After the death of his parents, he entered the Augustinian Order in 1507.
He was aged fourteen years at the time, which was the standard age - although the minimum legally allowed - for joining a religious order in that era.
It was at his reception (ceremony of entry) to the Order that he first met Giles of Viterbo O.S.A.,
who soon afterwards in May 1507 was elected Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine.
(For the special page on Augnet about the connections between Seripando and Giles of Viterbo, click here
There he added the study of Greek and Hebrew to that of philosophy and theology. Soon after being called to Rome by the Prior General of the Augustinian Order, Seripando was appointed lecturer at Siena
in 1515, and professor of theology at Bologna in 1517.
In 1523 the Augustinian Prior General, Gabriel della Volta, placed him in charge of the Augustinian observant congregation
of San Giovanni a Carbonara at Naples, "which was threatened by ruin." This was the same observant congregation that Seripando had joined at its convento
at Viterbo in 1507.
In the following fifteen years Seripando reformed the congregation, showing signs of the talent he would use again on a larger scale after the Protestant Reformation
. In 1532 he became the Vicar General of the Order in 1532, performed the task with great credit for two years.
He won such reputation for his discourses in the principal cities of Italy that the Emperor Charles V often made it a point to be present at his sermons. Seripando became so noted for his excellent preaching that in 1536 Nicholas of Bodadilla S.J., a companion of St Ignatius of Loyola, listed Seripando as one of the best five priests then preaching in Italy.
Bodadilla said that Seripando was "one of the principal reformers of Christian preaching, with appropriate use of the bible and the spirit of the fathers of the Church."
Seripando's anonymous dialogues Cicero relegatus
and Cicero revocatus
give a clear picture of Seripando in relationship to Italian humanism
. These were published in Venice in 1534 and were first used by the long-respected historian of Italian literature, Jerome Tiraboschi (1731 – 1794). Among the speakers who alternate in the dialogues is Seripando, who represents a moderate Ciceronian. Seripando took Cicero as the model for his style, and often relied upon Cicero in questions of ethics or religious philosophy.
In his notable biography of Seripando, Fr Hubert Jedin (1900 – 1980) has showed not only an intelligent understanding of this remarkable figure of Italian humanism, but also a thorough knowledge of the sources, - including both printed books and manuscripts. The two-volume work presents not only a complete description of the life of Seripando but also an exhaustive study of the spiritual elements present in his personality.
Jedin gives a comprehensive vision of Augustinian theology at tire time, and a complete examination of Seripando's writings, both those already printed and those awaiting editing. With the same care the author unfolds the many activities of Seripando: his efforts at order reform; his pastoral activity as Archbishop of Sarerno; and his historic and memorable participation at the Council of Trent (1545 - 1563) as a theologian and finally as Cardinal-legate.
(Continued on the next page.)