Pope Nicholas IV
Nicholas IV Papacy began February 22, 1288 Papacy ended April 4, 1292 Predecessor Honorius IV Successor Celestine V Personal details Birth name Girolamo Masci Born September 30, 1227
Lisciano, Marche, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Died April 4, 1292(aged 64)
Rome, Papal States
Other Popes named Nicholas Papal styles of
Pope Nicholas IV
Reference style His Holiness Spoken style Your Holiness Religious style Holy Father Posthumous style None
Pope Nicholas IV (September 30, 1227 – April 4, 1292), born Girolamo Masci, was Pope from February 22, 1288 to April 4, 1292. A Franciscan friar, he had been legate to the Greeks under Pope Gregory X (1271–76) in 1272, succeeded Bonaventure as Minister General of his religious order in 1274, was made Cardinal Priest of Santa Prassede and Latin Patriarch of Constantinople by Pope Nicholas III (1277–80), Cardinal Bishop of Palestrina by Pope Martin IV (1281–85), and succeeded Pope Honorius IV (1285–87) after a ten-months' vacancy in the papacy.
Masci was born at Lisciano, near Ascoli Piceno. He was a pious, peace-loving friar 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 King Charles II of Naples and Sicily (1285–1309) after the latter had expressly recognized papal suzerainty, and in February 1291 concluded a treaty with Alfonso III of Aragon (1285–91) and Philip IV of France (1285–1314) looking toward the expulsion of James II of Aragon (1285–96) from Sicily. The loss of Acre in 1291 stirred Nicholas IV to renewed enthusiasm for a crusade. He sent missionaries, among them the celebrated Franciscan missionary, John of Monte Corvino, to labour among the Bulgarians, Ethiopians, Mongols, Tatars and Chinese.
Nicholas IV issued an important constitution on July 18, 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 IV died in the palace which he had built beside Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
The 1291–92 Taxatio he initiated, a detailed valuation for ecclesiastical taxation of English and Welsh parish churches and prebends, remains an important source document for the mediaeval period. An edition was reprinted by the Record Commission in 1802 as Taxatio Ecclesiastica Angliae et Walliae Auctoritate.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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