Pope Innocent X

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Pope Innocent X (6 May 1574 – 7 January 1655), born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj (or Pamphili), was Pope from 1644 to 1655.[1] Born in Rome of a family from Gubbio in Umbria who had come to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Innocent IX, he graduated from the Collegio Romano and followed a conventional cursus honorum, following his uncle Girolamo Pamphilj as auditor of the Rota, and like him, attaining the dignity of Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Eusebio, in 1629. Trained as a lawyer, he succeeded Pope Urban VIII (1623–44) on 15 September 1644, as one of the most politically shrewd pontiffs of the era, who much increased the temporal power of the Vatican. He was a great-great-great-grandson of Pope Alexander VI.


Papal nuncio

Pope Gregory XV (1621–23) sent him as nuncio to the court of Naples. Urban VIII sent him to accompany his nephew, Francesco Barberini, whom he had accredited as nuncio, first in France and then in Spain, where Pamphilj had the first-hand opportunities to form an intense animosity towards the Barberini. In reward of his labors, Giovanni Battista was made apostolic nuncio at the court of Philip IV of Spain (1621–65). The position led to a life-long association with the Spaniards which was of great use during the Papal Conclave of 1644.



The 1644 conclave for the election of a successor to Urban VIII was long and stormy, lasting from 9 August to 15 September. The French faction objected to the Spanish candidate, as an enemy of Cardinal Mazarin – who guided French policy – but found Pamphilj an acceptable compromise, though he had served as legate to Spain. Mazarin himself, bearing the French veto of Cardinal Pamphilj, arrived too late, and the election was accomplished [1].

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