do otherwise because we have to preach, nonetheless study has always been the cause of great decline within the Order…”Cod.R, p.577. “Thus we can see how the poor Congregation of Capuchins has been persecuted both by the enemy and by human nature. The Lord Jesus Christ has freed us from all these things. May it please His Majesty [to free us again] now that we are tempted more than ever with a more subtle temptation which has the appearance of something good, that is, to abandon the original rigour of silence, fasting, strict and continuous prayer in order to give ourselves totally and completely to the study of letters, thinking that we will bear great results when we have left doing what is good in order to learn how to speak well.” Ibid., p.584.
  39. Cf. Gabriele of Modigliana, Leggendario cappuccino, t.II, p.155, where here considers some old manuscripts and rejects the opinions of some others; Eduardo d’Alençon OFM Cap., De primordiis Ord. FR. Min. Capuccinorum, p.8, romae, 1921
  40. Fort. Hueber, Menologium, col. 1031
  41. L. Jacobilli, Vite de’Santi e beati dell’umbria, t.II, p.306; Antonino of Sangemini, Vite de’ santi Gemini, p.253; J.Hyac. Sbaralea, OFM Conv., Supplementum et castigatio ad scriptores trium Ordinum S. Francisci, t.I, p.134, Romae, 1908; L. Wadding-St.Melchiorri, Annales Minorum, t.XXIII, an.1594, n.42, p.169, Ad Claras Aquas (Quaracchi), 1934. On the friary of Saint Peter on Monte Scoppio in which Bernardino died, cf. A. Biagetti, Il convento di S. Pietro in Monte Scoppio e il P. Bernardino da Colpetrazzo in Quarto centenario della Provincia Serafica e Min. Cappuccini, p.153-156, Assisi, 1930.
  42. Z.Boverius, Annales, t.II, n.43, p.539. Cf. Lattanzio of Terni, op.cit., p.6; L.Jacobilli, op.cit., p.306.
  43. Francesco da Vicenza, Gli scrittori, p.33, note 2; A. Biagetti, art.cit., p.156
  44. Cf. Zacharia Boverius Saluti, Annalium seu Sacrarum Historiam Ordinis Minorum S. Francisci, Qui Capucini nuncupantur, 1639, t.II, p.530-540, an.1594n n.7-44; Benedetto Sanbenedetti, Annali (i.e. the Italian translation of Boverius) 1643, t.II, part 2, pp.118-135, an.1594, n.6-45.
  45. We put the particular question about the biographies in the preface to the second volume of the work of Fr. Bernardino. Cf. Melchior of Pobladura, Diquisitio critica in Collectanea Franciscana 9(1939) p.46 sq.
  46. Cf. AOC 21(1905) p.314,316.
  47. AOC 10(1894) p.284-285
  48. Ms. in the Capuchin General Archives, with the signature Capitula generalia, C. II.
  49. Cf. cod.A, f.81r, 86v, 89v, 211r, 212v; cod.As, 386, 389,393,792; cod.C, f.143v, 145r, 159r, 210r.
  50. Cf. cod.As, p.108; See the entire passage MHOMC II, p.106
  51. Cf. Relationes, p.289 sq.
  52. Cf. AOC, 24(1908) p.31; cod.A, f.322r; cod.As, p.1276; cod.C, f.371r.
  53. Cf. Francesco da Vicenza, Gli scrittori, p.174 sq.
  54. Alessio da Perugia, Memorie dei morti, p.186. Cf. the biography of Albert of Naples in cod.A, f.211r; cod.As, p.798; cod.C, f.213r.
  55. Cf. cod.R, p.278, 619, 628,856, 934, etc.
  56. Eduardo d’Alençon OFM Cap., De primordiis, p.3; Francesco da Vicenza OFM Cap., Gli scrittori, p.34; Fredegando d’Anversa OFM Cap., Le idee francescane spirituali dei FF. Minori Cappuccini del secolo XVI in L’Italia Francescana 2(1927) p.117, note 12; Idem, La vita dei primi Frati Minori Cappuccini secondo la Cronaca di Bernardino da Colpetrazzo in Liber Memorialis, p.132 and 134, Romae, 1928; A. Teetaert OFM Cap, in Dict. Hist.Géogr. Eccl., t. VIII, col.788 sq.
