Pope Innocent IV

Pope Innocent IV (Latin: Innocentius IV; c. 1195 – 7 December 1254), born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was the head of the Catholic Church from 25 June 1243 to his death in 1254.[1]


Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV sends Dominicans and Franciscans out to the Tartars
Pope Innocent IV sends Dominicans and Franciscans out to the Tartars
Papacy began25 June 1243
Papacy ended7 December 1254
PredecessorCelestine IV
SuccessorAlexander IV
Consecration28 June 1243
Created cardinal18 September 1227
by Gregory IX
Personal details
Birth nameSinibaldo Fieschi
Bornc. 1195
Genoa or Manarola, Republic of Genoa
Died7 December 1254 (aged 59)
Naples, Kingdom of Sicily
Previous post
Coat of armsInnocent IV's coat of arms
Other popes named Innocent
Papal styles of
Pope Innocent IV
Blason AdrienV
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleSanctitas vestra
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Early life

Born in Genoa (although some sources say Manarola) in an unknown year, Sinibaldo was the son of Beatrice Grillo and Ugo Fieschi, Count of Lavagna. The Fieschi were a noble merchant family of Liguria.[2] Sinibaldo received his education at the universities of Parma and Bologna and, for a time, taught canon law at Bologna.[3] It is pointed out by Agostino Paravicini-Bagliani, however, that there is no documentary evidence of such a professorship.[4] From 1216-1227 he was Canon of the Cathedral of Parma.[5] He was considered one of the best canonists of his time,[6] and was called to serve Pope Honorius III in the Roman Curia as Auditor causarum, from 11 November 1226 to 30 May 1227.[7] He was then promoted to the office of Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church (from 31 May to 23 September 1227), though he retained the office and the title for a time after he was named Cardinal.[8]


Vice-Chancellor Sinibaldo Fieschi was created Cardinal Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina on 18 September 1227 by Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241).[9] He later served as papal governor of the March of Ancona, from 17 October 1235[10] until 1240.

It is widely repeated, from the 17th century on, that he became bishop of Albenga in 1235, but there is no foundation to this claim.[11]

Innocent's immediate predecessor was Pope Celestine IV, elected 25 October 1241, whose reign lasted a mere fifteen days. The events of Innocent IV's pontificate are therefore inextricably linked to the policies dominating the reigns of popes Innocent III, Honorius III and Gregory IX.

Gregory had been demanding the return of portions of the Papal States taken over by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II when he died. The Pope had called a general council so he could depose the emperor with the support of Europe's spiritual leaders, but Frederick had seized two cardinals traveling to the council in hopes of intimidating the curia. The two prelates remained incarcerated and missed the conclave that immediately elected Celestine. The conclave that reconvened after his death fell into camps supporting contradictory policies about how to treat with the emperor.

New pope, same emperor

After a year and a half of contentious debate and coercion, a papal election finally reached a unanimous decision. Cardinal de' Fieschi very reluctantly accepted election as Pope 25 June 1243, taking the name Innocent IV.[12] As Cardinal de' Fieschi, Sinibaldo had been on friendly terms with Frederick, even after his excommunication. The Emperor also greatly admired the cardinal's wisdom, having enjoyed discussions with him from time to time.

Following the election the witty Frederick remarked that he had lost the friendship of a cardinal but made up for it by gaining the enmity of a pope.

His jest notwithstanding, Frederick's letter to the new pontiff was couched in respectful terms, offering Innocent congratulations and success, also expressing hope for an amicable settlement of the differences between the empire and the papacy. Negotiations leading to this objective began shortly afterwards, but proved abortive. Innocent refused to back down from his demands, Frederick II refused to acquiesce, and the dispute continued, its major point of contention being the reinstatement of Lombardy to the Patrimony of St Peter.

The Emperor's machinations caused a good deal of anti-papal feeling to rise in Italy, particularly in the Papal States, and imperial agents encouraged plots against papal rule. Realizing how untenable his position in Rome was growing, Innocent IV secretly and hurriedly withdrew, fleeing Rome on 7 June 1244.[13] Traveling in disguise, Innocent made his way to Sutri and Civitavecchia, to Genoa, his birthplace, where he arrived on 7 July. From there, on 5 October, he fled to France, where he was joyously welcomed. Making his way to Lyon, where he arrived on November 29, 1244, Innocent was happily greeted by the magistrates of the city.

Finding himself now in secure surroundings and out of the reach of Frederic II, Innocent summoned, in a sermon preached on December 27, 1244, as many bishops as could get to Lyon (140 bishops were present), to attend what became the 13th General (Ecumenical) Council of the Church, the first to be held in Lyon.[14] The bishops met for three public sessions: 28 June, 5 July, and 17 July 1245. Their principal business was to subjugate the Emperor Frederick II.

