Antonio Pancera

The son of Andrea of Davide, Antonio was born at Portogruaro around the year 1360 from a family belonging to the town lower middle-class. Nothing is known about his first education, but his presence in the Studium of Padua is documented in August 1379: here he had the chance to frequent the cardinal Bonaventura Badoer, former prior of the Hermits, who gave him access to the Curia of Urban VI. In Rome he took service with cardinal Pietro Tomacelli, who was to be elected pope in 1389 with the name of Boniface IX. His career in the curia had a remarkable development in 1392 upon his appointment to the see of Concordia; in 1402, following to Antonio Caetani’s waiver, he was appointed patriarch of Aquileia. Since then his personal history had been interlaced with the dramatic events that upset the life of the Church and the last period of the Aquileian ecclesiastical principality. The new patriarch’s concern was the nobility’s division into philo-imperial and philo-Venetian parties, as well as pressures of foreign powers and a heavy financial situation that had a great impact on the whole of his ruling activity. He was also involved in the tragedy of the schism that opposed the church of Roman observance to the church of Avignon observance, which brought also the cities of Friuli and the entire patriarchate one against the other. The resulting situation, unbearable both on the political and the religious level, eventually persuaded all the involved parties of the need to remove Pancera, who was no longer able to hold the reins of the government in his hands. On 5 June 1411 John XXIII, followed to Alexander V, announced Pancera’s appointment to cardinal. The imposition of the cardinal hat with the title of St. Susanna, on 6 April 1412, concluded Antonio Pancera’s patriarchy. For the two subsequent decades he was still, but no longer with a main role, in the court retinue of pope John XXIII, and then of Martin V and Eugene IV. He took part in the Council of Constance (1414-18), where he gave his contribution to John XXIII’s dismissal and to the election of his successor who put an end to the schism of the Church. After coming back to Rome in 1420, he took up his residence at St. Biagio della Pagnotta, a Roman monastery along the Tiber bank, not far away from St. John of the Florentines he had received in commendam by Martin V. He died in Rome on 3 July 1431, a few months later Eugene IV had assigned him the title of bishop of Tuscolo.

For further information see the entries: Pancera Antonio, patriarca d’Aquileia written by Dieter Girgensohn in Nuovo Liruti. Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 1, Il Medioevo, edited by C. Scalon, Udine, Forum, 2006, 628-641, and Pancera, Antonio, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 80 (2014), written by Cesare Scalon.

Leave a Comment