  57. The Epistola of Fr. Luciano of Brescia is published by Eduardo D’Alençon in Paginas disiectae quae ad historium Ordinis spectant in AOC 24(1908) p. 21-31. This letter is found on p.26-27; See also I Frati Cappuccini, t.II, n.2503-2504, p.926-928.
  58. “Fr Bernardino [of Colpetrazzo] shows very well the large number of other good and fervent servants of God and true imitators of the Seraphic Father Saint Francis who were in the Province of Umbria. Therefore I refer anyone to his history who wants to know in detail about their life or that of others besides:” Marius of Mercato Saraceno OFM Cap Relationes de origine Ord. Min. Capuccinorum (MHOMC, vol. I), p.289 sq., Assisi, 1937
  59. The Vitae Fratrum of Jerome of Montefiore is found in I Frati Cappuccini, t.II, n.3157-3220, p.1429-1480.
  60. Cf. cod. Ro, f. 7v, 10v, 11r, 11v et cod. A, f. 81r, 86v, 89v, etc.
  61. see page 12 footnote 71.
  62. “Before me, Father Marius of Mercato Saraceno, of happy memory, had worthily been the Vicar General of our Congregation. Although I knew he had woven in a most beautiful a history of the Congregation up until our times, except for a few cases he did not tell about the life and deeds of particular Friars … I thought it would not be such a supefluous task to write about the noteworthy things of particular Friars.” Cod. Ro, f.1rv
  63. “He died last year, that is, in 1580.” Cod. Ro, f.86r. It is true that I write that in the codex is 1592, but earlier 1580 had been written there, just as cod. N, f. 170r et cod. Ne, f.155r have. Codices As (p.1034) and C (f. 319r) mistakenly transcibe 1530, while cod. R, p.1129 simply omits the year. We will demonstrate below that Jerome completed the work before 20 July 1582.
  64. “Although it was so late, that is, towards the end of my office, I began the work by directing some of the older Friars in the Congregation to write down what they knew about the memorable things of the holiness and miracles of our Friars who have passed from this life. I also directed some Vicar Provincials that they do the same investigations in their visitations, and make known whatever they find out from Friars who are credible and well informed about such things. Meanwhile I did the same during the few visitations that I made during the last days I exercised that office so worthily.” Cod. Ro, f. 1v.
  65. Cf. Marius of Merato Saraceno, op.cit., p.xlix
  66. Cf. ibid., p.82
  67. Cf. AOC, loc.cit.; Salvatore da Rivolta OFM Cap, Fondatione de’ conventi della Provintia di Milano (ms. in the Archives of the Capuchin Province of Milan) f.233v
  68. “If it was in the thought of Your Reverence … in this effort of your to talk about still about the life of our early Fathers at that time, I could supply you with the History of some of them given me by the Reverend Father Montefiore. He told me it could surely be put into print since, when he was General, he had approved what is written about them. He often had it read publicly at some Provincial Chapters and even some General Chapters if I remember rightly.” Cf. AOC 22(1906) p.142. Fr Nicholas’ copy was totally in conformity with cod. An and F. See below on page 16.
  69. Cf. cod. As, p.88 sq., cod. R, p.4 sq., i.e. in the introduction in 1585, and p.10, i.e. in the preface of 1593.
  70. Cf. Melchior of Pobladura OFM Cap., De vita et scriptis P. Marii a Foro Sarsinio in Collectanea Franciscana 6(1936) p.566 sq.
