(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his sadness following the death of Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, Archbishop of Florence between 1983 and 2001.
In a telegramme to the current Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, the Pope says he shares in the grief of the Cardinal’s family and in that of the entire diocesan community.
Cardinal Piovanelli, aged 92, passed away following a long illness which he had tackled “with serenity and trustful abandonment in the will of the Lord”.
In the telegramme the Pope remembers “his dear brother who served the Gospel with joy and knowledge, loving the Church tenaciously”.
The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, also expressed his condolences for the death of Cardinal Piovanelli describing him as a “point of reference for the faith and the life of the city of Florence”.
Born in Tuscany in Ronta of Mugello on February 21, 1924, already by age 11 Piovanelli was attending the Florence Seminary. He was ordained on July 13, 1947, and worked for 12 years as Vice-Rector of the Minor Seminary. In 1960, Piovanelli became the parish priest of Castelfiorentino, an area known for its anticlerical and atheist sentiments. He has been credited with considerable success in healing the fractures in the community. In 1979 Cardinal Benelli called Piovanelli to the Curia in Florence, initially as Pro-Vicar, and then as Vicar General. On May 28, 1982, Piovanelli was appointed Bishop of Tubune of Mauritania by Paul VI. The same year, after the death of Benelli, Piovanelli became Archbishop of Florence. John Paul II made him a cardinal during the Consistory of May 25, 1985.
Following the death of Cardinal Piovanelli, the College of Cardinals decreases in number to 212 of whom 112 are Cardinal Electors and 100 are Cardinal Non Electors.