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ALEXANDER

295

ALEXANDER

Pope, in whom she found a generous friend and benefactor. He assisted the Venetians in combating the Turks who had gained a foothold in Crete, and obtained in return the restoration of the Jesuits, exiled from Venice since 1606. (See Sarpi, Venice, Jesuits.)

The inimical relations between Spain and Portugal occasioned by the latter's establishment of independence (1640) were a source of grave trials for Alexander, as for other popes before and after him. Alexander VII did much to beautify Rome. Houses were levelled to make way for straighter streets and broad piazzas, the Collegio Romano. The decorations of the church of Sta. Maria del Popolo, titular church of more than one of the Chigi cardinals, the Scala Regia, the Chair of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica, and the great colonnade before that edifice bespeak alike the genius of Bernini and the munificence of his papal patron. He was also a patron of learning, modernized the Roman University, known as Sapienza, and enriched it with a magnificent library. He also made extensive additions to the Vatican Library. His tomb by Bernini is one of the most beautiful monuments in St. Peter's.

The public documents of Alexander VII are found in Bullar. Rom. (ed. Turin, 1869), XVI–XVII; Pallavicino, Vita di Alessandro VII (Prato, 1859, 2 vols); Muratori, Annali d'Italia (Milan, 1820), XVI, 14–75; Bargrave, Pope Alexander VII and the College of Cardinals, a contemporary account (ed. Westminster. 1867); Ranke, The Popes of Rome, their Church and State (ed. Edinburgh. 1847), II, 190 sq., 502 sq.; Von Reumont, Fabia Chigi in Deutschland (Aix-la-Chapelle, 1885); Le Conclave d'Alexandre VII, a conclavist's record (Cologne, 1667); Revue des questions historiques, July, 1871. A lengthy study of the numerous propositions condemned by Alexander VII is found in Vacant, Dict. de théol. cath. (Paris, 1903), I, 729–747; Denzinger, Enchiridion symb. et defin. (9th ed., Freiburg, 1900), 252–258.

Alexander VIII, Pope (Pietro Ottoboni), b. at Venice, April, 1610; elected 5 October, 1689; d. at Rome, 1 February, 1691. He was the son of Marco Ottoboni, chancellor of the Republic of Venice, and a descendant of a noble family of that city.

The future pope enjoyed all that wealth and social position could contribute towards a perfect education. His early studies were made with marked brilliancy at the University of Padua (q. v.), where, in 1627, he secured the doctorate in canon and civil law. He went to Rome, during the pontificate of Urban VIII (1623–44), and was made governor of Terni, Rieti, and Spoleto. For fourteen years he served as auditor of the Rota (q. v.). At the request of the Republic this favoured son was made Cardinal by Innocent X (19 February, 1652), and was later given the Bishopric of Brescia, in Venetian territory, where he quietly spent the best years of middle life. Clement IX made him Cardinal-Datary. He was already an octogenarian when elected to the papacy, and lived but sixteen months, during which time little of importance was done. Louis XIV of France whose political situation was now critical, profited by the peaceful dispositions of the new Pope, restored to him Avignon, and renounced the long-abused right of asylum for the French Embassy. (See Alexander VII.) But the king's conciliatory spirit did not dissuade the resolute Pope from declaring (4 August, 1690) that the Declaration of Gallican Liberties (q. v.), drawn up in 1682, was null and invalid. He assisted his native Venice by generous subsidies in the war against the Turks, and he purchased for the Vatican library the books and manuscripts owned by Queen Christina of Sweden. He condemned the doctrine of a number of variously erroneous propositions, among them (24 August, 1690) the doctrine of "philosophical sin" (see Sin); cf. Denzinger, "Enchiridion Symb. et Defin." (9th ed., Freiburg, 1900), 274–278; and Vacant "Dict. de théol. cath." (Paris, 1903), I, 748–763. Alexander was an upright man, generous, peace-loving, and indulgent. Out of compassion for the poor of well-nigh impoverished Italy, he sought to succour them by reducing the taxes. But this same generous nature led him to bestow on his relations the riches they were eager to accumulate; in their behalf, and to the discredit of his pontificate, he revived sinecure offices which had been suppressed by his predecessor.

For the public documents of his pontificate see Bullarium Romanium (Turin, 1870), XX; Muratori, Annali d'Italia (Milan. 1820), XVI. 200–216; Von Ranke, The Popes of Rome, etc. (ed. Edinburgh, 1847), II, 278 sq., 525 sq.; Gerin, Le Pape Alexandre VIII et Louis XIV d'aprés des documents inédite (Paris, 1878); Bargrave (cited under Alexander VII), chapter on Cardinal Ottoboni.

Alexander, Saint, who died in chains after cruel torments in the persecution of Decius, was first Bishop of Cappadocia, and was afterwards associated as coadjutor with the Bishop of Jerusalem, who was then 116 years old. This association came about as follows: Alexander had been imprisoned for his faith in the time of Alexander Severus and on being released came to Jerusalem, where he was compelled by the aged bishop to remain, and assist him in the government of that see. This arrangement, however, was entered into with the consent of all the bishops of Palestine. It was Alexander who permitted Origen, although only a layman, to speak in the churches. For this concession he was taken to task, but he defended himself by examples of other permissions of the same kind given to to Origen himself elsewhere, although then quite young. Butler says that they had studied together in the great Christian school of Alexandria. Alexander ordained him a priest. Especial praise is given to Alexander for the library he built at Jerusalem. Finally, in spite of his years, he, with several other bishops, was carried off a prisoner to Cæsarea, and as the historians say, "the glory of his white hairs and great sanctity formed a double crown for him in captivity". He suffered many tortures, but survived them all. When the wild beasts were brought to devour him, some licked his feet, and others their impress on the sand of the arena. Worn out by his sufferings ho died in prison. This was in the year 251. His feast is kept by the Latins on 18 March, by the Greeks, 22 December.

Acta Sanctorum, II, March; Butler, 18 March.

Alexander, Saint, known as "The charcoal burner," was Bishop of Comana, in Pontus,