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Scipione Rebiba (3 February 1504 – 23 July 1577) was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church, a protégé of Gian Pietro Carafa, who became Pope Paul IV. He held a variety of positions in the Church hierarchy, including some of the most senior. He introduced the Inquisition to Naples in the 1550s and became a cardinal in 1555.

Scipione Rebiba
Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina
Card REBIBA.jpg
Appointed5 May 1574
Term ended23 July 1577
PredecessorGiovanni Ricci
SuccessorGiacomo Savelli
Consecration14 May 1541
Created cardinal20 December 1555
Personal details
Birth nameScipione Rebiba
Born3 February 1504
San Marco d’Alunzio
Died23 July 1577(1577-07-23) (aged 73)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Chieti (1541 – 1551)
  • Titular Bishop of Amyclae (1541 – 1551)
  • Bishop of Mottola (1551 – 1556)
  • Cardinal-Priest of S. Pudenziana (1556 – 1565)
  • Archbishop of Pisa (1556 – 1560)
  • Archbishop of Troia (1560)
  • Cardinal-Priest of S. Anastasia (1565 – 1566)
  • Titular Patriarch of Constantinople (1565 – 1573)
  • Cardinal-Priest of S. Angelo in Pescheria (1566 – 1570)
  • Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere (1570 – 1573)
  • Cardinal-Bishop of Albano (1573 – 1574)
Coat of armsScipione Rebiba's coat of arms


Ordination history of
Scipione Rebiba
Episcopal consecration
Date14 May 1541
Elevated byPope Marcellus II
Date20 December 1555
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Scipione Rebiba as principal consecrator
Giulio Antonio Santorio12 March 1566
Tiberio Carafa26 May 1566
Francesco Rusticucci21 September 1566
Archangelo de' Bianchi21 September 1566
Egidio Valenti28 October 1566
Carlo Carafa1 June 1567
Marco Landi14 September 1567
Umberto Locati25 April 1568
Gonzalo Herrera Olivares25 July 1568
Paul Burali d’Arezzo1 August 1568
Organtino Scaroli16 April 1569
Gregorio Cruz16 April 1569
Cesare Ferrante16 April 1569
Eustachio Locatelli29 April 1569
Giovanni Aldobrandini8 December 1569
Vincenzo Ercolano8 January 1570
Donato Stampa8 January 1570
Aurelio Griani19 November 1570
Giovanni Domenico Rebiba19 November 1570
Maurice MacBrien7 October 1571
Vincenzo de Doncelli7 October 1571
Pietro Cancellieri7 October 1571
Cornelio Firmano21 February 1574
Seal of Cardinal Scipione Rebiba, ca. 1556.

Scipione Rebiba was born on 3 February 1504 in the village of San Marco d'Alunzio, in Sicily. He studied in Palermo and enjoyed a benefice in the Church of S. Maria dei Miracoli.[1]

On 16 March 1641, on the recommendation of Bishop Gian Pietro Carafa, Pope Paul III appointed him titular Bishop of Amyclae so he could serve as Carafa's auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Chieti.

On 22 February 1549, Pope Paul III named Carafa Archbishop of Naples, but Emperor Charles V prevented him from taking possession of that see until July 1551. Carafa, who was active in Rome as one of the six cardinals of the Roman Inquisition (1542-1555), appointed Rebiba as his vicar to administer the diocese on his behalf. Rebiba was also promoted from auxiliary and on 12 October 1551 made Bishop of Motula,[2] a see in the Kingdom of Naples. With the full support of the head of the Inquisition in Rome, Rebiba introduced the Roman Inquisition into Naples and was granted the office of Commissary of the Roman Inquisition.[3]

Carafa was elected pope on 23 May 1555 and named Rebiba Governor of Rome on 5 July.[4] He served only a few months, until the next consistory for the elevation of cardinals on 20 December, where he was made a cardinal.[5][a]

In 13 April 1556, Paul IV appointed Rebiba Archbishop of Pisa and Rebiba took possession of that see on 29 April 1556.[5]

In 1557, Cardinal Giovanni Morone was arrested and imprisoned on orders of Paul IV. He was charged with heresy and dealing with Lutherans. Paul IV appointed Rebiba to a committee of five cardinals to examine Morone. They found Morone innocent,[8] but Pope Paul issued a bull rejecting the committee's findings[9] and Morone was kept in prison until, after the pope's death in 1559, the College of Cardinals ordered his release.[10][11]

In 1559, the newly elected Pope Pius IV authorized the arrest of persons accused of various crimes during the administration of Paul IV, including his predecessor's nephew Cardinal Carlo Carafa and Rebiba, who were imprisoned in Castel San Angelo. Rebiba was eventually released, Carafa was strangled on the order of Pius IV on 4 March 1561.[12]

