Philip Romolo Neri (Italian: Filippo Romolo Neri; 21 July 1515 – 25 May 1595), known as the Third Apostle of Rome, after Saints Peter and Paul, was an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory.
St. Philip Neri, Cong. Orat.
Third Apostle of Rome
|Confessor and Founder|
|Born||21 July 1515|
Florence, Republic of Florence
|Died||25 May 1595 (aged 79)|
Rome, Papal States
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||11 May 1615 by Pope Paul V|
|Canonized||12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV|
|Patronage||Rome, Mandaluyong, US Special Forces, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Piczon Vill, Catbalogan, laughter, humour, joy|
Philip was the son of Francesco di Neri, a lawyer, and his wife Lucrezia da Mosciano, whose family were nobility in the service of the state. He was carefully brought up, and received his early teaching from the friars at San Marco, the famous Dominican monastery in Florence. He was accustomed in later life to ascribe most of his progress to the teaching of two of them, Zenobio de' Medici and Servanzio Mini. At the age of 18, Philip was sent to his uncle, Romolo, a wealthy merchant at San Germano, a Neapolitan town near the base of Monte Cassino, to assist him in his business, and with the hope that he might inherit his uncle's fortune. He gained Romolo's confidence and affection, but soon after coming to San Germano Philip had a religious conversion. From then onward, he no longer cared for things of the world, and decided in 1533 to live in Rome.
After arriving in Rome, Philip became a tutor in the house of a Florentine aristocrat named Galeotto Caccia. After two years he began to pursue his own studies (for a period of three years) under the guidance of the Augustinians. Following this, he began those labours amongst the sick and poor which, in later life, gained him the title of "Apostle of Rome". He also ministered to the prostitutes of the city. In 1538 he entered into the home mission work for which he became famous, traveling throughout the city, seeking opportunities of entering into conversation with people, and of leading them to consider the topics he set before them. For seventeen years Philip lived as a layman in Rome, probably without thinking of becoming a priest. Around 1544, he made the acquaintance of Ignatius of Loyola. Many of Philip's disciples found their vocations in the infant Society of Jesus.
In 1548, together with his confessor, Persiano Rossa, Philip founded the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims and Convalescents (Italian: Santissima Trinita de' Pellegrini e de' Convalescenti), whose primary object was to minister to the needs of the thousands of poor pilgrims who flocked to Rome, especially in jubilee years, and also to relieve the patients discharged from hospitals but who were still too weak for labour. Members met for prayer at the Church of San Salvatore in Campo where the devotion of the Forty Hours of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was first introduced into Rome.
In 1551 Philip received all the minor orders, and was ordained deacon and finally priest (on 23 May). He thought of going to India as a missionary, but was dissuaded by his friends who saw that there was abundant work to be done in Rome. Accordingly, he settled down, with some companions, at the Hospital of San Girolamo della Carità, and while there tentatively began, in 1556, the institute with which his name is more especially connected, that of the Oratory. The scheme at first was no more than a series of evening meetings in a hall (the Oratory), at which there were prayers, hymns, and readings from Scripture, the church fathers, and the Martyrology, followed by a lecture or by discussion of some religious question proposed for consideration. The musical selections (settings of scenes from sacred history) were called oratorios. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. The program developed, and the members of the society undertook various kinds of mission work throughout Rome, notably the preaching of sermons in different churches every evening, a completely new idea at that time. He also spent much of his time hearing confessions, and effected many conversions in this way.
Philip sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. In 1553, Neri started the tradition of making a one-day pilgrimage to seven churches, starting from St. Peter's Basilica and ending at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. He and a few friends would gather before dawn and set out on their "Seven Churches Walk". The street which links Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls with San Sebastiano fuori le mura is still called "Via delle Sette Chiese". These pilgrimages were designed to be a counterpoint to the raucous behavior of Carnival. The Walks became very popular and began to attract others.
