Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : A Journal of Maltese History. 7(1978)3(237-257)

[p.237] Girolamo Manduca: His Life and Works*

Vincent Borg

            Although the Society of Jesus established itself in Malta with the foundation of the Collegium Melitense in 1592, [1] the Jesuits had been frequently visiting the island since the 1570s. [2] These early contacts, apart from pastoral work especially among members of the Order of St John, brought beneficial results for the Jesuits themselves, as they began to recruit Maltese young men for their Religious Order. One of the very first, if not the first, was Girolamo Manduca. [3]

            Girolamo was the first-born child of Dr. Gio. Paolo Manduca JUD and Catherina Xerri, both of whom belonged to highly distinguished families in sixteenth century Notabile. [4] He was born on 19 November 1573. [5] Before Girolamo’s birth and during his childhood, his family must have suffered some serious slight to its reputation. Three of its members had been denounced in front of the Inquisitor’s Tribunal. They were accused of direct involvement in the Lutheran movement that tried to infiltrate among the more prominent strata of Notabile’s society. These were Dr. Nicola alias Coletta Xerri JUD, [6] uncle to Girolamo’s mother, his own grandfather Judge Francesco Xerri [7] and his own uncle Antonio Manduca. The last one was condemned as a formal heretic in 1580 and, though he managed to escape from Malta in due time, his effigy was handed over to the civil authority to carry out the sentence normally accorded to heretics, while his property was confiscated. [8]

           Dr. Gio. P. Manduca planned that at least his two eldest sons, Girolamo and Angelo, were to proceed abroad to follow his own footsteps by graduating in both Laws. This was clearly specified in his last will dated 1589. [9] This same document implies that Manduca was already a keen admirer of the Jesuits. It stipulated special provisions whereby the University of Notabile could eventually seek the erection of a Jesuit College in the same city. [10]

            On 10 June 1590, Girolamo joined the Society of Jesus, when he was not yet 17 years old. [11] It is quite probable that he completed his novitiate as well as his studies including Philosophy in Sicily, since he belonged to the Sicilian Province of the Society of Jesus. [12] In 1597, he was back in Malta, [p.238] teaching the Humanities class at Valletta. [13] He was present at his father’s death which took place in 1599. [14] The following year, his mother made a generous bequest to the Collegium Melitense consisting of a field known as TaBendet in the limits of Tal-Craiten. [15]

           In 1601, Girolamo was transferred to the Collegium Romanum to study Theology. [16] At that time, he was the only Maltese Jesuit residing and studying in that renowned institution and quite probably the first Maltese to be admitted there. [17] After his ordination to the priesthood, following the completion of a four-year course in Theology as well as his third year of Jesuit formation, he returned to Malta where he resided from 1606 till 1610. [18]

           In 1609, Manduca wrote to the Father General of the Society of Jesus offering his services for missionary activity in eastern lands. But a polite letter brought him a negative reply. Physical strength was direly needed for the burdensome work involved in the pastoral duties of missionary life. Something which Manduca seemed to lack. [19] Two years later, he stated in a letter to the same superior that he had been vomiting blood once more, whereupon he was seriously cautioned to be more careful in the kind of activities he dared to undertake. [20]

            His first assignment away from his island home reached him in 1610. During that year, he was at the college of Messina carrying out the duties of Father Minister, the first administrative task of his lifetime. [21] Two years later, he had left Messina and was at Reggio Calabria. [22] Some unforeseen misfortune harassed his widowed mother in 1613, following the death of her brother-in-law. [23] This situation necessitated Manduca’s return to Malta. The Father General himself thought it wise to intervene with influential persons on her behalf. [24]

            At this stage in his life Manduca began to harbour plans to join the Roman Province of his Order, instead of returning to Sicily. But his Provincial was informed from Rome that there was no suitable work for Girolamo in that Province. [25] From 1616 till the beginning of 1618, he was once more at Messina. [26] Here he had fears that he was on the verge of being appointed rector of some college. He deemed himself unsuitable for such an office and wrote speedily to the Father General stating his reasons against such an assignment. Although his superiors appreciated the validity of his objections, nevertheless he was encouraged to be ready to do whatever might be required of him. [27] At Messina Manduca was mainly engaged in pastoral activity, hearing confessions either at the college church or at the ‘ Casa Professa.’ He was also in charge of the spiritual welfare of the communities of both Jesuit houses. [28]

            During the early months of 1618, he was appointed Vice-Rector of the Jesuit College at Mineo. His stay there was quite a short one and it had an abrupt and unpleasant end. Late in 1618, he was involved in serious trouble with a fellow Jesuit, Fr Platamone. This incident took place when Manduca [p.239] was due to succeed to the office occupied till then by Platamone. The stir that ensued caused such a serious scandal within the community and the whole Province that the Father General deemed it necessary to chastise both individuals for their misconduct. [29] After this episode, Manduca was never again allotted the onerous duty of governing fellow Jesuits or administering any Jesuit institution.

            Girolamo was again recalled to Malta by his mother. She was facing serious trouble as an outcome of a lawsuit. [30] Father General granted him permission to proceed to Malta, where he stayed all through 1619. His presence here, however, achieved almost nothing except for some form of agreement arrived at with some of his relatives. [31]

            On his return to Sicily, he took up residence at Noto where, apart from hearing confessions, he was appointed to teach Moral Theology and to act as Counsellor. [32] Apart from these duties, he began now to manifest keen interest in literary and scientific activities. In fact, during 1622, he informed the Father General that he was planning to write a book. This is the first reference to his literary activity in his correspondence with his superiors in Rome. [33]

            Although at Noto Girolamo had recovered from an indisposition that had been troubling him for some time, he was not at ease in that city and sought to be given residence somewhere else, preferably in Rome itself. At first he received a negative reply, and was still at Noto during summer 1623. [34] Permission was finally granted him to move to a college outside Rome but within the Roman Province, as there was no post available for him in the city itself. [35]

            Sometime after October 1623 he started his journey towards his long cherished destination. [36] His new residence was at Loreto, where he stayed throughout 1624. [37] He again requested to be transferred to a college in Rome. On 12 October 1624, he was informed that he was at liberty to choose any college within the Roman Province excluding those in Rome itself. Otherwise he could spend a month in the city during the following Holy Year, but afterwards he had to proceed immediately to the Sicilian Province. [38]

            This decision must have been changed shortly afterwards, for he was allowed to stay in Rome for a longer period of time. In fact, in 1625, no letters were addressed to him at Loreto or elsewhere from the Father General’s office. This implies that he was then in Rome. Moreover, on his departure from Rome to Sicily in October 1625, it was clearly specified that he had been teaching at the Maronite college in Rome. [39] Obviously, such teaching would have involved more than a month’s stay.

            His activity among the Maronites marked the fulfilment of a plan that had been in the offing some years before. In 1619, the Sicilian Provincial was informed that the Maronite college badly needed the presence of a Jesuit who could speak Arabic. A Maltese Jesuit would have been a most suitable person [p.240] for such an assignment and Honoratus Pace was earmarked for this work. Due care had to be taken so that Fr Pace would dedicate his time to the study of Arabic under the tutorship of Fr Pietro Metoscita and thus prepare himself for his work among the Maronites in Rome. [40] Manduca preceded Pace in this activity and he was the first Maltese Jesuit to dedicate himself to teaching and pastoral care among the Maronite community. When Manduca’s stay in Rome was nearing its end, the General insisted that Fr Pace had to leave the Sicilian Province to continue the work already begun. He was to teach Arabic, confess the Maronites and, at the same time, learn Chaldean. [41] Fr Pace reached Rome some months after Manduca’s departure, in April 1626. [42]

            Manduca’s work with the Maronites may have provided further proof of the aptitude of the Maltese to learn, speak and teach Arabic and hence help in pastoral work among Arabic-speaking peoples. In fact, on 18 December 1625 the General advised the Sicilian Provincial to be more lenient in receiving Maltese youths within the ranks of the Society, once they had all the necessary qualifications. He had, however, to require one specific condition. They had to learn to read and write Arabic before joining the Jesuits. [43]

            While in Rome Manduca certainly came in contact with fellow Jesuits who were deeply involved in literary and scientific activities. He may have helped them in the compilation of their works, while he himself had ample opportunities to elaborate his aptitudes in the field of intellectual achievement and research. [44]

            Messina once more received Manduca on his return from Rome. He stayed at the Casa Professa carrying out the duties of confessor, while he lectured also on Moral Theology and Sacred Scripture. [45] In 1628, news of his mother’s death reached him and the possibility of sharing in her inheritance began to have a hold on him. [46] But Father General ruled out any such pretentions. [47] In the meantime, his brother, Angelo Manduca, found himself entangled in juridical matters resulting from certain pious burdens imposed on his parents’ landed property. [48] He sought to have Girolamo at his side. [49] After some hesitation, permission to leave Sicily was granted. His departure was considered to be a blessing in disguise, as he had been involved in a jurisdictional controversy with the city authorities which could have had serious repercussions detrimental to the Jesuits’ peaceful residence in that city. [50]

            Although this visit should have been a short one, it lasted more than eight months, namely from February till September 1629. Nor does it seem that he achieved any favourable results for his brother. [51]

            Messina was no longer a suitable place for him. Syracuse was chosen as his new residence. He stayed there till the end of 1639. His main activities had a pastoral outlook, though his literary output was far from lagging behind. [52] After a year’s stay at Syracuse, the Roman hills began once more to lure him away from the melodious charms of the Arethusan fountain! A formal petition was forwarded to the General. But it was impossible to accede to his request. The number of religious livings in Rome could in no way be increased, [p.241] while a substitute in Syracuse could not be easily found. [53] Manduca had to shelve his plans for Roman lodgings, and dedicate his attention to literary activity within the limited cultural milieu where he was living.

