|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||2 November 1389|
|Papacy ended||1 October 1404|
|Opposed to||Avignon claimants:|
|Consecration||9 November 1389|
by Francesco Moricotti Prignani
|Created cardinal||21 December 1381|
by Urban VI
|Birth name||Pietro Cybo Tomacelli|
Naples, Kingdom of Naples
|Died||1 October 1404 53–54) (aged|
Rome, Papal States
|Coat of arms|
|Other popes named Boniface|
|Papal styles of|
Pope Boniface IX
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Boniface IX (Latin : Bonifatius IX; c. 1350 – 1 October 1404, born Pietro Tomacelli) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 2 November 1389 to his death. He was the second Roman pope of the Western Schism. During this time the Avignon claimants, Clement VII and Benedict XIII, maintained the Roman Curia in Avignon, under the protection of the French monarchy.
Boniface IX was born c. 1350 in Naples. Piero (also Perino, Pietro) Cybo Tomacelli was a descendant of Tamaso Cybo, who belonged to an influential noble family from Genoa and settled in Casarano in the Kingdom of Naples. An unsympathetic German contemporary source, Dietrich of Nieheim, asserted that he was illiterate (nesciens scribere etiam male cantabat). Neither a trained theologian nor skilled in the business of the Curia, he was tactful and prudent in a difficult era, but Ludwig Pastor, who passes swiftly over his pontificate, says, "The numerous endeavours for unity made during this period form one of the saddest chapters in the history of the Church. Neither pope had the magnanimity to put an end to the terrible state of affairs" by resigning.After his election at the papal conclave of 1389, Germany, England, Hungary, Poland, and the greater part of Italy accepted him as pope. The remainder of Europe recognized the Avignon Pope Clement VII. He and Boniface mutually excommunicated each other.
The day before Tomacelli's election by the fourteen cardinals who remained faithful to the papacy at Rome,Clement VII at Avignon had just crowned a French prince, Louis II of Anjou, as king of Naples. The youthful Ladislaus was the son of King Charles III of Naples, assassinated in 1386, and Margaret of Durazzo, scion of a line that had traditionally supported the popes in their struggles in Rome with the anti-papal party in the city itself. Boniface IX saw to it that Ladislaus was crowned King of Naples at Gaeta on 29 May 1390 and worked with him for the next decade to expel the Angevin forces from southern Italy.
During his reign, Boniface IX finally extinguished the troublesome independence of the commune of Rome and established temporal control, though it required fortifying not only the Castel Sant'Angelo, but the bridges also, and for long seasons he was forced to live in more peaceful surroundings at Assisi or Perugia. He also took over the port of Ostia from its Cardinal Bishop. In the Papal States, Boniface IX gradually regained control of the chief castles and cities, and he re-founded the States as they would appear during the fifteenth century.
The antipope Clement VII died at Avignon on 16 September 1394, but the French cardinals quickly elected a successor on 28 September: Cardinal Pedro de Luna, who took the name Benedict XIII. Over the next few years, Boniface IX was entreated to abdicate, even by his strongest supporters: King Richard II of England (in 1396), the Diet of Frankfurt (in 1397), and King Wenceslaus of Germany (at Reims, 1398). He refused. Pressure for an ecumenical council also grew as the only way to breach the Western Schism, but the conciliar movement made no headway during Boniface's papacy.
During the reign of Boniface IX two jubilees were celebrated at Rome. The first, in 1390, had been declared by his predecessor, Urban VI, and was largely frequented by people from Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bohemia, and England. Several cities of Germany obtained the "privileges of the jubilee", as indulgences were called, but the preaching of indulgences led to abuses and scandal. The jubilee of 1400 drew to Rome great crowds of pilgrims, particularly from France, in spite of a disastrous plague. Pope Boniface IX remained in the city nonetheless.
In the latter part of 1399 there arose bands of self-flagellating penitents, known as the Bianchi, or Albati ("White Penitents"), especially in Provence, where the Albigenses had been exterminated less than a century before. Their numbers spread to Spain and northern Italy. These evoked uneasy memories of the mass processions of wandering flagellants of the Black Death period, 1348—1349. They went in procession from city to city, clad in white garments, with faces hooded, and wearing on their backs a red cross, following a leader who carried a large cross. Rumors of imminent divine judgement and visions of the Virgin Mary abounded. They sang the newly-popular hymn Stabat Mater during their processions. For a while, as the White Penitents approached Rome, gaining adherents along the way, Boniface IX and the Curia supported their penitential enthusiasm, but when they reached Rome, Boniface IX had their leader burnt at the stake, and they soon dispersed. "Boniface IX gradually discountenanced these wandering crowds, an easy prey of agitators and conspirators, and finally dissolved them", as the Catholic Encyclopedia reports.
In England the anti-papal preaching of John Wyclif supported the opposition of the king and the higher clergy to Boniface IX's habit of granting English benefices as they fell vacant to favorites in the Roman Curia. Boniface IX introduced a revenue known as annates perpetuæ, withholding half the first year's income of every benefice granted in the Roman Court. The pope's agents also now sold not simply a vacant benefice but the expectation of one; and when an expectation had been sold, if another offered a larger sum for it, the pope voided the first sale. The unsympathetic observer Dietrich von Nieheim reports that he saw the same benefice sold several times in one week, and that the Pope talked business with his secretaries during Mass. There was resistance in England, the staunchest supporter of the Roman papacy during the Schism: the English Parliament confirmed and extended the statutes of Provisors and Praemunire of Edward III, giving the king veto power over papal appointments in England. Boniface IX was defeated in the face of a unified front, and the long controversy was finally settled to the English king's satisfaction. Nevertheless, at the Synod of London (1396), the English bishops convened to condemn Wyclif.
