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A writer and Orientalist of the seventeenth century, born at Lodi (Lombardy), 4 April, 1583; died at Milan, 25 Oct., 1650. His father was the noble Alberto Quaresmi and his mother Laura Papa. At an early age he was enrolled among the Franciscan Observantines at Mantua. For many years he held the chairs of philosophy, theology, and canon law, and became successively guardian, custos, and minister of his province. Later (1645-8) he occupied the two highest posts in the order, that of definitor and procurator general. The memoirs of the order extol his consummate virtue, particularly his piety, prudence, and extraordinary meekness. His long apostolate in the East and the magnificent works he has left us have secured for Quaresmius world-wide fame, especially among earlier historians, Biblical scholars, and Orientalists. On 3 March, 1616, he went to Jerusalem, where he became Guardian and Vice-Commissary Apostolic of Aleppo in Syria (1616-8), and Superior and Commissary Apostolic of the East (1618-9). During this period he was twice imprisoned by the Turks. In 1620 he returned to Europe, but in 1625 was back in Jerusalem, whence the following year he addressed from the Holy Sepulchre an appeal to Philip IV of Spain, inviting him to reconquer the Holy Land, and at the same time dedicating to him his work, "Hierosolymæ afflictæ". Between 1616 and 1626 he wrote his classical work, "Elucidatio terræ Sanctæ", adjudged by the learned a monumental contribution to history, geography, archæology, Biblical and moral science. During 1627-9 he was at Aleppo as papal commissary and as vicar-patriarch for the Chaldeans and Maronites of Syria and Mesopotamia. In 1629 he went to Italy to render an account to the Holy See of the state of the Eastern Churches; he then returned to the East, but how long he remained is not known. Meanwhile he journeyed through Egypt and Sinai, the Holy Land, Syria, Mesopotamia, Cyprus, Rodi, Constantinople, and a large part of Asia Minor; he also visited Germany, France, Belgium, and Holland. In 1637 he was guardian of S. Angelo (Milan), where in 1643 he completed his other great work on the Passion of Christ.
No bibliographer has yet given us a complete list of his works. His published works are:
Still in manuscript are:
These and other manuscript works are said to be preserved, some in the municipal library of Pavia and Lodi and some at Jerusalem. CYPRIANUS DE TARVISIO, Vito P. Franc. Quaresmii in the preface to the second edition of Elucidatio Terr Sanct ; GOLUBOVICH, Serie cronologica de' Superiori di Terra Santa (Jerusalem, 1898), 68-9; DA CIVEZZA, Storia universale delle Missioni Francescane, XI (Florence, 1895), 595-608; IDEM in Saggio di bibliografia (Prato, 1879), 479; CALAHORRA, Chronica de Syria y Terra Santa (Madrid, 1684), V. xxxvi; WADDING-SBARALEA, Script. O. M. (Rome, 1806), 1, 90; II, 280.