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Servant of God, Pope
|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||14 March 1800|
|Papacy ended||20 August 1823|
|Ordination||21 September 1765|
|Consecration||21 December 1782|
by Francesco Saverio de Zelada
|Created cardinal||14 February 1785|
by Pius VI
|Birth name||Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti|
|Born||14 August 1742|
Cesena, Papal States
|Died||20 August 1823 81) (aged|
Rome, Papal States
|Motto||Aquila Rapax ("Rapacious eagle")|
|Coat of arms|
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Title as Saint||Servant of God|
|Other popes named Pius|
Pope Pius VII (14 August 1742 – 20 August 1823), born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti,was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was also a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict in addition to being a well-known theologian and bishop throughout his life.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
The Papal States, officially the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia successfully unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.
Chiaramonti was made Bishop of Tivoli in 1782, and resigned that position upon his appointment as Bishop of Imola in 1785. That same year, he was made a cardinal. In 1789, the French Revolution took place, and as a result a series of anti-clerical governments came into power in the country. In 1796, during the French Revolutionary Wars, French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Rome and took as prisoner Pope Pius VI. He was taken as prisoner to France, where he died in 1799. The following year, after a sede vacante period lasting approximately six months, Chiaramonti was elected to the papacy, taking the name Pius VII.
A cardinal is a leading bishop and prince of College of Cardinals in the Catholic Church. Their duties include participating in Papal consistories, and Papal conclaves, when the Holy See is vacant. Most have additional missions, such as leading a diocese or a dicastery of the Roman Curia, the equivalent of a government of the Holy See. During the sede vacante, the day-to-day governance of the Holy See is in the hands of the College of Cardinals. The right to enter the Papal conclave of cardinals where the pope is elected is limited to those who have not reached the age of 80 years by the day the vacancy occurs.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.
Pius at first attempted to take a cautious approach in dealing with Napoleon. With him he signed the Concordat of 1801, through which he succeeded in guaranteeing religious freedom for Catholics living in France, and was present at his coronation as Emperor of the French in 1804. In 1809, however, during the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon once again invaded the Papal States, resulting in his excommunication. Pius VII was taken prisoner and transported to France. He remained there until 1814 when, after the French were defeated, he was permitted to return to Rome, where he was greeted warmly as a hero and defender of the faith.
The Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801 in Paris. It remained in effect until 1905. It sought national reconciliation between revolutionaries and Catholics and solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France, with most of its civil status restored. The hostility of devout French Catholics against the state had then largely been resolved. It did not restore the vast church lands and endowments that had been seized upon during the revolution and sold off. Catholic clergy returned from exile, or from hiding, and resumed their traditional positions in their traditional churches. Very few parishes continued to employ the priests who had accepted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary regime. While the Concordat restored much power to the papacy, the balance of church-state relations tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour. He selected the bishops and supervised church finances.
Emperor of the French was the monarch of the First French Empire and the Second French Empire.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
Pius lived the remainder of his life in relative peace. His papacy saw a significant growth of the Catholic Church in the United States, where Pius established several new dioceses. Pius VII died in 1823 at age 81.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI began the process towards canonizing him as a saint, and he was granted the title Servant of God.
Pope Benedict XVI is a retired prelate of the Catholic Church who served as head of the Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict's election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict chose to be known by the title "pope emeritus" upon his resignation.
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the list of recognized saints, called the "canon". Originally, a person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Later, different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.
"Servant of God" is a term used for individuals by various religions for people believed to be pious in the faith's tradition. In the Catholic Church, it designates an individual who is being investigated by the Church for possible canonization as a saint. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, this term is used to refer to any Eastern Orthodox Christian. The Arabic name Abdullah, the Hebrew name Obadiah (עובדיה), the German name Gottschalk, and the Sanskrit name Devadasa are all variations of "servant of God".
Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti was born in Cesena in 1742, the youngest son of Count Scipione Chiaramonti (30 April 1698 - 13 September 1750). His mother, Giovanna Coronata (d. 22 November 1777), was the daughter of the Marquess Ghini; through her, the future Pope Pius VII was related to the Braschi family of Pope Pius VI after marriage on 10 November 1713.[ citation needed ] Though his family was of noble status, they were not wealthy but rather, were of middle-class stock.
His maternal grandparents were Barnaba Eufrasio Ghini and Isabella de' conti Aguselli. His paternal grandparents were Giacinto Chiaramonti (1673-1725) and Ottavia Maria Altini; his paternal great-grandparents were Scipione Chiaramonti (1642-1677) and Ottavia Maria Aldini. His paternal great-great grandparents were Chiaramonte Chiaramonti and Polissena Marescalchi.
