Pope Honorius IV

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Pope Honorius IV (c. 1210 – April 3, 1287), born Giacomo Savelli, was Pope for two years from 1285 to 1287. During his unremarkable pontificate he largely continued to pursue the pro-French policy of his predecessor, Pope Martin IV (1281–85). He was the last Pope who was married before he took Holy Orders.


Early career

Savelli was born in Rome, into the rich and influential Roman family of the Savelli. Initially, he was married and had at least two sons. One of them became podesta of Urbino and died before 1279, and another one was senator in Rome and died in 1306. After the death of his wife, he entered ecclesiastical state.

He studied at the University of Paris, where he held a prebend and a canonry at the cathedral of Châlons-sur-Marne. Later he obtained the benefice of rector at the church of Berton, in the diocese of Norwich, in England, a nation he never visited.

In 1261 he was created Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin by Pope Urban IV (1261–64), who also appointed him papal prefect in Tuscany and captain of the papal army. Cardinal Savelli pursued a diplomatic career. Pope Clement IV (1265–68) sent him and three other cardinals to invest Charles of Anjou as King of Sicily at Rome on July 28, 1265. After the long deadlocked vacancy in the papal see after Clement IV's death, a vacant seat of three years, he was one of the six cardinals who finally elected Pope Gregory X (1271–76) by compromise on 1 September 1271, in a conclave held at Viterbo because conditions in Rome were too turbulent.

In 1274 he accompanied Gregory X to the Council of Lyon where it was established that only four mendicant orders were to be tolerated: Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites. In July 1276, he was one of the three cardinals whom Pope Adrian V (1276) sent to Viterbo with instructions to treat with the German King, Rudolf I of Habsburg (1273–91), concerning his imperial coronation at Rome and his future relations towards Charles of Anjou, whom papal policy supported. The death of Adrian V in the following month rendered fruitless the negotiations with Rudolf I.

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