Melchior a Pobladura on Bernardino of Colpetrazzo 3

A Critical study on the Life and Writings of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo: Preface

by Melchior a Pobladura OFM Cap[1]

Translated by Paul Hanbridge OFM Cap

© 2020 Capuchin Friars of Australia

Table of Contents

1. The Subject of this second book

In the general introduction to the whole work it is shown clearly enough that Bernardino did not write any series of biographies before 1580[2]. In this year Jerome of Montefiore, Minister General of the Friars Minor Capuchin, exhorted him to narrate the life, abstinence and miracles of the first friars. Without any intervening pause in fact Bernardino willingly carried this out. However, hoping to be of some use for future reference, apart from the biographies of friars he included historical details. Therefore he briefly discussed the very beginnings of the Congregation in the provinces of the Marches and Calabria right down to the impious consequences of the apostasy of Bernardino Ochino, though not the General Chapter of 1535-1536. There were forty biographies in the first composition of the Chronicles. These were information that he held in his memory or which he could have learnt in a short space of time from what his confreres in the province of Umbria referred to him. The lives of the friars in this first composition are more concise or shorter that in the other compositions.

Now in 1582 when our Bernardino received on loan some individual biographies of friars of the province of Calabria, he made them his own and enriched his earlier biographies with the new ones[3]. Because of this it happened that in cod.As there are fifty-two biographies and fifty-six in cod.C.

Later in 1584 when Bernardino wrote ex officio the history of his Order he diligently carried out a more accurate research. Therefore he discovered more bountiful information and wrote new biographies. Finally add that in the time interval between 1585 and 1594 other remarkable men departed this world. It was quite obvious to him to narrate these things clearly in the last composition of the Chronicles.

Therefore you have seventy-eight illustrious religious who life and deeds Bernardino describes in his Chronicles which were are to publish in this present volume.

2. The Biographies themselves

In this paragraph we shall briefly discuss the purpose, order and method the author established for himself in the biographies, his investigation of all the things and his way of writing.

First of all it seems to us that the author set a double purpose for himself in regard to these biographies he had to produce: a spiritual one, namely the exhortation of his confreres, as well as an apologia for the Capuchin renewal. Therefore these things can be explained without any difficulty. There is an effort the show the extraordinary virtues and remarkable examples which demonstrate a certain likeness both to the pristine foundation of Saint Francis and indeed to the life of the apostles, as well as to report any portents that are seen to put forward divine approval.

If we are to seek out the reason for the selection of these seventy-eighty religious from all the others the answer given would not be easy or exhaustive. It is clear that Father Bernardino’s first plan was to report the historical details of these friars, some of whose portents are known, and all the more as they are eminent as the first promoters of the new Franciscan reform. Indeed with the course of time others came who, although they did not take part in the work of the reform in its beginnings, were regarded nevertheless worthy of memory.

The order itself of the biographies does not seem to be arranged according to any particular chronological, geographical or systematic rules. In fact the order is different in any of the four principal codices which we are going to describe below. The order of each codex will be shown in the schema we have made[4].

The individual biographies present the same pattern or general method. They can be distinguished into three parts, namely: a) his life, views or axioms; b) his virtues and miracles; c) his death and posthumous fame. In most cases, after his birth and first instruction have been indicated in general terms, the persons entry among the Capuchins is mentioned. Then his virtues, austerity, miracles and other things are described more fully. Calculations of time are almost entirely missing or cited in a very vague way.

Spiritual exhortations about vices to be avoided and virtues to be cultivated are inserted very often into the text of the biographies. We certainly do not want to contest that the friars themselves, to whom these admonitions are ascribed, actually had the same opinion. However we do not think it is necessary to regard it certain that they proffered the same words that the biographer uses. Rather, it could be the case that whenever this method is applied it conceals his own judgement or opinion and also refers to those opinions which were widespread among the friars who at that time were ardent lovers of pristine austerity. Whatever the truth may be, we are very grateful to the writer who has brought to us and preserved the admonitions, salutary instructions and principals of the spirituality of the Capuchin Friars. By the help of God’s grace we will treat these more amply in other place[5].

Straight after the tenets of his teaching, it will be opportune to indicate a little about the extraordinary facts or portents that we read about in this second book.

In those early times of the Capuchin Order the disciples of the new reform were vituperated in different ways. Others did not acknowledge them as sons and followers of the Seraphic Father Francis; for no saint had lived among the first promoters of the Order when it began; nor had their way of living been confirmed by miracles. It is probable that by these other reasons Bernardino felt urged to collect and narrate the wonders of his comrades. It certainly cannot be denied that from time to time he dwells too much on the description of miracles and visions, etc just as he exaggerates the vim and number of whatever austerities that are reported. Nor however can it be denied that in all these things he presents he is testifying to the interior life, the regular observance, the obedience and all the other virtues of life within the enclosure[6]. However he did not accept miraculous facts indiscriminately. He was aware that with whichever signs of credibility that were to be furnished, whether from facts or from witnesses, it was necessary to foster a sure faith[7]. Not once does he explicitly indicate his own indifference when noting the time or place or other necessary circumstances. Elsewhere he does not report miracles he has heard about because church authority had not yet spoken[8].

