The Papal conclave, 1667 (June 2 – June 20, 1667) to determine the successor to the departed Pope Alexander VII resulted in the election of cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi, who took the name of Clement IX.

List of participants

Pope Alexander VII died on May 22, 1667 at the age of 68. At the time of his death, there were 70 cardinals in the Sacred College, but two of them died during sede vacante, and another four were entirely absent, leaving the number of 64 participants[1][2]:

  • Marzio Ginetti (January 19, 1626) – Cardinal-Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina; Sub-Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals; Vicar General of Rome; Prefect of the S. C. of Bishops and Regulars; Prefect of the S. C. of Rites; Prefect of the S. C. of the Ecclesiestical Immunities
  • Virginio Orsini, O.S.Io.Hieros. (December 19, 1641) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli; Cardinal-protector of the Kingdom of Poland; Cardinal-protector of Armenia
  • Benedetto Odescalchi (March 6, 1645) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Onofrio; Prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Grace
  • Lorenzo Raggi (October 7, 1647) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Quirico e Giulitta
  • Luigi Omodei (February 19, 1652) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Alessio
  • Giberto Borromeo (February 19, 1652) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo
  • Girolamo Farnese (April 9, 1657) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Agnese fuori le mura
  • Carlo Bonelii (January 14, 1664) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Anastasia
  • Neri Corsini (January 14, 1664) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Nereo e Achilleo; Titular Archbishop of Damietta
  • Giulio Spinola (February 15, 1666) – Cardinal-Priest of [no title assigned]
  • Carlo Roberti (February 15, 1666) – Cardinal-Priest of [no title assigned]
  • Angelo Celsi (January 14, 1664) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro; Prefect of the S. C. of the Tridentine Council

16 electors were creatures of Urban VIII, 20 of Innocent X and 28 of Alexander VII.


Four cardinals, all created by Alexander VII, did not participate in this conclave[1][2]:

Divisions among cardinals

College of Cardinals was divided into several factions. The strongest of them was the party of Flavio Chigi, cardinal-nephew of Pope Alexander VII, which grouped twenty-four of his creatures. Another influential person was dean of the College Francesco Barberini, who was leader of the group of old cardinals created by his uncle Urban VIII. Small but important because of the possibility of using the right of exclusion were the factions of the so-called "Crown-Cardinals", of Spain and France. They represented the respective interests of Charles II of Spain and Louis XIV of France. The French party was instructed to work for the election of cardinal Secretary of State Giulio Rospigliosi. They thought that Rospigliosi, as former nuncio in Madrid, would be also acceptable for Spain. France had in Rome a clever and active ambassador in the duc de Chaulnes, who had replaced the duc de Créqui at Palazzo Farnese in 1665 and closely cooperated with cardinal Retz, the main representative of France in the Sacred College[5].

Unlike France, Spain placed its interests in the hand of the incompetent ambassador Marquis Astorga. He allied himself with cardinal Chigi, although initially Cardinal Dean Barberini tried to obtain Spanish support for his own candidature[5]

Several cardinals, particularly those created by Innocent X, were unaligned. Some of them formed a group called flying squadron, connected neither with papal nephews nor Catholic monarchs[6].


Sixty-one cardinals entered the conclave in the Vatican on June 2. In the following eight days they were joined by three more cardinals, bringing to the total number of participants to sixty-four[1].

Initially Flavio Chigi, supported by the Spanish party, proposed to elect cardinal Scipione d'Elci[6], but was not able to secure for him the required majority of two thirds. Meanwhile, cardinal Retz and his two Italian colleagues d'Este and Grimaldi suggested to the leader of Spanish party Ernest Adalbert von Harrach the candidature of Rospigliosi. The Cardinal Secretary of State was viewed in Spain as a friend, so it was not a difficult task to convince Harrach to vote for him and to break the alliance with Chigi. Cardinal Chigi was furious at Spain’s defection, but was not able to counteract it. The alliance between the representatives of two major Catholic powers was decisive[5].

The election of Pope Clement IX

On June 20, 1667 Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi was elected to the papacy, receiving all votes except those of his own and of Neri Corsini, who voted for Flavio Chigi[6]. He accepted his election and took the name of Clement IX. Six days later he was solemnly crowned in the steps of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica by cardinal Rinaldo d'Este, protodeacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano[7].


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 List of participants of the papal conclave of 1667 (by Salvador Miranda).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Data about cardinalatial titles and offices held by cardinals according to their biographivcal entries by Salvador Miranda
  3. Entered the conclave on June 6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Entered the conclave on June 10
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Valérie Pirie The Triple Crown: An Account of the Papal Conclaves - Clement IX (Rospigliosi).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sede Vacante 1667
  7. S. Miranda: Pope Clement IX

External links

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