Illustrated Catholic Family Annual – Cardinal Baronius

Cardinal BaroniusArticle

Caesar Baronius, the annalist of the Church and worthy successor of Eusebius of Cassarea, surnamed the Father of Church History, was born of an ancient and noble family at Sora, in the kingdom of Naples, on 30 October 1538. In the year 1557 he removed to Rome to study with more advantage, and placed himself under the direction of Saint Philip Neri, who had recently founded the congregation of the Oratory. In 1596 Baronius, whose sanctity was recognized by Catholics and whose learning was acknowledged even by Protestants, became a cardinal and the librarian of the Holy See. On the death of Pope Clement VIII, in 1605, he would have been elected his successor but for the veto interposed by the Spanish government on account of the bold and conscientious stand taken by him in a book which he had written against the pretensions of Spain to certain privileges which were incompatible with the rights of the Holy See in the kingdom of Sicily.

Baronius was a man of great piety, extensive reading, and profound erudition. He labored for thirty years on the Annales Ecclesiastici, but died before he was able to produce more than twelve folio volumes, which bring down the history of the Church to A.D. 1198. He left materials, however, and pointed out the way to continuators, who have slowly but steadily advanced his famous work through each succeeding century almost to our own age. Besides the Annals, by which he is most widely known, Baronius left, either in print or manuscript, eighteen different works, the most celebrated of which is a correct and annotated edition of the Boman martyrology. This great and good man died at Rome on 30 June 1607 and is interred in the church of the Oratorians, called Santa Maria in Vallicella, or the Chiesa Nuova.

MLA Citation

  • “Cardinal Baronius”. Illustrated Catholic Family Annual, 1883. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 January 2017. Web. 21 October 2020. <>