For these reasons we in no way wish to affirm that the marvellous facts that Bernardino reports deserve full belief. However we are obliged to add that we who do not interpret the different expressions of life in a past time by our own standards today, ought not measure or judge some author or writer by the critical norms of our own approach – much less overlook completely the circumstances in which he lived.

From which literary sources the information given here has been derived has already been discussed in the prolegomena of the first book. Most of the material narrated in this second book Bernard had from direct and immediate knowledge. The good old man almost relishes in devoutly assembling the little stories, memories and monumenta. However he is careful to be well informed. Nonetheless he often could only get general indications because the friars, as true lovers of humility, were reluctant to talk about such marvelous things. Also when he was discussing these things about friars in other provinces outside of Umbria, he sought in vane for information that was more accurate. Therefore the words which Z. Boverius offered about the first historians of the Order can be applied rightly to this second book of the Chronicles of Father Bernardino. “Indeed there are as many things consigned to memory that are transmitted marred and incomplete – which often happened to the writers of those times – so that there are many things which are lost to them, as there are those things that they remember. However something should be ceded to the humility of those times and not attributed to the deficiency of the writers. Their intention was not to compose a history but only to construct small stories about the actions of a few friars whose parentage or place of origin – and sometimes even the places where things happened – have not been preserved from obscurity.[9]

As for his writing style what we have indicated in the prolegomena of the entire edition seems adequate to us[10]. Time and again Bernardino declares that in now way is he in pursuit of flowery literary ornament and verbal elegance[11].

3. Authorship

The arguments that demonstrate the authenticity of the Chronicles of Fr. Bernardino in general are valid to show the authenticity of the biographies in particular since the whole work is by one and the same author[12]. Nevertheless the following things by other witnesses can be added that pertain properly to the biographies. Recent authors are omitted.

1) First of all Marius of Mercato Saraceno acknowledges that Bernardino of Colpetrazzo wrote biographies of certain fathers of the Province of Saint Francis[13].

2) The testimony of Luciano of Brescia OFM Cap is examined in the prolegomena to the first book[14]. From his collection with the prologue of the work of Jerome of Montefiore there is certainly n doubt that the biographies that Jerome says he received from an old father may be attributed to our Bernardino[15].

3) Nicholas of Massa Martana OFM Cap excerpted some fragments concerning the life of Bernard of Assisi from the works of Fr. Bernardino and which can be read in cod.R.[16]

4) Denis of Montefalco OFM Cap attributes the biographies of John of Fano, Eusebius of Ancona and other friars to Fr. Bernardino[17].

5) Not only does Zacharia Boverius indicate that Bernardino wrote the biographies in many places cited in his index of manuscripts “from which the whole sequence and truth of this history has been taken.” He also maintains this explicitly in his narration of his (Bernardino’s) life[18].

6) The hagiographer Ludovico Jacobilli often openly presents our Bernardino when he refers to the historical details of certain Capuchin friars in Umbria[19].

7) Finally Gabriel of Modigliana OFM Cap, when he repeats the words of Z. Boverius, also affirms that he had in his hands the manuscript of biographies that Bernardino narrated and that he adapted many of them for his own material[20].

4. The codices

Since we will have accurately described in the earlier volume the four main codices of the Chronicles of Fr. Bernardino, we are only referring here to those codices that contain biographies. There are those which contain biographies of which Bernardino himself is the only author. Then there are those codices in which these biographies are found together with the collection of Jerome of Montefiore. We divide these biographical codices into two series[21].

A. The first series

In this first series includes the codices which do not contain biographies by Jerome of Montefiore or his co-workers. Nor do they have the short preface added at the beginning. These things should also be understood. In cod.An the chapter on the way of life of the first friars immediately follows the biography of Bonaventure of Cremona (f.15r-25v), as in cod.A, f.105 sq., and in all the codices of the second series. However in cod.F (p.18-35) this chapter occupies a separate place before the biographies. The vision of a certain friar about the apostasy of Bernardino Ochino and damaging consequences occupies the same place in all of the codices, namely, after the biography of Jerome of Montepulciano.

a. The Angelica codex

We think that it is not improbable that his codex reproduces the exemplar of the apographon[22] of the first composition of the Chronicles made in 1580 by order of Jerome of Montefiore[23]. This paper codex was probably made at the end of the sixteenth century. It is bound together with other small codices of various kinds and can be seen the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome under the number 965 (previously R.5.16). It has 92 folios and measures 10cm x 13cm, at the beginning of which there are three more unnumbered folios[24].

Folio 1 (unnumbered): Vite d’alcuni Padri Capuccini

Folios 2r-3r (unnumbered): Tavola dei nomi dei quei Frati che nello/presente libro sonno scritti, per ritrovare la vita loro.

It begins (f.1r): Jesus Maria. Del santo huomo F. Bernardo da Offida, laico. Fur Fra Bernardo de un castello detto Offida nella Marca.

