Angelo De Donatis

Angelo De Donatis (born 4 January 1954) is an Italian Catholic prelate who currently serves as Cardinal Vicar (officially Vicar General of His Holiness), Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.

Angelo De Donatis
Vicar General of His Holiness
Archpriest of St. John Lateran Basilica
ChurchLatin Church
Appointed26 May 2017
Installed29 June 2017
PredecessorAgostino Vallini
Other posts
Ordination12 April 1980
by Antonio Rosario Mennonna
Consecration9 November 2015
by Pope Francis
Created cardinal28 June 2018
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Birth nameAngelo De Donatis
Born (1954-01-04) 4 January 1954 (age 66)
Casarano, Lecce, Apulia, Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
MottoLatin: Nihil caritate dulcius
(Nothing is sweeter than love)
Coat of armsAngelo De Donatis's coat of arms
Ordination history of
Angelo De Donatis
Priestly ordination
Ordained byAntonio Rosario Mennonna
Date12 April 1980
PlaceChurch of San Domenico, Casarano
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorPope Francis
Co-consecratorsAgostino Vallini, Beniamino Stella
Date9 November 2015
PlaceArchbasilica of St. John Lateran, Rome
Elevated byPope Francis
Date28 June 2018
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Angelo De Donatis as principal consecrator
Giacomo Morandi30 September 2017
Paolo Riccardi13 January 2018
Daniele Libanori13 January 2018
Gianpiero Palmieri24 June 2018

He was the first person since the 16th century to be appointed Vicar General of Rome while not a cardinal;[2] he was an archbishop when appointed and became a cardinal thirteen months later. Prior to his appointment as Cardinal Vicar, De Donatis was an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rome.

In the spring of 2020, he was hospitalized in Rome for eleven days after testing positive for COVID-19.


Angelo De Donatis was born on 4 January 1954 in Casarano, a comune in the Province of Lecce and the Italian region of Apulia. He was educated at the seminary of Taranto and the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary. While in Rome, he studied philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in moral theology.[3]

Priestly ministryEdit

On 12 April 1980, De Donatis was ordained a priest in the Church of San Domenico in Casarano in the Diocese of Nardò-Gallipoli by Bishop Antonio Rosario Mennonna. He then taught religion at the Church of San Saturnino in Rome, of which he later became vicar. He was incardinated in the Diocese of Rome on 28 November 1983.[3]

From 1989 to 1991, De Donatis was the archivist of the Secretary of the Sacred College of Cardinals.[4] He became the spiritual director of the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary, where he served until 2003, when he was appointed a parish priest at the Basilica of San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio in Rome[5] and an assistant for the National Association of Relatives of Clergy.[6] He also served as the director of the clergy of the Vicariate of Rome from 1990 to 1996. He then became a member of the pastoral council and the college of consultors of the Diocese of Rome.[4]

De Donatis was admitted as a knight to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 1989. On 10 April 1990, he was appointed a Chaplain of His Holiness, receiving the title of monsignor.[7] In 2017 he was a spiritual assistant to the Don Andrea Santoro Association, which marks the anniversary of the assassination in Turkey in 2006 of Andrea Santoro, an Italian priest and seminary classmate of De Donatis.[8] De Donatis has maintained a connection with his hometown by leading spiritual exercises annually during the summer at the Crypt of the Crucifix in Casarano.[9]

He was among seven Roman priests chosen by Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu to eat lunch with Pope Francis after the Chrism Mass in 2013, just two weeks after the Pope's election.[10] In October 2013, Pope Francis, who had met De Donatis only once at that lunch, chose him to preach the 2014 Lenten spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia, an assignment that for fifty years had been given to a cardinal or well-known theologian.[10][3]

Episcopal ministryEdit

Styles of
Angelo De Donatis
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
De Donatis (left) with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (center) and Msgr. Enrico Feroci (right) at Caritas Roma in 2017[11]

De Donatis was appointed by Pope Francis on 14 September 2015 the Titular Bishop of Mottola and an Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, where he was responsible for the training of the clergy.[12] He was consecrated a bishop in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on 9 November 2015, the feast date of the dedication of the basilica. Pope Francis acted as his principal consecrator, while Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Vicar General of Rome, and Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, acted as co-consecrators. Among the other concelebrants were five auxiliary bishops of Rome. Assisting were Msgr. Luciano Pascucci, director of the Clerical Office of the Roman Vicariate, and Fr. Antonio Schito, pastor of De Donatis' hometown parish of San Domenico in Casarano. Upon being made a bishop, De Donatis adopted his coat of arms with the episcopal motto "nihil caritate dulcius", a phrase taken from Saint Ambrose, which translates from the Latin as "nothing is sweeter than love."[13]

On 29 April 2016, De Donatis was appointed the rector of the Church of San Sebastiano al Palatino in Rome. On 6 June of that year, he oversaw the jubilee of priests during the Extraordinary Jubilee of 2016 in the Diocese of Rome and was involved in the organization of the jubilee activities in the Diocese of Trapani. He also led the Confessio Vitae during the jubilee year in the Archdiocese of Milan.[14]