Compromise on the Talmud

An earlier pope, Gregory IX (1227-1241), had issued letters on 9 June 1239, ordering all the bishops of France to confiscate all Talmuds in the possession of the Jews. Agents were to raid each synagogue on the first Saturday of Lent of 1240, and seize the books, placing them in the custody of the Dominicans or the Franciscans.[15] The Bishop of Paris was ordered to see to it that copies of the Pope's mandate reached all the bishops of France, England, Aragon, Navarre, Castile and León, and Portugal.[16] On 20 June 1239, there was another letter, addressed to the Bishop of Paris, the Prior of the Dominicans and the Minister of the Franciscans, calling for the burning of all copies of the Talmud, and any obstructionists to be visited with ecclesiastical censures. On the same day he wrote to the King of Portugal ordering him to see to it that all copies of the Talmud be seized and turned over to the Dominicans or Franciscans.[17] Louis IX, King of France, on account of these letters held a trial in Paris in 1240, which ultimately found the Talmud guilty of 35 alleged charges. Twenty-four cartloads of the Talmud were burned.[18]

Initially, Innocent IV continued Gregory IX's policy. In a letter of 9 May 1244, he wrote to King Louis IX, ordering the Talmud and any books with Talmudic glosses to be examined by the Regent Doctors of the University of Paris, and if condemned by them, to be burned.[19] However, an argument was presented that this policy was a negation of the Church’s traditional stance of tolerance toward Judaism. On 5 July 1247, Pope Innocent wrote to the bishops of Germany and the Bishops of Gallia (France) that, because both ecclesiastical and lay persons were lawlessly plundering the property of the Jews, and falsely stating that at Eastertime they sacrificed and ate the heart of a little child, the bishops should see to it that the Jews not be attacked or molested because of these or other reasons.[20] In the year 1247, in a letter of 2 August to King Louis of France,[21] he reversed his stance on the Talmud, and wrote letters to the effect that the Talmud should be censored rather than burned. Innocent IV’s words were met with the disapproval of Odo of Châteauroux,[22] Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum and former Chancellor of the University of Paris. Nonetheless, Pope Innocent IV’s policy was continued by subsequent popes.[23]

First Council of Lyon

The First Council of Lyon of 1245 had the fewest participants of any General Council before it. However three patriarchs and the Latin emperor of Constantinople attended, along with about 150 bishops, most of them prelates from France and Spain. They were able to come quickly, and Innocent could rely on their help. Bishops from the rest of Europe outside Spain and France feared retribution from Frederick, while many other bishops were prevented from attending either by the invasions of the Mongols (Tartars) in the Far East or Muslim incursions in the Middle East.

In session, Frederick II's position was defended by Taddeo of Suessa, who renewed in his master's name all the promises made before, but refused to give the guarantees the pope demanded. Unable to end the impasse Taddeo was horrified to hear the fathers of the Council solemnly depose and excommunicate the Emperor on 17 July, while absolving all his subjects from allegiance.[24]

After Lyon

The political agitation over these acts convulsed Europe. The turmoil relaxed only with Frederick's death in December 1250, which removed the proximate threat to Innocent's life and permitted his return to Italy. He departed Lyon on 19 April 1251, and arrived in Genoa on 18 May. On 1 July, he was at Milan, accompanied by only three cardinals and the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He stayed there until mid-September, when he began an inspection tour of Lombardy, heading for Bologna. On 5, November, he reached Perugia. From 1251–53 the Pope stayed at Perugia until it was safe for him to bring the papal court back to Rome. He finally saw Rome again in the first week of October, 1253. He left Rome on 27 April 1254, for Assisi and then Anagni. He immediately threw himself into the problems surrounding the succession to the possessions of Frederick II, both as German Emperor and as King of Sicily. In both cases, Innocent continued Pope Gregory IX's policy of opposition to the Hohenstaufen, supporting whatever opposition there could be found to that House. This papal stance embroiled Italy in one conflict after another for the next three decades. Innocent IV himself, following after the papal army which was seeking to destroy Frederick's son Manfred, died in Naples on 7 December 1254.

While in Perugia, on 15 May 1252, Innocent IV issued the papal bull Ad extirpanda, composed of thirty-eight 'laws', and (in Lex 25) permitting the torture of heretics.[25]

Ruler of princes and kings

Blason AdrienV
Innocent IV (1243-1254) was probably the first pope who used personal arms.[26]

As Innocent III had before him, Innocent IV saw himself as the Vicar of Christ, whose power was above earthly kings. Innocent, therefore, had no objection to intervening in purely secular matters. He appointed Afonso III administrator of Portugal, and lent his protection to Ottokar, the son of the King of Bohemia. The Pope even sided with King Henry III against both nobles and bishops of England, despite the king's harassment of Edmund Rich, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, and the royal policy of having the income of a vacant bishopric or benefice delivered to the royal coffers, rather than handed over to a papal Administrator (usually a member of the Curia) or a Papal collector of revenue, or delivered directly to the Pope.