It concludes (f.92r, in the biography of Joseph of Ferno): et fu chiamto Fr. Giuseppe da Milano, quantunque fusse da Fermo (sic). A laude…

There are twenty-three biographies described in this codex. They are the same ones entirely which are contained in cod.F and cod.Ro and the other codices of the work of Jerome of Montefiore. From the schema to be described below it will be obvious that these codices agree with cod.An both in the order or arrangement of the biographies as well as in the text. There are two more important variant readings. In folio 35r instead of Montereale one finds twice Montevalle, the home land of Br. Bonaventure[25]. Then in folio 39v the scribe wrote Bonaventure instead of Baptista of Norsia.

b. The Florentine codex

This is a miscellaneous paper codex dating from the seventeenth century (1623). It is kept in the Biblioteca Nazionale: Magl. CI XXXVII, cod.313. It has 153 pages, measuring 21cm x 13cm. Cherubino of Sestino transcribed it in 1623. In the binding of the codex two protective sheets, one at the beginning and the other at the end, have been added to the compressed paper.

Since we have discussed this codex elsewhere it may be enough to recall the things that properly pertain to our subject. The biographical part extends from page 35 to page 153: La laudabile et santa vita d’alcuni frati Minori del’ordine di S.Francesco della Riforma dei Capuccini; quali con diligenza ha fatte raccorre il Molto Rvdo Pre. Fra Girolamo da Monte fiore mentre ch’era Vicario Venerale di detta Congregatione. It can seem strange that even if its title is the same as the codices of the second series, nevertheless the biographies concern cod.An. Therefore it probably derived from another root. Variant readings or rather omissions may be satisfactorily explained from the general character of the scribe who did not adhere too much to the text when he was transcribing. He omits the conclusion to the life of Anthony of Corsica, namely, the same part that concerns the dialogue of this man with John of Apulia who appeared to him after his death (cod.F,p.70; cod.Ro, f.29v-30v). Again he omits certain lines at the end of the biography of Francis of Iesi (cod.F, p.126; cod.Ro, f.62r). Compare also: cod.F, p.135; cod.Ro, f.66v; cod.F, p.149; cod.Ro, f.75r; cod.F, p.153 and cod.Ro, f.77r.

Furthermore cod.F alone has its own conclusion in which the collector testifies to the truth of all the things which are narrated there. “I, Br. Jerome of Montefiore testify that I have had written the above things while I was Vicar General (although unworthy) of the Congregation. I have done this from the reports of Friars and seculars worthy of belief, after having used every care to understand the truth of these things. Nor have I let something be written about which I was not well informed by one who knew these the matter well in the way in which he wrote about it. Be aware that where it speaks in the first person it should be understood that I am not speaking for myself, but for the person who gave me the information. For example, about the beginning of the life of Brother Anthony of Monteciccardo, where it says, ‘Brother Angelo of Ferrara told me this;’ and other such things. Trusting in this I have had this written by the hand of Brother Bonaventure of Ancona, my companion.”

Very likely this conclusion was read at the same time in the codex which Nicholas of Tolentino had in his hands[26].

c. Other Codices

It also certain that other missing codices (or which perhaps lay hidden until now in libraries or archives) existed at one time and from which same root cod.An and cod.F evidently came.

1) Certainly, in a letter to Mattia di Salò, dated 3 February 1589, Nicholas of Tolentino OFM Cap informs him that he has in his possession a codex that follows the life of Capuchins. He also offers a summary description of the codex that appears to conform completely with cod.An and cod.F both in the number and arrangement of the biographies and in the chapter about their way of life[27].

2) Then, although we are less informed about the codex that Luciano of Brescia used, nevertheless we can reasonably suppose from its title that it belongs to the same codex family[28].

3) Finally it is appropriate to make mention of the codex from which Ruffino of Siena OFM Cap inserted twenty-three biographies into his Chronicles. We can affirm that the codex from which he transcribed is of the same family of codices. However we can even justly state that Ruffino did not know about any other codices, since he confesses that he could not discuss other outstanding men for lack of information, which certainly he would have been able to find in other exemplars.

The codex of the Chronicles of Ruffino of Siena is a paper codex. Formerly found in Modigliana, it is kept today at Florence the archives of the Capuchin Province of Tuscany together with a beautifully made apographon. It present folios 1-193, measuring 105mm x 145mm. Folios 110-118 are empty. The biographies are contained in folios 119-192. All these biographies have been published periodically in L’Italia Francescana, 7(1932) sq., p.381 sq[29].

B. Second Series

The codices that we assemble in this second series include the biographies of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo together with other collections of Jerome of Montefiore.

a. The Roman Codex = Cod.Ro

It is a paper codex from the sixteenth century (1593). It has [3]- 108 – [3] folios measuring 125mm x 175mm. On the spine is: 64-109-Montefiore-II 3. It is bound in membrane. It is now kept in the Capuchin General Archives in Rome with the signature Arm. A. I. 6. The history of this codex is illustrated up to a point in the small notes that are preserved in the three unnumbered folios.

Fol.2r: Della Provincia di Brescia. Similarly a large seal is found on folio 3r. In the inscription around the seal is: Bibliotheca Capuccinorum Capuccinorum Conceptionis Neapoli. Bib. Nov. On the reverse of the same folio: Scansia G. num p° òibro 22 superioris.