In 1564 the Florentines requested that Philip leave San Girolamo to oversee their newly built church in Rome, San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. He was at first reluctant, but by consent of Pope Pius IV he accepted, while remaining in charge of San Girolamo where the exercises of the Oratory were kept up. At this time the new society included among its members Caesar Baronius, the ecclesiastical historian, Francesco Maria Tarugi, afterwards Archbishop of Avignon, and Ottavio Paravicini, all three of whom were subsequently cardinals, and also Gallonius (Antonio Gallonio, author of a well-known work on the Sufferings of the Martyrs), Ancina, Bordoni, and other men of ability and distinction. In 1574, the Florentines built a large oratory or mission-room for the society, next to San Giovanni – in order to save them the fatigue of the daily journey to and from San Girolamo, and to provide a more convenient place of assembly – and the headquarters were transferred there.
As the community grew, and its mission work extended, the need for a church entirely its own made itself felt, and the small parish church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, conveniently situated in the middle of Rome, was offered and accepted. The building, however, not large enough for their purpose, was pulled down, and a splendid church erected on the site. It was immediately after taking possession of their new quarters that Philip formally organized, under permission of a papal bull dated 15 July 1575, a community of secular priests, called the Congregation of the Oratory. The new church was consecrated early in 1577, and the clergy of the new society at once resigned the charge of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini; Philip himself did not leave San Girolamo until 1583, and then only by virtue of an injunction of the pope that he, as the superior, should reside at the chief house of his congregation. He was at first elected for a term of three years (as was common in modern societies) but in 1587 was nominated superior for life. He was, however, entirely free from personal ambition, and had no desire to be superior general over a number of dependent houses, so he desired that all congregations formed on his model outside Rome should be autonomous, governing themselves, and with no provision for Philip to retain control over any new foundation they might themselves make elsewhere – a regulation afterwards formally confirmed by a brief of Gregory XV in 1622.
Although Philip refrained from becoming involved in political matters, he broke this rule in 1593 - 95 when he persuaded Pope Clement VIII to revoke the excommunication and anathema pronounced against Henry IV of France and the refusal to receive his ambassador, even though the king had formally renounced Calvinism. Philip saw that the pope's attitude was more than likely to drive Henry to a relapse and to rekindle the civil war in France, and directed the future Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a member of the Oratory who was then the pope's confessor, to refuse the pope absolution and to resign his office of confessor unless the pope withdrew the anathema. Clement yielded at once, though the whole college of cardinals had supported his policy; and Henry, who did not learn the facts until several years afterwards, testified lively gratitude for the timely and politic intervention. Philip continued in the government of the Oratory until his death. He was succeeded by Baronius.
Philip Neri embodied a number of contradictions, combining popular venerations with intensely individual piety. He became deeply involved with the Church hierarchy while seeking to reform a corrupt Rome and an indifferent clergy.
Philip possessed a playful sense of humour, combined with a shrewd wit. He considered a cheerful temper to be more Christian than a melancholy one, and carried this spirit into his whole life: "A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one." This was the secret of Neri's popularity and of his place in the folklore of the Roman poor. Many miracles were attributed to him. When his body was examined after death, it was found that two of his ribs had been broken, which was attributed at the time to the expansion of his heart while fervently praying in the catacombs about the year 1545. Benedict XIV, who reorganised the rules for canonization, decided that Philip's enlarged heart was caused by an aneurism. Ponnelle and Bordet, in their 1932 biography St. Philip Neri and the Roman Society of His Times (1515-1595), conclude that it was partly natural and partly supernatural. What is certain is that Philip himself and his penitents associated it with divine love.
"Practical commonplaceness," says Frederick William Faber in his panegyric on Philip, "was the special mark which distinguishes his form of ascetic piety from the types accredited before his day. He looked like other men. ... He was emphatically a modern gentleman, of scrupulous courtesy, sportive gaiety, acquainted with what was going on in the world, taking a real interest in it, giving and getting information, very neatly dressed, with a shrewd common sense always alive about him, in a modern room with modern furniture, plain, it is true, but with no marks of poverty about it – in a word, with all the ease, the gracefulness, the polish of a modern gentleman of good birth, considerable accomplishments, and widespread knowledge."
Accordingly, Philip was ready to meet the needs of his day to an extent and in a manner which even the versatile Jesuits, who much desired to enlist him in their company, did not rival; and, though an Italian priest and head of a new religious order, his genius was entirely unmonastic and unmedieval – frequent and popular preaching, unconventional prayer, and unsystematized, albeit fervent, private devotion.