  71. It pleased the Lord God that when in 1580 I was at the friary of Montecasale near Borgo San Sepolcro, the Most Reverend Father Jerome of Montefiore, General of our Congregation, wrote to me from Perugia so that I should write, as I have said above.” Cod. R, p.10
  72. This letter is transcribed in cod. R, p.11-12
  73. [Trans] Cf. this text with the modified version in the introduction to MHOMC I, p.liv.The version in the Disquisitio Critica reads as follows:Ex modo dictis magno cum probabilitate erui poterit chronica Bernardini vel integre, vel quoad partem tantum, in codicibus reperiri. Et sane duplicis huius rationis sunt codices a nobis describendi.The MHOMC I version is much clearer:

    Ex modo dictis valde suspicari poterat lector opus Bernardini vel integre, vel quoad partem tantum, in exemplaribus manuscriptis reperiri. Et sane duplicis huius rationis sunt codices nobis noti. Cum vero in altero editionis volumine de codicibus biographicis data opera agendum (i.e. the text translated here), descriptionem nunce praebemus unius cod.A, qui intgrum opus continet.

  74. Expositio Regulae Fratrum Minorum auctore Fr. Angelo Clareno, quam nunc primum edidit notisque illustravit P. Livarius Oliger, OFM., Ad Claras Aquas (Quaracchi), 1912. It seems the editor was unawar of versions made in Italian. [Trans] For a more recent publication of the Clareno’s explanation of the Rule, complete with an Italian translation, see Angelo Clareno, Expositio super Regulam Fratrum Minorum, a cura di G. Boccali OFM con introduzione di Felice Accrocca e traduzione italiana a fronte di Marino Bignaroni OFM. Edizioni Porziuncola, Assisi, 1994
  75. Cf. Bernardus a Bononia OFM Cap., Bibliotheca scriptorum Ord. Min. S. Francisci Capuccinorum, p.45, Venetiis, 1747; Giuseppe da Fermo OFM Cap., Gli scrittori Cappuccini delle Marche e le lore opere edite ed inedite, p.15 sq., Jesi, 1928.
  76. “I was enjoined the Reverend Fr. Brother Jerome of Montefiore … to write the lives of those first Fathers of ours … which I did faithfully, hoping however that the Reverend Fr. Brother Marius of Mercato Saraceno, who was also writing, would make up for what I lacked. For His Reverence was writing about the beginning better than I and from what His Reverence wrote the Father General should have been able to make a complete work. However since things did not turn out the way I thought, I made this little extra effort to do a brief collection, added to this work, of the more noteworthy things concerning the course of the whole Religion.” Cod.As, p.89. Cf. ibid., p.93 and cod.R, p.5.
  77. Cf. Letter of Fr. Jerome in cod.R, p.11.
  78. Cf. cod.A, f.211v – 213r.
  79. Fr. Francesco da Vicenza, Necrologia, t.I, p.179, Foligno, 1926
  80. Cf. v. gr., the biographies of Louia of Stroncone (cod.A, f.204r-207r; cod.Ro, f.46v-48r; cod.As,p.660-676 and cod.C, f. 181v-185r) and of Barthomew of Spello (cod.A,f.215r-218v; cod.Ro, f.48r-49r; cod.As,p.648-660 and cod.C, f.179r-181r).
  81. Cf. cod.As, p.974 and cod.C, f.308v. On first glance it is clear that he did not know the work of Fr. Jerome while he was writing this first composition. This is seen from the biographies of Francis of Macerata and Louis of Reggio and another eight Friars from Calabria, which in cod.As and C he takes from Jerome. However, in cod.A these biographies are either omitted or described rather summarily from the scarce information that the author could have had.
  82. [Trans] Tertiam Relationem
  83. “The little flock of the Lord had arrived at the number of eight Friars, as I have understood from those first Fathers. However, according to what the Reverend Brother Marius put in his letter written to Brother Honorius, there were twelve Friars at this first Chapter. As for myself I have always held this opinion, just as it was reported to me by one who was present, that there were in fact just eight Friars. However, since this is not all that important, and also because Father Marius was informed by Father Joseph who was present there, we will say they were twelve.” Cod.A, f.66rv.
  84. Cf. Marius of Mercato Saraceno, Relationes de origine Ord. Min. Capuccinorum, p.15, n.13, p.47, n.17, p.242, n.86.
  85. Cf. ibid., p.289, n.112 et p.471, n.192 and cod.A, f.140sq. et 339 sq.
  86. Catechismo della dottrina cristiana con un Trattato sullo Stato regolare…illustrto cogli esempi dei primi Cappuccini (ms. in the Capuchin Archives of Umbria in Assisi.) Joseph Mary of Melicuccà died in Spoleto on 24th August 1803. Cf. Francesco da Vicenza, Necrologia, t.II, p.473, Foligno, 1926.
