Tommaso de Vio of Gaeta
20 February 1469 - 9/10 August 1534
English and German Cajetan of Vio.


Giacomo de Vio, after 1484 named Tommaso de Vio, was born at Gaeta, Italy, 20 February, 1469.

Gaeta is a city and commune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 km from Rome and 80 km from Napoli at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Giacomo de Vio came of noble stock, and in early boyhood was devout and fond of study.
Against the will of his parents he entered the Dominican Order in 1484 (before the age of sixteen), and received the name Tommaso.  

As a student of Napoli, Bologna, and Padua he was the wonder of his fellow-students and preceptors. As bachelor of theology (19 March, 1492), and afterwards master of students, he began to attract attention by his lectures and writings.
Promoted to the chair of metaphysics at the University of Padua, he made a close study of the prevailing Humanism and Philosophy. Besides engaging in controversy with the Scotist Trombetta, he took a stand against the Averroistic tendencies or teachings of such men as Vernias, Pompanazzi, and Niphus, directing against them his celebrated work, "De Ente et Essentiâ", counted the most subtle and abstruse of his productions.

1494: Dispute with John Pico della Mirandola, lay Dominican of the Dominican Order.

At the General chapter of the order (Ferrara, 1494) Cajetan was selected to conduct the customary defence of theses in the presence of the assembled dignitaries. He had to face Pico della Mirandola, tertiary of the Dominican Order, among others, and such was his success that the students bore him in triumph on their shoulders to receive the felicitations of the Master General.

He was immediately made master of Sacred Theology, and for several years expounded the "Summa" of Saint Thomas, principally at Brescia and Pavia, to which latter chair he had been called by the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza.
After two years he resigned and repaired to Milan, whence in 1500 Cardinal Oliviero Caraffa procured his transfer to Rome. In 1501 he was made Procurator General of his Order and appointed to the chairs of Philosophy and Exegesis at the Sapienza.

1508- till 1518: Cajetan, Master of the Order.

On the death of the Master General, John Clérée, 1507, Cajetan was appointed Vicar-General of the Order, and the next year on the General Chapter on Pentecost 1508 in Rome, he was elected the 38th Master of the Order (1508-1518).

On 3 October 1508, he sent a breve to the Provincial of the Order in Spain, that he had to send 15 missionaries to Hispaniola in the New World, to found priories and to preach the Gospel.
With foresight and ability, he devoted his energies to the promotion of religious discipline, emphasizing the study of sacred science as the chief means of attaining the end of the order.
His encyclical letters and the acts of chapters promulgated during his term of office bear witness to his lofty ideals and to his unceasing efforts to realize them.

He was wont to say that he could hardly excuse from grievous sin a brother Dominican who failed to devote at least four hours a day to study. "Let others rejoice in their prerogatives", he once wrote, "but the work of our Order is at an end unless sacred doctrine be our commendation."
He was himself a model of diligence, and it was said of him that he could quote almost the entire "Summa" from memory.

About the fourth year of his Generalship, Cajetan rendered important service to the Holy See by appearing before the Pseudo-Council of Pisa (1511), where he denounced the disobedience of the participating Cardinals and Bishops and overwhelmed them with his arguments.
This was the occasion of his defence of the power and monarchical supremacy of the Pope. It is chiefly to his endeavours that is ascribed the failure of this schismatically movement, abetted by Louis XII of France. He was one of the first to counsel Pope Julius II to convoke a real ecumenical council, i.e. the Fifth Lateran. In this council Cajetan was deputed by the principal religious orders to defend their common interests.

1517: Cajetan Cardinal.

On 1 July, 1517, Cajetan was created Cardinal by Pope Leo X. He was also appointed Archbishop of Palermo, but opposition on the part of the Sicilian Senate prevented his taking possession and he resigned 8 February, 1518.
On taking the demand of Charles V, however, he was later made Bishop of Gaeta, but this was after he had been sent in 1518 as Apostolic Legate to Germany, bringing the insignia of the Cardinality to Albert of Brandenburg, and a sword blessed by the Pope to Emperor Maximilian.
On this occasion he was empowered to confer with the latter and with the King of Denmark on the terms of an alliance against the Turks. He also represented the Pope at the Diet of Frankfort (1519), and took an active part in the election of Charles V (1519), thereby winning that Emperor's friendship and gratitude.

The meeting with Martin Luther.

While executing these missions, the more serious duty of meeting Luther, then started on his career of rebellion, was assigned to him. Cajetan's theological learning and humane disposition seemed to fit him for the task of successfully treating with the proud and obstinate monk, and Protestants have admitted that in all his relations with the latter Cajetan exhibited a spirit of moderation, that did honour to his lofty character.

But neither pleading, learning, nor conciliatory words availed to secure the desired submission. Luther parleyed and temporized as he had done with the Holy See itself, and finally showed the insincerity of his earlier protestations by spurning the Pope and his representative alike. Some have blamed Cajetan for his failure to avert Luther's defection, but others like Hefele and Hergenröther exonerate him.

1523 - Missions and his death - in 1534.

