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Papal conclave, 1294

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Papal conclave, December 1294
Ombrellino-keys
Dates December 23–December 24, 1294
Location Castel Nuovo, Naples
Dean Hugh Aycelin
Vice Dean Gerardo Bianchi
Camerlengo Tommaso d'Ocra
Protopriest Benedetto Caetani
Protodeacon Matteo Orsini Rosso
Ballots Pope elected after 3 ballots
Elected Pope Benedetto Caetani
(took name Boniface VIII)

The papal conclave of December 23–24, 1294 was convoked after the abdication of Pope Celestine V in Naples. It was the first papal conclave after Celestine V restored the constitution Ubi periculum of Pope Gregory X, suspended by Pope Adrian V in July 1276. From that time every papal election has been a papal conclave. It was also the only papal conclave held during the lifetime of the preceding pontiff[1].

Abdication of Celestine V

Celestine V, founder of the Order of Celestines, widely esteemed and venerated for his holiness, was elected to the papacy on July 7, 1294, as a compromise choice after an over two-years long sede vacante. It quickly became clear that this saintly eremite was wholly incompetent and unsuited for a job as pope. Admitting his own incompetence soon after his election, Celestine expressed the wish to abdicate and return to his solitary cave in the Abruzzi Mountains. However, before doing so he issued two bulls. The first bull established the regulations concerning the abdication of a pope. The second bull (Quia in futurum, September 28, 1294) restored the constitution Ubi periculum, which established the papal conclave; the constitution had been suspended by Pope Adrian V in July 1276. During his short papacy, he also created 13 new cardinals[2]. Eventually, on December 13, 1294, Celestine V abdicated the papacy at Naples[3], three days after confirming the restoration of the institution of the papal conclave[4].

It has been widely stated that the alleged great influence of the ambitious Cardinal Benedetto Caetani and the pressure he applied on Celestine V were important factors in Celestine's decision to abdicate, but it seems nearly as certain that it was an entirely voluntarily step of the Pope, with the role of Caetani limited to participation in the solution of the legal problems connected with the resignation of a pope. In particular, there were doubts whether a pope could resign at all, and who would be authorized to accept such a resignation.[5]

List of participants

All twenty-two living cardinals participated in the conclave; twelve of them were created by Celestine V, five by Nicholas IV, two by Nicholas III, one by Urban IV and one by Honorius IV[6]:

Elector Place of birth Cardinalatial title Elevated Elevator Other ecclesiastical titles Notes
Hugh Aycelin, O.P. Billom, France Bishop of Ostia e Velletri May 16, 1288 Nicholas IV Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals
Gerardo Bianchi Parma Bishop of Sabina March 12, 1278 Nicholas III Vice-Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals
Giovanni Boccamazza Rome Bishop of Frascati December 22, 1285 Honorius IV Cardinal-nephew of Honorius IV; former archbishop of Monreale (1278–1286)
Matteo d'Acquasparta, O.F.M. Acquasparta Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina May 16, 1288 Nicholas IV Grand penitentiary Former minister general of the Order of Franciscans (1287–1289)
Simon de Beaulieu Beaulieu, France Bishop of Palestrina September 18, 1294 Celestine V Former archbishop of Bourges (1281–1294)
Bérard de Got Villandrout, France Bishop of Albano September 18, 1294 Celestine V Former archbishop of Lyon (1289–1294); older brother of Bertrand de Got – future Pope Clement V (1305–1314)
Benedetto Caetani Anagni Priest of SS. Silvestro e Martino April 12, 1281 Nicholas III Protopriest of the Sacred College of Cardinals; Cardinal-protector of the Order of S. Guglielmo Elected Pope Boniface VIII
Pietro Peregrosso Milan Priest of S. Marco May 16, 1288 Nicholas IV Cardinal-protector of the Order of Humiliati; Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
Tommaso d'Ocra, O.Cel. Ocre, Abruzzi Priest of S. Cecilia September 18, 1294 Celestine V Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Jean Lemoine Crécy, France Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro September 18, 1294 Celestine V
Pietro d'Aquila, O.S.B.Cas. L'Aquila Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme September 18, 1294 Celestine V
Guillaume Ferrières Provence Priest of S. Clemente September 18, 1294 Celestine V Crown-cardinal of King Charles II of Naples
Nicolas l'Aide Nonancourt, France Priest of S. Marcello[7] September 18, 1294 Celestine V
Robert de Pontigny, O.Cist. France Priest of S. Pudenziana September 18, 1294 Celestine V Crown-cardinal of kings Philip IV of France and Charles II of Naples; former Abbot General of his order
Simon de Armentières, O.S.B.Clun. France Priest of S. Balbina September 18, 1294 Celestine V
Giovanni Castrocoeli, O.S.B.Cas. Castrocielo Priest of S. Vitale September 18, 1294 (or October 1294) Celestine V Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church; archbishop of Benevento; administrator of the see of Sant'Agata de' Goti
Matteo Orsini Rosso Rome Deacon of S. Maria in Portico May 22, 1262 Urban IV Protodeacon of the Sacred College of Cardinals; archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica; Cardinal-protector of the Order of Franciscans Relative of Cardinal Napoleone Orsini Frangipani and nephew of Pope Nicholas III (1277–1280); not to be confused with senator Matteo Rosso Orsini (1178–1246)
Giacomo Colonna Rome Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata March 12, 1278 Nicholas III Archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian Basilica Uncle of Cardinal Pietro Colonna
Napoleone Orsini Frangipani Rome Deacon of S. Adriano May 16, 1288 Nicholas IV Relative of Cardinal Matteo Orsini Rosso and nephew of Pope Nicholas III (1277–1280)
Pietro Colonna Rome Deacon of S. Eustachio May 16, 1288 Nicholas IV Nephew of Cardinal Giacomo Colonna
Landolfo Brancaccio Naples Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria September 18, 1294 Celestine V
Guglielmo de Longhi Bergamo Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere September 18, 1294 Celestine V

Election of Pope Boniface VIII

On December 23, 1294, the cardinals assembled in the Castel Nuovo at Naples for the election of the successor of Celestine V. In the first ballot of the evening of that day Cardinal Matteo Orsini Rosso was elected but he refused to accept the papal dignity. On the next day, Christmas Eve, Cardinal Benedetto Caetani, archpriest of the College, received the required majority and took the name of Boniface VIII[8]. Soon after his election he returned to Rome, where on January 23, 1295, he was consecrated to the episcopate by Cardinal-Dean Hugh Aycelin of Ostia, and crowned by Matteo Orsini Rosso, who was archdeacon of the Sacred College[9].

Notes

  1. Although Pope Gregory XII also abdicated the papacy in 1415, the conclave for the election of his successor was held few weeks after his death (he died on October 18, 1417, and the conclave took place November 8 — 11, 1417)
  2. Salvador Miranda: Cardinals created by St. Celestine V
  3. Celestine V
  4. Salvador Miranda: The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Guide to the events and documents, XIII century
  5. (The Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Boniface VIII)
  6. F. Bourkle-Young: notes to the papal election of 1294 on The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church (by S. Miranda); and K. Eubel, p. 11–12. F. Bourkle-Young lists one additional cardinal Francesco Ronci, priest of the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, as the only absentee but he actually died on October 13, 1294, two months before the conclave was held (K. Eubel, p. 12)
  7. F. Bourkle Young lists Cardinal Nicolas l'Aide as priest of S. Lorenzo in Damaso, but he opted for that title only in 1295 and at the time of this conclave he occupied his original title of S.Marcello (K. Eubel, p. 43)
  8. Dr. F. Bourkle-Young: notes to conclave of 1294 on theThe Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church by S. Miranda
  9. S. Miranda: Cardinal Benedetto Caetani (Pope Boniface VIII)

Sources

Konrad Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, volumen I, 1913

F. Bourkle-Young: notes to the papal election of 1294 (The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church by S. Miranda)

The Catholic Encyclopedia: Celestine V

The Catholic Encyclopedia:Boniface VIII

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