Letter from Francesco Gatta to [PF pro-secretary, Edoardo Cibo] 1679-09-15, Tunis


Letter from Francesco Gatta to [PF pro-secretary, Edoardo Cibo] 1679-09-15, Tunis


Slaves (Christian)
Slave priests


Letter from Francesco Gatta to PF. It has been eight months since he warned PF about some the developments in the church of Tunis. The ship that brought this letter though was taken by Neapolitans and the letters were lost. He stated that the spiritual goings of the church were progressing well. There have also been a few heretics that converted to Catholicism. This success is the work of the Capuchin priest Giuseppe Maria Da Bologna, Vicenzo Da Frascati in Tunis, and Chrisostomo Da Genua in Bizerte. However, there are also people working against them, creating discord. Some clerics are doing things that are a disgrace for the Holy faith. One year ago, one Mercedarian Spanish priest was killed by a rennegade, because he found this priests at home with his wife. In this case a Sardinian priest was wounded. After this the Sardinian priest was suspended for some time, but has since now returned. There was another case of a priest from Calabria (who already returned in Christinianity), but was very impertinent whilst staying in Tunis. He bragged about having been an outlaw in the countryside, murders that he committed, and his years in jail in Napels. After a conflict with the provicar, the vicar of Algiers [Jean Le Vacher] decided that they had to make a report on the case. Eventually the provicar, Giuseppe Maria, was forced to make him leave, as he had threatened to convert to Islam. Another priest, De Minimi, used to play cards from early morning until late at night. He won 80 piastre from a Christian slave of the Bascia, who gave him 200 beatings with a cane. The priest gave the money back, however he was also canned and almost killed. While visiting Algiers, he saw that the vicar apostolic, Jean Le Vacher, had some problems with the slave priests as well; he was also French consul at the same time. It has been a few days since another priest, Father Zoccolante (who just ransomed himself), was playing cards with a Greek Catholic. They became involved in a fight, and were both beaten with a cane. The Greek slave brought the case before the Bey, who imprisoned the priest. All priests in the city (both missionaries and slaves), were consequently brought to him. First, he asked the group whether priests were allowed to play cards, and other things which he will not tell PF because he does not want to cause offence. Gatta told the Bey that it was prohibited, and that there are penalties in this life and the next. The king told Gatta to punish the priest, and Gatta made him the slave of the Bascia. The slave was brought to the Bascia, his clothes were taken away, and he was beaten. The priest was imprisoned in the bagno of the Dogana. When they warned him that the Bascia also wanted to enslave the priest, he was released and allowed to travel to Livorno on an English ship. It has been two days since he left. There has been a civil war in this country for three years between two brothers, and the whole area is divided into two parties. Whilst the troubles do not impede them to do their spiritual work, the only problem is travelling to other places. Every now and then, he does travel to these missions together with Vincenzo Da Frascati. They heard that the Capuchins in Tuscany might send new missionaries, and they will follow PF in every decision they make regarding this matter; they do ask PF to be cautious in sending new people to a war-torn area. /
Date discussed: 1680-04-08
Additional comments


Francesco Gatta


APF SOCG 478, 260r-261v, 263r




[Adressed to PF]


For the minutes of the PF meeting where this matter was discussed, see: APF ACTA 50 98r, 112v-113v (database item 683).


Original: signed








Origin: Tunis
Destination: [Rome]


Francesco Gatta, “Letter from Francesco Gatta to [PF pro-secretary, Edoardo Cibo] 1679-09-15, Tunis,” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed October 2, 2022, https://earlymoderndocs.omeka.net/items/show/13115.

Social Bookmarking