His siblings were Giacinto Ignazio (19 September 1731 - 7 June 1805), Tommaso (19 December 1732 - 8 December 1799) and Ottavia (1 June 1738 - 7 May 1814).
Like his brothers, he attended the Collegio dei Nobili in Ravenna but decided to join the Order of Saint Benedict at the age of 14 on 2 October 1756 as a novice at the Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte in Cesena. Two years after this on 20 August 1758, he became a professed member and assumed the name of Gregorio. He taught at Benedictine colleges in Parma and Rome, and was ordained a priest on 21 September 1765.
A series of promotions resulted after his relative, Giovanni Angelo Braschi, was elected Pope Pius VI (1775–99). A few years before this election occurred, in 1773, Chiaramonti became the personal confessor to Braschi. In 1776, Pius VI appointed the 34-year-old Dom Gregory, who had been teaching at the Monastery of Sant'Anselmo in Rome, as honorary abbot in commendam of his monastery. Although this was an ancient practice, it drew complaints from the monks of the community, as monastic communities generally felt it was not in keeping with the Rule of St. Benedict.
In December 1782, the pope appointed Dom Gregory as the Bishop of Tivoli, near Rome. Pius VI soon named him, in February 1785, the Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto,and as the Bishop of Imola, an office he held until 1816.
When the French Revolutionary Army invaded Italy in 1797, Cardinal Chiaramonti counseled temperance and submission to the newly created Cisalpine Republic. In a letter that he addressed to the people of his diocese, Chiaramonti asked them to comply "... in the current circumstances of change of government (...)" to the authority of the victorious general Commander-in-Chief of the French army. In his Christmas homily that year, he asserted that there was no opposition between a democratic form of government and being a good Catholic: "Christian virtue makes men good democrats.... Equality is not an idea of philosophers but of Christ...and do not believe that the Catholic religion is against democracy."
|Papal styles of|
Pope Pius VII
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
|Posthumous style||Servant of God|
Following the death of Pope Pius VI, by then virtually France's prisoner, at Valence in 1799, the conclave to elect his successor met on 30 November 1799 in the Benedictine Monastery of San Giorgio in Venice. There were three main candidates, two of whom proved to be unacceptable to the Habsburgs, whose candidate, Alessandro Mattei, could not secure sufficient votes. However, Carlo Bellisomi also was a candidate, though not favoured by Austrian cardinals; a "virtual veto" was imposed against him in the name of Franz II and carried out by Cardinal Franziskus Herzan von Harras.
After several months of stalemate, Jean-Sifrein Maury proposed Chiaramonti as a compromise candidate. On 14 March 1800, Chiaramonti was elected pope, certainly not the choice of die-hard opponents of the French Revolution, and took as his pontifical name Pius VII in honour of his immediate predecessor.He was crowned on 21 March in a rather unusual ceremony, wearing a papier-mâché papal tiara as the French had seized the tiaras held by the Holy See when occupying Rome and forcing Pius VI into exile. He then left for Rome, sailing on a barely seaworthy Austrian ship, the Bellona, which lacked even a galley. The twelve-day voyage ended at Pesaro and he proceeded to Rome.
One of Pius VII's first acts was appointing the minor cleric Ercole Consalvi, who had performed so ably as secretary to the recent conclave, to the College of Cardinals and to the office of Cardinal Secretary of State. Consalvi immediately left for France, where he was able to negotiate the Concordat of 1801 with the First Consul Napoleon. While not effecting a return to the old Christian order, the treaty did provide certain civil guarantees to the Church, acknowledging "the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion" as that of the "majority of French citizens".
The main terms of the concordat between France and the pope included:
As pope, he followed a policy of cooperation with the French-established Republic and Empire. He was present at the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804. He even participated in France's Continental Blockade of Great Britain, over the objections of his Secretary of State Consalvi, who was forced to resign. Despite this, France occupied and annexed the Papal States in 1809 and took Pius VII as their prisoner, exiling him to Savona. On 15 November 1809 Pius VII consecrated the church at La Voglina, Valenza Po, Piemonte with the intention of the villa La Voglina becoming his spiritual base whilst in exile. Unfortunately his residency was short lived once Napoleon became aware of his intentions of establishing a permanent base and he was soon exiled to France. Despite this, the pope continued to refer to Napoleon as "my dear son" but added that he was "a somewhat stubborn son, but a son still".