  87. E.g. P.66: “Taken from Fr. Bernardino of Colpetrazzo. Written on octavo manuscript and treating the origin of the Religion, it is in the Libreria at Assisi under the letter ‘I’.” Today none of the codices of Bernardino exhibit this signature. Nor does Joseph M. indicate either the folios or pages of the codices.
  88. Cf. Catechismo della dottrina cristiana, p.32; cod.A, f.272v; cod.As, p.1109; cod.C, f.331r; cod.R,p.808.
  89. Cf. Fredegando d’Anversa, La vita dei primi Frati in Liber Memorialis, p.134.
  90. Cf. cod.Ro, f.1v.
  91. Cf. Disquisitio reads 39 instead.
  92. Cf. Epistola of Nicholas of Tolentino OFM Cap., (3 February 1589) in AOC 22(1906), p.142; I Frati Cappuccini t.II, n.2457-2459, p.877-880.
  93. Cf. AOC 24(1908) p.27: “I have a copy with me which I will use to write that book which you may remember.” See above p.10 footnote 1.
  94. [Trans] See Rufinus da Siena, A Capuchin Chronicle, London, Sheed&Ward, 1931. This Chronicle was published by Sisto of Pisa, I Frati Minori Cappuccini nel 1o Secolo dell’Ordine (Manoscritto dell’epoca finora inedito) in L’Italia Francescana, in sections from 1(1926) – 7(1932) inclusive; Cronaca di Ruffino da Siena in I Frati Cappuccini, t.II, n.3157-3220, p.1429-1480.
  95. “It should also be known that apart from these, there are still others. However, because I still have incomplete information, these will be kept in another place.” Cf. L’Italia Francescana, 7(1932), p.381. It is rather remarkable that Ruffino states that the biographies were taken from Marius of Mercato Saraceno (cf. ibid.)
  96. Gabriel of Cortona, op.cit. p.42
  97. Cd. Cod.R.,p.5, 10, 12
  98. A difficulty can spring from the text of cod.C, f.101r: “when the time came to put these things down on paper in obedience to the Father General.” However this difficulty is easily resolved. The text which is absent from A and As (p.205), is added by a third scribe, while perhaps he was already preparing the way for the third redaction.
  99. Cf. cod.As, p.88 sq.; cod. C, f.37rv; cod. R, loc.cit.
  100. Cf below, page 28
  101. Cf. cod.A, f.48v-50v; cod.As, p.241-259; cod.C, f.97r-101v; Marius of Mercato Saraceno, Relationes, p.212 sq.; Giuseppe Zarlino, Informatione intorno la origine della Congregatione dei Reverendi Frati Cappuccini,Venetia, 1579 (cf. our edition in Monumenta Historica Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum, t.I, p.492 sq., Assisi, 1937).
  102. Cf. cod.A, f.104v; cod.As, p.436sq; cod.C, f.122sq.
  103. Cf. cod.A, f.257; cod.As, p.974; cod.C, f.308v.
  104. Cf. cod.A, f.66rv; cod. As, p.328 and cod.C, f.70r; cod.A, f.335r; cod.As, p.1304; cod.C, f.378 (379)v, etc, etc.
  105. See below, page 29
  106. Cf. cod.As, p.974; cod.C, f.308v; cod.R, p.823.
  107. Cf. another example in the life of Honorius of Montegranaro; cod.A, f.188 sq.; cod.As, p.853-870, where it is taken verbatim from cod.Ro, f.79r-81r.
  108. Litterae of the Vicar General, on 18 August 1584, sent to the Friary at Sant’Angelo in Vado, is preserved in cod.R, p.12-13.
