Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Malta's First Cardinal

The first Maltese Cardinal - Fabrizio Sceberras Testaferrata (1757-1843) - was born in Valletta. He was Titular Archbishop of Berytus (1802), Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland (1803) and Secretary of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars (1815).

Sceberras Testaferrata was created Cardinal in pectore in 1816 and elevated to Cardinal-Priest of St. Pudenziana two years later. Subsequently he was Bishop of Senigallia until his death.

The first conclave at which Cardinal Sceberras Testaferrrata took part was that of September 1823, which elected Pope Leo XII as Supreme Pontiff. This was followed by the conclave of March 1829 which elected Pope Pius VIII. The Maltese cardinal's last conclave, which elected Pope Gregory XVI, was also his longest, (December 1830 - February 1831).

By this time, Cardinal Sceberras Testaferrata was among the most senior in the College of Cardinals. He was never absent from a conclave.