The warlike tendencies of the Mongols also concerned the Pope, and he sent a papal nuncio to the Mongol Empire in an attempt to strike an agreement. Innocent decreed that he, as Vicar of Christ, could make non-Christians accept his dominion and even exact punishment should they violate the non-God centered commands of the Ten Commandments. This policy was held more in theory than in practice and was eventually repudiated centuries later.

Vicar of Christ

Medieval , Papal bulla (FindID 610950)
Papal bulla of Innocent IV

The papal preoccupation with imperial matters and secular princes caused the spirituality of the Church to suffer. Taxation increased in the Papal States and the complaints of the inhabitants grew considerably.

In August 1253, after much worry about the order's insistence on absolute poverty, Innocent finally approved the rule of the 2nd Order of the Franciscans, the Poor Clares, founded by St. Clare of Assisi, the great friend of St Francis.

In 1246 Edmund Rich, former Archbishop of Canterbury (died 1240), was named a saint. In 1250 Innocent proclaimed the pious Queen Margaret (died 1093), wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland, a saint. The Dominican priest Peter of Verona, martyred by Albigensian heretics in 1252, was canonized, as was Stanislaus of Szczepanów, the Polish Archbishop of Cracow, both in 1253.

Creation of the concept of persona ficta

Innocent IV is often credited as helping to create the idea of legal personality, persona ficta as it was originally written, which has led to the idea of corporate personhood. This allowed monasteries and universities the ability to act as a single legal entity, allowing for their existence to be more continuous and for monks pledged to poverty to nonetheless be part of an organization that could own infrastructure, but as "fictional people" they could not be excommunicated or considered guilty of delict, that is, negligence to action that is not contractually required. This meant that punishment of individuals within an organization would reflect less on the organization itself than it would if the person running such an organization was said to own it rather than be a constituent of it, and was meant to provide stability.[27]

Diplomatic relations

Relations with the Portuguese

Innocent IV was responsible for the eventual deposition of King Sancho II of Portugal at the request of his brother Afonso (later King Afonso III of Portugal). One of the arguments he used against Sancho II in his Grandi non immerito text was his status as a minor upon inheriting the throne from his father Afonso II.[28]

Contacts with the Mongols

The 1246 letter of Güyük to Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV sends Dominicans and Franciscans out to the Tartars
Pope Innocent IV sends Dominicans and Franciscans out to the Tartars (Mongols).

In 1245, Innocent IV issued bulls and sent an envoy in the person of Giovanni da Pian del Carpine (accompanied by Benedict the Pole) to the "Emperor of the Tartars".[29] The message asked the Mongol ruler to become a Christian and stop his aggression against Europe. The Khan Güyük replied in 1246 in a letter written in Persian that is still preserved in the Vatican Library, demanding the submission of the Pope and the other rulers of Europe.[30]

Ascelin of Lombardia receiving a letter from Pope Innocent IV, and remitting it to the Mongol general Baiju

In 1245 Innocent had sent another mission, through another route, led by Ascelin of Lombardia, also bearing letters. The mission met with the Mongol ruler Baichu near the Caspian Sea in 1247. The reply of Baichu was in accordance with that of Güyük, but it was accompanied by two Mongolian envoys to the Papal seat in Lyon, Aïbeg and Serkis. In the letter Guyuk demanded that the Pope appear in person at the Mongol imperial headquarters, Karakorum in order that “we might cause him to hear every command that there is of the jasaq”.[31] The envoys met with Innocent IV in 1248, who again appealed to the Mongols to stop their killing of Christians.[30]

Innocent IV would also send other missions to the Mongols in 1245: the mission of André de Longjumeau and the possibly aborted mission of Laurent de Portugal.

Later life and death

The remainder of Innocent's life was largely directed to schemes for compassing the overthrow of Manfred of Sicily, the natural son of Frederick II, whom the towns and the nobility had for the most part received as his father's successor. Innocent aimed to incorporate the whole Kingdom of Sicily into the Papal States, but he lacked the necessary economic and political power. Therefore, after a failed agreement with Charles of Anjou, he invested Edmund, the nine-year-old son of King Henry III of England, with that kingdom on 14 May 1254.