In 1565 he was given the title Patriarch of Constantinople, which he held until 1573.[13]

On 7 October 1566, Rebiba opted to accept the rank of Cardinal Priest and chose as his titular church the Church of S. Angelo in Pescheria,[14][b]

Rebiba participated in the conclave of 1565-1566 that followed the death of Pius IV and elected Cardinal Michael Ghislieri as Pope Pius V.[16] He also voted in the conclave of 1572, which followed the death of Pius V and elected Pope Gregory XIII.[17]

Rebiba was appointed Bishop of Albano on 8 April 1573 and Bishop of Sabina in 1574.[18]

Rebiba died in Rome on 23 July 1577 and was interred in the Church of S. Silvestro on the Quirinal. At the time of his death he was Prefect of the Office of the Holy Inquisition.[19] His memorial monument describes him as "Inquisitor into heretical depravity, a most fierce fighter for the orthodox faith".[20]


  1. ^ He was initially assigned the Church of S. Pudenziana as his titular church which he held until 7 February 1565, when he was translated to the Church of S. Anastasia.[6][7] The assignment of titular churches was significant for the prestige of a particular church as well as the income made available to the title holder.
  2. ^ Since the church had the rank of a deaconry, it was temporarily raised to the rank of a titular church for a cardinal priest. His relationship with that church lasted until 3 July 1570, when he opted for the title of Santa Maria in Trastevere.[15]


  1. ^ Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie de' Cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, IV (Roma 1793), p. 347.
  2. ^ G. Gulik and C. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica editio altera (curavit J. Schmitz-Kallenberg) (Monasterii 1935), 251.
  3. ^ H. C. Lea, The Inquisition in its Spanish Dependencies (New York 1922), p. 78.
  4. ^ Niccolò del Re, Monsignor Governatore di Roma (Roma: Istituto di studi Romani 1972), 60, 84-85.
  5. ^ a b Salvador Miranda (2010). "The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church". Florida International University. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  6. ^ G. Gulik and C. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica editio altera (curavit J. Schmitz-Kallenberg) (Monasterii 1935), 35 and 69.
  7. ^ Cardinal Title--S. Anastasia (GCatholic)
  8. ^ Cesare Cantù, "Il Cardinale Giovanni Morone," Illustri Italiani Volume II (Milano: Brigola 1873), 421-442.
  9. ^ Cantu, 440-442.
  10. ^ F. Sforza-Pallavicino, Istoria del Concilio di Trento, Book 14, chapter 10.
  11. ^ Sede Vacante and Conclave of 18 August--26 December, 1559 (J. P. Adams)
  12. ^ Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 56 (Venezia 1852), p.265. George Duruy, Le Cardinal Carlo Carafa (1519-1561): Étude sur le Pontificat de Paul IV (Paris 1882), pp. 304, 308-314. Francesco Sforza Pallavicino, Relazione della morte del Card.e D. Carlo Caraffa nipote di Papa Paolo Quarto strangolato in Castel S. Angelo p(er) ordine di Papa Pio Quarto, descritta dal Card.e Pallavicino (ms. Vat. Lat. 8665) [Vincenzo Forcella, Catalogo dei manoscritti relativi alla storia di Roma I (Roma 1879), p. 242 no. 677]
  13. ^ L. de Mas Latrie (1895). "Patriarches Latins de Constantinople". Revue de l'Orient Latin (in French). 3: 453. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  14. ^ Cardinal Elio Sgreccia (20 November 2010). "Cardinal Deaconry-S. Angelo in Pescheria". GCatholic. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  15. ^ Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra (19 November 2016). "Cardinal title-S. Maria in Trastevere". GCatholic. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  16. ^ Prof. John P. Adams. "Sede Vacante and Conclave of 9 December, 1565-7 January, 1566 (J. P. Adams)". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  17. ^ Prof. John P. Adams. "Sede Vacante and Conclave of 1 May-14 May, 1572 (J. P. Adams)". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  18. ^ David M. Cheney. "Scipione Cardinal Rebiba [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  19. ^ Gulik-Eubel, p. 38 n. 4.
  20. ^ Vincenzo Forcella, Inscrizioni delle chiesa di Roma IV (Roma 1874), p. 42 no. 98. Photo and transcript of Rebiba's tombstone.
Additional sources

Basilio Rinaudo and Salvatore Miracola, Il cardinale Scipione Rebiba (1504–1577). Vita e azione pastorale di un vescovo riformatore, L'Ascesa, Patti 2007. ISBN 978-88-903039-0-6.

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