Pope Innocent X

Pope Innocent X (Latin: Innocentius X; 6 May 1574 – 7 January 1655), born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj (or Pamphili), was Pope from 15 September 1644 to his death in 1655.[1]

Born in Rome of a family from Gubbio in Umbria who had come to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Innocent IX, Pamphili was trained as a lawyer and graduated from the Collegio Romano. He followed a conventional cursus honorum, following his uncle Girolamo Pamphili as auditor of the Rota, and like him, attaining the position of Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Eusebio, in 1629. Before becoming Pope, Pamphili served as a papal diplomat to Naples, France, and Spain.

Pamphili succeeded Pope Urban VIII (1623–44) on 15 September 1644 as Pope Innocent X, after a contentious papal conclave that featured a rivalry between French and Spanish factions.

Innocent X was one of the most politically shrewd pontiffs of the era, greatly increasing the temporal power of the Holy See. Major political events in which he was involved included the English Civil War, conflicts with French church officials over financial fraud issues, and hostilities with the Duchy of Parma related to the First War of Castro. In terms of theological events, Innocent X issued a papal bull condemning the beliefs of Jansenism.


Innocent X
Bishop of Rome
Diego Velázquez 049
Papacy began15 September 1644
Papacy ended7 January 1655
PredecessorUrban VIII
SuccessorAlexander VII
Consecration25 January 1626
by Laudivio Zacchia
Created cardinal19 November 1629
by Urban VIII
Personal details
Birth nameGiovanni Battista Pamphilj or Pamphili
Born6 May 1574
Rome, Papal States
Died7 January 1655 (aged 80)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post
MottoAllevitæ sunt aquæ super terram ("The Waters are Lifted Above the Earth")
Coat of armsInnocent X's coat of arms
Other popes named Innocent


Early life

Giovanni Battista Pamphili was born in Rome on 5 May 1574, the son of Camillo Pamphili, of the Roman Pamphili family. The family, originally from Gubbio, was directly descended from Pope Alexander VI.[2]

In 1594 he graduated from the Collegio Romano and followed a conventional path through the ranks of the Catholic Church. He served as a Consistorial lawyer in 1601, and in 1604 succeeded his uncle, Cardinal Girolamo Pamphili, as auditor of the Roman Rota, the ecclesiastical appellate tribunal. He was also a canonist of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, a second tribunal.[3]

In 1623 Pope Gregory XV sent him as apostolic nuncio (ecclesiastical diplomat) to the court of the Kingdom of Naples.[4] In 1625 Popo Urban VIII sent him to accompany his nephew, Francesco Barberini, whom he had accredited as nuncio, first to France and then Spain.[5] In January 1626, Pamphili was appointed titular Latin Patriarch of Antioch.[6]

In reward for his labors, in May 1626 Giovanni Battista was made nuncio to the court of Philip IV of Spain.[6] The position led to a lifelong association with the Spaniards which was of great use during the papal conclave of 1644. He was created Cardinal in pectore in 1627 and published in 1629.



The 1644 conclave for the election of a successor to Pope Urban VIII was long and contentious, lasting from 9 August to 15 September. A large French faction led by Urban VIII's nephews objected to the Spanish candidate, as an enemy of Cardinal Mazarin, who guided French policy. They put up their own candidate (Giulio Cesare Sacchetti) but could not establish enough support for him and agreed to Cardinal Pamphili as an acceptable compromise, though he had served as legate to Spain.[7] Mazarin, bearing the French veto of Pamphili, arrived too late, and the election was accomplished.[8]

Relations with France

Papal styles of
Pope Innocent X
C o a Innocenzo X
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Pamphili chose to be called Innocent X, and soon after his accession he initiated legal action against the Barberini for misappropriation of public funds. The brothers Francesco Barberini, Antonio Barberini and Taddeo Barberini fled to Paris, where they found a powerful protector in Cardinal Mazarin.[9] Innocent X confiscated their property, and on 19 February 1646, issued a papal bull decreeing that all cardinals who might leave the Papal States for six months without express papal permission would be deprived of their benefices and eventually of their cardinalate itself. The French parliament declared the papal ordinance void in France, but Innocent X did not yield until Mazarin prepared to send troops to Italy. Henceforth the papal policy towards France became more friendly, and somewhat later the Barberini were rehabilitated when the son of Taddeo Barberini, Maffeo Barberini, married Olimpia Giustiniani, a niece of Innocent X.

In 1653, Innocent X, with the Cum occasione papal bull, condemned five propositions of Jansenius's Augustinus, inspired by St. Augustine,[10] as heretical and close to Lutheranism. This led to the formulary controversy, Blaise Pascal's writing of the Lettres Provinciales, and finally to the razing of the Jansenist convent of Port-Royal and the subsequent dissolving of its community.

