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Rev Ambrose Agius

Rev Ambrose Agius

Death 13 Dec 1911 (aged 55)
Burial Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines
Plot Gospel Side Of The Abbey Church.
Memorial ID 87070508 · View Source
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The son of Tancredi Agius, a highly respected merchant in Malta and in Egypt, where he had emigrated and settled in Alexandria, and Saveria Sammut, Dom Ambrose Agius OSB., was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on September 17, 1856, and was baptised in Alexandria's St. Catherine's Cathedral on November 5 of that year with the name Tancredi Alfred.

Educated at St. Augustine's Benedictine College in Ramsgate, Kent, he distinguished himself as a brilliant student. After spending a year in business, he returned to Ramsgate Abbey in 1872, where he took the monastic habit and the religious name of Dom Ambrose.

Professing his vows on October 12, 1873, two years later he was sent to Rome to complete his studies in philosophy and theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on October 16, 1881.

In May 1881, Dom Ambrose was sent to Malta since the newly founded Benedictine Congregation of Subiaco, due to the hostile Italian political situation and growing anticlericalism, was looking forward to open a novitiate and a monastery on the named island.

The mission was a success on the whole and in December, he visited Malta with a group of fellow monks, settling in Nigret, limits of Żurrieq. Soon a canonical community was formed, an international novitiate was set up, and a male Benedictine monastery dedicated to St Mary Immaculate, the first and only in Malta, was established at Nigret.

Within three years the situation in Italy had changed, so the Malta Monastery was closed down. Back in Ramsgate, Dom Ambrose showed a deep monastic zeal and religious fervour.

In 1893 Agius was called to Rome and appointed secretary to the Procurator of the Subiacan Curia. Widely praised for the way he carried out his duties and his pastoral work, even by Pope Pius X himself, indeed, the Pope was greatly disappointed when Dom Ambrose was not elected Abbot Procurator of the Congregation, and decided to place him at the service of the Universal Church.

Thus, on August 27, 1904, the Pontiff appointed Dom Ambrose, Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, receiving his episcopal consecration with the Titular See of Palymra on the following September 18, from the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, at the Benedictine church of St. Ambrose of Marsina.

Monsignor Agius was congratulated for having omitted the customary entertainment after the ceremony, making instead a generous donation to the poor of the Roman parish of Sant'Ambrogio.

During his stay in the Philippines, Monsignor Agius convoked the first Provincial Council of the Philippine Islands, which was solemnly opened in the Cathedral of Manila on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1907. He also consecrated to the episcopate, Monsignor Jorge Barlin Imperial, the first Filipino Catholic Bishop.

In recognition of the monumental work which Agius, as Apostolic Delegate, had achieved by reuniting and organising the Church in the Philippines, in November 1911 Pope Pius appointed him Papal Legate to Washington, DC.

Archbishop Agius was due to embark for Italy, when on December 13, 1911, his life was suddenly cut short at 55 years of age, within two days of suffering an acute attack of peritonitis.

His body was laid out in state at Manila's Cathedral, where solemn funeral mass was held on Friday, December 15, followed by interment followed in the Cathedral Crypt. When the Cathedral was destroyed in the bombing of the Battle of Manila in 1945, his remains were placed in a small casket and transferred to the Abbey Church of Our Lady of Montserrat along Mendiola Street, San Miguel, Manila.

Three of his nephews, Dom Ambrose Agius (1890 - 1978), Dom Denis Agius (1913 - 1996), and Dom Christopher Calascione became likewise members of the Benedictine Order.




  • Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 20 Mar 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 87070508
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Ambrose Agius (17 Sep 1856–13 Dec 1911), Find A Grave Memorial no. 87070508, citing Abbey Church of Our Lady of Montserrat, Manila, Metro Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Eman Bonnici (contributor 46572312) .