            His family affairs again disturbed his literary and pastoral work. His brother’s lawsuit was dragging too long and the Collegium Melitense itself was involved in it. [54] Angelo needed Girolamo’s help. After various attempts to avoid a fourth visit to Malta, [55] the General finally gave his consent. Towards the end of September or the beginning of October 1635, Manduca was in Malta. This was to be his last stay in the island. [56]

            During this visit Girolamo did not limit himself exclusively to his brother’s problems. He dedicated his attention to matters pertaining to the Jesuit community in Malta. It seems that he insisted on the building of certain structures within the college itself contrary to the wish of the community. This unsolicited interference stirred up quite a resentful commotion. A short letter to the Sicilian Provincial from Rome ordered Manduca’s immediate removal from Malta. [57] In May 1636, he was back in his Syracusan quarters, [58] never again to return to his island home notwithstanding various efforts by himself and others on his behalf. [59]

            The burden of old age and his frail constitution did not prevent him from pursuing his literary activity. His brother’s problems harassed Girolamo till the end of his life. It seems that in 1640 Angelo was even imprisoned for some time. [60] All these circumstances may have left a deep mark on his ailing physique. [61] In 1639, he was even planning to proceed to Rome, perhaps to intercede there on behalf of his brother. So keen was Girolamo in undertaking this trip, that he was quite reluctant to wait for the necessary authorisation from the General. This unapproved departure would have caused a serious blemish to his reputation especially at his age. [62]

            In 1640 he moved his residence from Syracuse to Noto. [63] Here again he longed to be allowed to revisit Rome. His last letters to the General must have harped continually on this cherished wish. The answer he received was a scornful rebuke. “Our tailor, by now, should have given you the dress that befits your age... .” [64] Manduca was then nearing his seventies.

            After a two-year stay at Noto, he returned to Syracuse. [65] The writer of his necrology states that in his old age, Manduca had begun to suffer apoplectic disorders which finally caused his death. He died at the Jesuit college of Syracuse on 28 July 1643. [66]

            Two short accounts of his life give us further details about Girolamo Manduca. One of these accounts was written immediately after his death and sent to the General’s office, while the other was written some time afterwards by a fellow Jesuit from Trapani, Fr Giacomo Riela. The necrology sent to Rome extols Manduca’s piety, obedience, love of poverty and his keen devotion to the Blessed Virgin and to St Ignatius of Loyola. [67] Riela, on the other hand, dwells at some length on Manduca’s literary achievements and gives a brief appreciation. of his intellectual qualities, remarkable memory and spiritual life. [68]

            [p.242] The main source for establishing the chronological sequence of Manduca’s writings* is the same which has provided the above reconstruction of his biographical sketch, that is, the correspondence with the Father General’s office. When a Jesuit planned to publish a written work he had, according to the Constitutions of his Order, [69] to seek approval from his General who, before granting it, subjected such a work to the scrutiny of a panel of fellow Jesuits. Whenever Manduca planned to publish any of his works, he abided by this requirement and hence a good amount of documentation regarding these works has been found. Their chronology has been definitely fixed. Whenever his works were not meant for publication or no indication regarding their titles has been traced, other sources have contributed to determine the chronology of these writings.

A.            Relazione o sian Tradizioni avute e trasmesse dalli Antichi circa le cose dellIsola di Malta e di quanto sè potuto cavare da scritture antiche degne di Fede [70]

            There is no reference to this work in all correspondence between Manduca and the General’s office. This is a clear indication that it was not meant for publication.

            Internal evidence has provided sufficient clues to establish its chronology. Thus, in describing the church that stood on the site of St Paul’s shipwreck, Manduca refers to it as having been built instead of a previous one by some notables of the Island. The coats of arms of these families still decorated this church. [71] He makes no reference whatsoever to the church built by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in 1610 which substituted the one mentioned in the Relazione. It is thus obvious that this work was compiled before 1610, as otherwise Manduca would have extolled Wignacourt’s generosity in building the church. He in fact did so in a later work. [72]

            In a letter dated 9 May 1608, addressed to the Jesuit Ottavio Gaetano, [73] Manduca mentions certain traditions connected with St Paul’s shipwreck stating that these had come to his knowledge sometime before. These were not included in the Relazione. [74] This letter seems to be an addendum to the Relazione itself, providing further interesting data. [75] One is inclined to conclude that the Relazione may have been written at the request of Gaetano himself who at that time may have been engaged in his study of St Paul Shipwreck. There is no doubt that he made extensive use of the information given. [76] The Relazione must have preceded the above-mentioned letter.

            One particular detail in the Relazione may determine still further the date [p.243] of its composition. Manduca refers to certain documents which caught his attention while preparing the Relazione. This accidental discovery took place during the month of December. [77] As he had returned to Malta in 1606, he must have been engaged in the Relazione in December of that year or of the following year.

            Thus this work is Manduca’s earliest literary effort, written immediately after his return from Rome when he was about thirty-four years old. It is the only work in Italian, all the others being in Latin. He never meant to have it published. The original copy gave the impression that it was an unfinished work written in folio. This judgement was given by a Maltese Jesuit who was at Palermo in 1681 and had access to Manduca’s manuscripts. [78]

B.            Disputationes in Librum Judith [79]

            When in 1622 Manduca informed his General that he was planning to write a book, the latter gave him his consent, but, required to be duly informed about the plan of this work, in order to consider its feasibility. [80] In November of that year this information reached Rome. Manduca had in hand a Commentary on the Book of Judith. [81]

            Manduca’s interest in Biblical studies is one of the special characteristics mentioned in Riela’s eulogy. Moreover, while at Messina he had lectured on Holy Scripture. [82]

            The approval to proceed with the book was not easily given. [83] This delay may have induced him to seek to go to Rome. When permission was granted in 1623, the approval of his plan of work must have reached him. On returning to Sicily in October 1625, he brought with him the Judith manuscript which had already received a partial approval from the Order’s censors. [84] It is all too evident that during his two-year’s stay outside the Sicilian Province he had dedicated much of his time to the compilation of this commentary. The work was still to be examined by Melchoir Inchoffer SJ, who was then residing in Sicily. He had to give his judgement and send it to Rome. [85]

            Inchoffer was quite favourable in his assessment, [86] but his counterparts in Rome were rather slow. They even began to formulate relevant objections which, however, the General hoped could eventually be surmounted. [87] Trouble was looming on the horizon. This may have induced Manduca to re-write his work. The General himself had encouraged him to do so. [88] After finishing this task, he sent the second edition of his Judith to Rome, which till July 1627 had not yet reached its destination, [89] though he had dispatched it early in January. [90]

            Meanwhile Manduca had already taken in hand the publication of his work. He was advised to print it outside Rome, as otherwise he would have to subject it for approval to the Master of the Sacred Palace as well as to the Vice-Regent of the city. [91] He could print it either in Sicily or in France. [92] If he preferred Sicily, he could in no way simulate that it had been printed at Lyons, something which Manduca seemed inclined to do, to add perhaps more [p.244] prestige to his book. [93] His superiors in Rome were of opinion that it would be far better to have it printed in France. [94]

            Another problem regarded the expenditure to be incurred. There were hopes that, if it were published in France, someone could be found there to defray the expense. [95] Another source of income was Manduca’s family assets. Although after his mother’s death Girolamo was not allowed to share in her inheritance, the General informed him that he would authorise him to accept any donation from his brother to finance the publication of his Judith. [96]

            All augured well and every detail was being looked after. It was even agreed that this commentary was to be dedicated to the Holy Father himself. [97] But the panel members had not yet pronounced themselves. By February 1630 serious objections began to be made. [98] At this stage, Manduca sought to go to Rome, but permission was denied. [99] Finally the unexpected stroke was lashed which inflamed the author with indignation. A negative judgement was pronounced on 25 July 1630 in an elaborate statement signed by four Jesuits, namely, Giovanni Alvaredo, Antonio Jundin, Giacomo Bidermann and Ludovico Rodriguez. [100]

            Manduca did not lose heart. He answered back and tried to eliminate the objections. [101] But the censors upheld their decision stating, among other comments, that this work could be termed an historical account of the Assyrian Empire but not a Commentary on Judith. [102]

            The Judith manuscript remained in Rome for some time. It was returned to its author late in 1635 and was never published. [103]

C.            Cantica on the Books of Judith

            The only reference to this work results from a letter of 1681. The writer of this letter states that Manduca had written eight hymns on the eight books of Judith, which were still preserved at the library of the Jesuit college of Palermo. [104] These hymns can be closely related to Manduca’s commentary on Judith.