In the same year, Innocent excommunicated Frederick II's other son, Conrad IV, King of Germany, but the latter died a few days after the investiture of Edmund. At the beginning of June, 1254, Innocent moved to Anagni,[32] where he awaited Manfred's reaction to the event, especially considering that Conrad's heir, Conradin, had been entrusted to Papal tutelage by King Conrad's testament. Manfred submitted, although probably only to gain time and counter the menace from Edmund, and accepted the title of Papal vicar for southern Italy. Innocent could therefore enjoy a moment in which he was the acknowledged sovereign, in theory at least, of most of the peninsula. Innocent overplayed his hand, however, by accepting the fealty of Amalfi directly to the Papacy instead of to the Kingdom of Sicily on 23 October. Manfred immediately, on October 26, fled from Teano, where he had established his headquarters, and headed to Lucera to his Saracen troops.[33]

Manfred had not lost his nerve,[34] and organized resistance to papal aggression. Supported by his faithful Saracen troops, he began using military force to make rebellious barons and towns submit to his authority as Regent for his nephew. Realizing that Manfred had no intention of submitting to the Papacy or to anyone else, Innocent and his papal army headed south from his summer residence at Anagni on October 8, intending to confront Manfred's forces. On 27 October 1254 the Pope entered the city of Naples. It was on a sick bed at Naples that Innocent IV heard of Manfred's victory at Foggia on December 2 against the Papal forces, led by the new Papal Legate, Cardinal Guglielmo Fiesch, the Pope's nephew.[35] The tidings are said to have precipitated Pope Innocent's death on 7 December 1254 in Naples. From triumph to disaster had taken only a few months.

Innocent's learning gave to the world an Apparatus in quinque libros decretalium, a commentary on papal decrees. He is also remembered for issuing the papal bull Ad extirpanda, which authorized the use of torture by the Inquisition for eliciting confessions from heretics.

Shortly after Innocent's election as Pope, his nephew Opizzo was elevated to the Latin Patriarchate of Antioch. In December, 1251, Innocent IV appointed another nephew, Ottobuono, Cardinal Deacon of S. Andriano.[36] Ottobuono was elected Pope Adrian V in 1276.

Innocent was succeeded by Pope Alexander IV (Rinaldo de' Conti).

See also



  1. ^ Eubel, p. 7. Butler, Alban and Paul Burns, Butler's lives of the Saints, (Liturgical Press, 2000), 131.
  2. ^ Romeo Pavoni, "L'ascesa dei Fieschi tra Genova e Federico II," in D. Calcagno (editor), I Fieschi tra Papato e Impero, Atti del convegno (Lavagna, 18 dicembre 1994) (Lavagna 1997), pp. 3-44.
  3. ^ Maurus Fattorini, De claris Archigymnasii Bononiensis professoribus Tomus I pars I (Bologna 1769), pp. 344-348.
  4. ^ Agostino Paravicini-Bagliani, "Innocent IV," in Philippe Levillain (editor), The Papacy: An Encyclopedia Volume 2 (NY 2002), pp. 790.
  5. ^ Pavoni, p. 6.
  6. ^ V. Piergiovanni, "Sinibaldo dei Fieschi decretalista. Ricerche sulla vita," Studia Gratiana 14 (1967), 125-154.
  7. ^ Pavoni, p. 6. Emmanuele Cerchiari, Capellani papae et Apostolicae Sedis Auditores causarum sacri palatii apostolici Volumen II (Roma 1920), p. 9.
  8. ^ Pavoni, p. 6. Cerchiari, p. 10. Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Berlin 1874), no. 8039 (September 23, 1227). He used the title Magister as Vice-Chancellor. A successor appears on December 9, 1227: Potthast, p. 939.
  9. ^ Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi I editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 6.
  10. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum Volume I (Berlin 1874), no. 10032.
  11. ^ According to Paravicini Bagliani, p. 64–65, his alleged episcopate in Albenga is not attested in any of the contemporary sources and adds that the see of Albenga was occupied by Simon from 1230 until 1255. But compare, Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi I editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 81.
  12. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum II (Berlin 1875), p. 943.
  13. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum II (Berlin 1875), p. 969.
  14. ^ Ioannes Dominicus Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio Tomus 23 (Venice 1779), pp. 606-686.
  15. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Berlin 1874), no. 10759.
  16. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Berlin 1874), no. 10760.
  17. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Berlin 1874), no. 10767-10768.
  18. ^ Isidore Loeb, La controverse sur le Talmud sous saint Louis (Paris: Baer 1881).
  19. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Berlin 1874), no. 11376.
  20. ^ Augustus Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum I (Berlin 1874), no. 12596.
  21. ^ Loeb, p. 61.
  22. ^ Jacobus Echard, Sancti Thomae Summa suo auctori vindicata (Paris 1708), pp. 592-600. Loeb, p. 60.
  23. ^ Rabbi Yair Hoffman, "The Pope who saved the Talmud". Robert Chazan, Church, State, and Jew in the Middle Ages (New York : Behrman House 1979), 231-38. J.E. Rembaum, "The Talmud and the Popes: Reflections on the Talmud Trials of the 1240s," Viator 13 (1982), 203-223.
  24. ^ Ioannes Dominicus Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio Tomus 23 (Venice 1779), pp. 613-619 (17 July 1245).
  25. ^ A. Tomassetti (editor), Bullarum, Diplomatum, et Privilegiorum Sanctorum Romanorum Pontificum Taurensis editio Tomus III (Turin 1858), pp. 552-558, no. XXVII.
  26. ^ Michel Pastoureau (1997). Traité d'Héraldique (3e édition ed.). Picard. p. 49. ISBN 978-2-7084-0520-2.
  27. ^ John Dewey, “The Historic Background of Corporate Legal Personality,” Yale Law Journal, Vol. XXXV, April 1926, pp. 655-673.
  28. ^ H. Fernandes, 2006, 82.
  29. ^ Roux, p.312–313
  30. ^ a b David Wilkinson, Studying the History of Intercivilizational Dialogues
  31. ^ Igor de Rachewiltz, 1993. “Some Reflections on Chinggis Qan’s Jasagh,” East Asian History, 6, 91–104
  32. ^ He had spent the Spring of 1254 in Assisi: Potthast, p. 1268.
  33. ^ Bartholomaeus Capasso, Historia diplomatica Regni Siciliae inde ab anno 1250 ad annum 1266 (Neapoli 1874), p. 82.
  34. ^ Giuseppe di Cesare, Storia di Manfredi, re di Sicilia e di Puglia I (Napoli: Raffaele di Stefano 1837), pp. 49-101.
  35. ^ Biography of Cardinal Guglielmo Fieschi (in Italian): il F(ieschi). già nella notte tra il 2 e il 3 dicembre con una ritirata precipitosa (tutte le salmerie furono abbandonate a Troia) ripiegò su Ariano, dove le sue truppe si dispersero. La legazione si risolse così in una catastrofica disfatta.
  36. ^ Eubel I, p. 7 and p. 48.


