Giovanni Giovenale Ancina (John Juvenal Ancina) was born in Fossano, in the province of Cuneo, in October of 1545. He graduated in both medicine and philosophy, was also an accomplished man of letters and a fine music
editor and composer. A man of many talents, and with the possibility of making a career in various fields, he nonetheless heard the call to become a priest after hearing a performance of Dies Irae at a church in Savignano.
As a priest he met and followed Saint Philip Neri of Naples. He dedicated himself entirely to the Oratorian apostolate, for which his many natural talents so well equipped him. He quickly gained a reputation as a fine preacher.
He also used his musical talents to help the growth of popular piety. Juvenal develop many other cultural interests in Naples and involved in this work of the Oratory many of the great aristocratic families. Through the Oratorio dei Principi he helped to bring Catholic standards into the lives of many
influential people. In the autumn of 1596 Juvenal was recalled to Rome, where Pope Clement VIII told him he had decided to make him Bishop of Saluzzo, in the north of Italy.
Juvenal’s time as Bishop was very short because he died of a suspected poisoning on 30th August, 1604.
His brief episcopate was nevertheless a fruitful one and was marked by many initiatives designed to help his people grow in piety and charity. He placed great emphasis on the instructing of the faithful in the teachings
of the Church and introduced the use of the Catechism.
Juvenal’s body rests in Saluzzo Cathedral, under an altar dedicated to him. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 9th February 1890.
Giovanni Giovenale Ancina is especially remembered is his Tempio Armonico della Beatissima Vergine, a collection of spiritual songs for three, five, eight and twelve voices.
The Kunst der Fuge Biographies of Composers: Ancina by Beverley Drabsch and Nausica Th. Classical.
Credits: birmingham-oratory.org.uk/ancina.htm, 126.96.36.199/chisiamo/vescovi/ancinagiovannigiovenale
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