D. De Sancto Publio Martyre Melitae Principe, et Athenarum Episcopo Divi Pauli Apostoli Hospite et Sectatore Commentarium in Elogium Venerabilis Bedae. [105]

            When the Judith manuscript was dispatched from Rome, Manduca had already informed the General that he had compiled another work. This work dealt with the life of St Publius with special reference to his activity as companion of St Paul after the latter’s departure from Malta. In March 1635, Manduca must have already finished this work, since the General insisted to have it immediately delivered to Rome where it was to be examined in the shortest possible time. [106] Melchior Inchoffer brought it with him to the General’s office in June 1635. [107] Inchoffer himself would give a detailed verbal report to Manduca regarding the examination of this work. The latter, however, began insisting to be allowed to proceed to Rome. But once more this permission was not granted. [108]

            [p.245] The panel in charge of reviewing the manuscript consisted of five Jesuits, the four that had examined Judith plus another one, namely Francesco Armato. They gave their report on 25 August 1635. The contents of this report were communicated to the Sicilian Provincial in October, who had to convey them to Manduca. [109] The panel held that the printing of this work could hardly bring any laurels either to its author or to the Society of Jesus. Though Manduca had been successful in amassing interesting data, the finished work presented an unbalanced result. It was prolix on the voyages of Paul and Peter, while Publius who should have figured as the principal character of this work, shared only a minor place. His life occupies only seven chapters out of the twenty-one that form the whole book. [110]

            News of this negative evaluation must have reached Manduca while he was in Malta in November 1635. [111] He was not, however, precluded from publishing this work. In fact, the following year he was even authorised to dedicate it to Grand Master Jean Lascaris de Castellar if he decided to have it printed. [112] It is not at all clear why he refrained from publication. In 1641, Angelo, his brother, was planning to publish some work of Girolamo. This could have been the Publius as no prohibition precluded its printing. The only objection from the Jesuit General regarded the convenience of carrying out the project when all commerce was suspended. [113] These words must have dissuaded Angelo from going ahead with his plans, and the Publius remained in its manuscript form for good.

E.            Fragmentum de Dormitione Deiparae [114]

            This short treatise on the death of the Blessed Virgin seems to have originally formed part of the Publius ms. Stylistic evidence points in this direction. In fact, Manduca here follows the same method and pattern. More over, one of the transcriptions of this treatise preserved in the Malta Library bears a note to the effect that this work appeared to belong to Chapter Five of the Publius. [115] Besides, the Maltese Jesuit student who, sometime before 1681, copied some of Manduca’s works from the original manuscripts, stated that he found this treatise inserted in the Publius ms. [116] Hence, it can be safely assumed that this treatise had been written a short time before 1635 together with the previous work.

F.            Commentaria in Oseam Prophetam
            Commentaria in Joelem Prophetam
            Commentaria in Jonam Prophetam
            Commentaria in Micheam Prophetam
            Commentaria in Amos et Abdiam Prophetas [117]

            Before July 1640, Manduca sent some papers to Rome for the usual approval of his superiors. Strange enough, these writings did not arrive at the General’s office. He was advised to discuss the matter with the Sicilian Provincial. [118] There were even fears that they could have been mislaid somewhere. Due care had to be taken to trace them. [119] No reference regarding the contents [p.246] of these papers is available, nor does any other correspondence from Rome furnish any clue in this regard.

            Manduca’s bibliographical account compiled by Riela may solve this difficulty. It seems that towards the 1640s Girolamo focussed his attention on the elaboration of commentaries on the Minor Prophets. Riela quotes even the exact dates when some of these commentaries had been duly completed. Thus, Manduca’s Hosea was finished on 9 May 1641. Next came Joel on 25 June, while on the last day of the year Girolamo completed his commentary on Jonah. Death prevented him from finishing his Michah. Riela does not specify the chronology of Amos and Obadiah. [120]

            In view of these details, the papers Manduca sent to Rome in 1640 could have included some of these commentaries, perhaps Amos and Obadiah.

G.            Concordia Prophetarum Isaiae, Osiae, Joelis, Amos, Abdiae, Jonae, Micheae ac Naum Littera Explicabilis Psalmi 67

            The only source that refers to these two works is Riela’s bibliography. They are not mentioned in letters from the General’s office. [121]

            The first one is closely related to the Minor Prophets and its composition could have been taken in hand while Manduca was engaged on them. The other work, consisting of a letter explaining Psalm 67, does not warrant a definite chronological placing.

H.            Commentaria in Cantica Canticorum

            The penultimate letter sent to Manduca from the General’s office, dated 3 July 1642, congratulated him on the completion of a commentary on the Canticle of Canticles. He was encouraged to hasten its delivery to Rome where it was to be examined instantly. [122] Till October it had not yet arrived. [123] As no further correspondence was forwarded to Manduca, it is not possible to know the vicissitudes of this last work to be sent to Rome.

            Both Riela and Sommervogel were unaware of this work and did not include it in their bibliography, while it is one of the two works of Manduca quoted by G.F. Abela. [124] It may have been missing from Palermo when Riela wrote his account of Manduca’s life. It was undoubtedly missing in 1681. This results from the letter written in that year and already quoted. The writer of that letter however knew that there was such a commentary preserved at the Jesuit college of Messina, and suggested that it could be Manduca’s work. [125] The ms. might have remained stranded in Messina after Manduca’s death.

I.            Tractatum de Poenis et Censuris Ecclesiasticis [126]

            Although various sources attribute this treatise to Manduca, there is no direct or indirect evidence whereby its chronology can be established. No copy is extant. Its author never refers to it in his letters. Nevertheless, since its subject matter normally formed an integral part of the teaching of Moral [p.247] Theology, it could have been written while Manduca taught at Noto from 1619 till 1622 or at Messina from 1625 till the beginning of 1629.

            Almost all Manduca’s original manuscripts are probably no longer extant. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Palermo in 1767, their college suffered irreparable losses. There is a copy of the Publius ms. at the Biblioteca Comunale of that city: it is not yet known whether it is the original copy. Still extant are copies of Manduca’s works that have direct relationship with Malta. Some of his fellow-countrymen were interested in these works and were successful in having the services of two Maltese Jesuit students studying at Palermo in the 1670s. These transcribed the Relazione and the Publius mss. including also the Fragmentum on the death of the Blessed Virgin. [127] Copies of these transcriptions are available in Malta, but there is no copy of Manduca’s other works.

            The two existing lists of Manduca’s works namely Riela’s which is still in manuscript form and the one published by Sommervogel are incomplete. Riela left out two works [128] which were duly noted in 1681. Sommervogel missed another two apart from Riela’s omissions. [129]

            Finally, Rocco Pirri attributed to Manduca the composition of the liturgical office recited in Malta on St Publius’ feast. The writer of the 1681 letter pointed out that St Publius’ office, approved by Pope Alexander VII in 1666, was written by another Maltese ecclesiastic, the ex-Jesuit Domenico Magri, years after Manduca’s death. [130]

            From this chronological survey of Manduca’s works, it is obvious that the study of Holy Scripture was his chief interest. All his writings were mainly focussed on biblical themes. His Publius itself is, to a great extent, a commentary on St Paul’s voyages after he left Malta.