  • Accame, Paolo (1923). Sinibaldo Fieschi, vescovo di Albenga (Albenga 1923).
  • Baaken, G. (1993). Ius imperii ad regnum. Königreich Sizilien, Imperium Romanum und Römisches Papsttum... (Köln-Weimar-Wien 1993).
  • Berger, Elie (editor), Les registres d' Innocent IV 4 vols (Paris 1884-1921).
  • Eubel, Conradus (ed.) (1913). Hierarchia catholica, Tomus 1 (second ed.). Münster: Libreria Regensbergiana.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link). (in Latin)
  • August Folz, Kaiser Friedrich II und Papst Innocenz IV. Ihr Kampf in den Jahren 1244 und 1245 (Strassburg 1905).
  • Melloni, Alberto (1990). Innocenzo IV: la concezione e l'esperienza della cristianità come regimen unius personae, Genoa: Marietti, 1990.
  • V. Piergiovanni, "Sinibaldo dei Fieschi decretalista. Ricerche sulla vita," Studia Gratiana 14 (1967), 126-154 [Collectanea Stephan Kuttner, IV].
  • Paravicini Bagliani, Agostino (1972), Cardinali di curia e "familiae" cardinalizie. Dal 1227 al 1254, Padua 1972. 2 volumes.
  • Paravicini Bagliani, Agostino (1995). La cour des papes au XIIIe siècle (Paris: Hachette, 1995).
  • Paravicini-Bagliani, Agostino (1994). The Pope's Body (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2000) [Italian edition, Il corpo del Papa, 1994].
  • Paravicini-Bagliani, Agostino (2000). "Innocenzo IV," Enciclopedia dei Papi (ed. Mario Simonetti et al.) I (Roma 2000), pp. 384–393.
  • Paravicini-Bagliani, Agostino (2002b). "Innocent IV," in Philippe Levillain (editor), The Papacy: An Encyclopedia Volume 2: Gaius-Proxies (NY: Routledge 2002), pp. 790–793.
  • Pavoni, Romeo (1997). "L'ascesa dei Fieschi tra Genova e Federico II," in D. Calcagno (editor), I Fieschi tra Papato e Impero, Atti del convegno (Lavagna, 18 dicembre 1994) (Lavagna 1997), pp. 3–44.
  • Pisanu, L. (1969). L'attività politica di Innocenzo IV e I Francescani (1243-1254) (Rome 1969).
  • Podestà, Ferdinando (1928). Innocenzo IV (Milan 1928).
  • Prieto, A. Quintana (1987). La documentation pontificia de Innocencio IV (1243-1254) (Rome 1987) 2 volumes.
  • Puttkamer, Gerda von (1930). Papst Innocenz IV. Versuch einer Gesamptcharakteristik aus seiner Wirkung (Münster 1930).
  • Rendina, Claudio (1983). I papi. Storia e segreti. Rome: Newton Compton.
  • Weber, Hans (1900). Der Kampf zwischen Papst Innocenz IV. und Kaiser Friedrich II, bis zur Flucht des Papstes nach Lyon (Berlin: E. Ebering 1900).
  • Wolter, L. and H. Holstein (1966), Lyon I et Lyon II (Paris 1966).
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Celestine IV
Succeeded by
Alexander IV
1243 papal election

The papal election of 1243 (16 May – 25 June) elected Cardinal Sinibaldo Fieschi of Genoa to succeed Pope Celestine IV. The conclave began after the Holy See had been vacant for 18 months and six days, therefore ca. May 16, 1243. There were nine cardinals present. Six votes were needed, therefore, for a canonical election. It took some five weeks for the cardinals to agree on an acceptable candidate. Fieschi took the name Innocent IV.