The handwriting of this codex is neat and elegant. Each page has twenty-nine lines. The transcription appears to be very accurate. The small preface that explains in passing the origin and purpose of the work is omitted.

It begins (folio 1r): Alli devoti lettori Frate Girolamo da Monte/fiore dell’ordine de frati minori de S.Francesco/cognominati Capuccini salute et pa-/ce nel Signore. Trovandomi io Vicario Generale (benchè indegnamente9 della Congregatione di Frati Capuccini, et considerando.

This finishes (folio 2r): spero non mancherà chi per divina inspiratione ridurrà l’opera a meglior termine.

The text of the opusculum is divided into two parts. In the first part (folios 2v-77r) twenty-three folios are transcribed from the Chronicles of Bernardino.

It begins (folio 2v, with the biography of Bernard of Offida): Jesus Maria Franciscus. Del sant’huomo Fra Bernardo da Offida, laico. Fu Fra Bernardo da un castello detto Offida nella Marca.

It finishes (folio 77r, with the biography of Joseph of Ferno): et fu chiamato F. Joseffo da Milano, quantunque fusse da Fermo (sic). A laude . . .

In the second part of the codex (folios 77r – 106v) displays another twenty-three biographical narrations which are missing either entirely or partly from the first composition of the Chronicles.

It begins (folio 77r): Vita di F. Honorio da Monte Granaro. Meritamente potiamo nel principio dell’historia della vita di questo buon Padre nominarlo beato.

It finishes (folio 106v: with the narration about Bernardino of Asti): averlo udito dalla bocca di quello a cui fu fatta. A laude…

Zacharia Boverius used cod.Ro abundantly as can be discovered from the many passages to which he clearly refers.

b. The Naples Codex = Cod.Ne

A paper codex from the end of the sixteenth century, bound in parchment. It is now kept in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples: Ms. IX.F.58. Previously it was in the Capuchin Fathers library in the same city as can be seen until now from its seal and signature. In reality on the protective there is a seal with the inscription: Bibliotheca Capuccinorum Conceptionis, Neapolis. Bib. Nov. Next to it one reads: De Cappuccini. Scansia 45 ord. Superioris. The codex measures 13cm x 19cm. It has [1] – 193 folios. (There is no folio 3.) All the pages (with 18 or 19 lines) have been written in a careful and orderly manner by one hand. The spine has this title: Vite de frati Capuccini di santa memoria. The codex contains nothing other than the text of biographies of Capuchin Friars.

The first twenty-three biographies, the part composed by Bernardino of Colpetrazzo, extend from folio 4r to folio 137v. The remaining part (folio 137v to 193) is the work of Jerome of Montefiore or his co-workers.

From a comparison with other codices it is clear one can conclude that the scribe reproduced the original text faithfully. This codex is quite the same as cod.Ro since no variant readings are found and the few summaries used are identical in both. Therefore they either come from the same root or one has been directly and faithfully transcribed from the other. A criterion for discerning which came first is hidden to us. Both the incipit and explicit is the same in each codex.

There are many notes in the margins. However these were added by another hand at a later time. Nevertheless they say nothing new. They are words which caught the attention of the reader.

c. The naples Codex = Cod.N

His is a paper codex from the end of the sixteenth century, covered with a protective membrane cover. It is kept at Naples among the manuscripts of the Biblioteca Nazionale and is distinguished by the signature: IX.F.75. Previously it was in the use of Fr. Aloysius of Naples, a Capuchin priest. It has [10] 202 [26] folios, measuring 10cm x 13cm. The handwriting is neat and uniform, done by one and the same hand. Indeed the initial capital letters have be done with a certain artistry.

Folio 2r, unnumbered: Concesso ad uso del P.fra Luigi da Napoli Sacerdote Cappuccino. Seven quite blank, unnumbered folios follow.

Folio 8r (unnumbered) up to folio 10r(unnumbered) contain the introduction to the work.

It begins (f.8r): Alli divoti lettori/fra Geronimo da Montefiore dell’or/dine di frati minori capuccini salute e pace nel/Signore. The rest is the same as in cod.Ne.

Folios 1-202r: the text of the work. The part composed by Bernardino of Colpetrazzo (i.e. the first twenty-three biographies) are contained within folios 1-153. A brief narration of the historical details of James of Spello, which is found at the end in the other codices, here it is located at the end of the biography of Anthony of Corsica, to which biography it follows (f.58v-60r). In the same way an addition of the same biography is inserted into the text of the life of Bernard of Assisi (cod.Ro, f.105v-106v). As for the rest, both the order of the biographies and the text, it agrees with cod.Ro, except for some brief pieces of information about other friars from Calabria in folios 175v – 176v (cf. cod.Ro, f.89v).

It finished (folio 202r with the life of Louis of Reggio): per la via di questo suo servo, qual’esso ha voluto (etiam con signalati miracoli) honorar in terra. A laude et gloria del Altissimo Dio, della sua santissima Madre, del Francesco, et di tutti i suoi fedeli imititori. Amen.

Variant readings are slight and few, but they always render the text more intelligible. However it should be noted that while all the other codices leave the unnamed author of the work designated with the initial N, cod.N erroneously writes: Fra Girolamo (cf. f.11v, 16v, 17v, 19r.)

