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|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||2 April 1285|
|Papacy ended||3 April 1287|
|Consecration||20 May 1285|
by Latino Malabranca Orsini
|Created cardinal||17 December 1261|
by Urban IV
|Birth name||Giacomo Savelli|
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||3 April 1287|
Rome, Papal States
|Coat of arms|
|Other popes named Honorius|
|Papal styles of|
Pope Honorius IV
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Honorius IV (c. 1210 – 3 April 1287), born Giacomo Savelli, was Pope from 2 April 1285 to his death in 1287. During his pontificate he largely continued to pursue the pro-French political policy of his predecessor, Pope Martin IV.
Giacomo Savelli was born in Rome into the rich and influential family of the Savelli.His father was Luca Savelli, who died as Senator of Rome in 1266. His mother Joanna belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family. He studied at the University of Paris, and held a prebend and a canonry at the cathedral of Châlons-sur-Marne. Later he obtained the benefice of rector at the church of Berton in the Diocese of Norwich in England, a nation he never visited.
In 1261 he was created Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin by Pope Urban IV, who also appointed him papal prefect in Tuscany and captain of the papal army. Cardinal Savelli pursued a diplomatic career. Pope Clement IV sent him and three other cardinals to invest Charles of Anjou as King of Sicily at Rome on 28 July 1265. After the long deadlocked vacancy in the papal see after the death of Clement IV, when the see of Rome was vacant for three years, he was one of the six cardinals who finally elected Pope Gregory X "by compromise" (a technical procedure) on 1 September 1271 in a conclave held at Viterbo because conditions in Rome were too turbulent.
In 1274 he accompanied Gregory X to the Council of Lyon, where it was established that only four mendicant orders were to be tolerated: Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites. In July 1276, he was one of the three cardinals whom Pope Adrian V sent to Viterbo with instructions to treat with the German King, Rudolf I of Habsburg, concerning his imperial coronation at Rome and his future relations towards Charles of Anjou, whom papal policy supported. The death of Adrian V in the following month rendered the negotiations with Rudolf fruitless.
Savelli became Protodeacon of the Sacred College in November 1277 and as such, he crowned Popes Nicholas III on 26 December 1277 and Martin IV on 23 March 1281.
According to John Julius Norwich, he was the last pope to be married before ordination.
When Martin IV died on 28 March 1285, at Perugia, Cardinal Savelli was unanimously elected Pope on 2 April, on the first ballot, and took the name of Honorius IV. He remained at Perugia throughout April,but, once negotiations were completed, he travelled to Rome and took up residence in the family palace next to Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. He was ordained a priest by Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini on May 19, and was consecrated a bishop and crowned pope on Trinity Sunday, 20 May in St. Peter's Basilica. Honorius IV was already advanced in age and so severely affected with gout (or arthritis) that he could neither stand nor walk. When saying Mass he was obliged to sit in a specially constructed chair, and at the elevation of the host his hands had to be raised by a mechanical contrivance.
Sicilian affairs required immediate attention from the new Pope. Previously, under Martin IV, the Sicilians had rejected the rule of Charles of Anjou, taking Peter III of Aragon as their king without the consent and approval of the Pope.
The massacre of 31 March 1282 known as the Sicilian Vespers had precluded any reconciliation. Martin IV put Sicily and Peter III under an interdict, deprived Peter III of the Crown of Aragon, and gave it to Charles of Valois, the younger of the sons of King Philip III of France, whom he assisted in his attempts to recover Sicily by force of arms. The Sicilians not only repulsed the attacks of the combined French and Papal forces, but also captured the Angevin heir, Charles of Salerno. On 6 January 1285, Charles of Anjou died, leaving his captive son Charles as his natural successor. Honorius IV, more peaceably inclined than Martin IV, did not renounce the Church's support of the House of Anjou, nor did he set aside the severe ecclesiastical punishments imposed upon Sicily.
On the other hand, he did not approve of the tyrannical government the Sicilians had been subject to under Charles of Anjou. This is evident from legislation embodied in his constitution of 17 September 1285 (Constitutio super ordinatione regni Siciliae), in which he stated that no government can prosper that is not founded on justice and peace. He passed forty-five ordinances intended chiefly to protect the people of Sicily against their king and his officials.
The death of Peter III on 11 November 1285 changed the Sicilian situation in that his kingdoms were divided between his two oldest sons: Alfonso III of Aragon, who received the crown of Aragon, and James II of Aragon, who succeeded as King of Sicily. Honorius IV acknowledged neither the one nor the other: on 11 April 1286, he solemnly excommunicated King James II of Sicily and the bishops who had taken part in his coronation at Palermo on 2 February. Neither the king nor the bishops concerned themselves about the excommunication. The king even sent a hostile fleet to the Roman coast and destroyed the city of Astura by fire.