  109. Cf. Eduardo d’Alençon, De primordiis, p.3; L.Pastor, Geschicte de Päpste, t.IV2,p.752 sq.; Fredegando d’Anversa, La vita dei primi Frati in Liber Memorialis, p.134 and L’idee spirituali in L’Italia Franciscana., tom.cit., p.116, note 7; Francesco da Vicenza, Gli scrittori, p.35.; A.Teetaert, in Dict. Hist. Géogr. Eccl., t.VIII, col.788-
  110. “Since it has been decided … that the Chronicles of our Friars written and collected from the good memory of Rev. Fr. Brother Marius of Mercato Saraceno and by yourself, let them be well revised, corrected and well arranged in order to have them printed.” Cod.R,p.12.
  111. Cf. cod.R, p.6 sq. The Tractatus de ratione vivendi primorum Capuccinorum which constitutes a large part of the third book of cod.R, in cod.As is taken literally from cod.A. In cod.C it was added at a later date. Cf. page 31 below.
  112. “All of this I have faithfully taken from an authentic book called the Memorial of the Order.” Cod.C, f.35r. The Memorialis Ordinis has been published often under a different title, Speculum sive Firmamentum trium Ordinum.
  113. See page 30 and following below.
  114. Cf. Liber Memorialis, p.170-173.
  115. See below on page 23 footnote 119.
  116. Cf. L’idee spirituali in L‘Italia Francescana, tom.cit., p.116, note 7.
  117. Z.Boverius, Annales, t.II, an.1591, n.45, p.470; Sisto da Pisa, Storia dei Cappuccini Toscani, t.I, p.227, Firenze, 1906. The author of the Bolognese codex is Gabriel of Cortona,, p.103sq.
  118. “He was received by Father Brother Michelangelo, Vicar of Tuscany, and I was present when he was clothed (cod.As, p.833 adds: in the holy and devout friary of the Conception where I was in the family)…In the chapters he was often made definitor and very young… I never thought I would have to write about this holy man, because reason would have it that I should die before him … Finally … when he was Guardian at the friary at Montalcino … he passed away to the better life and that body was buried in the church at Montalcino” Cod.C,f.238(239)r-239(240)v. However the codex of Bologna (cf. Gabriele of Cortona, op.cit., p.103-104) has this: “Fr. Brother Jerome of Florence, Priest, of the Rondinelli family, a noble Florentine, became a Friar late in life [si fece Frate attempato] and first cancelled all his debts with his debtors. He was often Guardina, Definitor and Novice Master .. . He died on the night of the Assumption while Matins was sounding in 1591, the friary of Montui, the year of the Castrone.”
  119. Cf. Quarto centenario della Provincia Serafica dei Minori Cappuccini, p.164-173, Assisi, 1930.
  120. Cf. Alessio da Perugia, Memorie, t.IV, p.186 (ms. in the Capuchin Provincial Archives of Umbria.)
  121. Cf. Francesco da Vicenza OFM Cap., Cenni storici del convento dei Cappuccini di Montemalbe in Miscellanea Franciscana 35(1935)p.133-143
  122. Cf. cod.R, p.12sq.
  123. “When I began to write it pleased God to show me that this was his work because I remember all the details and works, now matter how small, that were done in our Congregation. It was as if I actually saw them with my bodily eyes. By the grace of Jesus Christ I have been naturally endowed with a good memory.” Cod.R, p.14. Cf. cod.C, f.101r, and cod.As,p.250.
  124. Cf. ibid., p.6.
  125. Cf. Fredegando d’Anversa, La vita dei primi Frati in Liber Memorialis, p.184
  126. There is no firm agreement about the day of his death but he certainly died in 1586. Cf. Melchior of Pobladura, Un catalogo inedito in Collectanea Franciscana, 8(1938) p.79. A fragment in cod.R, p.1382 which appears to have been written in 1585, refers only to his election. However that hand which wrote the commendatory letter in 1592, on the same page immediately adds his industriousness and death.
