1285 papal election
Coat of arms during the vacancy of the Holy See
|Dates and location|
|1–2 April 1285|
Name taken: Honorius IV
The papal election of 1285, convened in Viterbo after the death of Pope Martin IV, elected Cardinal Giacomo Savelli, who took the name of Honorius IV. Because of the suspension of the Constitution Ubi periculum by Adrian V in 1276, this election was technically, perhaps, not a papal conclave. In fact, for the first time since the tedious Election of 1268–1271, the meetings were dominated neither by the Hohenstaufen nor Charles I of Naples (who had died on January 7, 1285). It may even be that the cardinals proceeded so swiftly to an election with the intention of forestalling any intervention from Naples.
Pope Martin IV, who was living at Perugia, never having visited the city of Rome, was stricken ill with a slow fever on Easter Sunday, March 25, and died on March 28, 1285. At that time, there were 18 living cardinals in the Sacred College, though three of them were away as Legates and were not notified in time. Fifteen of them participated in the election of his successor:
|Ordonho Alvares||Portuguese||Bishop of Frascati||1278, March 12||Nicholas III||Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals|
|Bentivenga da Bentivengi, O.F.M.||Italian||Bishop of Albano||1278, March 12||Nicholas III||Grand penitentiary|
|Latino Malabranca Orsini, O.P.||Italian||Bishop of Ostia e Velletri||1278, March 12||Nicholas III||Inquisitor General of the Papal Inquisition|
|Girolamo Masci, O.F.M.||Italian||Bishop of Palestrina||1278, March 12||Nicholas III|
|Anchero Pantaleone||French||Priest of S. Prassede||1262, May 22||Urban IV||Protopriest of the Sacred College of Cardinals|
|Hugh of Evesham||English||Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina||1281, April 12||Martin IV|
|Gervais Jeancolet de Clinchamp||French||Priest of SS. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti||1281, April 12||Martin IV|
|Cosmo Glusano de Casate||Italian||Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro||1281, April 12||Martin IV|
|Geoffroy de Bar||French||Priest of S. Susanna||1281, April 12||Martin IV|
|Giacomo Savelli||Italian||Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin||1261, December 17||Urban IV||Protodeacon of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Elected as Pope Honorius IV|
|Goffredo da Alatri||Italian||Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro||1261, December 17||Urban IV|
|Matteo Rosso Orsini||Italian||Deacon of S. Maria in Portico Octaviae||1262, May 22||Urban IV||Archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica; Cardinal-protector of the Order of Franciscans|
|Giordano Orsini||Italian||Deacon of S. Eustachio||1278, March 12||Nicholas III|
|Giacomo Colonna||Italian||Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata; commendatario of S. Marcello and S. Maria in Aquiro||1278, March 12||Nicholas III||Archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian Basilica|
|Benedetto Caetani||Italian||Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano||1281, April 12||Martin IV|
Three cardinals were absent:
|Gerardo Bianchi||Italian||Bishop of Sabina||1278, March 12||Nicholas III||Papal Legate in the Kingdom of Sicily|
|Bernard Languissel||French||Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina||1281, April 12||Martin IV||Papal Legate in Lombardy and Tuscany|
|Jean Cholet||French||Priest of S. Cecilia||1281, April 12||Martin IV||Papal Legate in France|
The election of Pope Honorius IV
Fifteen cardinals assembled in the episcopal residence at Perugia on April 1, three days after the death of Martin IV. This was according to the ancient custom, rather than the Constitution "Ubi Periculum" (1274) of Pope Gregory X. In the first scrutiny on the following day, they unanimously elected Cardinal Giacomo Savelli, prior Diacanorum of the College of Cardinals. Although he was already 75 years old, Savelli accepted his election and took the name of Honorius IV. His election and acceptance were even more surprising since he was suffering from a severe case of arthritis. He could only get around on crutches, and he had to have a special chair designed for him so that he could be seated at the altar during Mass, and have his arm supported so that he could raise the host at the consecration. He left Perugia for Rome at some point after April 25, 1285, where his election had been welcomed because he was a leading aristocrat of the Eternal City. His father had been Senator of Rome in 1266. He took up residence at the family estate on the Aventine Hill, next to the Church of Santa Sabina. On May 19 the new Pope was ordained to the priesthood in the Vatican Basilica. On the following day, he was consecrated bishop by Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia Latino Malabranca Orsini and solemnly crowned by Cardinal Goffredo da Alatri, who became new protodeacon of the Sacred College.
- His predecessor Martin IV (Simon de Brion) was French, and he was not able to visit Rome during his ponticate because of the enmity of Romans who were led by committed Ghibbelines. See Robert Brentano, Rome before Avignon: A Social History of Thirteenth Century Rome (Berkeley-Los Angeles: U. California 1974), pp. 143-144, 183-184.
- Bernhard Pawlicki, Papst Honorius IV. Eine Monographie (Münster 1896).
- Ferdinand Gregorovius, History of Rome in the Middle Ages, Volume V.2, second edition, revised (London: George Bell, 1906).