Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo, [1677]


Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo, [1677]


CM petitions
Slaves (Christian)


Petition on behalf of unknown to PF. Luigi Da Palermo sent a long letter explaining his situation. He has been enslaved in Algiers, and he postponed ransoming himself, in order to work all day and night for the poor souls. His [Capuchin] procurator general has revealed the great merit he had for the mission: he converted two heretics and Renegato Valentiano. Gio LeVascier [Jean Le Vacher] ransomed him with the promise that he would work for the mission as vicar apostolic of Tunis, and vicar general of Carthage, and he has been approved as provicar by PF. When he arrived in Tunis, he ended the quarrels among different groups. He has brought great success to the mission, despite there being only few missionaries; one of whom was Marcello Costa, as one can read from the defense. Two heretics coverted to Catholism due to his work, and one was a poor Gerbino who converted and promised to flee to Malta. He tried to reconcile the two Christians with each other, however the following night, they got into a fight, and one of them cut the other with a knife. He was severly injured, and whilst he lay dying on the ground, he was consoled by Luigi Da Palermo, who gave confession and forgave his murderer. The other (the murderer), was sentenced to death by the dogana, however first he converted, repented his sins and confessed. He was resolved from his sins and from excommunication. His arms and legs were cut off and he was dragged through the city. After this, when he was black and swollen, he was burned under the window of Luigi Da Palermo. Then he was dragged through the city for a second time, and was eventually burried with many stones. The Christians saw that Luigi Da Palermo was beaten to the ground, and believed him to be dead. They thought it a great miracle not only that he was alive but also that he was not hurt. He baptised a child from a Christian slave, despite her master not wanting the child to be baptised; after two weeks the child died and went to heaven. Two Greek women were bought by two Christians, who mistreated them. Many renegades come to Luigi Da Palermo stating that they are confused and afraid that heaven would be closed to them. Luigi advised them to flee to the Christian world, write down their names (including surname) and place of origin, and to send these details to Christianity, so that their punishment will be lessened. Luigi Da Palermo told the French consul of Tunis, Gio' Ambrosino [Jean Ambrozin] that he could not take the money that belonged to the church of Tunis. Because of Ambrozin many souls will now be lost. PF has sent a message to Jean Le Vacher, asking him to make sure that he will do something about the consul. The alms are used to help the sick, the poor and afflicted Christians. There was also a woman in Tunis, with two virgin daughters from Corsica. Luigi Da Palermo and the other missionaries discussed who in the Christian world could help these people. They all agreed that they should ask the grand duke of Tuscany, and whilst Luigi was in Palermo, 1000 scudi arrived in Tunis to free all three of them. Filippo Brescia from the city of Trepani arrived in Tunis with the plan of the renegade. Luigi visited him, took him to his house, converted him and took care of him. Eventually he sent him back to Christendom. There were also two freed Christians who couldn't leave the city because they had no money to pay the port. Luigi collected 60 piastre, payed the port and they could leave for Messina. Luigi always used to go to the bodies of S. Perpetua and Felicità in Turbura, and he was planning to spend the 280 piastre he had collected from alms for them. Eventually though he decided to spend it on the ransoming of the two souls. There were also two young Spaniards, who were tortured into renouncing their faith because their masters wanted to take them to Mecca. He lent them money from French merchants, also and took money from S. Leonardo and S. Lucia to ransom the boys, and send them back to the Christian world. In Sicily he presented the boys to the viceroy who promissed to pay the debts. Because of an uproar the viceroy had to leave for Messina. Luigi Da Palermo went to Rome, disillusioned as he was, and presented the great need of the mission. PF did not take this very well, and he was sent back to Palermo until further notice. He than again returned to Rome, after which his active and passive voice was taken away. Luigi Da Palermo has been prosecuted for theft for six years because he would have stolen 250 piastre; this has ruined his reputation. Luigi Da Palermo has a letter written in Spanish from Luis de Loyo, the curator of the royal patrimony in Sicily, about the 200 piastre from S. Francesco used for Pietro de Salorsano [one of the freed slaves]; he also wrote a letter defending Luigi Da Palermo, and Giuseppe De Leon (the other slave) is in Sicily. Luigi has always done good work for the mission. If he is found guilty, he should be punished, but if he is found innocent, it would not be right to let him suffer any longer, and to further ruin his reputation. When asking to return to Tunis, he asks for further hardship without pay, as in these countries one is in continuous risk of losing one's life for Christ. In the case that PF does not want to use the services of Luigi any longer, they should repay the money to the churches in Tunis. Luigi already paid 50 to S. Francesco and would have payed the rest after his return. They could also asked the other freed slave, Giuseppe De Leon, to repay the money and save Luigi's reputation. 
Date discussed: 1677-08-03
Additional comments


Luigi Da Palermo


APF SOCG 465, 231r-232r, 233v




For the minutes of the PF meeting where this matter was discussed, see: APF ACTA 47164r, 165v-167r (not in this database).








Origin: unknown
Destination: Rome


Luigi Da Palermo, “Petition on behalf of Luigi Da Palermo, [1677],” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed October 2, 2022,

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