In Germany, the prince-electors met at Rhense on 20 August 1400 to depose Wenceslaus as King of Germany and chose in his place Rupert, Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine. In 1403 Boniface IX recognized Rupert as king.
In 1398 and 1399, Boniface IX appealed to Christian Europe in favor of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, threatened at Constantinople by Sultan Bayezid I, but there was little enthusiasm for a new crusade at such a time. Saint Birgitta of Sweden was canonized by Pope Boniface IX on 7 October 1391. The universities of Ferrara (1391)and Fermo (1398) owe him their origin, and that of Erfurt (in Germany), its confirmation (1392).
Boniface IX died in 1404 after a brief illness.
Boniface IX was a frank politician, strapped for cash like the other princes of Europe, as the costs of modern warfare rose and supporters needed to be encouraged by gifts, for fourteenth-century government depended upon such personal support as a temporal ruler could gather and retain. All the princes of the late 14th century were accused of avaricious money-grubbing by contemporary critics, but among them contemporaries ranked Boniface IX as exceptional. Traffic in benefices, the sale of dispensations, and the like, did not cover the loss of local sources of revenue in the long absence of the papacy from Rome, foreign revenue diminished by the schism, expenses for the pacification and fortification of Rome, the constant wars made necessary by French ambition and the piecemeal reconquest of the Papal States. Boniface IX certainly provided generously for his mother, his brothers Andrea and Giovanni, and his nephews in the spirit of the day. The Curia was perhaps equally responsible for new financial methods that were destined in the next century to arouse bitter feelings against Rome, particularly in Germany.
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 5 June 1305 to his death. He is remembered for suppressing the order of the Knights Templar and allowing the execution of many of its members, and as the pope who moved the Papacy from Rome to Avignon, ushering in the period known as the Avignon Papacy.
Pope Gregory XI was head of the Catholic Church from 30 December 1370 to his death in 1378. He was the seventh and last Avignon pope and the most recent French pope. In 1377, Gregory XI returned the Papal court to Rome, ending nearly 70 years of papal residency in Avignon, France. His death shortly after was followed by the Western Schism involving two Avignon-based antipopes.
Pope Urban VI, born Bartolomeo Prignano, was the Roman claimant to the headship of the Catholic Church from 8 April 1378 to his death. He was the most recent pope to be elected from outside the College of Cardinals. His pontificate began shortly after the end of the Avignon Papacy. It was marked by immense conflict between rival factions as part of the Western Schism, with much of Europe recognizing Clement VII, based in Avignon, as the true pope.
Pope Innocent VII, born Cosimo de' Migliorati, was the Roman claimant to the headship of the Catholic Church from 17 October 1404 to his death. He was pope during the period of the Western Schism (1378–1417), and was opposed by Benedict XIII at Avignon. Despite good intentions, he did little to end the schism, owing to the troubled state of affairs in Rome, and his distrust of the sincerity of Benedict XIII, and King Ladislaus of Naples.
The Avignon Papacy, also known as the Babylonian Captivity, was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon rather than in Rome. The situation arose from the conflict between the papacy and the French crown, culminating in the death of Pope Boniface VIII after his arrest and maltreatment by Philip IV of France. Following the further death of Pope Benedict XI, Philip forced a deadlocked conclave to elect the French Clement V as pope in 1305. Clement refused to move to Rome, and in 1309 he moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years. This absence from Rome is sometimes referred to as the "Babylonian captivity of the Papacy".
Dietrich of Nieheim, medieval historian, was born at Nieheim, a small town subject to the see of Paderborn.
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Conciliarism was a reform movement in the 14th-, 15th- and 16th-century Catholic Church which held that supreme authority in the Church resided with an Ecumenical council, apart from, or even against, the pope. The movement emerged in response to the Western Schism between rival popes in Rome and Avignon. The schism inspired the summoning of the Council of Pisa (1409), which failed to end the schism, and the Council of Constance (1414–1418), which succeeded and proclaimed its own superiority over the Pope. Conciliarism reached its apex with the Council of Basel (1431–1449), which ultimately fell apart. The eventual victor in the conflict was the institution of the Papacy, confirmed by the condemnation of conciliarism at the Fifth Lateran Council, 1512–17. The final gesture however, the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, was not promulgated until the First Vatican Council of 1870.
Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor, known as el Papa Luna in Spanish and Pope Luna in English, was an Aragonese nobleman, who as Benedict XIII, is considered an antipope by the Catholic Church.
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Francesco Carbone Tomacelli was Italian cardinal at the time of the Great Western Schism. He was nephew of Pope Boniface IX.
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Pierre de Thury was a French bishop and cardinal of the Avignon Obedience, who served as a royal secretary and Master of Requests, and then as papal Nuncio and Apostolic Legate on several occasions. He participated in two papal elections, those of 1394 and 1409, and was a prominent member of the Council of Pisa in 1409.
Niccolò Brancaccio was born in the Kingdom of Naples, perhaps in Naples itself. He was Archbishop of Bari and then Archbishop of Cosenza, while serving in the Roman Curia in Avignon. He became a cardinal of the Avignon Obedience in 1378, and was Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere and then Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He participated in the Council of Pisa in 1409, and was one of the electors of Pope Alexander V and of Pope John XXIII.
Pierre Girard was born in the commune of Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise, in the Department of Rhone, once in the ancient County of Forez. He died in Avignon on 9 November 1415. He was Bishop of Lodeve and then Bishop of Le Puy. He was a cardinal of the Avignon Obedience during the Great Western Schism, and was promoted to the Bishpric of Tusculum (Frascati). His principal work, however, was as a courtier and administrator at Avignon, and as a papal diplomat.
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|Catholic Church titles|
| Pope |
2 November 1389 – 1 October 1404
Clement VII & Benedict XIII