Relations with Parma

Retrato del Papa Inocencio X. Roma, by Diego Velázquez
Portrait of Innocent X, by Diego Velázquez from around 1650, is considered by many art critics as the finest portrait ever created.

The death of Pope Urban VIII is said to have been hastened by his chagrin at the result of the First War of Castro, a war he had undertaken against Odoardo Farnese, the duke of Parma. Hostilities between the papacy and the Duchy of Parma resumed in 1649, and forces loyal to Pope Innocent X destroyed the city of Castro on 2 September 1649.[2]

Innocent X objected to the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia, which his nuncio, Fabio Chigi, protested in vain. In 1650 Innocent X issued the brief Zelo Domus Dei[11] against the Peace of Westfalia, and backdated it to 1648 in order to preserve potential claims for confiscated land and property.[12] The protests were ignored by the European powers.

English Civil War

During the Civil War (1642–49) in England and Ireland, Innocent X strongly supported the independent Confederate Ireland, over the objections of Mazarin and the former English Queen and at that time Queen Mother, Henrietta Maria, exiled in Paris. The pope sent Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, archbishop of Fermo, as a special nuncio to Ireland. He arrived at Kilkenny with a large quantity of arms including 20,000 pounds of gunpowder, and a very large sum of money.[13] Rinuccini hoped he could discourage the Confederates from allying with Charles I and the Royalists in the English Civil War and instead encourage them towards the foundation of an independent Catholic-ruled Ireland.

At Kilkenny, Rinuccini was received with great honours, asserting in his Latin declaration that the object of his mission was to sustain the king but, above all, to rescue from pains and penalties the Catholic people of Ireland in securing the free and public exercise of the Catholic religion, and the restoration of the churches and church property. In the end, Oliver Cromwell restored Ireland to the Parliamentarian side and Rinuccini returned to Rome in 1649, after four fruitless years.

Olimpia Maidalchini

Olimpia Maidalchini was married to Innocent X's late brother, and was believed to be his mistress because of her influence over him in matters of promotion and politics. This state of affairs was alluded to in the Encyclopædia Britannica 9th edition (1880):

Throughout his reign the influence exercised over him by Maidalchini, his deceased brother's wife, was very great, and such as to give rise to gross scandal, for which, however, there appears to have been no adequate ground.... The avarice of his female counsellor gave to his reign a tone of oppression and sordid greed which probably it would not otherwise have shown, for personally he was not without noble and reforming impulses.

The relationship between Maidalchini and Innocent X, both before and during his papacy, is the main concern of the book Mistress of the Vatican by Eleanor Herman, published in 2008.

Death and legacy

Guido Reni 031
Guido Reni's archangel Michael (Capuchin church of Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome) tramples a Satan with the vividly recognizable features of Pope Innocent X.
Inocêncio X de alessandro algardi
Bronze statue of Innocent X from 1645–1649, by Alessandro Algardi.

During the papacy of Pope Urban VIII, the future Innocent X was the pope's most significant rival among the College of Cardinals. Antonio Barberini, Urban VIII's brother, was a cardinal who had begun his career with the Capuchin brothers. About 1635, at the height of the Thirty Years' War in Germany, in which the Papacy was intricately involved, Cardinal Antonio commissioned Guido Reni's painting of the Archangel Michael, trampling Satan, who bears the recognizable features of Innocent X. This bold political artwork still hangs in a side chapel of the Capuchin friars' Church of the Conception (Santa Maria della Concezione) in Rome. A legend related to the painting is that the dashing and high-living artist, Guido Reni, had been insulted by rumours he thought were circulated by Cardinal Pamphili.

When, a few years later, Pamphili was raised to the papacy, other Barberini relatives fled to France on embezzlement accusations. Despite this, the Capuchins held fast to their chapel altarpiece.

Innocent was responsible for raising the Colegio de Santo Tomás de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario into the rank of a university. It is now the University of Santo Tomás in Manila, the oldest existing in Asia.

In 1650, Innocent X celebrated a Jubilee after 25 years of rule. He embellished Rome with inlaid floors and bas-relief in Saint Peter's, erected Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona, the Pamphili stronghold in Rome, and ordered the construction of Palazzo Nuovo at the Campidoglio.

Innocent X is also the subject of Portrait of Innocent X, a famous painting by Diego Velázquez housed in the family gallery of Palazzo Doria (Galleria Doria Pamphili). This portrait inspired the "Screaming Pope" paintings by 20th-century painter Francis Bacon, the most famous of which is Bacon's Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X.

Innocent X died 7 January 1655, and at the conclave of 1655 was succeeded by Pope Alexander VII.