Philip prayed, "Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow."
Philip had no difficulties in respect of the teaching of his Church. His great merit was the instinctive tact which showed him that the system of monasticism could never be the leaven of secular life in the world of his day, but that something more homely, simple, and everyday in character was needed for the new times then emerging.
Philip Neri died around the end of the day on 25 May 1595, the Feast of Corpus Christi that year, after having spent the day hearing confessions and receiving visitors. About midnight he began hemorrhaging, and Baronius read the commendatory prayers over him. Baronius asked that he bless his spiritual sons before dying, and though he could no longer speak, he blessed them with the sign of the cross and died.
Philip Neri is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, and noted for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.
The congregation Philip Neri founded is of an original stamp, little resembling a monastery of the older type, and its rules (not drawn up by Philip Neri, but approved by Pope Paul V in 1612)  leave considerable freedom of action compared with traditional religious foundations.
The Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri is a pontifical society of apostolic life of Catholic priests and lay-brothers who live together in a community bound together but without formal vows. They are commonly referred to as Oratorians (Oratorian Fathers). Oratorians commit themselves to membership in a particular, independent, self-governing local community (an Oratory, usually named for the place in which it is located). In some locations, the local Oratory has been designated to administer a particular parish; others may be tasked with campus ministry.
The Oratory movement spread in the early period especially in Italy. In France, a separate and distinct foundation from the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri was founded, though inspired by St Philip's model. Best known as the French Oratory, it was founded in 1611 in Paris, France, by Pierre de Bérulle (1575–1629), later a cardinal of the Catholic Church. The French Oratory had a determinant influence on the French school of spirituality throughout the 17th century. Unlike St Philip's Oratory, it operates under the central authority of a Superior General. Early members included Nicolas Malebranche, Louis Thomassin, Jules Mascaron and Jean Baptiste Massillon. Suppressed at the French Revolution, it was revived by Père Pététot, curé of St Roch, in 1852, as the "Oratory of Jesus and Mary Immaculate".
Philip Neri encouraged the singing of the lauda spirituale (laude) in his oratory services. The prominent composers Tomás Luis de Victoria and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina probably participated in this music. The result of Philip's approach was undoubtedly a unique and varied aesthetic experience.
Gigi Proietti played Philip Neri in a 2010 Italian movie made for television Saint Philip Neri: I Prefer Heaven.
All Saints' Catholic Academy (formerly All Saints RC School) is a Roman Catholic secondary school in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England. It is the only Catholic secondary school in the district, with an average of 1500 pupils. The school is allied to St. Philip Neri with St. Bede's Catholic Voluntary Academy for younger pupils aged 3–11 years.Birmingham Oratory
The Birmingham Oratory is an English Catholic religious community of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, located in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. The community was founded in 1849 by the Blessed John Henry Newman, Cong.Orat., the first house of that congregation in England.
Part of the complex of the Oratory is the Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception, commonly referred to as the Oratory Church. It now also serves as the national shrine to Newman.Dunston, Tyne and Wear
Dunston is the most westerly part of the town of Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne, in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead, North East England (into which it was absorbed in 1974). Dunston had a population of 18,326 at the 2011 Census.Gostyń
Gostyń [ˈɡɔstɨɲ] (German: Gostyn, 1941-45: Gostingen) is a town in Greater Poland Voivodeship (from 1975 to 1998 in Leszno Voivodship), in Gostyń County. According to 30 June 2004 data its population was 20,746.
The total area of Gostyń is 10.79 square kilometres (4.17 sq mi). The town comprises 1% of the area of the county and 8% of the commune, according to Główny Urząd Statystyczny.
The main landmark of Gostyń is Basilica of Święta Góra (Holy Hill), the main Marian sanctuary of the archdiocese of Poznań and a masterpiece of Pompeo Ferrari, with the monastery of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri.London Oratory
The London Oratory ("the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in London") is a Catholic community of priests living under the rule of life established by its founder, Philip Neri (1515-1595). It is housed in an Oratory House, next to the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Brompton Oratory) in the Brompton Road, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7.