Year 1254 (MCCLIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Ad Apostolicae Dignitatis Apicem

Ad Apostolicae Dignitatis Apicem was an apostolic letter issued against Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II by Pope Innocent IV (1243–54), during the Council of Lyon, 17 July 1245, the third year of his pontificate.

The letter sets forth that Innocent, desiring to have peace restored to those parts which were then distracted by dissensions, sent for that purpose three legates to Frederick as the chief author of those evils, pointed out the way to peace, and promised that he would do his own part to restore it. Frederick agreed to terms of peace, which he swore to observe, but which he at once violated. The letter then sets forth the crimes of which Frederick was guilty. It accuses him of perjury; of contempt for the spiritual authority of the Roman Pontiff, by disregarding the excommunication pronounced against him and by compelling others to do so; of invading pontifical territory; of having broken the terms of peace made with Pope Gregory, and which he swore to keep; of oppressing the Church in Sicily; of having taken, persecuted, and done to death bishops and others who were on their way to Rome for a council which he himself had asked to be convoked; of having incurred suspicion of heresy for treating a papal excommunication with contempt; of having conspired with the Saracens and other enemies of Christianity; of being guilty of the death of Louis I, Duke of Bavaria, and of giving his daughter in marriage to a schismatic; of not paying tribute for Sicily, which is the patrimony of St. Peter. For these and for other crimes, Innocent IV, by this apostolic letter, declares Frederick unworthy to rule, and his subjects freed from their duty of obedience to him as sovereign.

Ad extirpanda

Ad extirpanda (named for its Latin incipit) was a papal bull promulgated on Wednesday, May 15, 1252 by Pope Innocent IV which authorized in limited and defined circumstances the use of torture by the Inquisition for eliciting confessions from heretics.

André de Longjumeau

André de Longjumeau (also known as Andrew of Longjumeau in English) was a 13th-century Dominican missionary and diplomat and one of the most active Occidental diplomats in the East in the 13th century. He led two embassies to the Mongols: the first carried letters from Pope Innocent IV and the second bore gifts and letters from Louis IX of France to Güyük Khan. Well acquainted with the Middle-East, he spoke Arabic and "Chaldean" (thought to be either Syriac or Persian).

Ascelin of Lombardy

Ascelin of Lombardy, also known as Nicolas Ascelin or Ascelin of Cremona, was a 13th-century Dominican friar whom Pope Innocent IV sent as an envoy to the Mongols in March 1245. Ascelin met with the Mongol ruler Baiju, and then returned to Europe with a message and Mongol envoys in 1248.

Aïbeg and Serkis

Aïbeg and Serkis, also Aibeg and Sergis or Aïbäg and Särgis, were two ambassadors sent by the Mongol ruler Baichu to Pope Innocent IV in 1247–1248. They were the first Mongol envoys to Europe.

Aïbeg ("Moon Prince") is thought to have been a Turcophone Christian, possibly Uighur, and Sergis (from the Roman and later Christian name "Sergius" or "Sarkis") a Nestorian Christian, probably Assyrian. Both were sent by Baichu, to accompany the 1245 embassy of the Dominican Ascelin of Lombardia back to Lyon, France, where the Pope was residing at the time. They stayed there for about a year.Aïbeg and Serkis met with Innocent IV in 1248, and remitted to him a rather vexing letter from Baichu, expressing his difficulty in understanding the Pope's message, and asking for his submission:

By the strength of the Khagan, the word of Prince Baichu. You Pope, know that your messengers came to visit us and brought to us your letters. They made strange discourses to us, and we do not known if you ordered them to utter these words, and if they did so of their own accord...

As a reply to the letter from Baiju, Innocent IV remitted to the envoys the letter known as Viam agnoscere veritatis. According to historian Kenneth Setton, it "stated that Innocent IV had acted out of a sense of duty to let the true religion be known to the Mongols, and that he regretted the Mongols' perseverance in their errors and adjured them to cease their menaces." The Pope appealed to the Mongols to stop their killing of Christians, while indicating no further interest in continuing the dialogue.Aïbeg and Serkis stayed at Lyon for about a year, before returning to the Mongol realm on November 22, 1248.

