Styles of
Anastasio Ballestrero
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Turin

Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, OCD (October 3, 1913 – June 21, 1998) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Turin from 1977 to 1989, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1979.


Alberto Ballestrero was born in Genoa, the eldest of the five children of Giacomo and Antonietta (née Daffunchio) Ballestrero. Baptized on November 2, 1913, he attended an elementary school in Genoa from 1919 to 1922. Ballestrero, after enrolling at Collegio Belimbau in 1922, was confirmed on May 3, 1923 and received his first Communion on the following June 21. On October 2, 1924, he entered the Discalced Carmelite seminary in Varazze. Ballestrero then joined that religious order, taking the habit on October 12, 1928 and the name of Anastasio del Santissimo Rosario. He was later transferred to the Genoese convent of S. Anna in September 1932 to study philosophy and theology.

Ballestrero suffered from a life-threatening infection two years before making his solemn profession on October 5, 1934. After receiving the subdiaconate and diaconate in 1935, Ballestrero was ordained to the priesthood in the San Lorenzo Cathedral on June 6, 1936. He began teaching philosophy at the studentato of Genoa-S. Anna in August 1936, and initiated a preaching apostolate in a Genoese hospital in January 1937. Ballestrero was prior of the S. Anna convent from April 22, 1945 to 1948, and was again elected prior on May 7, 1954, after becoming provincial of Liguria on April 3, 1948. Before attending the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, he was twice elected as general provost of the Discalced Carmelites, on April 9, 1955 and later on April 21, 1961, remaining in that position until May 20, 1967.

Ballestrero visited all 350 Carmelite convents and 850 Carmelite monasteries in the world except in Hungary, which refused him entrance into the country. He once served as President of the Union of Superior Generals.

On December 21, 1973, Ballestrero was appointed Archbishop of Bari by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on February 2, 1974 in Rome from Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, with Bishops Michele Mincuzzi and Enrico Romolo Compagnone, OCD, serving as co-consecrators. Ballestrero was later named Archbishop of Turin on August 1, 1977. After being elected Vice-President of Italian Episcopal Conference on May 25, 1978, he was its President from May 18, 1979 to July 3, 1985.

Pope John Paul II created him Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in the consistory of June 30, 1979. In reference to abortion, Ballestrero once declared that the Church must "never renounce its mission of evangelization and education of the human conscience".[1] He resigned as Turin's archbishop on January 31, 1989, and subsequently retired to the monastery of S. Croce in La Spezia.

Ballestrero died at his residence in La Spezia, at age 84. He is buried in the church crypt of the same Carmelite monastery in Varazze that he entered in 1924.

Shroud of Turin

The Cardinal had initially agreed to scientific testing being performed on the Shroud of Turin in 1978, but refused to permit radiocarbon dating testing as it required removing samples from the shroud.[2] After technical improvements made it possible to use samples the size of postage stamps, however, Ballestrero permitted samples to be cut in April 1988, which he personally supervised.[3]

Following the radiocarbon dating tests, Ballestrero announced on October 13 of that same year, that the shroud was dated from the Middle Ages and thus not the actual burial cloth of Christ; although these tests were later believed to be invalid due to erroneous sampling.


  1. TIME Magazine. Not Yet Hale, but Hearty June 1, 1981
  2. TIME Magazine. Debunking the Shroud of Turin October 24, 1988
  3. TIME Magazine. Science and the Shroud April 20, 1998

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Enrico Nicodemo
Archbishop of Bari
Succeeded by
Andrea Magrassi, OSB
Preceded by
Michele Pellegrino
Archbishop of Turin
Succeeded by
Giovanni Saldarini
Preceded by
Antonio Poma
President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
Succeeded by
Ugo Poletti
no:Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero

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