  127. “I had decided… not to write this book any more … because when I had nearly finished it, our Fathers gave the task to the Most Reverend Father Matthia of Salò since he is more learned and capable than I. However, because Your Excellency has asked me to finish it…” Cod.R, p.1. Be aware though that I wonder whether these words can be understood in such a way as to restrict the narrative to the day on which he was writing (the letter.) Furthermore, in a certain fragment redacted in the early hand writing of the codex (cod.R, o.1020), Bernardino recalls the second volume of the Chronicles of Mark of Lisbon in the Italian version which was only published in 1586.
  128. Cf. Eduardo d’Alençon,De primordiis, p.4; Fredegando da Anversa, art.cit., p.134.
  129. Cf. Epistola of Nicholas of Tolentino in AOC 26(1906) p.142.
  130. At the general chapter in 1587 Matthia was elected definitor general and he easily could have taken up the task of the realizing Chronicles. He also had a familiarity with the dukes of the city of Acquasparta. Cf. Collectanea Franciscana 6(1936) p.258.
  131. Cf. Fredegando d’Anversa, Le idee spirituali in L’Italia Francescana 6(1936) p.258sq.
  132. The reasons escape us completely at to why some assert that Bernardino was also urged by the petitions of many confreres who regarded his Chronicles as more complete than those of Matthia of Salò. Cf. Fredegando d’Anversa, La vita dei primi Frati in Liber Memorialis, p.136; A.Teetaert in Dict.Hist.Géogr.Eccl., t.VIII, col.789.
  133. Fredegando d’Anversa OFM Cap has published the entire third book in the Liber Memorialis, p.145-170, Rome, 1928. Afterwards some chapters have been produced in English. Cf. A Capuchin Chronicle. Translated and abridged from the original Italian by a Benedictine of Stanbrook Abbey, p.170-198, London, 1931.
  134. Cf. Vita S.P.N. Francisci contenta in “Chronica Ordinis Fr. Minorum Capuccinorum” P. Bernardini a Collepetraccio, O.M. Cap (1514-1594) in AOC 43(1927) p.226-232.
  135. Cf. Melchior da Pobladura OFM Cap., Un catalogo inedito dei XV o XVI primi Superiori Generali dei Minori Cappuccini in Collectanea Franciscana, 8(1938), p-70-79.
  136. “Therefore I dedicate the whole work to Your Excellency and your authority to have it revised and with permission and good grace either to publish it or keep it for your devotion.” Cod.R, p.1.
  137. “I would have many more things to write, but because I am old do not have the facility of someone to write for me, may Your Excellency be content with this.” Cod.R, p.3.
  138. See page 20 where we spoke about the script of this codex.
  139. Where Bernardino discusses the shape of S. Dominic’s cowl, these words are added in the margin: “In Tolosa, in friary po of the Religion of Saint Dominic, now there is the Reform of that Religion, and those Fathers wear the pointed cowl, but square, like the cowl worn by the Father Saint Dominic. I saw this there with my own eyes, I, Brother Phillip of Milan, an unworthy Capuchin.” Cod. R, p.101, in the margin. Brother Phillip Gallina of Milan was advisor to the Ministers General St. Laurence of Brindisi (1602-1605) and Sylvester of Assisi (1605-1606) during their visitations to the provinces. On these occasions he also went around with them. Cf. Valdemiro Bonari of Bergamo OFM Cap, I Cappuccini della Provincia Milanese dalla sua fondazione (1535) until now, Part two, p.275-277, Crema, 1898.
  140. In fact both authors make abundant use of the Chronicles of Bernardino and their citations always correspond to the pages of cod.R.
  141. oblitteratum
  142. Cf. Liber Memorialis, p.145-170
  143. Cf. ibid. p.170-173. [Trans] The text of cod.C about the way of life of the Capuchin Friars, including the chapter on the observance of the Testament and manual work is published as appendix to volume three of this edition, Monumenta Historica IV, p.170-198.
