Pope Innocent IV

Innocent IV (c. 1195 in Genoa, † December 7, 1254 in Naples), born as Sinibaldo de Fieschi (also: Sinibald Fieschi ), was Pope from 1243 to 1254.

Early years and papal election

He came from one of the first families of the Genoese upper class and counted after studying in Parma and Bologna, the most important canonists of his time.

Since December 5, 1223 Sinibaldus is occupied as magister and as papal subdeacon, 1226 he was a canon in the cathedral chapter of Parma, where his uncle Obizzo Fieschi was bishop. In Rome he was family of Cardinal Hugo Linus. Since November 1226 Sinibaldus is detectable as an auditor litterarum contradictarum, end of May 1227 he was appointed Gregory IX. Vice- Chancellor of the Roman Church, and thus head of the papal chancery. On September 18, 1227, the appointment was followed by a Cardinal Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina, five days after Sinibaldus was the last time served as Vice Chancellor.

His immediate predecessor was Celestine IV, however, the papacy held only 17 days. After a see is vacant 19 months finally Cardinal Fieschi was elected pope by a conclave which meets in Anagni. With the election of Innocent on June 25, and his enthronement as Pope on June 28, 1243 the friendship of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II suggested a cardinal into a hostility to a pope. However, in the letter to the Curia, he expressed respectfully the expectation that the differences between the Reich and the Holy See could be resolved amicably. The short time later, beginning negotiations showed, however, that Frederick II to the claims of the Pope did not want to submit, just as the Pope did not came to meet Frederick's wishes.

The Mongols problem

At the beginning of the term of office of Innocent IV the acute phase of the Mongol invasion had already subsided, because the far south-eastern Europe against invading Mongols had surprisingly withdrawn end of 1241 in the area of the Golden Horde on the Volga. But for Christians, they meant to be one outstanding threat. Therefore, the Franciscan John de Plano Carpini in 1245 was commissioned by Innocent IV to visit the Mongol Great Khan in an official capacity as head of an embassy. Diplomatic background was that after the devastating Mongol invasion of 1241 further military expeditions to Europe should be ruled out, while on the other hand Innocent IV tried to win the Mongols as allies against the advancing Islam and to ensure the Crusader states. To be after an audience of just newly elected Khan Goyiik in which this is a letter from the Pope had presented ( Whether the letter was actually presented or that was omitted from the tactical consideration of the legation, is not known ), the embassy returned and met in June 1247 a with a letter from the Grand Khan to the Pope back in Kiev. Since the unsolicited appearance of a delegation from the opposite side after Mongol tradition for the Khan meant that you would submit to him, urged the new Mongol ruler in this document the Pope with an added, hidden threat to on, without delay, together with the other kings to him to come to submit to him personally. It is not known with certainty whether the document was actually delivered to the Pope.

1252 has now been in the entourage of King Louis IX. already in the Holy Land exploiting dividend Minoritenmönch William of Rubruk in Acre by Pope Innocent IV commissioned, also visit the Great Khan in an official capacity. After the Mongols had not resumed their attacks on South Eastern Europe, the Pope this time was even interested in their Christianization and intense diplomatic contacts with the Mongol Empire, because he still hoped to win allies against Islam. The inconclusive in this respect return of his envoy, however, he no longer experienced.

The conflict with the Emperor

Innocent IV felt insecure in Rome both before the people as before the emperor. In a dispute over the Patrimony of St Peter protected town of Viterbo, they both appeared the first time as opponents. The desired by the Emperor meeting dodged the Pope and fled secretly in the summer of 1244 to Genoa and from there to Lyon. He claimed that the Emperor wished to deceive him, and called 1245 a general council, a, XIII. ecumenical. Before mainly French and Spanish participants accusing Friedrich in a detailed indictment of perjury, heresy, sacrilege and the suppression of religious freedom. The Emperor, who had just plunder Viterbo, was declared in all respects guilty, banned by new and forbidden obedience to him.

As Frederick II refused to recognize his deposition, renewed the Pope, building on the Donation of Constantine the doctrine of the superiority of the papacy over the empire and called against Frederick for a crusade, for which he granted the same privileges as for a train to the Holy country

During the then erupting in Europe hostilities he supported the anti-kings Henry Raspe and William of Holland. It was especially in Italy to stubborn and bloody clashes between the supporters of the Pope and those of the Emperor ( the Guelphs and Ghibellines ). For two unsuccessful assassination attempts against him emperor declared Frederick Pope Innocent IV responsible for. Even after the death of Frederick II in 1250 led Innocent to fight against the Hohenstaufen further. The Pope initially returned to Perugia and later in 1253 to Rome.

Innocent IV feuded from now on King Conrad IV and after his death Manfred, the illegitimate son of Frederick II, the nobility and the stands recognized as the successor of his father. On his sickbed in Naples Innocent IV heard from Manfred's victory at Foggia. A short time later, Innocent IV died on 7 December 1254th He was succeeded by Alexander IV.


1251 Innocent IV said Margaret of Scotland sacred for her services to the church. He wrote with the Apparatus in quinque libros decretalium a significant commentary on the canon law of his time. However Innocent IV is also described as narrow-minded, greedy, cowardly, cunning and vindictive character. Besides Emperor Frederick II and his successor, he also told King Sancho II of Portugal and King James I of Aragon deposed.

The persecution of heretics was another major concern of the Pope. In this context, he issued on 15 May 1252 bull Ad Extirpanda, which was the accepted norm for the Inquisition process soon. You saw among other things, the torture before as a means of finding the truth, a measure that was previously in heresy trials not common, from now on, but should be considered normal for centuries.