In September 2016, De Donatis published Nulla è più dolce dell'amore (Nothing is Sweeter than Love), a collection of twenty reflections on the various forms of mercy as interpreted through the Bible.[15]

On 26 May 2017, having accepted the resignation of Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Pope Francis appointed De Donatis the Vicar General of Rome and Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran,[16] elevating him as well to the rank of archbishop.[17][18][4] The Vicar General serves as de facto bishop of Rome on behalf of the pope. De Donatis is the first person since the sixteenth century to be named Vicar General when not a cardinal.[2][a] As Vicar General he serves ex officio as Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University.[23] At the same time, he was made the apostolic administrator of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Ostia.[24]


On 20 May 2018, Pope Francis announced he would make De Donatis a cardinal at the next consistory.[25] At the consistory on 28 June 2018, he was named the cardinal protector of San Marco,[26] the same church where he served as a parish priest fifteen years earlier.

De Donatis was the apostolic administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Italy from 11 July 2019[27] to 24 October 2020.[28]

After testing positive for COVID-19, De Donatis entered the Agostino Gemelli University Policlinic with a fever on 30 March 2020; he had not been in physical contact with Pope Francis or visited the Vatican recently.[29] He was released on 10 April and continued to recuperate at home.[30]

Coat of armsEdit

Angelo De Donatis' coat of arms
As an archbishop
As a bishop


Tierced inverted pall: in the first, red division of the field is contained a winged lion with a halo, with the head front-facing, while crouching and holding with its front legs in front of its chest a golden book bearing in black, capital letters PAX TIBI MARCE in four rows on the first side, and EVANGELISTA MEUS in four rows on the second side. In the second blue division on the right-hand side is a charge of a silver umbraculum. In the third, silver division is a branch with an open pomegranate. A gothic patriarchal cross is behind the shield and a galero, signifying De Donatis' archiepiscopal status.[31]

Before being appointed the Vicar General of Rome, De Donatis' coat of arms as auxiliary bishop was divided into red and silver fields, without the umbraculum on the blue field.[32]

Episcopal mottoEdit

The words of De Donatis' Latin episcopal motto, nihil caritate dulcius ("nothing is sweeter than love" in English), are taken from St. Ambrose's De officiis ministrorum (in English: On the Duties of the Clergy): "Be among you the peace that surpasses all feeling. Love one another. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing more pleasing than peace."[32]


The lion of St. Mark the Evangelist, chosen in honor of the saint to whom is dedicated the parish he led before being appointed a bishop, stands on red, which is the color of love and blood. The umbraculum, the symbol of the Bishop of Rome, over a blue background, representing the detachment from earthly values and the ascent of the soul to God. At the bottom is a pomegranate, the symbol of the Passion of Christ, on a background of silver, which symbolizes the purity of the Virgin Mary to whom De Donatis entrusts his episcopal ministry.[32]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ In 1558 Pope Paul IV decreed that the Vicar General of Rome is always a cardinal or is made a cardinal soon after being appointed.[19] De Donatis was not created a cardinal at the consistory that followed the announcement of his appointment as Vicar by a month, and Vatican observers disagreed as to whether he would be made a cardinal at the next consistory. A source close to Pope Francis said: "Tout comme le pape a créé cardinal un évêque auxiliaire qui continuera à l'être, cela correspond bien à la volonté de François de bien séparer, d'un côté, le rôle pastoral de l'évêque et, de l'autre, la charge cardinalice au service de l'Église universelle." ["Just as the pope made an auxiliary bishop a cardinal while remaining an auxiliary, that suits his desire to distinguish the bishop's pastoral role on the one hand from a cardinal's responsibility for service to the universal church."][20] Other reports predicted De Donatis would be made a cardinal: "A decree instituted by Pope Paul IV in 1558 also holds that the Vicar of Rome must be a cardinal. Since Pope Francis has already named him as an archbishop, it's likely Donatis could be added to the list of 5 prelates who will get a red hat during the June 28 consistory."[21][22]


