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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 21.03.2001]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


PIOVANELLI Card. Silvano




Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, Archbishop emeritus of Florence, was born on 21 February 1924 in Ronta di Mugello (Florence). He studied at the seminary in Florence from 1935 to1947, the year in which he was ordained a priest (13 July 1947).

He then served as a curate to Don Giulio Facibeni, the founder of the work of Divine Providence ‘Madonnina del Grappa’. During his stay at Rifredi as a young priest, shortly after the war, he was faced with the serious problems of a vast and complex parochial community in the industrial outskirts of Florence, which was developing and structured around 2 large factories.

In October 1948, he was called to serve as vice-rector of the minor seminary. Then in 1960, he was parish priest at Castelfiorentino, a large town in the outskirts of the archdiocese on the border with Volterra and Siena. This town had a long history of vigorous, strongly idealistic political commitment and, following the war, violent tension and anti-clericalism provoked deep wounds in the social and religious fabric. Following the efforts of the Bishop of Pescia, Giovanni Bianchi, who created a basis for a respectful and fruitful collaboration, he was able to make the ecclesiastic community aware of assuming its responsibility and founded the first parochial pastoral council which not only dealt with specific pastoral problems but also with those administrative.

In 1979, Cardinal Giovanni Benelli, Archbishop of Florence, called Msgr. Piovanelli to the archdiocesan curia to serve as pro-vicar and vicar general. On 28 May 1982 he was elected titular Bishop of Tubuni di Mauritania and Auxiliary of Florence.

Following the unexpected death of Cardinal Benelli, in the autumn of 1982, on 18 March 1983 John Paul II nominated him Archbishop of Florence.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 25 May 1985. Titular church St. Mary of Graces (Trionfale).

Archbishop emeritus of Florence, 21 March 2001.

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