Frascati - Cattedrale di San Pietro
On July 13, 1761, Henry, Cardinal Duke of York (later King Henry IX and I) was enthroned in this cathedral as Bishop of Frascati (in Latin, Tusculum). He remained Bishop of Frascati for the next forty years until September 1803 when he was promoted to the diocese of Ostia and Velletri.
It was here on February 3, 1788, that Henry conducted the funeral rites of his brother King Charles III. Here also Charles was interred until his remains were transferred to the Basilica di San Pietro in the Vatican when Henry died in 1807. It was also in the cathedral that on July 20, 1807, Don Marco Mastrofino preached his famous funeral oration in honour of King Henry.
On the interior side of the facade wall, to the left of the main entrance, is a funerary monument to Charles. The monument is some eleven feet in height and of white marble; it is surmounted by the royal arms in bronze. The Latin inscription reads as follows:
HEIC SITVS EST
whose father [was]
James the Third,
King of England, Scotland, France
[he was] successor and heir
to his father's rights and royal dignity.
At his beloved residence at Rome
[he] was called
Count of Albany.
He lived sixty-six years and one month.
He died in peace
January 31, 1788.
Henry, Cardinal Bishop of Frascati,
to whom his brother's rights and titles fell,
having resumed the title of Duke of York,
in his very grief, love, and respect, obeying
at the funeral appointed for his own church,
with many tears, being present, he performed the obsequies,
for his most august brother
the highest honours of the tomb.
Monument to King Charles III
Holy Year cross
When the body of King Charles III was transferred to the Basilica di San Pietro, his praecordia were left here in a lead urn placed beneath the floor; the word "PRAECORDIA" inscribed in the marble floor marks the spot immediately below the funerary monument. On the urn (not visible) there is an Italian inscription written by the Abbate Felice:
DI CARLO IL FREDDO CUORE,
QUESTA BREVE URNA SERRA -
FIGLIO DEL TERZO GIACOMO,
SIGNOR DELL' INGHILTERRA.
FUORI DEL REGNO PATRIO
A LUI CHI TOMBA DIEDE?
INFIDELTÀ DI POPOLO -
INTEGRITÀ DI FEDE!
This small urn encloses
the cold heart of Charles,
son of the Third James,
Lord of England.
Who gave him a tomb
outside his paternal kingdom?
O the infidelity of his people!
O the integrity of his faith!
The cathedral received many tokens of Henry's affection and episcopal concern. Most of these are still visible today, although several were destroyed by the Allied bombing of Frascati in 1943. 1
On the interior side of the facade wall to the right of the main entrance is a bronze cross which from 1750 until 1775 in the Holy Door of the Basilica di San Pietro in the Vatican. Below the cross is a Latin inscription:
D. O. M.
CRVCEM HANC A BENED. PP. XIV.
EXACTO JUBILAEI ANNO MDCCL
PORTAE AVRAE VATICAN: BASILICAE
HENRICVS EPISC: TVSCVL: S.R.E. CARD.
DVX EBORACEN: ARCHIPRESBYTER
EAMDEM A PIO VI PONT: MAX:
AN: JUBILAEI JAM INCHOATO MDCCLXXV
IV. KAL. MART. INDE SUBLATAM
SUAE CATHEDRALI DONO DEDIT
ET HIC PONI CVRAVIT
To the glory of Almighty God.
This cross, which was affixed
to the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica
by Pope Benedict XIV
at the end of the year of jubilee 1750,
the same [cross] which was removed from there
by Pope Pius VI, February 26th,
at the beginning of the year of jubilee 1775,
Henry, Bishop of Frascati, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church,
Duke of York, Archpriest [of the Vatican Basilica],
gave as a gift to his cathedral
and ordered to be placed here.
The second chapel in the south aisle (the one with an eleventh century crucifix) seems to have been restored by Henry. The column base on the left side of the altar is carved with his coat-of-arms (as Duke of York). The heraldic carving on the column base on the right side of the altar is incomplete; it shows the cardinal's hat and ducal crown but without the actual coat-of-arms. The carvings on the column bases were formerly covered with representations of Henry's coat-of-arms in gold metal; these were stolen during the Allied bombing of Frascati in 1943. 2
On the nave side of the first column separating the nave from the right aisle there are fragments of a tablet which was found in 1964 on the site of the present high altar. The tablet bears a Latin inscription (reconstructed):
ANNIVERSARIAM · DEDICATIONIS · MEMORIAM
ALDERANYS · CARD · CYBO · EPISCOPUS · TUSCULANVS
DIE · IV · MAII · ANNO · MDCLXXXI
CATHEDRALI · TEMPLO · SOLEMNITER · CONSECRATO
QVOTANNIS · RECOLLENDAM · STATUIT
HENRICVS · CARDINALIS · EPISCOPUS
DVX · EBORACENSIS · S · R · E · VICE-CANCELLARIUS
SPECIALI · OB · ID · FACULTATE · IMPETRATA
AD · MAIOREM · POPULI · FREQVENTAM
PRIMA · POST · S · CRUCIS · INVENTIONEM · DOMINICA
IN · PERPETVVM · CELEBRANDAM
ANNO · MDCCLXIX ·
Arms of King Henry IX and I in side chapel
Fragmentary nave inscription
In the Cappella della Santissima (Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament) to the left of the high altar is a tabernacle given to the Cathedral by Henry. The tabernacle, the work of the Roman goldsmith Nicola Cartoni, is shaped like a small temple with a dome supported by six small alabaster columns. It is decorated in gilded copper with sculpted designs of lions of England and lilies of France The door is also of gilded copper and shows Jesus rising from the tomb. 3 On the altar of the chapel are two bronze candlesticks the bases of which are decorated in gilt with Henry's coat-of-arms (as Duke of York); these two candlesticks are part of a set of six.