  144. Cf. The Capuchins, vol. 2, p.449-453.
  145. Cf. A Capuchin Chronicle, p.170-198.
  146. Pobladura published critical editions of the Chronicles or Histories of the Capuchin Reform made by Bernardino of Colpetrazzo (MHOMC II-IV), Marius of Mercato Saraceno (MHOMC I), Matthia of Salò (MHOMC V-VI) and Paul of Foligno (MHOMC VII). Afterwards he made a careful selection of texts representative of Capuchin life in the first century of the Reform. This volume, La Bella e Santa Riforma dei Frati Minori Cappuccini was published first in 1942. A second and augmented edition came out in 1963. This second edition is to be published in an English version The Capuchin Reform – A Franciscan Renaissance, August, Delhi, 2003. (Translated by Paul Hanbridge OFM Cap.)
  147. Vix animadvertere
  148. Cf. cod.R, p.1310
  149. Cf. cod.R,.p.1273.
  150. Cf. cod.R, p.1300
  151. Cf. cod.R, p.1309 sq
  152. Cf. cod.R, p.1146: Bonaventure, Legenda Maior, ch.1, n.2 in SF1, p.
  153. Cf. below p.154. Also see cod.R, p.685
  154. Cf. cod.A, f.60r and cod.As, p.297; Bonaventure, Legenda Maior, ch.1, n.5 in SF1 p.
  155. Cf. cod.R, 1300, 1325
  156. Cf. cod.R, p.1273
  157. Different editions of the Legenda may be seen in Collectanea Francescana¸1(1931) p.448 sq.
  158. Cf. La “Legenda Antica”. Nuova fonte biografica di S. Francesco d’Assisi tratta da un codice Vaticano and published by S.Minocchi, Florence, 1905; Z.Lazzeri, OFM, Un nuovo codice italiano in AFH 11(1918) p.47 sq.
  159. Cf. Fredegano dìAnversa in AOC 42(1927) p.226 and in collectanea Franciscana 1(931) p.452, note 1.
  160. Cf. Le idee francescane spirituali in L’Italia Francescana 2(1927), p.115.
  161. Cf. below p.52
  162. Liber Chronicarum sive Tribulationum Ordinis Minorum, a cura di G. Boccali, OFM con introduzione di Felice Accrocca e traduzione italiana a fronte di P. Marino Bigaroni OFM, Edizioni Porziuncola, Assisi, 1998. Pobladura refers to earlier editions. The Prologue and first two tribulations found in F.Tocco, Le due prime tribulazioni con un Appendice sul valore della Cronaca delle Tribolazioni, Roma, 1980. Tribulations were published by F.Ehrle, tribulations 3 to 5 and 6 to 7 in Archiv für Litteratur-und Kirchengeschicte Vol.2 p.256-327 and p.127-164 respectively.
  163. loca
  164. Cf. ALKG vol.2, p.107, note 2., p.155; Liber Chronicarum, p.768-769
  165. Cf. Speculum Minorum seu Firmamentum trium Ordinum¸ part I, f.18vb, 31v, 32r, etc.
  166. Cf. cod.R, p.1020
  167. The work of Bartholomew of Pisa is published in Analecta Franciscana vol. 4 and 5, Quaracchi, 1906, 1912.
  168. The historiographer M. Faloci Pulignani published the Parisian 1512 version, juxtaposing variant readings of the Rouen 1509 and Venice 1513 versions. Cf. Miscellanea Franciscana 28(1928) p.15 sq.
  169. “Tutto questo I have taken mst faithfully from an authentic book called the Memoriale dell’Ordine.” Cod.As, p.84.
  170. Cf. cod.R, p.1300
  171. 1929. Cf. bibliography.
  172. G.Oddi di Perugia, La Franceschina, Testo volgare umbro del secolo XV, edito la prima volta nella sua integrità dal P.N.Cavanna, vol.I-II, Firenze, 1931. Published earlier by Tipografia Porziuncola, Santa Maria degli Angeli (Assisi) 1929, it has been reprinted by the same publishers in 1981.