            History seems to have been for Manduca a valid means whereby he tried to build up a commentary on important scriptural episodes or books. The Relazione had also this aim in view. It was meant, probably, to help a scholar abroad in his study of St Paul’s stay in Malta. Manduca himself made such a use of the Relazione in his own Publius. Sicilian history and traditions were inserted in this same work to provide a historical background to Paul’s stay in that island. It is highly probable that he followed this method in his commentaries on books of the Old Testament. His Judith had been dismissed by the Jesuit censors on account of the prominence he gave to this historical approach. It was deemed to be rather an historical account of the Assyrian Empire than a commentary on the book of Judith.

            Manduca’s historical method was not, necessarily, the product of scientific and hypercritical analysis that is not always possible especially when an author is deprived of the blessings deriving from a proper cultural milieu and academic tools enabling him to attain such a level. This, in fact, may account for the non-approval of his works by better qualified fellow Jesuits. Nevertheless he was on the right track in scriptural studies through the importance he gave to history as an essential aid in understanding and explaining the Bible.

*           C. Sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jesus Nouvelle Ed., Bruxelles — Paris 1890-1932, Tome V, col. 473, provided, so far, the only published list of Manduca’s works which, however, is incomplete. Another list results from a letter written by a Maltese Jesuit at Palermo on 21 Jan., 1681. He quotes Riela as the author of this list (ML, Ms. 1244, 3r-4v, Ms. 1415, pp. 3-8 and CAM, Ms. 265, 2r-4v) and notes also that some works had been omitted. Other lists are given in other Mss., the source being Riela’s list (ML, Ms. 25, pp. 1-2; Ms. 165, p. 1 and Ms. 644, pp. l-2).


[*]            Cfr. A.T. Luttrell, “Girolamo Manduca and Gian Francesco Abela: Tradition and Invention in Maltese Historiography,” in Melita Historica, Vol. VII, 105-132
            Grateful thanks are due to Fr Edmond Lamalle SJ and his Assistants at the A[rchivum] R[omanum] S[ocietatis] J[esu] for their kind help during my research especially in October 1978.

[1]            Ant. Leanza, I Gesuiti in Malta al tempo dei Cavalieri Gerosolimitani, Malta 1934; Pio Pecchiai, “Il Collegio dei Gesuiti in Malta” in A[rchivio] S[torico] di M[alta], IX, Rome 1938, 129-202, 272-325; A.P. Vella, The University of Malta, Malta 1969.

[2]            Ant. Leanza, “La Compagnia di Gesù e la Sacra Milizia Gerosolimitana” in ASM, X, Rome 1938-39, 17-44.

[3]            Abela states that the first Maltese to become a Jesuit after the foundation of the Collegium Melitense was Mario Pace in 1595 (G.F. Abela, Della Descrittione di Malta, Malta 1647, 563). This statement is incorrect as another Maltese, namely Alessandro Scoto from Vittoriosa, preceded him by a year (ARSI, Secondo tomo della vita del Padre Baldassare Loiola, Figlio del Rè di Morocco e FessaNotitia dalcuni Padri e Fratelti Maltesi, 221r-v, 235v-236r). Manduca joined the Jesuits in 1590.

[4]            Gio Paolo Manduca JUD, Girolamo’s father, was born on 3 March, 1540 (M[alta] C[athedral] A[rchpriests] A[rchives], Liber Baptizatorum etc., Vol. I, p.67) and died on 8 September 1599 (Ibid., p. 838). He was the son of Antonio Manduca (Senior) and nephew of Don Giuseppe Manduca, canon of the Cathedral Chapter and Vicar General of the Diocese. Gio Paolo’s wife, Catherina, was the daughter of judge Francesco Xerri and Imperia Surdo (A[rchives of the] I[nquisition] M[alta], Processi 2B, 466r-v). In his last will, registered in the records of Notary Giuseppe Caxaro on 30 April 1589, Dr Manduca stated that he had five children from his marriage with Catherina Xerri, namely Girolamo, Angelo, Pietro Paolo, Francesca and Paolina (N[otarial] A[rchives] M[alta], Vol. 176, 469v). It is highly probable that Pietro Paolo died in his childhood. Catherina Manduca did not include him among her children in her last will stipulated in the records of Notary Giacomo Xeberras on 25 February 1626 (NAM, Vol. 1126/8, 307r-310r).

[5]            ARSI, Sic[ula] 65, 81r.

[6]            Coletta Xerri was condemned on 12 July 1563 for harbouring heretical doctrines. He had to make a formal abjuration of these doctrines and afterwards to carry out, in private, some devotional penances (AIM, Processi Pre-Primum, Part IV, 6r-8r).

[7]            Judge Francesco Xerri was accused in 1574 of having attended certain meetings during which heretical literature was read and discussed. Though Judge Xerri firmly affirmed his innocence, he was subjected to the ‘purgatio canonica’ whereby four ecclesiastics of his own choice were to certify his orthodoxy. This sentence was given on 26 Nov. 1574 (AIM Processi 2B, 466r-555r; Confer also: M. Borg Olivier, “A Maltese Legal Library in the XVIth Century” in Melita Historica, Vol. V, 282-296).

[8]            Antonio Manduca (Junior) was condemned as a formal heretic on 3 December 1580 (AIM, Processi Pre-Primum, Quinternus 2, 16v). His brother, Gio. Paolo, Girolamo’s father, managed to secure the non-confiscation of Antonio’s property. He intervened with the Congregation of the Holy Office and in 1582 an agreement was reached whereby on the payment of 350 scudi he succeeded in freeing his brother’s property (AIM, Processi IB, 550r-555r). G.F. Abela refers to a Manduca, whose name he does not mention, stating that he had been in France where he achieved some renown. This Manduca reached the status of Duca Marescial de Biron.” Moreover, an account of his life was published at Lyons in 1614 (G.F. Abela, op. cit., 506). Bearing in mind the steady progress Protestantism had made in France with the Huguenots especially through the protection given to them by Henry IV, it is quite probable that Antonio Manduca found refuge in France after his flight from Malta and may be identified with the Manduca mentioned by Abela. Further research may clarify this supposition.

[9]             “durante tutela et cura ac absentia ad hac Insula Melitae in qua sunt ad presens prefati Domini Hieronymus et Angelus... quibus Angelo et Hieronymo redeuntibus in hanc Insulam Melitae graduatos in Utrumque Jure prout sperat...” (NAM, Vol. 176. 475r-v).


[10]           If his heirs were to die without legitimate offspring, part of Dr. G. Paolo’s assets was to enable the erection of a Jesuit college. If the Università of Notabile failed to implement this proviso in Manduca’s last will within two years after his death, these same assets were to provide for the erection of an ‘Abbazia’ in the Parish Church of St. Paul at Rabat to be given as a living to the Archpriest in charge of the same church. Moreover, a number of priests and clerics were to be endowed from the same assets so as to officiate in the said church in the manner usually followed in all collegiate churches “ad canendum missas et horas canonicas et exercenda omnia officia divina prout et quemadmodum in ceteris ecclesiis collegiatis fieri solet” (NAM, Vol. 176, 478r-479r). The Manducas were quite keen in their devotion towards St Paul’s church at Rabat, Gio Paolo himself was buried, according to his own wish, in the cemetery of this church “in radice crucis in dicto cemeterio apposita” (Ibid., 466v and MCAA, Liber Baptizatorum etc., Vol. I, p. 838). Catherina Manduca in her last will followed the footsteps of her husband with regard to the endowment of a Jesuit college. She laid down that if her heirs were to die without legitimate offspring, her property was there and then allocated for the endowment and erection of a Jesuit college at Notabile (NAM, Vol. 1126/8, 309v).

[11]           ARSI, Sic. 63, 220v. Manduca joined the Jesuits while he was in Rome (ARSI, Secondo tomo della vita del Padre Baldassare Loiola, 224v). Manduca was the first Maltese who completed all studies leading to the priesthood within the Society of Jesus. Before him, in 1577, another Maltese joined the Society, a thirty years old priest, namely Simone Bonnici. Bonnici died at Macerata in 1589 (ARSI, op. cit. 221r). Before joining the Society of Jesus, he was already Canon of the Cathedral Chapter and Vicar of Vittoriosa (A[rchiepiscopal] A[rchives] M[alta], Pastoral Visit Royas 1575, 17v and Dusina C, 206r-v).

[12]             Towards the beginning of 1597, he was at the Jesuit college of Palermo, having already finished his Grammar. At this early stage in his life, he was already referred to as ‘ mediocriter sanus.’ It does not seem that he enjoyed good health (ARSI, Sic. 60, 72r).

[13]           Ibid., 114r. By 1599 he has been teaching Humane Letters for two years. By then he had already finished his study of Rhetorics and Philosophy (Ibid., 158r). In December 1599 Manduca was still residing at the Collegium Melitense as an ‘ hospes’ (ARSI, Sic. 60, 185v).