Pope Adrian VI sent him in 1523 as Legate to King Louis of Hungary to encourage the Christians in their resistance to the Turks. Recalled the following year by Clement VII, he became one of the Pope's chief advisors.
During the sack of Rome by the imperialist army (1527) Cajetan, like other principal persons, was seized, and obtained the release of himself and household only on payment of five thousand Romen crowns of gold, a sum which he had to borrow and which he later made up by strictest economy in the affairs of his diocese.

He was one of the nineteen Cardinals who, in a solemn consistory held by Clement VII (23 March, 1534), pronounced definitively for the validity of the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
This was about the last public act of his life, for he died  on 9/10 August 1534  in Rome. He was buried, as he requested, in an humble tomb in the vestibule of the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

It was the common opinion of his contemporaries that had he lived, he would have succeeded Clement VII on the papal throne. Much interest attaches to a portrait of Cajetan, the only one known, recently discovered by Père Berthier, O.P. in a collection of notables of the Reformation, owned by Count Krasinski of Warsaw, Poland.

Source: Catholic Encyclopedia. For more information see internet: Catholic Encyclopedia, sub voce (s.v.) Cajetanus.


On Raphael's fresco ‘Disputa del Sacramento' (1509-1510), Tommaso of  Vio (Cajetan) with the Cardinals hat at the right side of Pope Gregor the Great. Fresco in the Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican Palace.

Raphael Urbinas
Raffael, - Raffaello Santi -, 6 April 1483 – 6April 1620.
Better known simply as Raphael.

In the former ‘Stanza della Segnatura’, in the Vatican Palace,
Raffael painted the fresco ‘Disputa del Sacramento’, 1509-1510.

The Vatican palace.

It is certain that Pope Symmachus (498-514) built a residence to the right and left of Saint Peter's and immediately contiguous to it.
By the end of the thirteenth century the building activity of the Popes Eugene III, Alexander III, and Innocent III had developed the residence of Symmachus into a palatium which lay between the portico of Saint Peter's and the Vatican Hill.

Pope Nicholas III (1210/1220 –Pope 25 November 1277 – 22 August 1280) began building on the Vatican Hill a palace of extraordinary dimensions, which was completed by his immediate successors. He also secured land for the Vatican Gardens.
These buildings were scarcely finished or fitted when the popes moved to Avignon and from 1305 to 1377 no pope resided permanently in the Vatican Palace. Pope Urban V spent a short time in Rome and Pope Gregory XI died there in 1415.

When Urban V resolved to return to Rome, the Lateran Palace having been destroyed by fire, the ordinary papal residence was fixed at the Vatican.
 The apartments, roofs, gardens, and chapels of the Vatican Palace had to be entirely overhauled, so grievous had been the decay and ruin into which the buildings had fallen within sixty years (see Kirsch, "Die Rüchkehr der Päpste Urban V. u. Gregor. XI.", Paderborn, 1908). The funds devoted to the repairs of the Vatican during the residence at Avignon had been entirely inadequate.

Urban VI (Pope 8 April 1378 – 15 October 1389) and his successors restored to the palace a degree of comfort as a place of residence, so that, when Pope Martin V came from Constance to Rome (28 September, 1420), little remained to be undertaken except some rearrangement of the apartments.

Nicholas V (Pope 16 March 1447 – 24 March 1455) erected buildings on the east and north sides of the Cortile del Papagallo, on the spot where the Loggia of Raphael and the Apartamento Borgia and the Stanze stand today.

Pius II (Pope 19 August 1458 – 15 August 1464)and Paul II (30 August 1464 – 26  July 1471) beautified the buildings of the south aide, and Innocent VIII  (Pope 29 August 1484 – 25 July 1492) effected such alterations in the old palace in the portico of St. Peter's at the foot of the hill that it was henceforth known as the Palazzo di Innocenzo VIII.

Alexander VI (Pope 10 August 1492 – 18 August 1503) added to the Palace of Nicholas V the Torre Borgia, which bears his name. In his apartments, beautiful decorated by Puntoricchio (1454-1513) , Alexander lived with his wife and children.
Pius III (Pope 1503), moved into the apartments of Alexander VI, and Julius II (Pope 1 November 1503 – 21 February 1513) also. But before 1508, Julius decided to move to the upper floor. He would not spend his days on the place where his immoral predecessor (Alexander VI) had lived.

The fresco 'Disputa del Sacramento' in the 'Stanza della Segnatura'
in the Vatican [palace, Rome,
by Raphael, 1508-1509.


Vatican City 2009, Mi Bl 33.

Julius II ordered architect Donato Bramante (14 April 1444 - 11 March 1514) to decorate the living, - the  ‘Stanza delle Segnatura’ -, with fresco’s. After some troubles, Bramante introduced Raphael.
Julius paid Raphael an advance on 3 January 1509, after which the painter finished his work. 

Four Dominicans are portrayed on this fresco: Fra Angelico (at the left), Savonarola (at the right), Tomas Aquinas and Thomas de Vio with cardinals hat, speaking with Pope Gregor.


Thomas Aquinas, Pope Gregory, Tommaso de Vio with cardinal's hat.

Vatican City 2009, Mi 1650, Sc - .








   Ajman 1972, Mi 1891.




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