Charles of Salerno, the Angevin pretender, who was still held captive by the Sicilians, finally grew tired of his long captivity and signed a contract on 27 February 1287 in which he renounced his claims to the kingdom of Sicily in favour of James II of Aragon and his heirs. Honorius IV, however, declared the contract invalid and forbade all similar agreements for the future.
While Honorius IV was inexorable in the stand he had taken towards Sicily, his relations towards Alfonso III of Aragon became less hostile. Through the efforts of King Edward I of England, negotiations for peace were begun by Honorius IV and King Alfonso III. The Pope, however, did not live long enough to complete these negotiations, which finally resulted in a peaceful settlement of the Aragonese as well as the Sicilian question in 1302 under Pope Boniface VIII.
Rome and the States of the Church enjoyed a period of tranquillity during the pontificate of Honorius IV, the like of which they had not enjoyed for many years. He had the satisfaction of reducing the most powerful and obstinate enemy of papal authority, Count Guido of Montefeltro, who for many years had successfully resisted the papal troops. The authority of the Pope was now recognized throughout the papal territory, which then comprised the Exarchate of Ravenna, the March of Ancona, the Duchy of Spoleto, the County of Bertinoro, the Mathildian lands, and the Pentapolis, i.e., the cities of Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia, and Ancona. Honorius IV was the first Pope to employ the great family banking houses of central and northern Italy for the collection of papal dues.
The Romans were greatly elated at the election of Honorius IV, for he was a citizen of Rome and a brother of Pandulf, a senator of Rome. The continuous disturbances in Rome during the pontificate of Martin IV had not allowed that pope to live in Rome, but now the Romans cordially invited Honorius IV to make Rome his permanent residence. During the first few months of his pontificate he lived in the Vatican, but in the autumn of 1285 he removed to the magnificent palace he had just erected on the Aventine.
In his relations with the Holy Roman Empire, where no more danger was to be apprehended since the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, Martin followed the moderate course taken by Gregory X. Rudolf I of Germany sent Bishop Henry of Basel to Rome to request coronation. Honorius IV appointed the envoy Archbishop of Mainz, fixed a date for the coronation, and sent Cardinal John of Tusculum to Germany to assist Rudolf I's cause. But general opposition showed itself to the papal interference; a council at Würzburg (16–18 March 1287) protested energetically, and Rudolf I had to protect the legate from personal violence, so that both his plans and the Pope's failed.
Honorius IV inherited plans for another crusade, but confined himself to collecting the tithes imposed by the Council of Lyon, arranging with the great banking houses of Florence, Siena, and Pistoia to act as his agents.
The two largest religious orders received many new privileges from Honorius IV, documented in his Regesta. He often appointed them to special missions and to bishoprics, and gave them exclusive charge of the Inquisition.
He also approved the privileges of the Carmelites and the Augustinian hermits and permitted the former to exchange their striped habit for a white one. He was especially devoted to the order founded by William X of Aquitaine and added numerous privileges to those they had already received from Alexander IV and Urban IV. Besides turning over to them some deserted Benedictine monasteries, he presented them with the monastery of St. Paul at Albano, which he himself had founded and richly endowed when he was still cardinal.
Salimbene, the chronicler of Parma, asserted that Honorius IV was a foe to the religious orders. This may reflect the fact that he opposed the Apostolic Brethren, an order embracing evangelical poverty that had been started by Gerard Segarelli at Parma in 1260. On 11 March 1286 he issued a bull condemning them as heretics.
At the University of Paris he advocated the establishment of chairs for Eastern languages to teach these languages to those who would labour for the conversion of the Muslims and the reunion of the schismatic churches in the East.
He raised only one man to be cardinal, his cousin Giovanni Boccamazza, archbishop of Monreale, on 22 December 1285.
The tomb of Pope Honorius IV is in the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome.
The Mongol ruler Arghun sent an embassy and a letter to Pope Honorius IV in 1285, a Latin translation of which is preserved in the Vatican. It mentions the links to Christianity of Arghun's family, and proposes a combined military conquest of Muslim lands:
As the land of the Muslims, that is, Syria and Egypt, is placed between us and you, we will encircle and strangle ("estrengebimus") it. We will send our messengers to ask you to send an army to Egypt, so that us on one side, and you on the other, we can, with good warriors, take it over. Let us know through secure messengers when you would like this to happen. We will chase the Saracens, with the help of the Lord, the Pope, and the Great Khan.
Honorius IV was hardly capable of acting on this invasion and could not muster the military support necessary to achieve this plan.
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion, was Pope from 22 February 1281 to his death in 1285. He was the last French pope to have held court in Rome; all subsequent French popes held court in Avignon.
Pope Nicholas IV, born Girolamo Masci, Pope from 22 February 1288 to his death in 1292. He was the first Franciscan to be elected pope.