See also


  1. ^ Dictionnaire Général pour la maîtrise de la langue française la culture classique et contemporaine. Larousse. 1993. p. 812. ISBN 978-2-03-320300-9.
  2. ^ a b Williams, George L. (2004). Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendants of the Popes. McFarland. p. 109. ISBN 978-0786420711. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "Pamphilj, Giambattista (1574-1655)", The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
  4. ^ Vergil and the Pamphili Family in Piazza Navona, Rome, Igrid Rowland, A Companion to Vergil's Aeneid and its Tradition, Ed. Joseph Farrell and Michael C.J. Putnam, (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2010), 253.
  5. ^ Boutry, Philippe. "Innocent X", The Papacy:An Encyclopedia, Vol.2, Ed. Philippe Levillain, (Routledge, 2002), 801.
  6. ^ a b Ott, Michael. "Pope Innocent X." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 11 June 2016
  7. ^ History of the popes; their church and state (Volume III) by Leopold von Ranke (2009, Wellesley College Library)
  8. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "Conclave of August 9 to September 15, 1644", The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
  9. ^ George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy: The Families And Descendants Of The Popes, (McFarland & Company, 1998), 109.
  10. ^ "Jansenism", Raymond A. Blacketer, The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History: The Early, Medieval, and Reformation Era, Ed. Robert Benedetto, (Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), 348.
  11. ^ Psalms 69:9, "For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me."
  12. ^ Ryan, E.A., "Catholics and the Peace of Westphalia"
  13. ^ "con somme cospicue di pecunia ed altre munizioni", G. Alazzi, Nunciatura in Irlanda di Monsignor Gio. Batista Rinuccini (Florence) 1844, preface (p. vi) to the publication of Rinucci's official letters: see Giovanni Battista Rinuccini.


  • Guido Braun: Innozenz X. Der Papst als ‚padre comune‘. In: Michael Matheus / Lutz Klinkhammer (eds.): Eigenbild im Konflikt. Krisensituationen des Papsttums zwischen Gregor VII. und Benedikt XV. WBG, Darmstadt, 2009, pp. 119ff., ISBN 978-3-534-20936-1.
  • Michael Tilly (1990). "Innozenz X". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 2. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 1295–1298. ISBN 3-88309-032-8.
  • Pope Innocent X. 

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Luigi Caetani
Titular Latin Patriarch of Antioch
Succeeded by
Cesare Monti
Preceded by
Urban VIII
15 September 1644 – 7 January 1655
Succeeded by
Alexander VII
1655 papal conclave

The papal conclave of 1655 was convened on the death of Pope Innocent X and ended with the election of Fabio Chigi as Alexander VII. The conclave quickly reached a deadlock, with Giulio Cesare Sacchetti receiving 33 votes throughout the conclave, but never securing enough for his own election. Chigi was eventually elected Pope when Cardinal Mazarin, the leader of the French government, consented to his election at the request of Sacchetti.

Alessandro Crescenzi (cardinal)

Alessandro Crescenzi, C.R.S. (1607 – 8 May 1688) was a Roman Catholic cardinal who served as Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals (1685–1688), Archbishop (Personal Title) of Recanati e Loreto (1676–1682), Titular Patriarch of Alexandria (1671–1676), Bishop of Bitonto (1652–1668), Bishop of Ortona a Mare e Campli (1644–1652), and Bishop of Termoli (1643–1644).

Alfonso Sacrati

Alfonso Sacrati or Alphonse Sacrati (1585–1647) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland (1646–1647), Vicegerent of Rome (1643–1646), and Bishop of Comacchio (1617–1626).

Bust of Gabriele Fonseca

The Bust of Gabriele Fonseca is a sculptural portrait by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Executed sometime between 1668 and 1674, the work is located in San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome, Italy. Gabriele Fonseca was the doctor to Pope Innocent X.

Busts of Pope Innocent X

The Busts of Pope Innocent X are two portrait busts by the Italian artist Gianlorenzo Bernini of Pope Innocent X, Giovanni Battista Pamphili. Created around 1650, both sculptures are now in the Galleria Doria Pamphili in Rome. Like the two busts of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, it is believed that Bernini created a second version of the bust once a flaw was discovered in the first version. There exist several similar versions of the bust done by other artists, most notably Alessandro Algardi.

Camillo Astalli

Camillo Astalli (21 October 1616 – 21 December 1663) was an Italian Catholic Cardinal and Cardinal-Nephew of Pope Innocent X who served Cardinal Priest of San Pietro in Montorio (1653–1662), Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals (1661–1662), and Archbishop (personal title) of Catania (1661–1663).

Cum occasione

Cum occasione[1] is an apostolic constitution in the form of a papal bull promulgated by Pope Innocent X in 1653 which condemned five propositions said to have been found in Cornelius Jansen's Augustinus as heretical.The five errors of Jansen on Grace condemned in Cum occasione are:

"Some of God's commandments are impossible to just men who wish and strive to keep them, considering the powers they actually have; the grace by which these precepts may become possible is also wanting to them."

