1198 papal election

The 1198 papal election (held 8 January) was convoked after the death of Pope Celestine III; it ended with the election of Cardinal Lotario dei Conti di Segni, who took the name Innocent III. In this election for the first time the new pope was elected per scrutinium.[2]

Papal election
Dates and location
8 January 1198
Key officials
DeanKonrad von Wittelsbach
ProtopriestGuillaume aux Blanches Mains
ProtodeaconGraziano da Pisa
Elected pope
Lotario dei Conti di Segni
Name taken: Innocent III
← 1191
1216 →

Death of Celestine IIIEdit

Pope Celestine III had been elected to the papacy in 1191 at the age of 85. In spite of his very advanced age, his pontificate lasted almost seven years.

A little before Christmas 1197, the 91-year-old Pope began to feel ill, and summoned all the cardinals to a meeting in his presence, announcing that they should discuss the matter of electing his successor. He stated that he was willing to abdicate the papacy on condition that his close collaborator, Cardinal Giovanni di San Paolo, would be elected the new pope. Cardinal Giovanni, the cardinal-priest of S. Prisca, had been conducting all of the pope's business for him, except the consecration of bishops.[3] The cardinals unanimously rejected the pope's suggestion, saying that they would not elect him with that condition, and that it was unheard of for a pope to depose himself.[4] In fact, Cardinal Octavianus, the Bishop of Ostia, was working to become pope, as were Cardinal Petrus of Porto, Cardinal Giordano of S. Pudenziana, and Cardinal Graziano of Ss. Cosma e Damiano.[5]

Two weeks later, on 8 January 1198, Celestine III died, and on the same day the cardinals started proceedings for the election of his successor.

List of participantsEdit

At the death of Celestine III there were 29 cardinals in the Sacred College.[6] However, no more than 21 were present at Rome:[7]

Elector Cardinalatial title Elevated Elevator Notes
Ottaviano di Paoli Bishop of Ostia e Velletri 18 December 1182 Lucius III He consecrated new pope to the priesthood and episcopate
Pietro Gallocia Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina 1188 Clement III
Soffredo Priest of S. Prassede 18 December 1182 Lucius III
Pietro Diani Priest of S. Cecilia 16 March 1185 Lucius III
Giordano di Ceccano, O.Cist. Priest of S. Pudenziana 12 March 1188 Clement III
Giovanni da Viterbo Priest of S. Clemente and bishop of Viterbo e Toscanella May 1189 Clement III
Guido Papareschi Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere 22 September 1190 Clement III
Giovanni di Salerno, O.S.B.Cas. Priest of S. Stefano in Monte Celio 22 September 1190 Clement III Elected Pope but declined
Cinzio Cenci Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina 22 September 1190 Clement III
Ugo Bobone Priest of SS. Silvestro e Martino 22 September 1190 Clement III Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica
Giovanni di San Paolo Priest of S. Prisca 20 February 1193 Celestine III Celestine III tried to designate him as his successor
Graziano da Pisa Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano 4 March 1178 Alexander III Protodeacon; he crowned the new pope
Gerardo Allucingoli Deacon of S. Adriano 18 December 1182 Lucius III Cardinal-nephew
Gregorio de San Apostolo Deacon of S. Maria in Portico 12 March 1188 Clement III
Gregorio Crescenzi Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro 12 March 1188 Clement III
Gregorio Carelli Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro 22 September 1190 Clement III
Lotario dei Conti di Segni Deacon of SS. Sergio e Bacco 22 September 1190 Clement III Cardinal-nephew; elected Pope Innocent III
Gregorio Boboni Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria 22 September 1190 Clement III
Niccolò Scolari Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin 22 September 1190 Clement III Cardinal-nephew
Bobo Deacon of S. Teodoro 20 February 1193 Celestine III Cardinal-nephew
Cencio Deacon of S. Lucia in Silice and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church 20 February 1193 Celestine III Acting papal chancellor; future Pope Honorius III (1216–1227); possibly of Savelli family

Four electors were created by Celestine III, five by Lucius III, one by Alexander III and the remaining thirteen by Clement III.


At least eight cardinals were absent:

Elector Cardinalatial title Elevated Elevator Notes
Konrad von Wittelsbach Bishop of Sabina and Archbishop of Mainz 18 December 1165 Alexander III prior episcoporum; papal legate in the Holy Land; external cardinal
Guillaume aux Blanches Mains Priest of S. Sabina and Archbishop of Reims March 1179 Alexander III Protopriest; Minister of State of the Kingdom of France; external cardinal
Ruggiero di San Severino Priest of S. Eusebio and Archbishop of Benevento Circa 1178–1180 Alexander III External cardinal
Pandolfo da Lucca Priest of SS. XII Apostoli 18 December 1182 Lucius III Papal legate in Tuscany
Adelardo Cattaneo S.R.E. cardinalis and bishop of Verona 16 March 1185 Lucius III Resigned the titular church of S. Marcello after the election to the see of Verona in 1188; external cardinal
Bernardo, C.R.S.F. Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli 12 March 1188 Clement III Papal legate in Tuscany and Lombardy
Roffredo dell'Isola, O.S.B.Cas. Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro 1188 Clement III Abbot of Montecassino; ; external cardinal
Peter of Capua Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata 20 February 1193 Celestine III He was legate in Bohemia and Poland in 1197. At the death of Celestine III he had already finished this mission but was unable to reach Rome before the election