There are four other Oratories in the UK, the Birmingham Oratory, the Manchester Oratory, the Oxford Oratory and the York Oratory.Northbridge, New South Wales
Northbridge is a suburb on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located 7 kilometres north of the Sydney Central Business District, in the local government area of Willoughby.
The Suspension Bridge, linking the suburb to Cammeray, has become a recognised symbol of Northbridge, completed in January 1892 and purchased by the state government in 1912.
The suburb celebrated its centenary in 2013.Oratorio de San Felipe de Neri, Toledo
The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri (Spanish: San Felipe de Neri) is a former church in Toledo (Castile-La Mancha, Spain). The building was used by the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri as an oratory (chapel). From 2013 it housed the Tolmo Museum, but as at 2018 it is reported to be closed.Oratory Athenaeum for University Preparation
Oratory Athenæum for University Preparation is a private, Roman Catholic high school in Pharr, Texas. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
The Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri is a pontifical society of apostolic life of Catholic priests and lay-brothers who live together in a community bound together by no formal vows but only with the bond of charity. They are commonly referred to as Oratorians (Oratorian Fathers). This "Congregation of the Oratory" should not be confused with the French Oratory, a distinct congregation, the Society of the Oratory of Jesus (Société de l'Oratoire de Jésus), founded by Pierre de Bérulle in 1611 in Paris.
Founded in Rome (then capital of the Papal States) in 1575 by St. Philip Neri, today it has spread around the world, with over 70 Oratories and some 500 priests. The post-nominal initials commonly used to identify members of the society are "C.O." (Congregatio Oratorii). The abbreviation "Cong. Orat." is also used.
Unlike a religious institute (the members of which take vows and are answerable to a central authority) or a monastery (the monks of which are likewise bound by vows in a community that may itself be autonomous and answerable directly to the Pope), the Oratorians are made up of members who commit themselves to membership in a particular, independent, self-governing local community (an Oratory, usually named for the place in which it is located: e.g., Birmingham Oratory, Oxford Oratory, Brooklyn Oratory) without actually taking vows, an unusual and innovative arrangement created by St. Philip. Normally an oratory must have a minimum of four members, two being ordained, in order to be founded. If a group of men seeks to establish an oratory, they may apply to do so, going through the proper diocesan channels; during the process of formation a member (or members) of a well-established oratory resides in the community to facilitate every aspect of the proposed foundation.Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri is a small square in the Gothic Quarter in the district of Ciutat Vella in Barcelona, Spain. The square takes its name from the Church of Saint Philip Neri, which presides over the square. To the right of the church is the School of Saint Felip Neri which uses the square as a playground. To the left of the church is a house used by the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. In the centre of the square is an octagonal fountain, dedicated as a symbol of life. The architecture of the square and surrounding buildings is in the medieval Baroque-style.Querétaro Cathedral
The St. Philip Neri Cathedral (Spanish: Catedral de San Felipe Neri) Also Querétaro Cathedral It is a Catholic church that was built by the felipense order. It is located in the center of the city of Santiago de Querétaro in Mexico.The building was erected between 1786 and 1804, by the Order of San Felipe Neri, at the request of Father Martin de San Cayetano. He was blessed by Father Miguel Hidalgo, on September 19, 1805.
Abandoned by the order of the place, the bishop and historian Francisco Banegas y Galván asked the Holy See to donate the temple for the creation of the cathedral and the seminary, which was authorized and in 1921 the temple was declared a cathedral by Pope Benedict XV, being consecrated in 1931.
