Pope Francis has expressed his condolences for the death of Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, Archbishop Emeritus of Florence, who served the Italian city from 1983 to 2001.
In a telegram to the Tuscan capital’s current archbishop, Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Francis says he shares in the grief of the cardinal’s family and in that of the entire diocesan community.
After battling a long illness “with serenity and trustful abandonment in the will of the Lord,” as the Argentine Pope pointed out, the 92-year old passed away on Saturday.
With Cardinal Piovanelli’s death, the College of Cardinals decreases in number to 212, of whom 112 are cardinal electors and 100 are cardinal non-electors.
In the Holy Father’s message, he also recalled “his dear brother who served the Gospel with joy and knowledge, loving the Church tenaciously.” He concluded imparting his blessing on the late cardinal’s loved ones and the people of Florence.
Born in Tuscany in 1924, Silvano Piovanelli, already by age 11, was attending the Florence Seminary. He would go on to be ordained on July 13, 1947, and worked as vice-rector of the minor seminary for 12 years. In 1960, Piovanelli became the parish priest of Castelfiorentino.
In 1979, he was called by Cardinal Benelli to the Curia in Florence, first as pro-vicar, then as vicar general. Pope Paul VI was appointed Bishop of Tubune on May 28, 1982. After Cardinal Benelli died that same year, Bishop Piovanelli was named Archbishop of Florence.
During the May 25, 1985 consistory, Pope John Paul II made him cardinal.