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Celestine

(d. 1124)


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(15/16 Dec. 1124: d. 1125/6)

In the turbulent election following Callistus II's death a majority of cardinals first supported the candidature of Cardinal Saxo of S. Stefano. They then dropped him, and on the motion of the cardinal deacon Jonathan, a close friend of the powerful Pierleoni family, the cardinal priest Teobaldo was unanimously elected with the style Celestine II. No sooner had he been clothed in the red mantle in the church of San Pancrazio and the singing of the Te Deum been started than Robert, of the Frangipani family, broke into the assembly with armed troops and acclaimed Cardinal Lamberto of Ostia as pope. There was a violent struggle in which Teobaldo suffered blows and severe wounds, but the outcome was that he was either forced or persuaded to resign while Lamberto was elected and installed as Honorius II.

A Roman of the Boccapecorini family, Teobaldo Boccapecci had been promoted cardinal priest of Sta Anastasia by Callistus II in 1123. Previously he had been cardinal deacon of Sta Maria Nuova for at least twenty years, having been appointed by Paschal II. In spite of the appearance of family in-fighting, this disorderly election reflected a partisan struggle in the college of cardinals between older Gregorians who still thought in terms of conflict between church and empire and the younger reformers who wished now to concentrate on the deeper renewal of the church. It is probable that, in putting Teobaldo forward, the former group hoped that he would seem an acceptable compromise to the younger group because of the ties he had formed, when in charge of Sta Maria Nuova, with the neighbouring Frangipani, whom they were using to accomplish their plans. If so, their hopes were frustrated, and Teobaldo himself, already an elderly man, seems to have died soon after the election, a victim of the violent treatment he had received. Because he had not been consecrated or enthroned although he was canonically elected, he does not feature in the officially accepted list of popes but is classified, unfairly, as an antipope.

Further Reading

LPDert, 204 f., 211Watterich ii. 157–9Peter, Chron. mon. Cassin. (MGSS 6: 804)H. W. Klewitz, ‘Das Ende des Reformpapstums’, DA3 (1939), 400–02DHGE xii. 58 f. (R. Mols)Levillain i. 275 (G. Schwaiger)

Subjects: Christianity.


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