One of the last works built during the colonial period, which is a sign of the transition between two styles: from Baroque to Neoclassical. It occupies the finishing of the exterior material of quarry and tezontle.Saint Philip Neri Church
St Philip Neri Church Liverpool is home to the Roman Catholic chaplaincy to the Universities in Liverpool. It features a Byzantine inspired design by PS Gilby and was built between 1914 and 1920. There are exterior friezes depicting the Last Supper and of Our Lady and the Child Jesus inscribed with the two titles given to Our Lady at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, i.e. 'Deipara' (Latin: Mother of God) and 'Theotokos' (Greek : Bearing God) over the door onto Catherine Street. There is also a large stone inscribed in Latin set in the wall bearing the name of Thomas (Whiteside), Archbishop of Liverpool 8 Oct 1916 which dates from the time the church was constructed. The parish grew from the school named 'The Institute' which opened in 1853 in nearby Hope Street. It was visited by the founder of the English Oratorians (Cardinal) John Henry Newman of The Oratory of St Philip Neri in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The parish and later the church were named after Saint Philip Neri in honour of Newman since Philip Neri had founded the original Oratory church in Rome.
Parish registers of the church dating as far back as 1864 can be inspected at the Liverpool Record Office.
In the 1950s, the then priest Dr John Garvin, transformed an adjoining bombsite into a Spanish garden, 'El Jardin della Nuestra Senora' - the Garden of Our Lady. the church became the chaplaincy for the Universities (The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University) in September 2001 when the old Liverpool University chaplaincy relocated from its previous home on the cathedral precinct, opposite the University of Liverpool Guild of Students, on Mount Pleasant. The church, which is a Grade II* listed building, recently received a grant of £72,000 to help remedy water ingress damage to its mosaic tiling.St. Philip's Seminary
Saint Philip’s Seminary is an apostolate of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. It has been authorized to grant degrees by the province of Ontario. It accepts students for the priesthood who are sponsored by their diocese or by their religious order.St. Philip Neri Church shelling
The St. Philip Neri Church shelling occurred when St. Philip Neri Church in Allaipiddy village, off the coast of Sri Lanka's Jaffna Peninsula, was shelled on August 13, 2006, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Army. The attack killed at least 15 people and injured as many as 54 others.St. Philip Neri Parish Historic District
St. Philip Neri Parish Historic District is a historic Roman Catholic church complex and national historic district located at Indianapolis, Indiana. The district encompasses five contributing buildings: the church, rectory, former convent and school, school, and boiler house / garage. The church was built in 1909, and is a Romanesque Revival brick church with limestone trim. It features two- and three-story crenellated corner towers, a rose window with flanking round arched windows, and Doric order columns flanking the main entrance.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.St Philip Neri Elementary School
Founded in 1913, St. Philip Neri Elementary School is located at 3031 Grand Concourse, Bedford Park, Bronx, New York City, New York. It has a long association with the Ursuline Sisters who started the school on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady. The school is located next to the Church of St. Philip Neri.
The School’s mission is that “together with the school and Parish community, as well as the parents and students, we will foster academic excellence, citizenship, and moral responsibility while taking into consideration the learning needs of all students that walk into the safe and loving environment of our school.”State buoni se potete
State buoni se potete is a 1983 Italian historical comedy-drama film written and directed by Luigi Magni. The film is loosely based on real life events of Saint Filippo Neri. For his musical score Angelo Branduardi won the David di Donatello for best score and the Silver Ribbon in the same category.The Oratory School
The Oratory School () is a boys' independent Roman Catholic day and boarding school in Woodcote, 6 miles (9.7 km) north-west of Reading. It is the only remaining all-boys Catholic boarding school in Britain,
and has announced that it will become co-educational from September 2020.
Founded in 1859 by John Henry Newman, The Oratory has historical ties to the Birmingham Oratory and is the only school founded by Newman. Although a separate entity from the nearby Oratory Preparatory School, it shares a board of governors and a common history. Newman founded the school with the intention of providing boys with a Roman Catholic alternative to Eton College.
According to the Good Schools Guide, the school "enjoys inspirational leadership, has achieved GSG 'overall best in UK' for three years running and is consistently at the top of the tree", with "state-of-the-art" boarding facilities and an ongoing refurbishment programme under way.The Independent Schools Inspectorate said in 2007: "Pupils and staff show deep and committed support to the Catholic values that underpin the school", and "genuine excitement and enjoyment shine through in sporting, musical and creative activities. Individual pupils and teams have achieved distinction in a wide range of activities, particularly in sport", and pupils "have recently represented Great Britain in rowing, shooting and real tennis, England in cricket and Ireland in rugby".