This exile ended only when Pius VII signed the Concordat of Fontainebleau in 1813. One result of this new treaty was the release of the exiled cardinals, including Consalvi, who, upon re-joining the papal retinue, persuaded Pius VII to revoke the concessions he had made in it. This Pius VII began to do in March 1814, which led the French authorities to re-arrest many of the opposing prelates. Their confinement, however, lasted only a matter of weeks, as Napoleon abdicated on 11 April of that year.As soon as Pius VII returned to Rome, he immediately revived the Inquisition and the Index of Condemned Books.
Pius VII's imprisonment did in fact come with one bright side for him. It gave him an aura that recognized him as a living martyr, so that when he arrived back in Rome in May 1814, he was greeted most warmly by the Italians as a hero.
From the time of his election as pope to the fall of Napoleon in 1815, Pius VII's reign was completely taken up in dealing with France.He and the Emperor were continually in conflict, often involving the French military leader's wishes for concessions to his demands. Pius VII wanted his own release from exile as well as the return of the Papal States, and, later on, the release of the 13 "Black Cardinals", i.e., the Cardinals, including Consalvi, who had snubbed the marriage of Napoleon to Princess Marie Louise, believing that his previous marriage was still valid, and had been exiled and impoverished in consequence of their stand, along with several exiled or imprisoned prelates, priests, monks, nuns and other various supporters.
On 7 March 1801, Pius VII issued the brief "Catholicae fidei" that approved the existence of the Society of Jesus in Russia and appointed its first superior general as Franciszek Kareu. This was the first step in the restoration of the order. On 31 July 1814, he signed the papal bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum which universally restored the Society of Jesus. He appointed Tadeusz Brzozowski as the Superior General of the order.
Pius VII joined the declaration of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, represented by Cardinal Secretary of State Ercole Consalvi, and urged the suppression of the slave trade. This pertained particularly to places such as Spain and Portugal where slavery was economically very important. The pope wrote a letter to King Louis XVIII of France dated 20 September 1814 and to the King John VI of Portugal in 1823 to urge the end of slavery. He condemned the slave trade and defined the sale of people as an injustice to the dignity of the human person. In his letter to the King of Portugal, he wrote: "the pope regrets that this trade in blacks, that he believed having ceased, is still exercised in some regions and even more cruel way. He begs and begs the King of Portugal that it implement all its authority and wisdom to extirpate this unholy and abominable shame."
Under Napoleonic rule, the Jewish Ghetto had been abolished and Jews were free to live and move where they would. Following the restoration of Papal rule, Pius VII re-instituted the confinement of Jews to the Ghetto, having the doors closed at nighttime.
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Pius VII issued an encyclical "Diu satis" in order to advocate a return to the values of the Gospel and universalized the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows for 15 September. He condemned Freemasonry and the movement of the Carbonari in the encyclical Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo in 1821. Pius VII asserted that Freemasons must be excommunicated and it linked them with the Carbonari, an anti-clerical revolutionary group in Italy. All members of the Carbonari were also excommunicated.
Pius VII was multilingual and had the ability to speak Italian, French, English and Latin.
Pius VII was a man of culture and attempted to reinvigorate Rome with archaeological excavations in Ostia which revealed ruins and icons from ancient times. He also had walls and other buildings rebuilt and restored the Arch of Constantine. He ordered the construction of fountains and piazzas and erected the obelisk at Monte Pincio.
The pope also made sure Rome was a place for artists and the leading artists of the time like Antonio Canova and Peter von Cornelius. He also enriched the Vatican Library with numerous manuscripts and books. It was Pius VII who adopted the yellow and white flag of the Holy See as a response to the Napoleonic invasion of 1808.
Throughout his pontificate, Pius VII canonized a total of five saints. On 24 May 1807, Pius VII canonized Angela Merici, Benedict the Moor, Colette Boylet, Francis Caracciolo and Hyacintha Mariscotti. He beatified a total of 27 individuals including Joseph Oriol, Berardo dei Marsi, Giuseppe Maria Tomasi and Crispin of Viterbo.
Pius VII created 99 cardinals in nineteen consistories including notable ecclesial figures of that time such as Ercole Consalvi, Bartolomeo Pacca, and Carlo Odescalchi. The pope also named his two immediate successors as cardinals: Annibale della Genga and Francesco Saverio Castiglioni (the latter of whom it is said Pius VII and his successor would refer to as "Pius VIII").
On 15 August 1811 - the Feast of the Assumption - it is recorded that the pope celebrated Mass and was said to have entered a trance and began to levitate in a manner that drew him to the altar. This particular episode aroused great wonder and awe among attendants which included the French soldiers guarding him who were in disbelief of what had occurred.
On the United States' undertaking of the First Barbary War to suppress the Muslim Barbary pirates along the southern Mediterranean coast, ending their kidnapping of Europeans for ransom and slavery, Pius VII declared that the United States "had done more for the cause of Christianity than the most powerful nations of Christendom have done for ages."
