|Death: ||May 2, 1605|
A prominent Maltese scholar of the cinquecento who, among other prestigious titles, carried that of Bishop of Sidonia in Asia Minor, Monsignor Leonardo Abela was a remarkable linguist, fluent in Hebrew, Chaldean, Syrian and Arabic, who held many important posts in the upper echelons of the Church, including that of being an adviser to the committee working on the Gregorian reform of the calendar.
Born to a noble family in Mdina on June 20, 1578, Pope Gregory VIII named him vicar general of the island of Malta. Later that year he moved to Rome where he befriended Cardinal Giulio Antonio Santori with whom he projected a mission towards the Orient to have the churches there united with that of Rome. Appointed Bishop of Sidonia in Asia Minore on July 20, 1582, he received his episcopal consecration from Cardinal Santori on the following August 19. He left Rome to Aleppo on March 12, 1583, arriving on July 16. In 1582 he acted as one of the signatories of the report to Pope Gregory XIII that led to the adoption of the so-called Gregorian calendar.
In the Orient he met the Melkites, Jacobites and Nestorians, collecting along his journeys a series of important manuscripts, conserved to this day at the Biblioteca Vaticana. Back in Rome in February 1587, on April 19, he presented Pope Sixtus V a "Relazione di quanto ha trattato il vescovo di Sidone nella sua missione in Oriente". In his later years he worked for the unification of the Coptic Church with that of Rome.
In his native island Abela had a summer residence constructed in the village of Tarxien. The palace, believed to be one of the first to be built among many others during the sixteenth century by noblemen and Grand Masters, stands still to this day.
Bishop Abela died in Rome on May 2, 1605 and was buried at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, remaining thus to this day, the only Maltese to receive burial at the Papal Archbasilica.
Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
Cittą Metropolitana di Roma Capitale
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Jul 17, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93736666
Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth. Pray for us Leonardo.|
Added: Apr. 4, 2015
Added: Jul. 18, 2013
It Was You, O God, Who Made Your Servant Bishop Abela, A Successor Of The Apostles By Raising Him To The Episcopal Order. May He Also Be Associated With Them Forever. We Ask This Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.|
Added: Jul. 17, 2012