Immediately after the biographical narrations there are twenty-nine unnumbered pages. The first sixteen contain a certain summary of indulgences that Paul V granted. The remaining pages until the end are empty. This appendix is written in another hand.

d. Lost Codices

It can be adequately proven that there were other codices of this kind. After Gabriel of Cortona OFM Cap transcribed the life of Vincent of Foiano he added these words: “Composed by Fr. Br. Jerome of Montefiore while he was Vicar General of the Order. Copied from a small octavo book written in pen, found in the library of Montui in Florence … Fr. Benedetto of Barga and Fr. Br. Alessio of Pistoia, exact in everything, have also written this life in pen in some small books, together with others composed by the aforesaid Fr. Br. Jerome.[30]

We have no further knowledge about these codices.

5. The relationship between the opus of Bernardino and the opusculum of Jerome of Montefiore

If we examine attentively and diligently the two families of codices we have described, in the first place it will be obvious to us that in a unique way the first series reproduces the biographies produced by Bernardino of Colpetrazzo. In the second series narratives are added that are the proper work of Jerome. In reality the twenty-three biographies of the first series in theory passed into the second series and the barely refer to all the things that are read in cod.A or in some other codex of the same root. However the rest of the biographical information Bernardino takes up especially in his third composition of the Chronicles, either in an implied way or literally. This is done either in regard to friars who historical details he had already described or because he had no information about them.

The mutual dependence between each work is easy to prove and delimit. Jerome narrates a brief section about four friars in the province of Saint Francis – Justin of Panicale, Peter of Todi, James of Spello and Bernard of Assisi. This was certainly based on the testimony of a certain friar of that province who was probably Dominic of Boschetto. On codices C and R Bernardino reproduces these four biographies with a longer quill. In codices A and As neither Peter of Todi nor James of Spello are mentioned. About another four friars whose lives Bernardino described, Jerome produced a new biography, having abandoned Bernardino’s text. These friars are: Francis of Macerata, Honorius of Montegranaro, Louis of Reggio and Bernardino of Reggio. Later Bernardino made us of the information given here. Furthermore, the biographies of these friars are missing form the first series and from cod.A: Francis of Reggio, Antonino of Reggio, Baptist of Arzona, John of Seminara, Francis of Bisignano, Bonaventure (Bernardino) of Radecina, James of Reggio, Matthew of Leonessa. If you exclude the information about Matthew of Leonessa, all the information found in the other codices of Bernardino’s work has been taken from the opusculum of Jerome. Bernardino omits the names of some friars completely: Bonaventure of Reggio, Peter delli Quatrieri, Antonino of Malta, Bernard of Catanzaro, Juniper of Campo, Daniel of Seminara, Sante of Anoia and Jerome of Paridisoni. The things that Jerome mentions about these men are contained in two sheets (88-89). Therefore it seems that he could not say much.

With things as they are, it is obvious that whatever things worthy of memory in the biographical work of Jerome of Montefiore are to come to the light of day in the publication of the second book of the entire opus of Fr. Bernardino of Colpetrazzo. Therefore a special edition of the work of Jerome seems superfluous.

6. The Synoptic Table of Biographies

This schema, which we propose for the consideration of the reader, displays the biographies as they are contained within each of the codices. In the first column the names of all the religious described in this present volume are arranged in alphabetical order. In the other columns are the initials of the codex. The first number indicates the order that each biography occupies. The second number designates the page or folio number where each biography begins.

Furthermore, one should be aware of these things. The biography of Matthew of Bascio is only told in particular in cod.R, for the other codices mention his historical details mixed in with the events of the birth of the Capuchin Order. While the biographical information of James of Spello is described separately in codices Ro and Ne, according to cod. N on the other hand, it is inserted in the life of Anthony of Corsica.