Peter III of Aragon was King of Aragon, King of Valencia, and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. At the invitation of some rebels, he conquered the Kingdom of Sicily and became King of Sicily in 1282, pressing the claim of his wife, Constance II of Sicily, uniting the kingdom to the crown.
Philip III, called the Bold, was King of France from 1270 to 1285.
Charles II, also known as Charles the Lame, was King of Naples, Count of Provence and Forcalquier (1285–1309), Prince of Achaea (1285–1289), and Count of Anjou and Maine (1285–1290); he also styled himself King of Albania and claimed the Kingdom of Jerusalem from 1285. He was the son of Charles I of Anjou—one of the most powerful European monarchs in the second half of the 13th century—and Beatrice of Provence. His father granted Charles the Principality of Salerno in the Kingdom of Sicily in 1272 and made him regent in Provence and Forcalquier in 1279.
The Savelli were a rich and influential Roman aristocratic family who rose to prominence in the 13th century and became extinct in the main line with Giulio Savelli (1626–1712).
The War of the Sicilian Vespers or just War of the Vespers was a conflict that started with the insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers against Charles of Anjou in 1282 and ended in 1302 with the Peace of Caltabellotta. It was fought in Sicily, Catalonia and elsewhere in the western Mediterranean between, on one side, the Angevin Charles of Anjou, his son Charles II, the kings of France, and the Papacy, and on the other side the kings of Aragon. The war resulted in the division of the old Kingdom of Sicily; at Caltabellotta, Charles II was confirmed as king of Sicily's peninsular territories, while Frederick III was confirmed as king of the island territories.
Giovanni Boccamazza was an Italian Cardinal. He was from the Roman nobility, and was a nephew of Cardinal Giacomo Savelli, who had been an important figure in the Roman Curia since his creation as cardinal in 1261.
Jean Cholet was a French cardinal and Doctor utriusque iure at the University of Paris. His diplomatic skills helped prevent a duel between the kings of France and Aragon. He served as Papal Legate in France, and was responsible for organizing the Aragonese Crusade of 1283–84. He was then a working member of the Roman Curia.
Latino Malabranca Orsini was a Roman noble, an Italian cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and nephew of Pope Nicholas III.
The papal election of 1285, convened in Viterbo after the death of Pope Martin IV, elected Cardinal Giacomo Savelli, who took the name of Honorius IV. Because of the suspension of the Constitution Ubi periculum by Adrian V in 1276, this election was technically, perhaps, not a papal conclave. In fact, for the first time since the tedious Election of 1268–1271, the meetings were dominated neither by the Hohenstaufen nor Charles I of Naples. It may even be that the cardinals proceeded so swiftly to an election with the intention of forestalling any intervention from Naples.
Gerardo Bianchi was an Italian churchman and papal diplomat, an important figure of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.
Giovanni Battista Savelli was an Italian cardinal from the 15th century. Of the noble Savelli family to which belonged Pope Honorius III (1216–1227) and Pope Honorius IV (1285–1287) and Cardinals: Bertrando Savelli, Silvio Savelli, Giulio Savelli, Fabrizio Savelli, Paolo Savelli and Domenico Savelli. He was called the Cardinal Savelli.
The papal election of 1287–88 was the deadliest papal election in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, with six of the sixteen cardinal electors perishing during the deliberations. Eventually, the cardinals elected Girolamo Masci, O.Min. as Pope Nicholas IV, almost a year after the death of Pope Honorius IV, who died on April 3, 1287. Nicholas IV was the first Franciscan pope.
The papal election of 1280–81 elected Simon de Brion, who took the name Pope Martin IV, as the successor to Pope Nicholas III.
Events in Italy in 1285:
Gervasius Giançolet de Glincamp was born in the diocese of Mans, son of Gervais, great-grandson of Eudes, chevalier and seigneur de Groestel. He was a Roman Catholic cardinal and diplomat. He had a brother, Jean de Glincamp, who became Abbot of S. Remi in Reims. Another relative, a first-cousin, Robert de Glincamp, was bishop of Mans (1298-1309).
Matteo Rosso Orsini, was a Roman aristocrat, politician, diplomat, and Roman Catholic Cardinal. He was the nephew of Pope Nicholas III (1277-1280).
Goffredo di Raynaldo, was an Italian nobleman, city leader and Roman Catholic cardinal. He was Podestà of his native Alatri, a small town in the mountains, east of Anagni, in the last two years of his life.
Comes Glusiano de Casate was an Italian ecclesiastical lawyer and Roman Catholic Cardinal. He came from an important family, de magno sanguine natus, as his funeral monument states. He was learned in the law, "tu sapiens pectus iuris vexilla ferebas."
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|Catholic Church titles|
| Pope |
2 April 1285 – 3 April 1287