[14]          Confer Notes 4 and 10.

[15]           NAM, Records of Notary Ambrogio Xiberras, Vol. IV, 893v-894v. This property is situated at Hamrun. Some decades ago, it was expropiated by the Government from the Lands-  Department, which administers the landed property that once belonged to the Collegium Melitense, so as to build thereon the Hamrun Lyceum, now known as the Hamrun Boys Secondary School (Malta Govt. LandsDept., Ledger Rural 1, p. 97; Cfr. Also M[alta] L[ibrary], Treas. A. 114, 96v ss. And Treas. A 124, 84r). 

[16]           In December 1601 Girolamo was among the first-year Theology students of the Collegium Romanum (ARSI, Romana 79, 73r and Romana 110, 10v) where he stayed till 1605 (ARSI, Romana 78, 2v; Romana 79, 109, 146r, 183r; Romana 110, 25v and Romana 111, 7r).

[17]           No other Maltese Jesuit is enlisted in the Catalogi giving the names of all the persons residing at the Collegium Romanum between 1601 and 1605. In August 1606, another Maltese Jesuit appears, namely Mario Pace who was in his second year of Theology (ARSI, Romana 54, 191v).

[18]           All letters to Manduca, from Rome were addressed to Malta from August 1606 to December 1609 (ARSI, Sic. 6, 132v, 151r and 218v.).


[19]          Ibid., 219v.

[20]           A letter from Father General’s office dated 23rd August 1611 states: “Le compatisco per aver di nuovo sputato sangue habbisi buona cura, et si moderi nelle fatiche” (Ibid., 274v-275r).

[21]          ARSI, Sic. 155, 8r.

[22]           Ibid., 25r. On 21 August 1611, Manduca made the solemn profession of the Three Vows as a Jesuit. (ARSI, Sic. 61, 35r). He never took the Fourth Vow which some Jesuits profess (ARSI, Sic. 65, 81r and Sic, 191, 117r.).

[23]          Letter from Father General’s office (=F.G.) dated 22nd Nov. 1613 (ARSI, Sic. 6 355v).

[24]           Idem. During 1613 and 1614 Girolamo was in Malta (Ibid., 107r and Sic. 7, 5r and 29v).

[25]          Letter from F.G. to the Sicilian Provincial, 3rd Jan. 1611 (ARSI, Sic. 7, 33r).

[26]           Ibid., 106v, 124v, 136v, 143r, 156v, 165v, 177v, 194r, 203v, 212r, 223r, 228v, 291v and 302v.

[27]          Letter from F.G., 19th Nov. 1616 (Ibid., 165v).

[28]          ARSI, Sic, 155, 32v, 38r and 45r.

[29]           In March 1618 Manduca was already at Mineo (ARSI, Sic. 7, 329r) where he was addressed as Vice-Rector; Ibid., 362v). The incident referred to here took place sometime before 23 August as on that date F.G. wrote to the Sicilian Provincial insisting on measures to be taken in order to remedy somehow what had taken place (Ibid., 386v-387r). Till the beginning of 1619, Manduca was residing at Mineo where he was still Vice-Rector (Ibid., 411v and 429r).

[30]           In May 1619 F.G. requested the Rector of the Maltese college to intervene on behalf of Catherina Manduca with Mgr. Torniello, who was then Inquisitor and Apostolic Delegate in Malta annd a friend of the Jesuits (Ibid., 473r).

[31]             Manduca was already in Malta in March 1619 (Ibid., 450v). The Catalogues for the Maltese college for that year register him as resident (ARSI, Sic. 61, 187v).

[32]           He was at Noto during the early months of 1620 (ARSI, Sic. 155, 53v) where he was a ‘Consultor’ in 1621 and 1622 (Ibid., 64v, 71v; Sic. 61, 316v).

[33]           The earliest reference to this work is in a letter from F.G. dated 29 Sept., 1622. Manduca gave the news of his work in one of his two letters dated 7 and 25 August. 1622 (ARSI, Sic. 8, 325v).

[34]          Idem and 372r and 391v.

[35]           Ibid., 391v, this fetter from F.G. is dated 4th May, 1623.

[36]          Letter elated 12th October 1623 (Ibid., 444v).

[37]           From April to October 1624 he was residing at Loreto as all letters are addressed to him there (ARSI, Romana 18, 467v, 519r and 529v). Towards the end of 1624, he was still included among the Jesuits residing in that college (ARSI, Romana 80, 83r).

[38]          ARSI, Romana 18, 529v.

[39]           ARSI, Sic, 9, 77r. The Maronite college in Rome developed from a hospice founded by Pope Gregory XIII in 1581. This college began to function as such in 1584. The Society of Jesus was left in charge of this institution till its suppression in 1733 (Sacra Congregazione per la Chiesa Orientale, Oriente Cattolico — Cenni Storici e Statistiche Città del Vaticano 1962, 484-485).

[40]           Letter from F.G. dated 14th June 1619: “Se Padre Onorato Pace ha natura a studiare l’arabico haverà caro V.R. glie lo facesse insegnar qualche tempo dal P. Pietro Metoscita acció poi possa servire al collegio de Maroniti dove è necessarissimo uno de nostri per tale effetto” (ARSI, Sic. 7, 489v). As far as 1553 St. Ignatius of Loyola appreciated the potentialities of Malta in contacts that could be established with Arab countries. He approved the request forwarded to him by Bishop D. Cubelles in that [p.251] year to erect a college in Malta on account of this: “N.P. si trova haver promesso, et pare cosa molto conveniente per guadagnare alcuni della lingua arabica per aggiutarci da loro nella conversione dei Mori, et tanto più adesso che pare apra Dio una porta grande nelle Gelbi et in Tasciora, vicino a Tripoli di Barbaria” (Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu, Vol. VI, 163, letter dated 13 Jan., 1554). More than seventy years had to pass before this plan began to materialise through Manduca’s intervention among the Maronites!

[41]          ARSI, Sic, 9, 92v. This letter to the Sicilian Provincial is dated 18 Dec., 1625.

[42]           Ibid., 129v. This letter announcing the arrival of Fr Pace in Rome is dated 16th April 1626. In 1629 Pace was in Malta where he began teaching Arabic at the college, with the approval of F.G. (ARSI, Sic. 10, 22r, letter from F.G. 8 Sept., 1629).

[43]             “Similmente raccomando caldamente a V.R. che sia anco facile in ricevere i Maltesi di lingua arabica atti per la Compagnia, e raccomando al P. Rettore di Malta, che procuri che questi giovani che dimandano la Compagnia imparino a scrivere, e leggere la lingua arabica” (ARSI, Sic. 9, 92r). Incidentally, in 1625 Domenico Magri, who will remain renowned for his scholarship, joined the Society of Jesus (Ibid., 11r), while the Archdeacon of the Cathedral Chapter himself was on the point of doing the same (Ibid., 76r and 128v).

[44]           A.T. Luttrell, op. cit., 122-123.

[45]           ARSI, Sic. 9, 77r; Sic. 62, 153v; Sic. 155 107r, 120r and 128r.

[46]             Catherina Manduca died on 14 January 1628 and was buried in the Parish church of Rabat (MCAA, Liber Mortuorum II, 23v). F.G. referred to her death in a letter dated 2nd March 1628 (ARSI, Sic. 9, 374r). Other letters from F.G. deal with Girolamo’s pretentions to share in her inheritance (Ibid., 433r-v, 443r and 464v, dated 11 Jan., 8 March and 24 May respectively). A proviso in his mother’s last will stipulates that Girolamo was to retain all such assignments as she had given him during her lifetime (NAM, Vol. 1126/8, 309v).

[47]           ARSI, Sic, 9, 433r-v, 443r and 464v. In the last instance, where a letter from F.G. on 24 May 1629 is registered, it is stated that some form of agreement could be reached on this point.

[48]           These pious burdens formed part of Dr Gio. P. Manduca’s last will (AIM, Reverenda Fabrica, Registro Atti Civili, Vol. I, 11r), and included a daily mass at St. Paul’s church, Rabat, which had not been fulfilled during seven years before Catherina’s death, and a marriage legacy of fourteen annual scudi which had never been given since Gio. Paolo’s death. These burdens amounted then to 1020 scudi (Ibid., 15v-16r). In 1628 the Tribunal of the Reverenda Fabrica was established in Malta with the aim to see that all pious legacies were duly fulfilled. Don Nicola Mangion, the Commissioner of this Tribunal, on 10 May 1630 condemned Angelo Manduca to pay the above-mentioned sum (Ibid., 61v-62r). This sentence was duly executed on 7 August 1631 (Ibid., 117v-119r). Various farmers, who held fields belonging to Angelo Manduca, were ordered to pay their yearly dues to the Fiscal Procurator of the Reverenda Fabrica (AIM, Reverenda Fabrica, Registro dove si notano li danari che si esigono per la R.da Fabrica di S. Pietro, 11v-13r, 15r, 17v, 19v, 25v, 27r, 35r-v, 40r, 40v, 43v, 46v, 48r, 53v, 62r, 62v). Till 1638, the Rev.da Fabrica was still confiscating part of the annual revenue derived from property belonging to the Manducas.