Cod.R Cod.C Cod.As Cod.A Cod.An Cod.F Cod.M Cod.Ro Cod.N Cod.Ne
n. p. n. f. n. p. n. f. n. f. n. p. n. f. n. f n. f. n. f.
Giles of S.Angelo in Vado 19 749
Albert of Naples 25 213 27 798 25 213
Angelo of S.Angelo in Vado 7 655 8 119
Angelo of Savono 16 743
Antonino of Reggio 65 1116 43 315 36 1010 27 82v 27 163r 127 148r
Antonino of Sicily 69 1129 49 321 43 1064
Anthony of Corsica 36 882 26 215 11 504 11 128 5 25v 5 62 5 133v 5 25 5 48v 5 44v
Anthony of Lusitania 21 756
Anthony of Monteciccardo 33 858 10 133 7 350 7 74 2 3v 2 39 2 122r 2 4v 2 4v 2 7v
Baptist of Arzona 48 986 44 317 37 1025 28 85r 28 168r 28 153r
Baptist of Faenza 73 1214
Baptist of Norsia 39 901 13 155 18 627 18 173 9 39v 9 84 9 147v 9 37v 9 76r 9 71r
Bartholomew of Lucignano 24 785
Bartholomew of Spello 37 893 18 179 19 648 26 214 13 52v 13 103 14 164r 13 48r 13 96v 13 84v
Benedict of Subiaco 17 744
Bernardino of Asti 26 799 50 323 45 1087 32 264 16 56v 16 108 18 172 16 51r 16 103r 16 89r
Bernardino of M’Olmo 8 663 11 142 8 382 8 85 3 9R 3 49 3 127v 3 9v 3 15r 3 17r
Bernardino of Radecina 67 1127 47 320 40 1038 31 87r 31 171r 31 156v
Bernardino of Reggio 31 846 40 304 44 1071 31 258 25 81r 25 161r 25 146rv
Bernard of Assisi 40 912 15 167 14 571 14 153 7 33r 7 73 7 140r 7 32r 7 63v 7 55v
Bernard of Fossombrone 3 634 4 101 3 259 3 50
Bernard of Offida 6 649 7 113 6 300 6 61 1 1r 1 35 1 119v 1 2v 1 1r 1 4r
Bonaventure of Cremona 34 873 12 152 9 416 9 96 4 13v 4 59 4 132r 4 15r 4 26r 4 25v
Bonaventure d Montereale 44 954 27 224 15 580 15 156 8 35r 8 76 8 142r 8 33v 8 68r 8 58v
Cherubim of Spoleto 58 1055
Dominic of Bologna 47 983 36 276 23 744 21 189
Dominic of Boschetto 55 1029
Eusebius of Ancona 13 732 53 358 48 1190 35 298 19 77r 19 133 20 183r 19 65r 19 132r 19 116r
Felix of Cantalice 71 1141
Francis of Bisignano 49 990 46 319 30 86v 30 170r 30 155
Francis of Cannobio 53 1017
Francis of Cartoceto 32 852 2 53 1 130 1 18
Francis of Iesi 9 675 51 347 46 1129 33 279 17 64r 17 118 10 151r 17 56v 17 114v 17 100r
Francis of Macerata 59 1063 9 122 10 428 10 101 43 91v 43 179v 43 165v
Francis of Novara 51 1007
Francis Palemon d Reggio 30 841 42 314 35 1004 26 81v 26 162r 26 146v
Francis of Soriano 23 770 54 359 49 1198 36 301 20 77v 20 136 21 185r 20 67r 20 134v 20 118
Francis Tittelmans 25 789 55 363 50 1222 37 308 21 82r 21 141 16 166v 21 70v 21 141r 21 124v
Francis of Torri 64 1111 38 280 29 809 28 219
Gratian of Norsia 24 211 26 794 24 210
Jerome Rondinelli 30 238 32 831
Jerome d Montepulciano 45 967 28 232 22 734 19 181 10 43r 10 90 11 156v 10 40v 10 82r 10 71v
Jerome of Novara 52 1013
Honorius d Montegranaro 12 719 31 240 33 839 20 184 24 77r 24 153v 24 137v
Humile of Offida 20 754
James of Cetona 50 995
James of Molfetta 15 740
James of Reggio 66 1125 48 320 41 1040 32 87rv 32 172r 32 157v
James of Spello 60 1077 16 171 46 103rv 46 190r
John of Apulia 61 1081 35 264 12 539 12 140
John Baptist of Terni 56 1039
John of Fano 10 693 52 353 47 1165 34 291 18 71r 18 127 19 179v 18 62r 18 125r 18 109v
John Zuazo of Spain 42 932 22 203 13 561 13 184 6 31v 6 70 6 138v 6 30v 6 60r 6 53r
John of Seminara 68 1128 45 319 38 1032 29 86rv 29 170r 29 155rv
John of Viterbo 28 818
Joseph of Collemato 4 639 5 104 4 270 4 54
Joseph of Ferno 11 709 57 368 52 1248 39 316 23 86r 23 149 23 190r 23 75r 23 149v 23 133
Justino of Panicale 62 1101 17 173 17 618 17 168 41 89r 41 176v 41 162v
Liberalis of Colle 29 235 31 821
Louis of Foligno 41 914 21 199 16 609 16 166
Louis of Reggio 29 820 41 308 34 969 30 257 45 97r 45 190r 45 177r
Louis of Savona 14 736 37 279 28 804 27 216 14 54r 14 105 15 165v 14 49r 14 99r 14 85v
Louis of Stroncone 38 897 19 181 20 660 22 203 12 51r 12 101 13 165v 12 46v 12 94r 12 82v
Martin of Flanders 63 1109 39 281 30 813 29 221 15 55r 15 106 17 171r 15 50r 15 100v 15 87r
Matthew of Bascio 1 602
Matthew of Cascia 34 261
Matthew of S. Leo5 5 644 6 109 5 284 5 58
Matthew of Leonessa 22 758 33 256 42 1044 44 43/44 184 45/44 171r
Matthew of Schio 54 1021 20 196 21 724
Paul of Chioggia 2 620 3 97 2 241 2 48
Peter of Civitaducale 27 816 56 367 52 1248 38 315 22 87v 22 148 22 189rv 22 74r 22 148r 22 132r
Peter of Lusitania 43 946 23 207 25 781 23 206
Peter of Mazara 57 1047
Peter of Norsia 18 746
Peter of Todi 35 876 14 163 42 91rv 43/42 178r 43/42 164r
Raniero d Borg S.Sepolcro 72 1176
Rufino of Gallarate 70 1133
Vincent of Foiano 46 972 32 248 24 764 22 196 11 47r 11 96 12 158v 11 44r 11 88v 11 77r
n. p. n. f. n. p. n. f. n. f. n. p. n. f. n. f. n. f. n. f.
Cod.R Cod.C Cod.As Cod.A Cod.An Cod.F Cod.M Cod.Ro Cod.N Cod.Ne

7. The Method of this Edition

There is neither need nor use to recall again the principles and rules used in edition[31]. Therefore let it be enough that we explain briefly to the readers the arrangement of this volume.

