Papacy - A Historical Perspective
Nicholas IV : 1288-1292 A.D.
191. Born in Ascoli. Elected February,
1288 - died April 4, 1292.
He restored order in the court
of Portugal and promoted the development of education, creating the
University of Montpellier.
He intensified missions and fought against the Saracens together
He was the first Franciscan Pope.
According to the portrait by Benozzo Golloli in St. Francis of
Montefalco, Nicholas was tall and fat.
He had the apse of S. Maria Maggiore built and decorated; Jacopo
Torriti and Camerino produced the mosaics in the apse of San Giovanni
in Laterano; finally, he laid the foundation stone of the Cathedral of
He was buried in S. Maria Maggiore. His pontificate lasted 4 years
and 2 months.
St. Celestine V : 1294 A.D.
192. Born in Isernia. Elected August 29,
1294 - died May 19, 1296.
He was an extremely moral and
simple man, and when he realised he had been merely used by the most
powerful people of those gloomy Middle Ages he renounced the
pontificate. He established that the newly elected Pope had the
renounce the election.
After his decision, to which he was lead also by the smart
campaign carried forward by Cardinal Caetani, who was to become his
successor with the name of Boniface VIII, he was confined into the
Castle of Fumone, a small village of the Ciociaria near Ferentino,
where he lived as a prisoner under harsh conditions.
His body was transferred to the church of Collemaggio near Aquila.
His pontificate lasted only 5 months.
Boniface VIII : 1294-1303 A.D.
193. Born in Anagni. Elected December 24,
1294 - died October 11,
He was a great Pope.
He celebrated for the first time the
Holy Year (1300), which had to occur every 100 years.
He founded the University "La Sapienza"
He was the patron of distinguished
artists among whom Giotto.
Philip the Fair, when he was about to be
excommunicated, sent some of his followers to Anagni: Guglielmo Nogaret
and Sciarra Colonna, breaking the doors of the town open, saw the Pope
dressed with pontifical attires and sitting on the throne; historians
say that is not true that Nogaret hit the Pope with his iron glove when
he offered them "the head and the neck".
Boniface supported the rights of the
clergy but encountered the opposition of the kings of Europe.
He added a second crown to the tiara,
the "Regal Power" (see also 119 and 200).
He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His
pontificate lasted 8 years and 10 months.
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