Gelasius II - Encyclopedia

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GELASIUS II. (Giovanni Coniulo), pope from the 24th of January 1118 to the 29th of January 1119, was born at Gaeta of an illustrious family. He became a monk of Monte Cassino, was taken to Rome by Urban II., and made chancellor and cardinal-deacon of Sta Maria in Cosmedin. Shortly after his unanimous election to succeed Paschal II. he was seized by Cencius Frangipane, a partisan of the emperor Henry V., but freed by a general uprising of the Romans in his behalf. The emperor drove Gelasius from Rome in March, pronounced his election null and void, and set up Burdinus, archbishop of Braga, as antipope under the name of Gregory VIII. Gelasius fled to Gaeta, where he was ordained priest on the 9th of March and on the following day received episcopal consecration. He at once excommunicated Henry and the antipope and, under Norman protection, was able to return to Rome in July; but the disturbances of the imperialist party, especially of the Frangipani, who attacked the pope while celebrating mass in the church of St Prassede, compelled Gelasius to go once more into exile. He set out for France, consecrating the cathedral of Pisa on the way, and arrived at Marseilles in October. He was received with great enthusiasm at Avignon, Montpellier and other cities, held a synod at Vienne in January 1119, and was planning to hold a general council to settle the investiture contest when he died at Cluny. His successor was Calixtus II.

His letters are in J. P. Migne, Patrol. Lat. vol. 163. The original life by Pandulf is in J. M. Watterich, Pontif. Roman. vitae (Leipzig, 1862), and there is an important digest of his bulls and official acts in Jaffe-Wattenbach, Regesta pontif. Roman. (1885-1888).

See J. Langen, Geschichte der romischen Kirche von Gregor VII. bis Innocenz III. (Bonn, 1893); F. Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. 4, trans. by Mrs G. W. Hamilton (London, 1896); A. Wagner, Die unteritalischen Normannen and das Papsttum, 1086-1150 (Breslau, 1885); W. von Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, Bd. iii. (Brunswick, 1890); G. Richter, Annalen der deutschen Geschichte im Mittelalter, iii. (Halle, 1898); H. H. Milman, Latin Christianity, vol. 4 (London, 1899). (C. C. HA.)

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