Blessed Sacrament Chapel
Candlestick with arms of King Henry IX and I
The Sacristy contains several reminders of Henry; the entrance is at the end of the right aisle. On the left wall of the Sacristy (as one enters) there is an oval portrait of Henry with a biretta in his right hand and a document in his left; a ducal crown sits on the table behind him. The portrait has been ascribed to Thaddeus Kuntze. 4 To the right of the portrait is a Latin inscription:
Portrait of King Henry IX and I
On the central wall of the Sacristy (directly across from the entrance door) is a marble lavabo (wash basin) which Henry obtained for the cathdral from Don Paolo Borghese, Prince Aldorandini. 5 Above the lavabo in the centre are Henry's coat-of-arms (as Duke of York); to the left are the coat-of-arms of the Prince Aldobrandini (the arms of the Borghese family and the Aldobrandini family); to the right are the coat-of-arms of the Commune of Frascati. Above the coat-of-arms is a Latin inscription:
ET MVNDO CORDE
Innocent in hands
and pure in heart.
Below the coat-of-arms is the date "MDCCLXIX" (1769). The water for the fountain was transported at the expense of the Commune of Frascati. 6
Also in the Sacristy (presumably) are a number of vestments given by Henry to the cathedral; all of these are made of cloth of gold or silk, and are embroidered in gold thread with Henry's coat-of-arms. Among these vestments are a red cope, a red chasuble and dalmatic, and a white chasuble. 7 The red and white chasbules were given by Henry to the cathedral, July 19, 1761, the date of his solemn entrance into the diocese and enthronement as bishop of Frascati; they had been given to Henry by Pope Clement XIII three years previously in 1758 to commemorate Henry's consecration as a bishop.
Henry made several other gifts to the Cathedral: 8 a portable silver tabernacle made by Mattia Pirolli and two silver statues, one of Saint Peter and the other of Saint Paul, made by the German silver-smith Giuseppe Agricola.
Lavabo with arms of King Henry IX and I
Chasuble with arms of King Henry IX and I
1 For an extensive list of Henry's gifts to the cathedral, see Leonello Razza, La Basilica Cattedrale di Frascati (Frascati: Associazione Tuscolana "Amici di Frascati", 1979): 146-164. A briefer list can be found in a pamphlet available in the cathedral (in 2001): there is an Italian version ("Cattedrale di Frascati: Il Cardinale Enrico Benedetto Stuart, Duca di York") and an English version ("Frascati Cathedral: The Cardinal Henry Benedict, Duke of York"). Among the items destroyed in the 1943 bombing were a large sanctuary lamp and a paschal candle stick. The sanctuary lamp formerly hung from the central arch in front of the high altar; it was of gold and measured 2.5 metres in diameter. The paschal candle stick was made of bronze and stood 1.5 metres high; it was decorated in gilt with Henry's coat-of-arms. Henry paid 100 scudi for the paschal candle stick in 1782. Cf. Razza 154-155.
2 Razza, 150.
3 Razza, 150. The marble base below the tabernacle bears the coat-of-arms of another cardinal bishop of Frascati.
4 Razza, 147.
5 Razza, 150. Don Paolo Borghese (1733-1792) was the second son of Don Camillo Antonio Borghese, Prince Borghese and 4th Prince of Sulmona. Don Paolo inherited the title of Prince Aldobrandini through his great-grandmother, Donna Olimpia Aldobrandini, the last of that family.
6 The archives of the cathedral include several relevant documents including a resolution of the Cathedral Chapter dated May 21, 1769, and a document of the notary Grilli dated June 12, 1769.
7 Razza, 152 and 148. In May 2001 I tried unsuccessfully to see the vestments.
8 Razza, 149-152 and 148.
Image 1 (Facade): "San Pietro Apostolo, Cattedrale di Frascati" [pamphlet] (Rome: Rotary Club Roma-Castelli Romana, n.d.).
Image 2 (Monument to King Charles III): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 3 (Holy Year cross): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 4 (Arms of King Henry IX and I in side chapel): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 5 (Fragmentary nave inscription): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 6 (Blessed Sacrament Chapel): "Cattedrale di Frascati: Il Cardinale Enrico Benedetto Stuart, Duca di York" [pamphlet].
Image 7 (Candlestick with arms of King Henry IX and I): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 8 (Portrait of King Henry IX and I): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 9 (Sacristy inscription): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 10 (Lavabo with arms of King Henry IX and I): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 11 (Chasuble with arms of King Henry IX and I): "Cattedrale di Frascati: Il Cardinale Enrico Benedetto Stuart, Duca di York" [pamphlet].