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Gregorio Giovanni Gaspare Barbarigo

(Venice, 16.10.1625 – Padua, 18.6.1697)

Gregorio Barbarigo’s father, senator of the Venetian Republic, was an incredibly religious man and personally took care of his son’s philosophical and mathematical education, later enriched with the study of Latin, Greek and music.
He learnt other languages thanks to numerous trips as a young man to Münster, Hamburg, The Hague, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Leiden.

Fabio Chigi, future Pope Alexander VII, launched his ecclesiastic career and became his spiritual guide. He was advised to start by studying law at university. Barbarigo enrolled with the University of Padova and attended lectures by Giacomo Sala, Paolo Dotto, Scipione Gonemi and the Dominican theologian Girolamo Ercolani. He graduated on 23rd September 1655 and, three months later, he became a priest. Less than two years later, he had already become bishop of Bergamo and, in 1664, he moved back to Padua and went on to become a cardinal.

In the academic world, his name pops up again in the story of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, as he prevented her from graduating in theology despite the approval of the theologian and jurist Felice Rotondi. Thanks to Carlo Rinaldini’s intervention, who was a professor at the university and taught Cornaro, Barbarigo allowed her to obtain a degree in philosophy in June 1678.

His work to reorganise the Seminar was important as it involved development both for the facilities (including a printer able to print Greek, Arabic and Hebrew letters and an enriched library) and for teaching activities, so much so that oriental languages were inserted into training courses for missionaries.

On 3rd July 1723 the process was begun for his beatification, which was concluded on 26th May 1960 when Pope John XXIII declared him a saint.