Therefore it should be know that cod.R is the archetypon exemplar of the second book of the entire opus of Fr. Bernardino of Colpetrazzo. From its date and material it is abundantly obvious to be later than all the other codices. However not all the biographies, which we are publishing here, are contained in cod.R. Some of them have been transcribed from cod.C[32]. To those asking where these biographies were to be inserted, either in the text of the work or in appendices, we would answer first that we chose a method so that the biographies taken from cod.C would immediately follow a biography which is common to both codices, the order is maintained between them within the preceding and following biographies[33]. The fact may speak for itself: the biography of Matthew of Cascia transcribed from cod.C closely follows the biography of Matthew of Leonessa which is found in both codices. Then immediately comes the biography of Francis of Soriano as the order of cod.R requires. And so with the others. Each time we have done this, the readers are advised in the specific places so that some error may not creep in.

In the prolegomenon of volume one we have already indicated that we cannot strictly speak of variant readings of the codices since it has nothing to do with the transcriptions of the text of one archetype. Nonetheless since it is our intention to present, collected together in this edition, all the historical and biographical information that Bernardino fo Colpetrazzo transmitted, we have taken all the other things from the rest of the codices which offer some certain new element. These things are indicated in the lay of the text. Therefore we carefully compared cod.R with the other codices, though we only use the initials cod.A, As, C, and Ro at the bottom of the page. Not all the codices described above are present. The reason why is that that they do not differ with cod.Ro. At the beginning of each biography we have noted the parallel occurrences of the other codices so that it may be easier for everyone to consult them and the fragments which are produced later may be found more easily. The codices whose initials are missing omit that biography. If in fact cod.Ro is missing we intend this to mean that the codices of both series, which we have discussed[34], omit the biography. In the appnedix we have published some certain small fragments that are found together in cod.Ro.[35]

Sometimes due to the corrosion of the pages the text of cod.R cannot be read, there more often than not, at some time the mutilated pages of the codex have been covered with other paper in order to preserve them in some way. If the text or its abbreviated form is found in other codices, we take it from there. However if the subject is not to be had, we are compelled to have the text incomplete and to indicate the lacuna with these signs […]. Except for page 650a[36], since the question is mostly about a few words, which do not change the substance of the matter.

Finally, as regards the bibliographical notations. We wish to be known that we have had to supply the main calculations of time generally missing from the text from other historical sources. We have drawn from authors both old and more recent who have described the historical details of the first Friars about which this codex speaks[37]. While our approach may not please everyone, we certainly believe that it will please those who, for the sake of a more accurate and richer knowledge of the things presented, are happy to see bibliographical support in one glance almost.