[49]           Angelo had been insisting since 1625 for Girolamo to testify in a lawsuit regarding his father’s inheritance (ARSI, Sic. 9, 64r-v). He was not allowed to go to Malta (Ibid., 261r, 264v, 265v, 270v, 276v, 288v). In 1626 Girolamo was even planning to help his brother by allocating to him the annual revenue of a donation that he had made before to the Society of Jesus (Ibid., 271r, letter from F.G. to the Father Visitor [p.252] of the Sicilian Province dated 23 July, 1626). This donation consisted of 2000 scudi which F.G. allocated for the building of the College at Valletta (ARSI, Secondo Tomo della Vita di Padre Baldassare Loiola, 232v).

[50]           “Io non so la cagion, ma se non ci fosse inconveniente, credo che saria bene mandarvelo per qualche tempo, perché si consolaria, e se gli levaria l’occasione di parlare del punto della giurisdizione con offesa e pericolo di cotesta Città, di che si teme assai come mi arrive” (Ibid., 424v, Letter from F.G. to the Sicilian Provincial 23 Nov., 1628).

[51]             Manduca was already in Malta in March 1629 (on 8 March F.G. addressed him a letter in Malta, Ibid., 443r). The first letter sent from Rome to Manduca after his departure from Malta is dated 6 Sept., 1629 (ARSI, Sic. 10, 9r).

[52]          ARSI, Sic. 155, 153r, 180v, 198v, 203v, 217r, 250v; Sic. 156, 11r. 40v.

[53]           ARSI, Sic. 10, 9r, 20v, 80r and 393v, letters from F.G. dated 6 Sept., 1 Nov. 1629, 29 August 1630 and 4 Nov. 1632 respectively.

[54]           ARSI, Sic. 11, 77v, 107r, 134v, 160v, 162v, 174r and 207r, letters from F.G. dated 19 Jan., 6 April, 29 June, 17 August, 5 Oct. and 28 Dec. 1634 respectively.

[55]          Ibid., 284. Letter from F.G. to Angelo Manduca dated 12 July 1635.

[56]           Ibid., 321v-322r. The first letter sent from Rome to Manduca in Malta in 1635 is dated 4 October.

[57]           Letter dated 31 Jan., 1636 (Ibid., 384r), a similar letter was also written on that day to the Rector of the Maltese college (Ibid., 380v). A letter from F.G. to Manduca, on 21 Febr. 1636 hints to the reason for his recall to Sicily: “Intorno a quelle fabriche veggo che sono discorsi che difficilmente potranno havere esecutione, ma ciò non tocca a noi, e doviamo rimmetterci in tutto a chi governa” (Ibid., 391r).

[58]          Ibid., 453r, letter from F.G. 29 May 1636, addressed to Sicily.

[59]           Ibid., 513v-514r; Sic. 12, 39v, 58r, 70v, 129v, 317v, letters from F.G. dated 18 Dec. 1636, 19 March, 23 April, 11 June and 19 Nov, 1637 and 24 Febr, 1639, respectively.

[60]           There is a reference to such an imprisonment in a letter from F.G. dated 29 Nov. 1640 (Ibid., 564r).

[61]             Manduca seems never to have enjoyed good health. As early as 1633 he was described as ‘Senex infirmus’ (ARSI, Sic. 115, 198v), a terminology that continued to be adopted in his regard till his death (Ibid., 203v; Sic. 156, 11r, 78r, 107v, 147v, 175r). In 1642, he is described as mentally sick (‘infirmus mente,’ ARSI, Sic. 65, 161r).

[62]          ARSI, Sic. 12, 336v, letter from F.G. 31 March 1639.

[63]          ARSI, Sic. 156, 78r, 107v and 146v.

[64]           ARSI, Sic. 13, 137v, this letter is dated 19 Dec. 1641. According to a letter written on 14 Jan., 1642, Manduca had planned to make a pilgrimage to Loreto and Rome (Ibid., 150r).

[65]           ARSI, Sic. 156, 175r. The last letter addressed to him in Syracuse is on 23 Oct. 1642 (ARSI, Sic. 13, 287r).

[66]           ARSI, Sic. 156, 227v and Sic. 191, 117r. G.F. Abela, op. cit., 563. Some mss. in Malta give a wrong date for Manduca’s death, namely, 18 June, 1643 (ML, Ms. 2 p. 514; Ms. 25, p. 1 and Ms. 165, p. 1). Sommervogel repeats this error (C. Sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jesus, Nouvelle Edit., Bruxelles-Paris 1890-1932 Tome V, col. 473).

[67]           “Vir sane pius, et obedientiae addictissimus, ita Paupertatis amorem corde habuit ut minime quaeque ne quidem necessaria sine peculiari facultate admitteret. Beatissimam Virginem, ac Divum Ignatium dulcissimo pietatis affectu variisque obsequiis assidue colebat, ob cuius amorem puritatis florem custodisse scimus. Moralem Theologiam, tum Sacras Litteras Messanae docuit, regendi etiam munere functus” (ARSI. Sic. 191, 117r). There is no reference to his writings.


[68]           “Vasto vir ingenio, et felicissima memoria. In humanis divinisque litteris eruditus, in historiarum vero cognitione versatissimus, singulos fere omnes Sacrorum Bibliorum locos ita tenacissima callebat memoria, ut nihil abditum quereres, reconditaeque doctrinae, cujus ille thesaurus non esset, ideoque admirationi omnibus extitit. Homo alioquin mirifici candoris, et innocentiae. Vixit in Societate annos 53. Legum nostrorum observantia et mansuetudinis laude probatissimus” Then follows a reference to his writings (ML, Ms. 415, pp 1-2 and CAM, Ms. 265, 6v-7r). The author of this account was Fr Giacomo Riela, who was born at Trapani on 7 Jan., 1587 and died there on 8 Oct., 1648 (ARSI, Hist. Soc. 48, 69v). He joined the Jesuits in 1604 (ARSI, Sic. 63, 215v, n.9). These biographical data of Riela have been provided by Fr Lamalle S.J. Other accounts of Manduca’s life are found in ARSI, Secondo Tomo della vita di Padre Baldassare Loiola. 224v-225r; ML, Ms. 2, pp. 513-514; Ms. 25, pp. 1-2; Ms. 165, p. 1 and Ms. 644 pp. l-3. These necrological eulogies depend extensively on Riela’s quoted above.

[69]             Constitutiones Societatis Jesu, Const. VII, Cap. IV, No. 11.

[70]           The original copy was preserved at Palermo together with the other mss. of Manduca. This is stated in Riela’s account (ML, Ms. 25, pp. 1-2) as well as by Sommervogel (op. cit., col. 473). Fr. Giuseppe Salvo S.J. has been very kind to inform me that there is no trace of it either at the Biblioteca Nazionale or at the Biblioteca Comunale at Palermo. Copies of this Relazione however have been found in Malta. These have already been quoted by Dr Luttrell (op. cit., 119, Note 79), namely ML, Ms. 25, pp. 177-203; Ms. 165, pp. 95-110; Ms. 644, pp. 191-221. Moreover in Ms. 2, pp. 525-562, there is a transcription of the Relazione which includes various additions probably inserted by the transcriber himself. The earliest transcription seems to be the one included in Ms. 165. On p. 110, the transcriber, who happens to be a Jesuit student, states that he had transcribed it while at Palermo in 1677 (“Hactenus ex M.P. Hieronimi Manduca Melitensis Soc. Jesu Quae Bibliotheca nostri Collegii Panormitani servat, et collegi dum in eodem Collegio Philosophiae studiis operam dabam. Ad maiorem S. Pauli Apostoli, et Publii Discipuli gloriam et honorem, et ne penitus interierint. Anno reparata salute 1677”). This ms. belonged to Cleric Francesco Agius in 1731. It is also interesting to note that Ms. 23 of the Malta Library on ff. 344v-345v gives a short paper entitled: “Notizie avute dal Abela parlando col P. Girolamo Manduca sopra le cose di Malta.” This paper adds further data to those already given in the Relazione.

