Pope Honorius III

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Pope Honorius III (1148 – March 18, 1227), born with the name Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.


Early work

He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico. He is often listed as member of Roman Savelli family, but this is disputed[1].

For a time he was canon at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, then he became Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in January 1188 and Cardinal Deacon of Santa Lucia in Silice on February 20, 1193. Under Pope Clement III (1187–91) and Pope Celestine III (1191–98) he was treasurer of the Roman Church, notably compiling the Liber Censuum. Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church 1194 until 1198.

In 1197 he became tutor of the future Emperor Frederick II, who had been given as ward to Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) by the Empress-widow Constantia.

Innocent III raised him to the rank of a Cardinal Priest in 1200, obtaining the Titulus of Ss. Ioannis et Pauli. He was dismissed as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in 1198 but about the same time he assumed the post of Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

Election as Pope

On July 18, 1216, seventeen cardinals present at the death of Innocent III assembled at Perugia (where Innocent III had died two days previously) with the purpose of electing a new Pope. The troubled state of affairs in Italy, the threatening attitude of the Tatars, and the fear of a schism induced the cardinals to agree to an election by compromise. Cardinals Ugolino of Ostia (afterwards Pope Gregory IX) and Guido of Praeneste were empowered to appoint the new Pope. Their choice fell upon Cencio Camerario, who accepted the tiara with reluctance and took the name of Honorius III. He was consecrated at Perugia on July 24, was crowned at Rome August 31, and took possession of the Lateran September 3, 1216. The Roman people were greatly elated at the election, for Honorius III was himself a Roman and by his extreme kindness had endeared himself to the hearts of all.

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