Papal conclave, 1304–05

Papal conclave

Coat of arms during the vacancy of the Holy See
Dates and location
July 1304 – June 1305
Perugia Cathedral
Key officials
Dean Giovanni Boccamazza
Camerlengo Teodorico Ranieri
Protodeacon Matteo Rosso Orsini
Elected Pope
Raymond Bertrand de Got
(Name taken: Clement V)

The papal conclave from July 10 (or 17), 1304 to June 5, 1305, held in Perugia, was the protracted papal conclave that elected non-cardinal Raymond Bertrand de Got as Pope Clement V and immediately preceded the beginning of the Avignon Papacy.

Cardinal electors

Of the 19 living cardinals, only 15 were present in the conclave. Exactly 10 of these, constituting the minimum two-thirds necessary, voted for Bertrand de Got, who became Clement V. Two other cardinals, Giacomo and Pietro Colonna (uncle and nephew), had been deposed by Pope Boniface VIII and were thus ineligible to participate in the election; their cardinalates were subsequently restored by Clement V.[1]

Elector Nationality Cardinalatial order and title Elevated Elevator Other ecclesiestical titles Notes
Giovanni Boccamazza Rome Cardinal-bishop of Frascati 1285, December 22 Honorius IV Dean of the College of Cardinals nephew of Pope Honorius IV
Teodorico Ranieri Orvieto Cardinal-bishop of Palestrina 1298, December 4 Boniface VIII Camerlengo
Leonardo Patrasso Guarcino Cardinal-bishop of Albano 1300, March 2 Boniface VIII Nephew of Boniface VIII
Pedro Rodríguez Spanish Cardinal-bishop of Sabina 1302, December 15 Boniface VIII Legate in Sabina
Giovanni Minio da Morrovalle, O.F.M. Marche Cardinal-bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina 1302, December 15 Boniface VIII Former minister general of the Order of Franciscans (1296-1304)
Niccolò Alberti, O.P. Prato Cardinal-bishop of Ostia e Velletri 1303, December 18 Benedict XI
Robert de Pontigny, O.Cist. French Cardinal-priest of S. Pudenziana 1294, September 18 Celestine V Protopriest;
Camerlengo of the College of Cardinals
Former Superior General of the Cistercian Order (1294)
Gentile Partino, O.F.M. Guarcino Cardinal-priest of Ss. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti 1300, March 2 Boniface VIII Grand penitentiary Nephew of Boniface VIII
Walter Winterburn, O.P. English Cardinal-priest of S. Sabina 1304, February 19 Benedict XI
Napoleone Orsini Frangipani Rome Cardinal-deacon of S. Adriano 1288, May 16 Nicholas IV Archpriest of the Liberian Basilica Nephew of Pope Nicholas III
Landolfo Brancaccio Neapolitan Cardinal-deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria 1294, September 18 Celestine V
Guglielmo de Longhi Bergamo Cardinal-deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano 1294, September 18 Celestine V Former Chancellor to Charles II of Naples
Francesco Napoleone Orsini Rome Cardinal-deacon of S. Lucia in Orthea (Silice) 1295, December 17 Boniface VIII
Francesco Caetani Anagni Cardinal-deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin 1295, December 17 Boniface VIII Cardinal-nephew
Luc Fieschi Genoese Cardinal-deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata 1300, March 2 Boniface VIII Nephew of Adrian V and grand-nephew of Innocent IV

Absentee cardinals

All four cardinals left early as a result of illness.

Elector Nationality Cardinalatial order and title Elevated Elevator Other ecclesiestical titles Notes
Jean Le Moine French Cardinal-priest of Ss. Marcellino e Pietro 1294, September 18 Celestine V
Matteo Rosso Orsini Rome Cardinal-deacon of S. Maria in Portico 1262, May 22 Urban IV Protodeacon; archpriest of the Vatican Basilica;
Cardinal-protector of the Order of Franciscans
Nephew of Pope Nicholas III
Giacomo Gaetani Stefaneschi Rome Cardinal-deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro 1295, December 17 Boniface VIII Nephew of Boniface VIII
Riccardo Petroni Siena Cardinal-deacon of S. Eustachio 1298, December 4 Boniface VIII