Cardinals created by Innocent IV

Pope Innocent IV (r. 1243-54) created fifteen cardinals in two consistories he held during his pontificate; this included his future successors Nicholas III in 1244 and Adrian V in 1251.

Cum non solum

Cum non solum was a letter written by Pope Innocent IV to the Mongols on March 13, 1245. In it, Pope Innocent appeals to the Mongols to desist from attacking Christians and other nations, and inquires as to the Mongols' future intentions. Innocent also expresses a desire for peace (possibly unaware that in the Mongol vocabulary, "peace" is a synonym for "subjection").This message was carried by the Franciscan John of Plano Carpini, who successfully reached the Mongol capital of Karakorum, where he attended the election of the new Khan Güyük on August 24, 1246.Güyük, who had little understanding of faraway Europe or the Pope's significance in it, other than that the Pope was sending a message from an area that the Mongols had not yet conquered, replied to the Pope's letter with a fairly typical Mongol demand for the Pope's submission, and a visit from the rulers of the West in homage to Mongol power:

You must say with a sincere heart: "We will be your subjects; we will give you our strength". You must in person come with your kings, all together, without exception, to render us service and pay us homage. Only then will we acknowledge your submission. And if you do not follow the order of God, and go against our orders, we will know you as our enemy.

Dei patris immensa

Dei patris immensa was a letter written by Pope Innocent IV to the Mongols (the Pope also wrote other letters to the Mongols, which are known as Cum non solum and Viam agnoscere veritatis). It was written on March 5, 1245, was an exposition of the Christian faith, and urged Mongols to accept baptism. It was intended to be carried by the Franciscan friar and papal envoy Laurentius of Portugal. However, nothing more is known about Laurentius' embassy, and it is possible that he never actually left.

First Council of Lyon

The First Council of Lyon (Lyon I) was the thirteenth ecumenical council, as numbered by the Catholic Church, taking place in 1245.

The First General Council of Lyon was presided over by Pope Innocent IV. Innocent IV, threatened by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, arrived at Lyon on 2 December 1244, and early the following year he summoned the Church's bishops to the council later that same year. Some two hundred and fifty prelates responded including the Latin Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Aquileia (Venice) and 140 bishops. The Latin emperor Baldwin II of Constantinople, Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, and Raymond Bérenger IV, Count of Provence were among those who participated. With Rome under siege by Emperor Frederick II, the pope used the council to excommunicate and depose the emperor with Ad Apostolicae Dignitatis Apicem, as well as the Portuguese King Sancho II. The council also directed a new crusade (the Seventh Crusade), under the command of Louis IX of France, to reconquer the Holy Land.At the opening, on 28 June, after the singing of the Veni Creator, Spiritu, Innocent IV preached on the subject of the five wounds of the Church and compared them to his own five sorrows: (1) the poor behaviour of both clergy and laity; (2) the insolence of the Saracens who occupied the Holy Land; (3) the Great East-West Schism; (4) the cruelties of the Tatars in Hungary; and (5) the persecution of the Church by the Emperor Frederick.

At the second session on 5 July, the bishop of Calvi and a Spanish archbishop attacked the emperor's behaviour, and in a subsequent session on 17 July, Innocent pronounced the deposition of Frederick. The deposition was signed by one hundred and fifty bishops and the Dominicans and Franciscans were given the responsibility for its publication. However, Innocent IV did not possess the material means to enforce the decree.

The Council of Lyon promulgated several other purely disciplinary measures:

It obliged the Cistercians to pay tithes,

It approved the Rule of the Grandmontines,

It decided the institution of the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin,

It prescribed that cardinals were to wear a red hat,

It prepared thirty-eight constitutions which were later inserted by Boniface VIII in his Decretals, the most important of which decreed a levy of a twentieth on every benefice for three years for the relief of the Holy Land.Among those attending was the future saint Thomas Cantilupe who was made a papal chaplain and given a dispensation to hold his benefices in plurality.

Geoffrey of Trani

Geoffrey of Trani (? in Trano, Apulia – 1245) was an Italian jurist, known as a canon lawyer. He was a student at Bologna of Azo before becoming a professor at Naples, then at Bologna. He was made a cardinal deacon by Pope Innocent IV. His Summa super titulis decretalium and other writings on decretals became a basic resource for canon law.

Grandi non immerito

Grandi non immerito was a papal bull issued by Pope Innocent IV on 24 July 1245, that effectively removed Sancho II of Portugal from the throne, replacing him with his brother and heir Afonso, Count of Boulogne, in the capacity of regent.

