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Since the thirteenth century it has been customary at Rome to confide to some particular Cardinal a special solicitude in the Roman Curia for the interests of a given religious order or institute, confraternity, church, college, city, nation etcetera. Such a person is known as a Cardinal Protector. He was its representative or orator when it sought a favor or a privilege, defended it when unjustly accused, and besought the aid of the Holy See when its rights, property or interests were violated or imperiled.

Since the thirteenth century it has been customary at Rome to confide to some particular Cardinal a special solicitude in the Roman Curia for the interests of a given religious order or institute, confraternity, church, college, city, nation etcetera. Such a person is known as a Cardinal Protector. He was its representative or orator when it sought a favor or a privilege, defended it when unjustly accused, and besought the aid of the Holy See when its rights, property or interests were violated or imperiled.