THE AUGUSTINIANS AND THE RENAISSANCE (3)
Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A.
Many decades later another Renaissance figure at Santo Spirito was Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A. (1450 - 1498). At the famed university in Padua, one of his teachers was an English Augustinian, Thomas Penketh O.S.A..
He became famous (or infamous in the eyes of some people) for becoming a very public opponent of Girolamo Savonarola O.P. (1452 – 1498).
On one occasion in the pulpit, Mariano da Genazzano was scathing and highly vilifying of Savonarola in a manner that was inexcusable.
Savonarola, a Dominican friar, was briefly a great influence on the religious and civic affairs of Florence.
He was just as quickly executed when his activity ran foul – rightly or wrongly - of both Church and State.
This was a very public confrontation between a member of the Order of Preachers - a Dominican – and a member of the Order of Saint Augustine – an Augustinian.
A similar public confrontation involved these same two mendicant orders again about twenty years later.
It involved Johann Tetzel O.P. (1465 – 1519), the preacher of indulgences and Martin Luther O.S.A., the professor of theology and a leader in the Augustinian Observance movement.
In 1517 Tetzel was preaching indulgences at Jüterbog, a small town outside of Saxony, not far from Wittenberg, where the indulgences were not allowed to be preached.
In protest, Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on 31st October 1517.
(Augnet has pages on Martin Luther. To go to them, click here.)
Like later in the instance of Tetzel and Luther, the battlefield chosen in Florence for this confrontation was the pulpit.
Some of the effort of Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A. to bring Savonarola into public disfavour in Florence was not the work of God but the command of Lorenzo de’Medici, the embattled ruler of Florence.
This matter of the preaching of Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A. is raised here only for the purpose of illustrating that the Order of Saint Augustine had the patronage of the powerful and wealthy in Florence.
It accepted the support of public figures who were not known for maintaining the highest moral and ethical standards.
(This is not to suggest that other religious orders did not have similar assistance.)
Lorenzo de’Medici liked to discuss theology with and to attend the preaching of Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A., who presumably was not going to discomfort his patron with too pointed a message of social justice, or on the Christian obligations of rulers and princes.
As a sign of his favour to Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A., Lorenzo de’Medici build the Augustinian monastery at San Gallo.
It was situated just outside a gate (the Porta San Gallo) in the city wall of Florence.
Its location proved its downfall in the following century, when the monastery was demolished during the siege of Florence in 1529-1530.
(For the separate page on Augnet about Luigi Marsigli O.S.A., click here.)
(Continued on the next page.)