The King's administrative negligence and frequent conflicts with the clergy (which had gotten him excommunicated already by that point), along with his unwillingness to listen to the Roman Curia, led to Pope Innocent IV issuing the bull Inter alia desiderabilia in March 1245, which severely crippled Sancho's authority by charging him with the responsibility for the kingdom's near-anarchical state. Following the First Council of Lyon, that same year, Innocent issued Grandi non immerito urging the people and nobility of Portugal to receive the Count of Boulogne and to show him "fidelity, homage, allegiance, and accordance", under threat of ecclesiastical censure. The bull did not, however, nominally depose King Sancho or remove any descendents we would beget from the succession (though he would go on to die with no legitimate children).The Count of Boulogne ruled the kingdom using the styles of Visitador, Curador e Defensor do Reino ("Visitor, Curator and Defender of the Kingdom") until his brother's death and his own eventual coronation as Afonso III of Portugal.

Imperial Seal of the Mongols

The Imperial Seal of the Mongols is a seal (tamgha-тамга) that was used by the Mongols. The imperial seals had inscriptions in Mongolian script or other scripts that used in various Mongol regimes such as the Mongol Empire and the Northern Yuan dynasty.

According to Plano Carpini, the Russian handicraftsman, Kozma, made a seal for Güyük Khan. This seal might have been a seal used to stamp the letter to Pope Innocent IV.

The Polish scholar, Cyrill Koralevsky, shot a photo of the seal in 1920. The prominent French Mongolist, P. Pelliot, translated the Mongolian scripts on the seal later. However, the Mongolists believe that Kozma made only one of the imperial seals and a seal on the letter is Genghis Khan's, which was inherited by his successors.During the Yuan dynasty, which ruled the whole of China, there were several seals. Ayushridar had an imperial seal with the script "Great Yuan". In the 16th century, the Mongols used a square-shaped seal. Ejei Khan gave one of those seals to the Manchus in 1635, who in turn established the Qing dynasty.

Bogd Jivzundamba, ruler of the Bogd Khaganate had a tamgha (seal) with the inscription "Holiness - Bogd Khaan who holds religion and authority" in the 20th century.

Qui iustis causis

Qui iustis causis is a papal bull issued by Pope Innocent IV on 23 September 1243 authorising crusades in Livonia and Prussia. Shortly after Innocent's election to the papacy, the Teutonic Order sought his consent for the suppression of the Prussian rebellion and for their struggle against the Lithuanians. It was reissued by Innocent and his successors in October 1243, March 1256, August 1256 and August 1257.When the bull was re-issued in March 1256, it was sent to Bishop Heidenreich of Chelmno and Bishop Henry of Courland, to support the Dominican's preaching for the Baltic crusade.

Rodrigo Díaz (bishop)

Rodrigo Díaz (died 31 August 1249) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Oviedo (1243–1249).

Simon de Gunby

Simon was a 13th-century prelate based in Moray, Scotland. Professor Donald Watt has shown (Fasti, 219), through the extrapolation of indirect evidence, that his surname was almost certainly "de Gunby".

He occurs as Dean of Moray in 1230. Simon held this position until, after the death of Andreas de Moravia, he was elected as the new Bishop of Moray. A Papal mandate of 3 March 1244, from Pope Innocent IV authorized the Bishop of Caithness (Gilbert de Moravia) and one Martin, clerk of the papal camera, to inquire about the legality of the election and if appropriate confirm and consecrate Simon. This process was apparently successful for Simon, as he held the episcopate until his death in 1251.

Terra Sancta Christi

Terra Sancti Christi is a papal bull issued by Pope Innocent IV on 23 January 1245 calling for a crusade to the Holy Land. In December 1244 Louis IX of France had declared his intention to go on a crusade to the Holy Land and in February Innocent ordered the Franciscans to preach in favour of it.

Viam agnoscere veritatis (1248)

Viam agnoscere veritatis is the name of a letter written by Pope Innocent IV to the Mongols. It was written on November 22, 1248, and was Pope Innocent's reply to a message from Mongol commander Baiju. Innocent IV had previously sent two letters to the Mongols in 1245, Cum non solum and Dei patris immensa.

The letter was probably transmitted from the Pope via Mongol envoys Aïbeg and Serkis, was dated November 22, 1248, and was the Pope's reply to a letter from Baiju. Some historians refer to it as "Viam agnoscere veritatis" and some as "Viam cognoscere veritatis" (both "agnoscere" and "cognoscere" are Latin for "to know"). According to historian Denis Sinor, the letter "stated that Innocent IV had acted out of a sense of duty to let the true religion be known to the Mongols, and that he regretted the Mongols' perseverance in their errors and adjured them to cease their menaces."

Better that you humble yourself before [Christ], face to face, and recognize His great forbearance, Who for so long has endured your destructive actions: that in waiting obligingly, you may be turned from errors to truth, and be able to fear Him, lest He provoked for too long a time should threaten you with the lash of His anger, since you do not recognize His omnipotence.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Bible and
By country
of the faithful
Early Church
Late antiquity
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
19th century
20th century
21st century

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.