Prospero Santacroce

Prospero Pubblicola Santacroce (24 September 1514 – 2 October 1589) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.

Prospero Santacroce


Santacroce was born in Rome on September 24, 1514, the son of Tarquinio Santacroce and Ersilia de' Massimi.[1] He was the uncle of Cardinal Antonio Santacroce.[1]

He received a doctorate from the University of Padua.[1] He then returned to Rome, becoming a consistorial lawyer in 1537.[1] In 1538, he became the auditor of Fabio Mignanelli, who was then nuncio before Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.[1] He later became a referendary of the Apostolic Signatura.[1] In 1543, he became an auditor of the Roman Rota. The next year he was an auditor of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who was then papal legate a latere in the Holy Roman Empire.[1] He accompanied the cardinal to the Diet of Worms in May 1545.[1]

On March 22, 1548, he was elected Bishop of Cisamus.[1] From April 5, 1548 until April 25, 1550, he was nuncio before Ferdinand, King of the Romans; during this time, he participated in the Diet of Prague, where he argued with the Hussites.[1] He was nuncio to the Kingdom of France from July 15, 1552 until May 23, 1554.[1] He became governor of Bologna on April 2, 1560.[1] He was nuncio extraordinary in Spain in 1560, and nuncio to the Kingdom of Portugal July 6, 1560 until May 10, 1561.[1] During his time in Portugal, he became the first European to cultivate tobacco for the purpose of tobacco smoking; as a result, tobacco's original name in the Italian language was erba Santacroce.[1] From 1561 to 1565, he was again nuncio to the Kingdom of France.[1]

Pope Pius IV made him a cardinal priest in the consistory of March 12, 1565.[1] He did not, however, participate in the papal conclave of 1565-66 that elected Pope Pius V.[1] He received the red hat and the titular church of Saint Jerome of the Croats on February 8, 1566.[1]

On June 17, 1566, he became administrator of the Diocese of Arles, while retaining the government of Cisamus. He opted for the titular church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri on April 12, 1570.[1] He participated in the papal conclave of 1572 that elected Pope Gregory XIII.[1] He resigned the government of Cisamus sometime before December 10, 1572 and of Arles sometime before March 15, 1574.[1] On May 5, 1574, he opted for the titular church of Sant'Adriano al Foro (a deaconry raised to the status of title pro illa vice).[1] He was Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals from January 9, 1581 to January 8, 1582.[1] On March 4, 1583, he opted for the titular church of San Clemente.[1] He was a participant in the papal conclave of 1585 that elected Pope Sixtus V.[1] On March 2, 1589, he opted for the order of cardinal bishops, receiving the suburbicarian see of Albano.[1]

He died in Rome on October 2, 1589.[1] He was buried in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.[1] His remains were later transferred to Santa Maria in Publicolis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Miranda, Salvador. "SANTACROCE, Prospero (1514-1589)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University. OCLC 53276621.