NICHOLAS IV. (Girolamo Masci), pope from the 22nd of February 1288 to the 4th of April 1292, a native of Ascoli and a Franciscan monk, had been legate to the Greeks under Gregory X. in 1272, succeeded St Bonaventura as general of his order in 1274, was made cardinal-priest of Sta Prassede and Latin patriarch of Constantinople by Nicholas III., cardinal-bishop of Palestrina by Martin IV., and succeeded Honorius IV. after a ten-months' vacancy in the papacy. He was a pious, peaceloving monk with no ambition save for the church, the crusades and the extirpation of heresy. He steered a middle course between the factions at Rome, and sought a settlement of the Sicilian question. In May 1289 he crowned Charles II. king of Naples and Sicily after the latter had expressly recognized papal suzerainty, and in February 1291 concluded a treaty with Alphonso III. of Aragon and Philip IV. of France looking toward the expulsion of James of Aragon from Sicily. The loss of Ptolemais in 1291 stirred the pope to renewed enthusiasm for a crusade. He sent the celebrated Franciscan missionary, John of Monte Corvino, with some companions to labour among the Tatars and Chinese. He issued an important constitution on the 18th of July 1289, which granted to the cardinals one-half of all income accruing to the Roman see and a share in the financial management, and thereby paved the way for that independence of the college of cardinals which, in the following century, was to be of detriment to the papacy. Nicholas died in the palace which he had built beside Sta Maria Maggiore, and was succeeded by Celestine V.
See "Les Registres de Nicolas IV.," ed. by Ernest Langlois in Bibliotheque des ecoles francaises d'Athenes et de Rome (Paris, 1886-1893); A. Potthast, Regesta pontif. Roman. vol. 2 (Berlin, 18 75); F. Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. 5, trans. by Mrs G. W. Hamilton (London, 1900-1902); O. Schiff, "Studien zur Geschichte Papst Nikolaus IV." in Historische Studien (1897); W. Norden, Das Papsttum u. Byzanz (Berlin, 1903); R. Rohricht, Geschichte des Konigreichs Jerusalem (Innsbruck, 1898); J. B. Sagmtiller, Die Thcitigkeit u. Stellung der Kardincile bis Papst Bonifaz VIII. (Freiburg-i.-B., 1896); J. P. Kirsch, "Die Finanzverwaltung des Kardinalkollegiums im 13. u. 14. Jahrhunderte" in Kirchengeschichtliche Studien (1895). (C. H. HA.)
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