"In the state of fallen nature no one ever resists interior grace."Otten, 1918 & Denzinger 2012

"In order to merit or demerit, in the state of fallen nature, we must be free from all external constraint, but not from interior necessity."

"The Semi-Pelagians admitted the necessity of interior preventing grace for all acts, even for the beginning of faith; but they fell into heresy in pretending that this grace is such that man may either follow or resist it."

"It is Semi-Pelagian to say that Christ died or shed His blood for all men."Bernard Otten explained, in A manual of the history of dogmas, that the first four of these propositions are absolutely condemned as heretical; while the fifth is condemned as heretical when taken in the sense that Christ died only for the predestined.

Fernando Montero Espinosa

Fernando Montero Espinosa (died 1648) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop Bishop of Manila (1646–1648) and Bishop of Nueva Segovia (1639–1646).

Francisco Naranjo

Francisco Naranjo, O.P. (died 1655) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Puerto Rico (1652–1655).

Giuseppe Sanfelice

Giuseppe Sanfelice or Francisco Maria Sanfelice (1615–1660) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany (1652–1659) and Archbishop of Cosenza (1650–1660).

Hernando de Lobo Castrillo

Hernando de Lobo Castrillo, O. Carm. (1590 – October 17, 1651) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Bishop of Puerto Rico (1649–1651).

Juan Alonso y Ocón

Juan Alonso y Ocón (March 21, 1597 – October 12, 1656) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of La Plata o Charcas (1651–1656), Bishop of Cuzco (1642–1651), and Bishop of Yucatán (1638–1642).

Luca Torreggiani

Luca Torreggiani or Luca Torrigiani (died 169) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Ravenna (1645–1669).

Marcello Santacroce

Marcello Santacroce (7 June 1619 – 19 December 1674) was a Roman Catholic cardinal who served as Bishop of Tivoli (1652–1674).

Pedro de Ortega y Sotomayor

Pedro de Ortega y Sotomayor (died 1658) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Cuzco (1651–1658), Bishop of Arequipa (1647–1651), and Bishop of Trujillo (1645–1647).

Portrait of Innocent X

Portrait of Pope Innocent X is an oil on canvas portrait by the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez, executed during a trip to Italy around 1650. Many artists and art critics consider it the finest portrait ever created. It is housed in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome. A smaller version is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a study is on display at Apsley House in London. The painting is noted for its realism, in that it is an unflinching portrait of a highly intelligent, shrewd but aging man. He is dressed in linen vestments, and the quality of the work is evident in the rich reds of his upper clothing, head-dress, and the hanging curtains.

The pope, born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj, was initially wary of having his portrait taken by Velázquez, but relented after he was given reproductions of examples of Velázquez's portraiture. A contributing factor for this large advancement in the painter's career was that he had already depicted a number of members of Pamphilj's inner court. Yet the pope remained wary and cautious, and the painting was initially displayed to only his immediate family, and was largely lost from public view through the 17th and 18th centuries. The parchment held by the pope contains Velázquez's signature.

Rafael Levaković

Rafael Levaković, (also Raphael Levacovich) O.F.M. (c. 1597 – 1649) was Franciscan prelate who served as Archbishop of Achrida (1647–1650); and Glagolitic writer who set foundations for Slavic liturgy based on the missionary concept of the Roman Catholic Church. Levaković actively worked on religious conversion of the Orthodox Serbs in Croatia.

Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X

Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X is a 1953 painting by the artist Francis Bacon. The work shows a distorted version of the Portrait of Innocent X painted by Spanish artist Diego Velázquez in 1650. The work is one of the first in a series of around 50 variants of the Velázquez painting which Bacon executed throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. The paintings are widely regarded as highly successful modern re-interpretations of a classic of the western canon of visual art.

Of the old masters, Bacon favored Titian, Rembrandt, Velázquez and Francisco Goya's late works. He kept an extensive inventory of images for source material, but preferred not to confront the major works in person; he viewed Portrait of Innocent X only once. Having deliberately avoided it for years, he only saw it in person much later in his life.

The canvas is one of Bacon's masterpieces, completed when he was at the height of his creative powers. It has been the subject of detailed analysis by several major scholars. David Sylvester described it as, along with Head VI, "the finest pope Bacon produced".

Wars of Castro

The Wars of Castro were a series of conflicts during the mid-17th century revolving around the ancient city of Castro (located in present-day Lazio, Italy), which eventually resulted in the city's destruction on 2 September 1649. The conflict was a result of a power struggle between the papacy – represented by members of two deeply entrenched Roman families and their popes, the Barberini and Pope Urban VIII and the Pamphili and Pope Innocent X – and the Farnese dukes of Parma, who controlled Castro and its surrounding territories as the Duchy of Castro.

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.