  1. ^ "Rinunce e nomine" (in Italian). Holy See. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017. elevandolo in pari tempo alla dignità arcivescovile
  2. ^ a b "Francis appoints "pastor" as new vicar of Rome". Crux. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Conclusione Degli Ezercizi Spirituali del Santo Padre e Della Curia Romana" [Conclusion of the Spiritual Exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia]. Vatican Press (in Italian). 14 March 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Resignations and Appointments, 26.05.2017". Vatican Press. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  5. ^ "La Parrocchia, Presbiterio, S. E. Mons. Angelo De Donatis" [Parish Presbytery: Mons. Angelo De Donatis]. Parish of the Basilica of San Marco Evangelista (in Italian). Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Nomine. Angelo De Donatis vescovo ausiliare di Roma" [Appointments: Angelo De Donatis Auxiliary Bishop of Rome]. Avvenire (in Italian). 14 September 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Persona: S.E. Mons. Angelo DE DONATIS" [Person: Mgr. Angelo de Donatis]. Diocese of Rome: Vicariate of Rome (in Italian). Archived from the original on 9 July 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  8. ^ Passantino, Filippo (6 February 2017). "Don Andrea Santoro, maestro della "pace di Dio"" [Don Andrea Santoro, master of the "peace of God"]. RomaSette (in Italian). Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Programmi ANNUALI 2015/2016" [Annual Program 2015/2016]. Cripta Crocefisso. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  10. ^ a b Tornielli, Andrea (22 October 2013). "Il parroco che predica gli esercizi al Papa" [The Parish Priest who Preaches the Spiritual Exercises to the Pope]. La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Roma, la visita del premier Gentiloni alla cittadinella della Caritas" [Rome, the visit of Prime Minister Gentiloni to the Citizen of Caritas]. La Republica Roma. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Papa nomina mons. De Donatis nuovo ausiliare di Roma" [Pope Appoints Mons. De Donatis New Auxiliary of Rome]. Vatican Radio (in Italian). 14 September 2015. Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Il Papa ordinerà vescovo monsignor De Donatis". Roma Sette (in Italian). 6 November 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Scola: "Giubileo sacerdotale, un momentoo di testimonianza per tutto il nostro popolo"" [Scoa: "Priestly jubilee, a moment of witness to all our people"]. Jubilee of Mercy from the Diocese of Milan (in Italian). 11 April 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2017.[dead link]
  15. ^ "Nulla è più dolce dell'amore [De Donatis]" [Nothing is Sweeter than Love (De Donatis)]. Paoline Press Office (in Italian). 6 September 2016. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  16. ^ Harris, Elise (26 May 2017). "Pope taps Bishop Angelo de Donatis as new Vicar of Rome". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  17. ^ Zema, Angelo (26 May 2017). "Monsignor De Donatis nuovo vicario di Roma" [Monsignor De Donatis New Vicar of Rome]. RomaSette (in Italian). Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Vicario di Roma, il Papa sceglie monsignor Angelo De Donatis" [Vicar of Rome, the Pope chose Monsignor Angelo De Donatis]. Vatican Insider (in Italian). 26 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  19. ^ Tornielli, Andrea (27 May 2017). "Nuovo Vicario generale del Papa. Un anno e mezzo fa era parroco" [New Vicar General of the Pope. A year and a half ago he was a pastor]. La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  20. ^ Senèze, Nicolas (26 May 2017). "Mgr Angelo De Donatis nouveau vicaire du pape pour le diocèse de Rome". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  21. ^ Harris, Elise (26 May 2017). "Pope taps Bishop Angelo de Donatis as new Vicar of Rome". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  22. ^ Tornielli, Andrea (27 May 2017). "Nuovo Vicario generale del Papa. Un anno e mezzo fa era parroco". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 3 June 2017. Il Vicario di Roma è sempre stato creato cardinale (se non lo era già, come nel caso di Vallini)
  23. ^ "Pope Francis names Archbishop Angelo De Donatis as Vicar for the Diocese of Rome". The Tablet. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  24. ^ Miranda, Salvador (13 November 2019). "Biographical Dictionary: Pope Francis (2013-): Consistory of June 28, 2018 (V)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University Libraries. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  25. ^ Tornielli, Andrea (20 May 2018). "Concistoro a giugno, ecco i nuovi cardinali di Francesco" (in Italian). La Stampa. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Concistoro Ordinario Pubblico: Assegnazione dei Titoli, 28.06.2018" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Pope creates Apostolic Exarchy for Ukrainians in Italy". Vatican News. 11 July 2019. Archived from the original on 12 July 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 24.10.2020" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 24 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  29. ^ Lamb, Christopher (31 March 2020). "Rome cardinal tests positive for Covid-19". The Tablet. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  30. ^ "De Donatis dimesso dal Gemelli". Roma Sette (in Italian). 10 April 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  31. ^ "Mons. Angelo De Donatis, nuovo Vicario Generale di Sua Santità per la Diocesi di Roma" [Monsignor Angelo De Donatis, new Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome]. Church of Saint Joseph of Carpenters (in Italian). Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  32. ^ a b c "Descrizione dello stemma episcopale di S.E.R. Mons. Angelo De Donatis" (PDF). Parish of the Basilica of St. Mark the Evangelist. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Dionisio Lachovicz
as Apostolic Visitor
Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Italy
Succeeded by
Dionisio Lachovicz
as Apostolic Exarch
Preceded by
Marco Cé
Cardinal Protector of San Marco
Preceded by
Agostino Vallini
Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome
Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University
Apostolic Administrator of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Ostia
Preceded by
as Bishop of Mottola
Archbishop of Mottola
Succeeded by
Gianfranco Gallone
Preceded by
Bernard Joseph McLaughlin
Bishop of Mottola
Succeeded by
as Archbishop of Mottola
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Rome
Succeeded by