« Cele, Johannes Celestine Celestines »


CELESTINE: The name of five popes.

Celestine I: Pope 422–432. He was a Roman by birth, and only a deacon when, in Sept., 422, he was raised to the episcopate. The main endeavor of his pontificate was to extend the jurisdiction of his see. To this end he made use of a conflict which had been going on for years in the African Church in order to assert the right of the Roman pontiff to receive appeals thence. He restored to communion Apiarius, an African priest who had been deposed by his bishop and had appealed to Rome under Zosimus and Boniface I. The Africans, however, in a synod at Carthage in 424 or 425, denied his right to interfere. Celestine's part in the dogmatic controversies of his time was also influenced by political considerations (see Semi-Pelagianism; Nestorius). He died at the end of July, 432.

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: Liber pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, i. 230, Paris, 1886; Jaffé, Regesta, i. 55; Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, ii. 159 sqq., Eng. transl., ii. 476 sqq.; Bower, Popes, i. 166–186; Milman, Latin Christianity, i. 200–238.

Celestine II. (Guido de Castellis): Pope 1143–1144. He was a Tuscan of noble birth, reputed to be learned and pious. He occupied the papal throne only from Sept. 26 to Mar. 8, not long enough to fulfil the hopes which his elevation had raised.

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: Jaffé, Regesta, ii. 1; Bower, Popes, ii. 475.

Celestine III. (Jacinto Bobo): Pope 1191–98. After being a cardinal forty-seven years, at eighty-five he was elected, Mar. 30 (?), 1191, the first pope of the house of Orsini. The times were troublous (see Clement III.), and the aged pope, a man of mild temper and inclined to half measures, was no match for his formidable opponent Henry VI., who appeared before Rome and demanded his coronation, which Celestine was obliged to perform on the day after Easter. Henry surrendered Tusculum to him, but later forced him, in compliance with the agreement of May 31, 1188, to give it up to the Romans for destruction. From 1194 he saw the Norman kingdom, with which his predecessors had invested Tancred, in the possession of the hated Hohenstaufen. Henry refused to take the oath of fealty or to pay tribute; he appointed bishops and judged them, and gave the lands of Countess Matilda to his brother Philip in fee. Celestine did not venture to excommunicate him, but did break off relations with him, though he offered reconciliation when Henry took the cross (May 31, 1195). It soon became evident that Henry was a crusader only for political advantage, and the territory and rights of the Church were invaded in various quarters. Humiliations beset the aged pope. He was obliged to release Philip Augustus of France from his unperformed vow to free the Holy Sepulcher; and could not force the recognition of his legate in England, William of Longchamp (the bishop of Ely, Richard Coeur de Lion's chancellor), by Prince John and the barons; nor did Philip Augustus heed his admonitions against the arbitrary dissolution of his marriage with Ingeborg of Denmark and the contracting of a new one. His fear of the emperor prevented him from protesting against Richard's imprisonment; only after the English king had paid his ransom did he excommunicate Leopold of Austria. Celestine survived Henry VI. by only a few months, dying Jan. 8, 1198.

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: Jaffé, Regesta, ii. 577; J. M. Watterich, Pontificum Romanorum vitæ, ii. 708, Leipsic 1862; F. Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Rom, iv. 591, Stuttgart, 1890, Eng. transl., iv. 626–630, 699, London, 1896; Bower, Popes, ii. 531–534; Hauck, KD, iv. 663–681.

Celestine IV. (Galfrido di Castiglione): Pope 1241. A Milanese by birth, he was elected pope in a conclave held by permission of Frederick II. on Oct. 25. He was old and feeble, and died, before he could be consecrated, on Nov. 10.

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: Bower, Popes, ii. 559–560.


Celestine V. (Pietro di Murrhone): Pope 1294. He was born about 1215 in the Abruzzi; d. at Fumone, near Anagni, May 19, 1296. At twenty he entered the Benedictine order, and lived for years in retirement first on the Murrhone, then on the Majella, where numerous followers gathered around him (see Celestines). After the death of Nicholas IV. (Apr. 4, 1292), dissensions among the cardinals hindered an election, until in March, 1294, Charles II. of Naples, who needed a pope to support his designs on Sicily, took up the matter. Since there was no hope of agreeing on a cardinal, Latinos, the head of the Angevin party in the sacred college, drew his attention to the hermit of the Abruzzi, whose sanctity was universally revered; and Pietro was elected on July 5. His unfitness for high affairs of state was equally well known; the various leaders hoped to rule through him. But the remarkable choice can only be fully explained by a study of the mystical reform movement represented by Joachim of Fiore, which had spread so widely among a section of the Franciscan order. Their prominent men favored the election of Pietro enthusiastically, flocked to his coronation, and renewed their old relations with him by a formal embassy. The new pope sanctioned their observance of the rule of the order in its strictest form, and took them under his special protection, allowing them to be known by the name which he had assumed as pope. Meantime Charles was preparing to use his candidate for his own purposes; he surrounded him with Sicilian counselors, and brought him to Aquila, where he had him crowned in the presence of only three cardinals. The king's influence, however, finally induced the others to appear one by one, the last being Benedetto Gaetani, Celestine's successor as Boniface VIII., and the coronation ceremony was repeated. Celestine's whole interest was given to the promotion of monasticism; in other things he was merely a tool in the heads of Charles, who got him to create twelve Angevin cardinals, confirm his treaty with Aragon, and supply large sums of money for the Sicilian war. The strict regulation of Gregory X. for the conclave was reenacted, that Charles might have the next election also securely in his hands, and in October the curia was removed to Naples. Both the cardinals and the pope were discontented with the state of affairs, and the latter began to think of abdication, that he might be able to give himself once more wholly to his ascetic practises. The thing was without precedent, and offered great constitutional difficulties, which, when Celestine's resolve was seen to be fixed, were as far as possible removed by the legal wisdom of Gastani, and the abdication took place on Dec. 13. While Dante speaks scornfully of the pope "who made the great refusal," others lauded the act highly—Petrarch among them, who regarded it as an example of humility entitling the poor hermit to rank above the apostles and many other saints. Gaetani was later accused of having brought about the abdication by guile in order to secure his own advancement. The charge is not justified, but he undoubtedly had his eye on the tiara in view. After he had attained it, he wished to keep his predecessor with him in Rome, lest he should be used as a tool by the opposition; but the ascetic fled, and was finally taken and imprisoned in the mountain castle of Fumone, where he died the next year. He was canonized by Clement V.

(Hans Schulz.)

Bibliography: The older documents are collected in ASB, May, iv. 419–498 cf. Muratori, Scriptores, III. i. 613–641. Consult: A. Potthast, Regesta pontifieum Romanorum, ii. 1915–22. Berlin, 1875; Don Josaphet, Der heilige Papst Coelestin V., Fulda, 1894; F. Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Rom, v. 490 sqq., Stuttgart, 1892 Eng. transl., v, 523–534, London, 1898; Bower, Popes, iii. 40–43.

« Cele, Johannes Celestine Celestines »
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