  1. [Trans] Melchior a Pobladura, Praefatio in Historia Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum 1525-1593. Liber secundus: Biographiae selectae of Bernardino of Colpetrazzo, [Monumenta Historica Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum t.III], Assisi, 1940, p-xix-xxxv
  2. Cf. MHOMC,t.II, p.L; Collectanea Franciscana, 9(1939) p.46 sq.; Theophil Graf, Zur Enstehung des Kapuzinerordens, p.38 sq.
  3. Cf. MHOMC t.II, p.lix. See below p.9.
  4. See below, page 10
  5. Again we refer to the words of Fregando D’Anversa: “From the second book of his Chronicle (Bernardino’s)… there is the means to extract and ample collection of holy examples and salutary exhortations, which illustrate the various stages of the religious life from the first steps of the novice unto the heights of perfection.” Cf. La vita dei primi Frati Minori Cappuccini in Liber Memorialis, p.140
  6. See MHOMC III, p.134,242,263,459,etc.
  7. See MHOMC III, p.196,305,424,425,433, etc.
  8. See MHOMC III, p.235,237,386,408,429,494.
  9. Cf. Boverius,Annales t.I, an,1541, n.xxiii, p.294.
  10. Cf. MHOMC II, p.lxxxvi
  11. Cf. MHOMC III, p.183,212,etc.
  12. Cf. MHOMC II, p.xlvii sq.
  13. “(I say that) whoever wants to hear about such things should read the writings of Rev.Fr. Bernardino of Colpetrazzo who wrote about him (John of Troia) and wrote extensively about other Fathers of ours….That Fr. Bernardino shows very well the great 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.” Cf. Marius a Mercato Saraceno, Relationes, in MHOMC I, p.289 sq.
  14. Cf. MHOMC II, sq.; Disquisitio in Collectanea Franciscana 9(1939) p.46 sq.
  15. Cf. AOC 24(1908) p.26 sq. Letter of Luciano of Brescia to James of Salò.
  16. See the sparse folios in the Provincial Archives of Umbria. Cf. Disquisitio in Collectanea Franciscana 9(1939) p.35.
  17. Fr. Bernardino wrote about him (Eusebius of Ancona) and many others in his manuscript. He knew them all.” Cf. LiArte d’unirsi con Dio del R.P.F. Giovanni da Fano Predicator Capuccino. Ridotto in miglior forma, p.412
  18. Cf. Z. Boverius, Annales t.II, an.1594, n.44, p.539 sq. Cf. Boverius, t.I, an. 1548, n.20, p.402.
  19. Cf. L. Jacobilli, Vite de’ santi e beati dell’Umbria, t.II, p.59, 150, 204, 243, 331.
  20. “They assure us (and we keep the authentic documents of this) that because of the commission he received from our General Fr. Montefiore, that he was one of the authors of the Manuscripts about the origin and development of the Capuchin Congregation and of the Lives of some of the famous men of the Religion itself at that time. Not only did our Annalist do this, but we have also faithfully taken from him very many of the things recorded in this Leggendario.” Gabriele of Modigliana, Leggendario cappuccino, t.II, p.155
  21. Cf. Melchior a Pobladura ofm cap., Disquisitio critica de ita et scriptis P. Bernardini a Colpetrazzo in Collectanea Franciscana 9(1939) p.54-57
  22. [Trans] The word “exemplar” is a generic term for any copy. An “Apographon” is a written version copied directly from the original. The original (which may be an autographon”) is called the “archetypon.”
  23. Cf. MHOMC, t,II, p.L sq.; Disquisitio in Collectanea Franciscana., loc.cit. p.50.
  24. On the other small codices in this mixed codex cf. H.Narducci, Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum prater graecos et orientales in bibliotheca Angelica olim coenobii S. Augustini de Urbe, t.I, p.406, Romae, 1893.
  25. The scribe of the codex of Modigliana read the same thing. Cf. L’Italia Francescana 8(1953) p.476
  26. In fact he reports these things to Mattia of Salò. “I could accommodate you with the History of the life of some of those friars given me by Rev. Fr. Monte Fiore who assured me that it could be safely sent to press since he had approved everything that was written about them when he was General.” Cf. AOC, 22(1906), p.142.
  27. Cf. AOC, 22(1906) p.142.
  28. Cf. MHOMC II,; Collectanea Franciscana, loc.cit., p.47.
  29. [Trans] Sisto of Pisa periodically published the Chronicles of Ruffino of Siena, of which the biographies constitute one part, in L’Italia Francescana, namely, I Frati Minori Cappuccini nel 1° secolo dell’origine (Manoscritto del epoca fin’ora inedito) in L’Italia Francescana, 1(1926) p.33-36,105-118, 233-237,305-312; 2(1927) p.22-27, 107-112, 416-420; 3(1928) p.52-58, 214-219,303-309; 4(1929) p.21-28,114-122,259-265,325-334,428-439,510-517; 5(1930) p.43-47,147-153,226-231,349-355,421-428,542-548; 6(1931) p.29-34,149-155,271-279,382-387,484-490,580-587; 7(1932) p.53-67,175-180. The biographical section begins 7(1932)p.378-387,486-494,617-626; 9(1934)p.57-64,126-137,286-288,379-384,586-591; 10(1935)p.35-43,166-178,260-270,388-394,475-483. See also small selection in I Frati Cappuccini, t.II, p.1372-1428; n.3075-3156. This deals presentation includes some chapters on Matteo di Bascio and Luois Fossombrone and a small number of other details about the beginning of the Reform, and then includes the chapters dealing with the first twenty-two general Chapters. A Capuchin chronicle. Translated and abridged from the original Italian by a Benedicitne monk of Stanbrook Abbey, with an introduction and notes by Father Cuthbert. London, Sheed and Ward, 1931. This selects some chapters from the historical section.
  30. Cf. Gabriel of Cortona, Memorie primitive degli uomini illustri¸ p.42
  31. Cf. MHOMC I, P.lxxxii; t.II, lxxxvi
  32. The biographies of Matthew of Cascia, Albert of Naples, Liberalino of Colle Vallenza and Jerome Rondinelli of Florence are taken from cod.C.
  33. [Trans] In cod.C Matthew of Cascia is found immediately after Matthew of Leonesso. Matthew of Cascia is not found in cod.R. Poabladura has included Matthew of Cascia in this volume, and places him after Matthew of Leonessa, following the order of cod.C. He has used the same method with each of the five biographies added from cod.C. See footnote 32 on page 11.
  34. See page 4 sq., above.
  35. Cf. MHOMC III, p.509 sq.
  36. This refers to p.650a of the codex, in the biography of Bernard of Offida. The editor notes that the meaning is still certain despite the absense of a few words.
  37. The kind reader be indulgent towards us if he does not find the work of Charles of Arenberg taken up in the crticial method. Since his information has been taken from the Annales of Boverius, it seems adequate to us if we refer to these Annales for the individual religious whose historical details our Bernardino presents.