  173. See below p.16 and 19.
  174. See below.p.16, note 1 and p.69, note.
  175. Cf. cod.R, p.1310
  176. Cf. cod.A, f.121r; cod.As, p.486. See below p.388
  177. Cf. cod.R, p.1048.
  178. Cf. cod.A, f.328v and cod.As, p.1288.
  179. Cod.R, p.1350.
  180. Cf. Marius of Mercato Saraceno, Relationes, p.310; Eduardo d’Alençon, De origine Ord.Fratrum Min.Capuccinorum. Chronica Fr. Joannis Romaei de Terranova, Romae, 1908. [Trans] See Cronaca de origine Fr.Min.S.Francisci Capuccinorum in AOC 28(1907) p.9-19,118-126, 150-153, 178-185, 214-219, 248-253; I Frati Cappuccini, t.II, n.2945-2982, p.1261-1291.
  181. See below p.321 and cod.R, p.822
  182. Below p.321 and Marius of Mercato Saraceno, Relationes, p.319
  183. Cf. cod.A, f.66v. See below, p.243.
  184. Cf. page 264 below See Pobladure published this work in MHOMC I, in Appendix II, p.483-526.
  185. Cf. cod.R, p.823
  186. Cf. cod.R, p.1200
  187. See below, p. 38
  188. Cf. cod.R, p.806
  189. Cf. below p.87
  190. See below p.34, 87
  191. See above p. 13sq; p.28; Melchior a Pobladura, Disquisitio critica in Collectanea Franciscana 9(1939) p.50 sq.
  192. “…front line troops and most faithful guides of history.”
  193. Cf. Bov. II, an.1594, n.44, p.539 sq.
  194. Cf. Historia Capuccina, vol.II, f.12v, 66v, 70v, 74r.
  195. In the margin of folio 207v (t.II), where it describes the biography of Julian of Salò, another hand has added: Di questo fr. Giuliano vedi il Petr. Gr. 746. The annotator wants to indicate cod.R of the work of Fr. Bernardino who recalls the aforesaid Julian in passing.
  196. Cf. Chronica, book I, passim.
  197. Cf. Vite de’ santi e beati, t.II, p.59, 150, 204, 243, 331.
  198. Cf. Leggendario cappuccino, t.II, p.155.
  199. Cf. Storia dei Papi, t.IV2, p.728 sq.
  200. Cf. Gl’inizi dell’Ordine, p.10, note 2, et passim.
  201. Cf. Tribulationes, passim; De primordiis, passim.
  202. Various articles can be seen that have been cited in these pages.
  203. The Capuchins,passim. Cf. ibid., t.II, p.434.
  204. See blow, p.13. “I have known and spoken with all the other first Fathers and have had a close familiarity with them for some length of time and I have been informed about all these things from them. Since I talked with them in different ways very often, my memories of them have been so fresh and vivid, that by the providence of God when the time came to put these things to paper, all of them have been present to me. I cannot think that this is through anything other than the merits of those great servants of God who wants their works to be clear to the world so that their holiness be known in part and that anyone who hears about these works may take instruction from them and be inflamed to want to follow in their tracks.” Cod.As, p.257 sq., cod.C, f.101.
  205. See below, p.3 sq., 8, 13.
  206. Cf. Fredegando d’Anversa, Le idee francescane spirituali in L’Italia Francescana 2(1927) p.117; Idem, La vita dei primi Frati Min. Cappuccini in Liber Memorialis, p.136
  207. See below, p.13 and cod.R p.798, 840, etc. A.Gemelli OFM does not appear to extol the elegance of Fr. Bernardino’s speech when he asserts these things: “In front of these pages, also as one without literary competence, only that the ear hears some high school reminiscence of the prose of Bembo, Guicciardini and Monsignor della Casa, and thinks: This isn’t the sixteenth century! It is pure fourteenth century. Except the nearly always exact and polished period makes one realise that the author breathed the air of the classics, while living the ingenuous and robust faith of the great Middle Ages … Bernardino of Colpetrazzo has a concision and a clarity which recall the best pages of Passavanti and of the Fioretti.” I ‘Fioretti’ del Cinquecento in Studi Francescani, 26(1929) p.66sq.
  208. See below p.44 sq.
  209. Se below p.348 sq.
  210. Cf. Relationes, p.340 sq.
  211. Cf. cod.A, f.243r sq.; cod.As, p.922.; cod.C, f.294r sq.
  212. See below p.503-507.
  213. See below p.508-512
  214. See below p.461 sq.