The Augustinian General Chapter held at Perugia in 1482 decreed that every graduate within the Order of Saint Augustine should be given a copy of Massari’s Defensorium Ordinis ("A Defence of the Order"). With the recent advent of early printing presses, Massari’s document was produced as a printed pamphlet; here was the latest technology being brought to bear.
Ambrose Massari da Cori stated in his book, Chronica
, in 1482 that the fresco had been carried by angels to the now-famous Augustinian shrine at Genazzano
, near Rome, from Scutari in Albania, which is now known to be incorrect.
Ambrose was Procurator General (Treasurer) of the Order of Saint Augustine from 1470 to 1475, and then Prior General from 1476 until 1485. He developed close relationships with three successive popes, and particularly so with the third one of them, Sixtus IV (pope from 1471 to 1484), who chose Massari as his confessor and had paid for renovations at the Augustinian Church of Santa Maria del Popolo
Massari’s interaction with the fourth pope in his experience, however, was going to be dramatically different. On the vague accusation that he had spoken in a slighting manner against the pope, in February 1485 Massari was imprisoned without charge and in isolation in the Castel Sant’Angelo.
Broken in spirit after a month there, he was then returned to the Augustinian Curia under house arrest and, thus imprisoned in his own convento, died there on 17th May 1485, only two months later.
In as much the protest against the Church by Girolamo Savanarola O.P. in Florence was a sign of troubles ahead, it can be mentioned here because of the Augustinian opposition to him. As he began his preaching in Florence in 1483, people instead flocked to the Augustinian Church of Santo Spirito to enjoy the elegant Rennaissance rhetoric of Mariano da Genazzano O.S.A..
Mariano became the Augustinian Prior General in 1497, and died in office in 1498 - the same year as Savonarola's life ended. rhetoric of Mariano became the Augustinian in 1497, and died in office in 1498 - the same year as Savonarola's life ended. rhetoric of Mariano became the Augustinian in 1497, and died in office in 1498 - the same year as Savonarola's life ended. to enjoy the elegant rhetoric of Mariano became the Augustinian in 1497, and died in office in 1498 - the same year as Savonarola's life ended.
Two particular popes of the fifteenth century showed marked favour towards the Order of St Augustine: Eugene IV (1431-1447), and Sixtus IV (1471-1484).
Occasionally the mistaken claim has been repeated that Pope Eugene IV was actually a member of the Augustinian Order. Even the great historian of the papacy, Ludwig von Pastor (1854-1928), regarded this as a fact, but none of the reliable historians of the Order has ever done so.
(Continued on the next page.)