Giovanni Stefano Donghi

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Giovanni Stefano Donghi
Cardinal galero with fiocchi.svg
ChurchSan Giorgio in Velabro (1643-1655)
Sant'Agata dei Goti
Created cardinal13 July 1643
by Pope Urban VIII
Personal details
Died26 November 1669
BuriedIl Gesù, Roma
ParentsBartolomeo Donghi
Giacoma Bernardi
Occupationcourtier, judge, diplomat
Alma materSalamanca

Giovanni Stefano Donghi (1608 – 26 November 1669)[1] was an Italian Catholic cardinal.

Early life[edit]

Donghi was born in Genoa in 1608, the son of Bartolomeo Donghi and Giacoma Bernardi. After completing his undergraduate work in the Humanities and Philosophy,[2] he began his university studies at the University of Bologna and completed them with a degree from the University of Salamanca.[3]

Ecclesiastic career[edit]

Throughout the 1630s, Donghi was employed in a number of administrative positions in Rome including referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace. On 15 June 1635 he was appointed Protonotary Apostolic de numero participantium and Cleric of the Apostolic Camera (Treasury).[4] He rose to the post of President of the Apostolic Chamber.[5]

In 1643 he acted as commissary-resident for the three legations held by Cardinal Antonio Barberini over regions in which he did not reside - effectively operating as the cardinal's representative in those regions when the cardinal was not there. He was also sent by the pope as legate to Lombardy during the First War of Castro to reach a peace agreement with the Dukes of Parma after the pope renounced the peace agreement negotiated by Cardinal Bernardino Spada.[6] He was then named Protonotary Apostolic at the Datary.[7]


Donghi was created a cardinal-deacon by Pope Urban VIII in the consistory of 13 July 1643, and assigned the Deaconry of San Giorgio in Velabro on 31 August 1644.[8] Urban died a year later, on 29 July 1644, and Donghi was one of the fifty-seven cardinals[9] who participated in the papal conclave of 1644. The Conclave opened on 9 August, and resulted in the election of Pope Innocent X on 15 September 1644.[10] Donghi was openly a part of the Spanish faction of the College of Cardinals.[11][6]

Thereafter he was named plenipotentiary of Pope Innocent during the Second War of Castro,[when?]} returned to Lombardy and helped to reach a treaty with the Duchy of Parma. He and Cardinal Alessandro Bichi signed the Peace on 31 March 1644.

On 3 July 1651 Cardinal Donghi was named Legatus in the Romandiola and the Exarchate of Ravenna by Pope Innocent X.[12] An inscription in Ravenna, dated 1654, commemorates Donghi's providing supplies of grain to the city during a famine.[13] He was elected Bishop of Ajaccio, Corsica, on 27 November 1251.[14]

Pope Innocent X died on 7 January 1655. The Conclave to elect his successor opened on 18 January. Donghi was one of sixty-six cardinals who participated in the Conclave of 1655. On 7 April, after much twisting and turning over the candidacies of Cardinals Sacchetti, Carafa and Chigi, the Cardinals elected Fabio Chigi, who chose the throne name Pope Alexander VII.[15]

On 14 May 1655 Cardinal Donghi was transferred from the Deaconry of San Giorgio in Velabro to the Deaconry of S. Agata.[16]

On 2 August 1655 Donghi was appointed bishop of Imola.[17][18] In Imola he conducted a pastoral visitation throughout his diocese, and then, in 1659, held a diocesan synod. He also received Queen Christina of Sweden as she was on her way to Rome.[19]

On 26 February 1663, Cardinal Donghi was released from his commitment to Imola, and appointed bishop of Ferrara; he held the diocese until his death.[20]

Pope Alexander died on 22 May 1667. The Conclave to elect his successor began on 2 June. Ultimately sixty-four of the sixty-eight cardinals participated, including Giovanni Stefano Donghi. The likely candidates seemed to be Cardinal Girolamo Farnese (the French supported him, and the Cardinal nephew Chigi was favorable), Scipione d'Elci (the preference of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, to whom Chigi was also favorable), and Giulio Rospigliosi. On 20 June the Conclave elected Giulio Rospigliosi, who became Pope Clement IX.[21]

On 12 March 1668, Cardinal Rinaldo d'Este accepted promotion to the rank of Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana, which automatically made Cardinal Donghi the senior Cardinal-Deacon in the Sacred College (Protodeacon).

Cardinal Giovanni Stefano Donghi died on 26 November 1669[22] and was buried in the Chapel of the Madonna at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.[23] There is no monument or inscription.


  1. ^ S. Miranda - Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church: Giovanni Stefano Donghi
  2. ^ Georgio Viviano Buonaccorsi (1751). Antichità ... del Protonotariato Appostolico partecipante, colle più scelte notizie de'Santi, Sommi Pontefici ... che ne sono stati insigniti, etc (in Italian). Faenza. p. 426.
  3. ^ Cardella, p. 44.
  4. ^ Buonaccorsi, p. 426.
  5. ^ Alfonso Chacon (O.P.) (1677). Agostino Olduin, ed. Vitae et res gestae Pontificum romanorum et S.R.E. Cardinalium: ab initio nascentis ecclesiae vsque ad Clementem IX P.O.M. (in Latin). Tomus Quartus. Roma: cura et sumptib. Philippi et Ant. De Rubeis. pp. 632–633. The President of the Apostolic Camera is the fifth-highest dignitary in that office, after the Cardinal Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church (Camerlengo), the Governor of Rome, the Treasurer-General of the Holy Roman Church, and the Auditor of the Camera Apostolica.
  6. ^ a b Pope Alexander the Seventh and the College of Cardinals by John Bargrave, edited by James Craigie Robertson (reprint; 2009)
  7. ^ Buonaccorsi, p. 426.
  8. ^ Gauchat, p. 26, 52.
  9. ^ Gauchat, p. 27, note 2.
  10. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1644, retrieved: 2016-11-19.
  11. ^ Gregorio Leti (1652). Pierre Scévole de Sainte-Marthe, ed. La Juste balance des cardinaux vivans (in French). Paris: E. Pépingué. pp. 212–213.[unreliable source?]
  12. ^ Gauchat, p. 26, note 1.
  13. ^ Chacon [Ciaconius], IV, p. 633.
  14. ^ Gauchat, p. 68.
  15. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1655, retrieved: 2016-11-20.
  16. ^ Gauchat, p. 51, with note 4, where it is pointed out that the notion that he was transferred to S. Maria in Cosmedin is incorrect.
  17. ^ Gauchat, p. 209.
  18. ^ Catholic Hierarchy: Giovanni Stefano Cardinal Donghi
  19. ^ Cardella, p. 45.
  20. ^ Gauchat, p. 186.
  21. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1667, retrieved: 2016-11-20.
  22. ^ Gauchat, p. 26, note 2.
  23. ^ Buonaccorsi, p. 427.