Philip Benizi

(c. 1233—1285)

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Servite friar. Born at Florence, he was educated at the universities of Paris and Padua, where he took doctorates in medicine and philosophy. Philip joined the principal house at Monte Senario as a lay brother and worked in the garden from 1255 for three years, when his talents came to light on a journey to Siena through his able contribution to a theological discussion. He was soon ordained priest, became novice-master at Siena, and later the secretary of the prior general. The latter resigned office in 1267; Philip was elected in his place. He codified the rules and constitutions which were approved in 1268 and made visitations of his order in Italy, France, and Germany. In 1274 he took part in the Council of Lyons. He was also skilled in peacemaking and in reconciling sinners to the Church. He sent the first Servite missionaries to the land of the Tartars and was the virtual founder of the Servite nuns. He died at the general chapter of his order at Florence, exhorting his brethren to mutual patience and love. Once he was considered a serious candidate for the papacy. He was canonized in 1671. Feast: 22 August.

AA.SS. Aug. IV (1739), 655–719; P. Soulieur, Vie de S. Philippe Benizi (2nd edn., 1926, Eng. tr. 1886); B.L.S., viii. 220–1.

Subjects: Christianity — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).

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