Election of Pope Innocent IIIEdit

A fragment of the Septizodium

On the same day that Celestine III died, some of the cardinals assembled at the Sapta Solis monasterii Cliviscauri,[8] which is taken by scholars to be the Septizodium, or possibly in the nearby church of Santa Lucia in Septisolio.[1] Others accompanied the body of the dead pope to its funeral in the Lateran Basilica. Following the return of the cardinals from the funeral, they assembled in voluntary enclosure,[9] as reported by pope Innocent himself on a letter on January 9.[10] This may have been done to guarantee safety and freedom in the election, given the presence and influence of the Germans in Italy.[11]

Not for the first time (secundum morem), the electors voted by scrutiny (per scrutinium). Some cardinals were elected scrutineers; they counted the votes, recorded the result and announced it to the rest of the Sacred College.[12] In the first scrutiny Cardinal Giovanni di Salerno received the greatest number of votes (ten), but declared that he would not accept the election to the pontificate.[13] Ottaviano di Paoli also received three votes, but declared his own preference for Lotario.[14] In the second scrutiny the cardinals united their votes[15] in favor of 37-year-old Cardinal Lotario dei Conti di Segni, deacon of SS. Sergio e Bacco, who was the youngest of all the cardinals.[16] He accepted his election and took the name Innocent III. The name was possibly chosen for him by cardinal Graziano da Pisa, as a means to supplant the memory of Antipope Innocent III.[14][17]

On 22 February 1198 the new pope was ordained to the priesthood and consecrated to the episcopate by Cardinal Ottaviano di Paoli, bishop of Ostia e Velletri, and solemnly crowned by Cardinal Graziano da Pisa of SS. Cosma e Damiano, the protodeacon.[16]


  1. ^ a b Or possibly the Septasolium. There has been confusion about these locations, as described by Dr. J. P. Adams
  2. ^ A. Piazzoni (Polish edition), p. 177.
  3. ^ Roger de Hoveden, in: Watterich II, p. 748; ed. Stubbs, Volume IV,, pp. 32-33. The Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Innocent III
  4. ^ "Sed omnes cardinales una voce responderunt, quod illum conditionaliter non eligerent, dkicentes, quod inauditum erat, quod summus Pontifex se deponeret." T. Greenwood, p. 358
  5. ^ Karl Holder, Die Designation der Nachfolger durch die Päpste (in German) (Freiburg i. B.: B. Veith 1892), pp. 67-70.
  6. ^ Number according to W. Maleczek, p. 241. K. Eubel, p. 3, note 1; and T. Greenwood, p. 358, give the number of only 28, but Eubel omitted Ruggiero of S. Eusebio, and Greenwood does not provide the list at all
  7. ^ Reconstruction is based on the biographical data of the cardinals in: W. Maleczek, Papst und Kardinalskolleg von 1191 bis 1216, Wien 1984. This author, p. 354, suggests even the lower number of electors (19 or 20), but without indicating which cardinals were absent. T. Greenwood, p. 358, says that at least five out of twenty eight cardinals were absent
  8. ^ "Gesta Innocentii III Papae", in Patrologiae Latinae Tomus CCXIV (Paris: Garnier 1890), p. xix: "Defuncto igitur Coelestino, cum quidam cardinalium se contulisset ad Septa Solis monasterii Clivisauri, ut liberius et securius ibi possent de successoris electione tractare, ipse cum quibusdam aliis apud basilicam Constantinianam voluit decessoris excequiis interisse."
  9. ^ For this reason, some authors[who?] consider this election as the first papal conclave (A. Piazzoni, p. 176, note 2), but the formal procedures of the conclave would not be developed until the papal election, 1268–1271, and were first implemented in the papal conclave, January 1276
  10. ^ Patrologiae cursus completus: sive biblioteca universalis,integra uniformis ... (in Latin). Harvard University. apud editorem. 1855. p. Column. 1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Hurter, Federico (1839). Storia del sommo Pontifice Innocenzo III e de ́suoi contemporanei scrita in tedesco de tradotta in italiano Dall ́Ab. Cesare Rovida, con un discorso preliminare dei signore Alessandro di Saint-Cheron, G.B. Haiber (in Italian). G.Resnati. p. 154.
  12. ^ A. Piazzoni, p. 177. Piazzoni cites for this statement two anonymous contemporary sources: Oratio pro eligendo pontifice and Gesta Innocentii papae. "Gesta Innocentii III Papae", in Patrologiae Latinae Tomus CCXIV (Paris: Garnier 1890), p. xix: "Et, exhortatione praemissa, examinatores fuerunt secundum morem electi, qui, sigillatim votis omnium perscrutatis, et in scriptis redactis, examinationem factam retulerunt ad fratres...."
  13. ^ W. Maleczek, p. 108
  14. ^ a b Hurter, p. 155.
  15. ^ Unanimity of the election: Smith, p. 12
  16. ^ a b S. Miranda Cardinal Lotario dei Conti di Segni.
  17. ^ Another possibility is that he chose the name himself, maybe as a reference to his predecessor Innocent II (1130–1143), who, in contrast with Celestine III's recent policy, had succeeded in asserting the papacy's authority over the emperor. Théry, Julien. ""Introduction", dans "Innocent III et le Midi. Cahiers de Fanjeaux 50", éd. D. Le Blévec, M. Fournié, J. Théry-Astruc, 2015, p. 11-35, at 13-14". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)