[71]         ML, Ms. 25, p. 180.

[72]             Reference to Wignacourt’s church was included by Manduca in his work on St. Publius (ML, Ms. 165, p. 12).

[73]           ML, Ms. 165, p. 109. Ottavio Gaetano was born on 22 April 1566 and joined the Society of Jesus on 20 May 1582. He died at Palermo on 8 March 1620. He was renowned both for his saintly life as well as for his literary output (Antonio Mongitore, Bibliotheca Sicula, Palermo 1714, Vol. I, 110-111).

[74]           The Pauline Traditions included in this letter to Gaetano are the following: the church of San Giovanni tal Chereb at Wardija where St Paul baptised all those who were on board during the shipwreck, and a stone table that stood in front of the church’s door, on the site of the shipwreck. This table, known as St Paul’s table, was no longer extant at the time when Manduca visited the site (ML, Ms, 165, p. 109).

[75]           The introductory part of Manduca’s letter seems to imply that he had already communicated some Pauline Traditions and that Gaetano may have already received information from other sources: “Con occasione, che questi d`i fui a visitare la Chiesa di S. Paulo della Marina dove si ruppe la Nave, che port`o S. Paolo in Malta intesi due tradizioni di nuovo da quella gente, che abiti ne’ casali vicini quali per non [p.254] haverle saputo prima, ne forse da altri son state ancor significate a V.R., ho creduto sodisfare al pio desiderio di V.R. con significargliele” (ML, Ms. 165, p. 109). The italics are mine.

[76]           “Se ne servirono quanti ne scrissero delle cose di Malta e del Naufragio di S. Paolo come si `e il P. Ottavio Gaetano, Isagoges Cap. 19, P. Thomaso Massutio Vita S. Pauli. P. Gio. Stefano Menocchio e altri” (ML, Ms. 1244, 4r-v; Ms. 1415, p. 7).

[77]           ML, Ms. 165, p. 98: “ed a caso questi ultimi giorni delli 12 Xbre (Dicembre) cercando un’altra cosa trovai nelli atti della Corte Episcopale nella Città Vecchia una scrittura...”; these papers dealt with the devotion towards St. Paul’s grotto and cemetery.

[78]           “Opera lasciata imperfetta, o scritta in fogli” (ML, Ms. 1244, 4r). The chronology of the Relazione as determined here coincides with Luttrel’s (op. cit., 131).

[79]           This work consisted of eight books in two tomes (ML, Ms. 25, p. 1; Sommervogel, op. cit., col 473), and was preserved at the Jesuit College of Palermo. No transcription of this work has been found in Malta. The Administration of the Biblioteca Nazionale of Palermo assured me that the Judith manuscript does not exist either there or in the Biblioteca Comunale.

[80]          ARSI, Sic, 8, 326r, letter from F.G. dated 22 Sept. 1622.

[81]          Ibid., 339r.

[82]           He had undertaken scriptural studies at the Collegium Romanum, under one of the renowned biblical scholars of those years, Fr. Jean de Lorin S.J., alias Lorinus (Sommervogel, op. cit., col. 473). In 1603, de Lorin had already been teaching Holy Scripture for eight years. He was then 45 years old (ARSI, Romana 54, 138r; Sommervogel, op. cit., Tome V, col. 1-6). Manduca’s lectures on biblical topics are variously attested: “Moralem Theologiam, tum Sacras Litteras Messanae docuit” (from the official necrological account sent to Rome after his death, ARSI, Sic. 191, 117r); “docuit in Collegio Mamertino Theologiam et magna sui nominis aestimatione explicuit selectas Sacrae Scripturae locos” (ML, Ms. 25, p. 1); “Docuit in Collegio Messanensi Theologiam Moralem et magna sui nominis aestimatione Sacras litteras interpretatus est” (ML, Ms. 2, pp. 513-514).

[83]           ARSI, Sic. 8, 372r. letter from F.G. 23 Febr., 1623.

[84]          In a letter of 4 May 1623, F.G. ratified the permission to Manduca to proceed to Rome. As there is no reference in any later letter to the approval of his plan of work, it seems highly probable that it had already been accepted (Ibid., 391v).

[85]          ARSI, Sic. 9, 77r, letter from F.G. to Sicilian Provincial, 9 Oct. 1625.

[86]           Ibid., 93r. Inchoffer finished his task before 16 Dec. 1625. On 2 May 1626, he received a letter of thanks from F.G. for his assessment of Manduca’s work: “Mi consolo del giuditio che V.R. da delli scritti del P. Manduca, e mi sarà molto caro che possano uscire a luce con buona opinione della Compagnia, e dell’Autore” (Ibid., 257v).

[87]           Ibid., 261r. This letter from F.G. to Manduca was written on 21 May 1626. Hardly three weeks had passed since the above-mentioned favourable letter to Fr. Inchoffer!

[88]           On 31 May, 1626, Manduca informed F.G. that he planned to copy his Ms. (Ibid., 265r).

[89]          Ibid., 325v.

[90]          Ibid., 309r.

[91]          Ibid., 295v. The printing of Judith was first mentioned on 7 Dec. 1626.

[92]          Ibid., 390r, letter from F.G. 25 May 1627.

[93]             “Quanto sarà finito di rivedere il suo libro, si manderà la speditione, et ella lo farà stampare dove le tornerà più commodo. Dico bene, che in conto alcuno si deve fingere che sia stampato in Lione se si stamperà in Messina come V.R. propone” (Ibid., 409v, letter from F.G., 7 Sett., (1628).


[94]          Ibid., 423v.

[95]           “Non ha V.R. occasione di star sollecito per trovare il danaro necessario per stampar il suo libro, perché sarà facile trovare in Francia alcuno che lo stampi a sue spese molto ben corretto” (Ibid., 374r, letter from F.G. dated 2 March, 1628).

[96]           This is specified in a letter from the Father General dated 6 Sept. 1629: “...aggiungo che V.R. non è capace de successioni, ma se il S. fratello lo desse qualche limosina per la stampa, non haverei difficoltà in darle licenza di prenderla” (ARSI, Sic. 10, 9r).

[97]           ARSI, Sic. 9, 367r and 376v, letters from F.G. to Manduca dated 27 Jan. and 9 March 1628, respectively.

[98]           “...per quello che tocca il suo libro li Padri Revisori scuoprono sempre maggiori difficoltà ne so quando potremo smaltirle se pure si potrà” (ARSI, Sic. 10, 46r, Letter from F.G. dated 24 Febr. 1630).

[99]           “avevo già detto in diverse occasioni che non posso chiamarla a Roma... Deponga questo pensiero perché non ho in che occuparla” (Ibid., 80r, letter from F.G. dated 29 Aug. 1630).

[100]         ARSI, Fondo Gesuitico 662 (Censura Librorum), 260r-261v.

[101]         ARSI, Fondo Gesuitico 665 (Censura Librorum 1626-1663), 3r-8r, “Responsio Auctoris Libri in Historiam Judith Censori facta.”

[102]         Ibid., 10r-18r.

[103]         ARSI, Sic. 11, 207r, 209r and 239r, letters from F.G. dated 28 Dec. 1634, 2 Jan. and 8 March 1635. The last letter states that the two tomes of Judith had been sent to Messina “un pezzo fa”; this is confirmed in another letter dated 18 Oct. 1635 (Ibid., 325r).

[104]        ML, Ms. 1244, 3v.

