Tommasi, Joseph Maria

, a learned cardinal, son of Julius Tommasio, or Tomrnasi, duke of Palma, was born at Alicata in Sicily, Sept. 14, 1649. Having from his infancy placed himself under the protection of the holy virgin, he assumed in the greater part of his works the name of Joseph Mariacarus .*


But some say Marie Caro was one of the surnames of the dukes of Palma.

The same veneration led him to imitate the virtues of his protectress by taking the vow of chastity, and although the eldest son of an illustrious house, he chose to follow the example of an uncle and four sisters, who had renounced the world and all its honours. He entered the society of the Theatins, and became distinguished by his austere piety and mortifications. He did not neglect human learning however, but applied with | great diligence to the Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic languages, as well as to philosophy and ancient literature, but his favourite study was theology, church history, and especially the history of the offices and liturgies, valuable editions and collections of which he published from time to time. Cardinal Albani, who had a great regard for him, when he became pope appointed him first, qualificator of the holy office, then consultor of the congregation of the rites, and lastly cardinal in May 18, 1712; but this last honour he did not long enjoy, dying Jan. 1, 17 13, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.

In the Vatican and other libraries, Tommasi discovered many manuscripts of importance in ecclesiastical history, and in 1680 published, in 4to, a collection of ms formularies of the Latin and Greek churches in the administration of the sacraments, under the title of “Codices sacramentorum nongentis annis vetustiores,” and to each ms. he prefixed a learned preface. In 1686 he published the “Responsoria & Antipbonaria,” used in ancient times, and particularly in the church of Rome, likewise accompanied with prefaces and curious notes. He then published various missals, psalters, and rubrics of the eastern church, and other liturgical antiquities; and three volumes of “Theological Institutes,” which form a collection of the lesser works of the fathers, and were intended as an introduction to the study of theology. 1

1 Tiraboschi.Niceron, vol. III. Moreti.