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William Estouteville - 01

St Augustine : S. Agostino Church Rome Italy
S. Agostino Church

In 1446, the year that Nicholas of Tolentine O.S.A. was officially declared a saint by the church, Pope Eugene IV gave the Order of Saint Augustine its most influential cardinal protector since their first one, Cardinal Richard Annibaldi.
The new appointee was Cardinal Guillaume (William) d'Estouteville (1403-1483). He remained the cardinal protector for twenty-seven years, from 1446 until his death in 1483.
He was a relative of the royal family of France. Immensely rich and powerful because of his family, he was to come within one vote of winning the papacy in 1458.
He had entered religion as a Benedictine monk.
Made a cardinal by Pope Eugene IV about the year 1437, he was commissioned by Pope Nicholas V in 1451-1453 to mediate between France and England, and to obtain from King Charles VII, who was the King of France from 1422 to 1461, certain modifications of the Pragmatic Sanction.
He was the Archbishop of Rouen, France from 1453 until his death in 1483.
Simultaneously for much of that time he was also the bishop of five other dioceses in France and Italy (including that of Ostia, near Rome).
In Rome he was the papal camerlengo (chamberlain) from 1477 until 1483.
Estouteville won acclaim in France for revising the statutes of the University of Paris in 1452.
In June, 1455, under the orders of Pope Calixtus, he led the commission that conducted the procès de réhabilitation (process of rehabilitating the reputation) of Joan of Arc.
Joan had been tried at a court in Rouen in the year 1430, and was burnt at the stake on 30th May 1431 at the age of eighteen years, i.e., only twenty-four years later.
One of the central witnesses in this process was the Augustinian, Jean (John) Pasquerel O.S.A., her confessor, who proclaimed that she was a holy woman and a saint, and not a witch or a heretic.
Another outstanding member of the Augustinian Order that Estouteville came to know was Alexander Oliva of Sassoferrato O.S.A. (1407 - 1463), the Prior General whom Pope Pius II made a cardinal on 5th March 1460. (A biography of Sassoferrato appears on the internet: click here and then scroll down to the fourth entry.)
As well, he knew a number of other holders of the office of Prior General in the Order of Saint Augustine, including Ambrose Massari da Cori O.S.A..
His immense financial wealth allowed Estouteville to undertake the construction of the manor house for his family at Gaillon, the two towers of the cathedral of Rouen, the archbishop's palace in Rouen, the archbishop's house at Pontoise, and the church of the iconic Abbey of Mount Sant Michel.
In Italy he built in 1466 a new Augustinian convento at Cori near Latina (Lazio, Italy), in 1483 a new Church of Santa Aurea in Ostia, and some churches in Rome - including the Church of Saint Augustine.
Also in 1483 he donated 183 volumes to the monastery (convento) of Sant'Agostino in Rome. This library later became the famed Biblioteca Angelica, the Augustinian library in Rome that can claim to be the first public library in Europe.
He may also have been responsible for another 130 codices, which had been donated to the Angelica by his secretary, John Baroncelli.
(Continued on the next page.)

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