The Cathedral of S. Lorenzo in Perugia, the city where the conclave was held

The Sacred College of Cardinals was divided into two factions: pro-French and anti-French ("Bonifacians"). The smaller, pro-French party counted six cardinals under the leadership of cardinals Napoleone Orsini Frangipani and Niccolò Alberti. They looked for the reconciliation with France and Colonna. The larger party, anti-French, led by Cardinal Matteo Orsini Rosso and Francesco Caetani, cardinal-nephew of Boniface VIII, demanded atonement for the outrage committed on the person of Boniface VIII by French Chancellor Nogaret at Anagni, and rejected any concessions towards Philip IV of France. It counted 10 electors.[2] At the beginning of the conclave the cardinals arbitrarly decided to annul the most restrictive rules of the Constitution Ubi periculum about the conclave, which made it possible to prolong the proceedings.[3] During the first months of the conclave both parties voted mainly for their leaders: Matteo Orsini and Napoleone Orsini.[4] But old Matteo Orsini (aged 74) fell ill and couldn't take an active part in the conclave. Lack of effective leadership eventually led to division in the anti-French party. Some of its members, looking for a compromise, proposed archbishop Bertrand de Got of Bordeaux. Napoleone Orsini initially was sceptical about this candidature[5] but finally he had accepted it. His opinion was decisive for the result,[6] because an alliance of pro-French party with the "Bonifacian dissidents" gave exactly the required majority of two thirds. On June 5, 1305, after 11 months of deliberations, Bertrand de Got was elected to the Papacy.

At the time of his election de Got was Archbishop of Bordeaux, and thus a subject of Edward I, King of England (who had recently conquered Normandy), although he was a childhood friend of Philip IV of France ("the Fair").[7]


One eye-witness to the conclave was Florentine historian Giovanni Villani (Hist. Florent., VIII, 80, in Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, XIII, 417; cf. Raynaldus, Caesaris Baronii Annales Ecclesiastici, 1305, 2-4).[7]


Main article: Avignon Papacy
Philip IV wished to see a process similar to the Cadaver Synod initiated against the late Pope Boniface VIII; instead, Clement V made a wide array of concessions to Philip IV.

The cardinals besought de Got upon his election to join them in Perugia and thereafter to travel to Rome for his papal coronation; however, he ordered them to travel to Lyon for his coronation on November 4, 1305, at which Philip IV of France ("the Fair") was present.[7] During the ensuing public procession a collapsing wall knocked Clement V from his horse (resulting in the loss of a carbuncle from the Papal Tiara) and killed both the brother of Clement V and the aged Matteo Orsini Rosso (a participant in twelve conclaves).[7] The next day, another brother of Clement V was killed in a dispute between his servants and the retainers of the College of Cardinals.[7]

Philip IV immediately demanded of Clement V that the memory of Pope Boniface VIII be condemned, that his name be stricken from the list of popes, that his bones be disinterred and burned, that his ashes be scattered to the wind, and that he be declared a heretic, blasphemer, and immoral priest.[7] Clement V delayed such an action without explicitly refusing it and in the meantime made several important concessions to Philip IV: he extended the absolution granted by Benedict XI, created nine French cardinals (a mix of crown-cardinals and cardinal-nephews), restored the cardinalates of Giacomo and Pietro Colonna (which had been deprived by Boniface VIII), gave Philip IV a five-year title to a variety of church property, withdrew the papal bull Clericis laicos (1296) and limited the bull Unam sanctam (1302, both of Boniface VIII), granted some church revenues to Charles of Valois, pretender to the Byzantine throne, made concessions weakening the Knights Templar.[7] However, Philip IV wanted to a see a process similar to the Cadaver Synod initiated against Boniface VIII, which Clement V seemingly yielded to, setting a date of February 2, 1309; however, as this process proved to be dilatory and likely favorable to the deceased pontiff, Philip IV moved to cancel it in February 1311; by the time the Council of Vienne (which ultimately sided with Boniface VIII) had been called, Philip IV demanded only that he be absolved of responsibility for the various processes against Boniface VIII, which he was.[7]

Between 1305 and 1309, Clement V moved from Bordeaux to Poitiers to Toulouse before taking up residence as a guest in the Dominican monastery of Avignon (at a time, a fief of Naples, and part of the Comtat Venaissin, a territory directly subject to the Holy See since 1228).[7] Clement V's decision to relocate the papacy to France was one of the most contested issues in the papal conclave, 1314–1316 following his death, during which the minority of Italian cardinals were unable to engineer the return of the papacy to Rome. Avignon remained a territory of Naples until Pope Clement VI purchased it from Joan I of Naples for 80,000 gold gulden in 1348.[7]


  1. Miranda, Salvador. 1998. "Papal elections of the 14th Century (1303-1394)".
  2. G. Mollat, p. 3; K. Dopierała, p. 233. It is worth to adnote that two cardinals Orsini, in spite of their familiar relations, led the opposite factions.
  3. A. Piazzoni, p. 205
  4. K. Dopierała, p. 233
  5. G. Mollat, p. 3
  6. The Catholic Encyclopedia: Orsini
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Clement V". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.


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