[105]         There is a copy of Manduca’s Publius at the Biblioteca Comunale of Palermo (information by Gius. Salvo S.J.). It has been so far impossible to ascertain whether this is Manduca’s original ms. Sommervogel quotes (Mgr) Mifsud stating that in his days there was a copy in Malta: “Quale arrichito con alcune illustrazioni fatte dal P. Vincenzo Modica, conserviamo appresso di Noi” (op. cit., cot. 473). This copy seems to be the one included in CAM, Ms. 265, 9r-116r, in fact ff. 120r-125v contain the clarifications made by Modica in 1675. Fr Modica was born in Malta on 13 March 1654 (ARSI, Sic. 70, 220r, N.25) and died in Malta on 3 February 1721 (ARSI, Sic. 169, 162r and Hist. Soc. 50, 182r). Other copies of the Publius are found in ML, Ms. 25, pp. 4-157; Ms. 165, pp. 1-90; Ms. 644, pp. 3, 190; Ms. 1244, 6r-67v and Ms. 1415, pp. 9-215. The earliest transcription seems to be in Ms. 165. It was made from the original by a Maltese Jesuit student at Palermo in 1677, while studying Philosophy there (Ibid., p. 110). As Vincenzo Modica was then the only Maltese Jesuit studying Metaphysics at that town, he must have been the transcriber (ARSI, Sic. 162, 22r). The copy preserved in ML, Ms. 1244 was transcribed by another Maltese Jesuit who in 1681 was studying Philosophy in the same town. Modica was then already following his theological studies (ARSI, Sic, 162, 118v, 158v). This other Jesuit had had serious fears that the Publius ms. was lost as he could not trace it in 1676, Later, in January 1678 he came across it and towards the end of 1680 he dedicated 59 hours for its transcription. So far I have been unable to identify him. He states in a letter of 21 January 1681 that he had written another work on Publius entitled: Historia della Vita, morte, et attioni Illustri di S. Publio Martire discepolo di S. Paolo Apostolo, Cittadino, Principe, e Primo Vescovo di Malta, poi in Athene successore a S. Dionisio Areopagita raccolta da vari autori (ML, Ms. 1244, 3r-4v and Ms. 1415, pp. 3-8). Interest in Manduca’s work and in Publius’ life is quite manifest during the second half of the 17th Century. Apart from Modica’s Illustrazioni quoted above, other mss. contain additional data relating to Publius compiled from various [p.256] authors (Cfr. CAM, Ms 265, 119r-v, 126r-128r; ML, Ms. 25, pp. 158-165; Ms. 165, pp. 126-127, 144-276; Ms. 1244, 68r, 70r-74r, 77r-v; Ms. 1415, pp. 217-221). The more interesting contribution in this regard is the one given on pp. 144-176 of ML, Ms. 165. This is, in fact, a treatise entitled Notationes et Quaestiones ad illustrandam historiam Sancti Publii Martyris Principis Meliitae et Athenarum Episcopi Hospitis et Sectatoris Pauli Apostoli. This treatise must have been written after 1693 as it refers to that year’s earthquake (ibid., pp. 210, 212) and its author was a Jesuit (Ibid., p. 146). At the end of this treatise the name S. Gusmanus was written. But there was no Jesuit with such a name when this treatise was written. The Jesuit Nicholas Gusman died in 1631 (G.F. Abela op. cit. 563), while his brother Don Salv. Gusman, who was archdeacon of the Cathedral, died years before the said treatise was compiled. Its author was residing at the Jesuit college of Trapani in 1679 (ML, Ms. 165, p. 150), and, at the request of Canon Ignatius Costanzo, compiled the Prayer and Mass for St. Publius feast which were approved by the Congregation of Rites on the 9th April 1681 (Ibid., p. 270). From the biographical details of Modica’s life results that in 1679, he was the only Maltese Jesuit who was residing at Trapani during that year (ARSI, Sic. 162, 55r). This important datum identifies Modica as the author of these Notationes. Moreover Modica was in Malta from 1685 till 1690 (ARSI, Sic. 162, 322r, 369r; Sic. 163, 31r, 90r, 136r; 183v; Sic. 83, p. 123, n.12). From 1690 till 1695 he was at Messina (ARSI, Sic. 163, 222r, 372r; Sic. 164, 26r, 108), while from 1696 till his death in 1721, he was normally resident in Malta (Ibid., 202r, 283v, 363r, 434r; Sic. 165, 38v, 128v., 218r, 305r; Sic 166, 54v. 176r, 283r, 350v; Sic. 167, 14v, 99v, 182v, 208v, 208v, 267v; Sic. 168 I, 37v, 112v, 267v, 182r; Sic. 168 II, 254r, 318r, 403v; Sic. 169, 45v, 162r). Modica could have written this work while he was in Malta (The biographical details regarding V. Modica have been kindly supplied by Ed. Lamale S.J.).

[106]         He must have informed F.G. about this work in a letter dated 30 Jan. 1635 (ARSI, Sic. 11. 239r).

[107]         Ibid., 279v, letter from F.G., 21 May 1635.

[108]         Ibid., 288v, 304v, 312r, letters from F.G. dated 19 July, 23 Aug. and 6 Sept. 1635 respectively.

[109]         Ibid., 321v-322r, letter from F.G. 4 Oct. 1635.

[110]         ARSI, Fondo Gesuitico 661, 402r: “Commentarium P. Hieronymi Manduca, de S. Publio Martyre et Episcopo a nobis recognitum, iudicamus, in lucem edi, cum auctoris et Societatis existimatione, vix possit; tum quia ita conscriptum est, ut non liber, quam congeries quaedam et farrago rerum, parvo iudicio, ac nullo fert cum delectu, excerptarum, possit videri: tum quia in toto Commentario, praeter sex septem ut pagellas, vix aliquid est, quod cum argumento tituloque libri congruat: reliquum enim, in peregrinatione SS. Pauli et Petri consumitur; idque ipsum parum ordinate, nec valde accurate solideve pertractatur. E Collegio Romano 23 Aug. 1635.”

[111]         “... l’altro di S. Publio e qui, ma non è stato approvato dalli PP. Revisori come accennai a V.R., la quale in questo non perde niente perché in cielo sarà rimunerata delle fatiche fatte per amor suo; si contenti dunque, e per carità non si scordi di me” (ARSI, Sic. 11, 325r, letter from F.G. 18 Oct. 1635).

[112]         “La vita di S. Publio non è qui piaciuta alli PP. Revisori come scrissi un pezzo fà. a V.R. e quanto avrà a stampare a niuno si potrebbe dedicare più propriamente che al Gran Maestro” (Ibid., 481r, letter from F.G. dated 1 February 1636), Grand Master Jean Paul Lascaris de Castellar was an old friend of the Jesuits.

[113]         ARSI, Sic. 13, letter to Angelo Manduca dated 4 July 1641.

[114]         Both Riela and Sommervogel include this “Fragmentum” among Manduca’s works. Although the original is still unavailable, there are copies of it in Malta, at the Public [p.257] Library, Ms. 25, pp. 209-217; Ms. 165, pp. 90-94, Ms. 644, pp. 178-190 and Ms. 1244, 86r-89v and CAM, Ms. 265, 135r-139v.

[115]             “Supplementum ex eodem P. Hieronymi Manduca quod spectare videtur ad caput 5 Historiae” (ML, Ms. 165, p. 90).

[116]         “Poì sul fine il fragmento de Dormitione Deiparae quale trovai inserito insieme con l’historia di S. Publio” (ML, Ms. 1244, 3v).

[117]         Riela mentions all these five commentaries (ML. Ms. 1244, they are also given in ML, Ms. 25, pp. 1-2). Sommervogel leaves out the Jonas commentary (op. cit., Vol. V, Col. 473). No copies of these works have, so far, been found either in Malta or in Sicily.

[118]         “Quei suoi scritti non sono stati mandati a Roma, bisognerà che ella tratti col P. Provinciale che li faria trovare, ed andar avanti alla stampa doppo che saranno del tutto accomodati” (ARSI, Sic. 12, 511v, letter from F.G., 12 July 1640).

[119]         Ibid., 550r, letter from F.G. 4 Sept. 1640.

[120]        ML, Ms. 25, p. 1; Ms. 165, p. 1; Ms. 1244, 3r-4v and Ms. 1415, pp. 5-6.

[121]         No copy of these works has, so far, been found. Reference to them results from ML, Ms. 25, p. 1: “una cum concordia Prophetarum Isaiae, Osiae, Joelis, Amos, Abdiae, Jonae, Micheae ac Naum quibus accessit in explicabilem Psalmi 67 litteram.

[122]             Manduca communicated this news in one of his letters dated 31 May, 18 and 28 June 1642 (ARSI, Sic. 13, 236v).

[123]         Ibid., 287r, letter from F.G. 23 Oct. 1642.

[124]         G.F. Abela, op. cit. 563: “scrisse sopra Giudith, e sopra la Cantica di Solomone.”

[125]         ML, Ms. 1244, 4v and CAM, Ms. 265, 4r: “Il Vice Cancelliere Gio. Francesco Abela asserisce, che habbia anche scritto sopra la Cantica di Salomone, ma io tal opera fin’adesso non la ho potuto trovare nel Collegio di Palermo tra le opere del Manduca, può essere, e stimo probabile sia quella che si ritrova nel Collegio di Messina conservata nella libraria.”

[126]         Both Riela and Sommervogel include this treatise among Manduca’s works. No copies so far have been found.

[127]         Confer Notes 70, 105 and 114.

[128]         Riela left out the Hymns on the Books of Judith and the Commentary on the Canticle of Canticles.

[129]             Sommervogel omitted also the Commentary on Jonas and the Concordia on the Prophets including also the Explanation of Psalm 67.

[130]        ML, Ms. 1244, 4v.