For the United States, he established several new dioceses in 1808 for Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Bardstown. In 1821, he also established the dioceses of Charleston, Richmond and Cincinnati.
On 3 June 1816, Pius VII condemned the works of Melkite bishop Germanos Adam. Adam's writings supported conciliarism, the view that the authority of ecumenical councils was greater than that of the papacy.
In 1822, Pius VII reached his 80th birthday and his health was visibly declining. On 6 July 1823, he fractured his hip in a fall in the papal apartments and was bedridden from that point onward. In his final weeks he would often lose consciousness and would mutter the names of the cities that he had been ferried away to by the French forces. With the Cardinal Secretary of State Ercole Consalvi at his side, Pius VII succumbed to his injury on 20 August at 5 a.m.
He was briefly interred in the Vatican grottoes but was later buried in a monument in Saint Peter's Basilica after his funeral on 25 August.
An application to commence beatification proceedings were lodged to the Holy See on 10 July 2006 and received the approval of Cardinal Camillo Ruini (Vicar of Rome) who transferred the request to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Congregation - on 24 February 2007 - approved the opening of the cause responding to the call of the Ligurian bishops.
On 15 August 2007, the Holy See contacted the diocese of Savona-Noli with the news that Pope Benedict XVI had declared "nihil obstat" (nothing stands against) the cause of beatification of the late pontiff, thus opening the diocesan process for this pope's beatification. He now has the title of Servant of God.The official text declaring the opening of the cause was: "Summus Pontifex Benedictus XVI declarant, ex parte Sanctae Sedis, nihil preclude quominus in Cause Beatificationis et Canonizationis Servi Dei Pii Barnabae Gregorii VII Chiaramonti". Work on the cause commenced the following month in gathering documentation on the late pope.
He has since been elected as the patron of the Diocese of Savona and the patron of prisoners.
In late 2018 the Bishop of Savona announced that the cause for Pius VII would continue following the completion of initial preparation and investigation. The bishop named a new postulator and a diocesan tribunal which would begin work into the cause.
The first postulator for the cause was Father Giovanni Farris (2007-18) and the current postulator since 2018 is Fr. Giovanni Margara.
Pope Pius VII's monument (1831) in St. Peter's Basilica, adorning his tomb, was created by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Pope Pius VI, born Count Giovanni Angelo Braschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 15 February 1775 to his death in 1799.
Pope Pius VIII, born Francesco Saverio Maria Felice Castiglioni, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 31 March 1829 to his death in 1830.
Papabile is an unofficial Italian term first coined by Vaticanologists and now used internationally in many languages to describe a Roman Catholic man, in practice always a cardinal, who is thought a likely or possible candidate to be elected pope. In Italy the term has become very common and people use it for other analogous situations, too.
Jean-Sifrein Maury was a French cardinal, archbishop of Paris, and former bishop of Montefiascone.
Ercole Consalvi was a deacon and cardinal of the Catholic Church, who served twice as Cardinal Secretary of State for the Papal States and who played a crucial role in the post-Napoleonic reassertion of the legitimist principle of the divine right of kings, of which he was a constant supporter.
The papal conclave of 1799–1800 followed the death of Pope Pius VI on August 29, 1799, and led to the selection as pope of Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, who took the name Pius VII, on March 14, 1800. This conclave was held in Venice and was the last to take place outside Rome. This period was marked by uncertainty for the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church following the invasion of the Papal States and abduction of Pius VI under the French Directory.
The papal conclave of 1829 to elect a successor to Pope Leo XII after his death on 10 February 1829 began on 24 February 1829.
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The Napoleon Tiara was a papal tiara given to Pope Pius VII in June 1805 a few months after he presided at the coronation of Napoleon I and Joséphine de Beauharnais. While lavishly decorated with jewels, it was deliberately too small and heavy to be worn and meant as an insult to the pope. In the painting of The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, the tiara is held behind the pope by one of his aides.
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Vincenzo Strambi - in religious Vincenzo Maria di San Paolo - was an Italian Roman Catholic prelate who was a professed member from the Passionists and served as the Bishop of Macerata-Tolentino from 1801 until his resignation in 1823. Strambi became a Passionist despite its founder Saint Paul of the Cross refusing him several times due to Strambi's frail constitution. But he practiced Passionist austerities which continued after his appointment as a bishop that saw him favor his religious habit rather than the usual episcopal garb. He was known for his charitable projects that included the care of the poor and the reduction of diocesan expenditures in order to provide for them; he took special interests in the education and ongoing formation of priests.
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