Gelasius II

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Gelasius II (* between 1060 and September 1064 in Gaeta ; † January 29, 1119 in Cluny ) was Pope from 1118 until his death . Its original name is listed in Italian as Giovanni da Gaeta , in German as Johannes von Gaeta .


Origin and early years

Johannes von Gaeta came from a noble family in Campania and was the son of Johannes Coniulo († 1068 or earlier). Mother and uncle provided the boy's initial education and taught him to read and write. They also introduced him to literary works. As a boy he was chosen for a spiritual career and entrusted as puer oblatus to the Montecassino Abbey . There he learned his further education and was under Abbot Desiderius von Montecassino, the later Pope Viktor III. , accepted into the Benedictine order . His teacher was the well-known author Alberich von Montecassino , who exerted a great stylistic influence on him.

Church career

John received minor ordinations and was not ordained a subdeacon until 1074 or 1075 . Between 1074/1075 and 1088 he wrote his first literary works.

Pope Viktor III appointed him in 1086 as a scriptor at the Apostolic Chancellery . On March 12, 1088, Pope Urban II made him Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church , initially pro tempore (provisionally) and finally in 1089 . In the year 1088, still in Montecassino, John of Gaeta was involved in the transfer of the register of Pope John VIII and possibly also that of the register of Leo I. Before September of the same year, Viktor III. him cardinal deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin , at that time still called Santa Maria in Schola Græca . Between August 1088 and May 1099 he wrote papal letters.

Pope Paschal II, elected in 1099, confirmed him as head of the papal chancellery. John divided Paschal's captivity from February to April 1111, when Emperor Henry V had the Pope arrested. He is also said to have made out the document with which Paschal II under duress granted the emperor the right to invest and Heinrich promised the coronation of the emperor, the so-called Treaty of Ponte Mammolo . At the Lateran Synod of 1116, John appeared as a staunch supporter of Paschal II in the investiture dispute .

Pontificate and death

John of Gaeta took part in the papal election in 1118 and was unanimously elected Pope on January 24, 1118 in the Church of Santa Maria in Pallara on the Palatine Hill , without the banished Emperor Henry V having been included in the election process. John von Gaeta chose Gelasius II as the papal name . This should probably be a sign that he wanted to enforce the supremacy of the Pope against the emperor in the investiture controversy, as Gelasius I and subsequently Gregory VII had represented with the doctrine of two swords . Members of the noble family of the Frangipani , however, took the new Pope prisoner and arrested him in one of their castles, because they feared that he would be too willing to compromise with Henry V.

The emperor rushed to Rome to assert his claims, but Gelasius II fled to his hometown of Gaeta , where he was enthroned as Pope on March 10, 1118 . Thereupon Henry V had the Cluniac Maurice Bourdin crowned as Gregory VIII to the (counter) pope.

In the period that followed, no agreement was reached with the emperor, especially not about the investiture dispute, which was at its height at the time. Gelasius therefore had Heinrich's ban pronounced by his predecessor confirmed and renewed at the Synod in Fritzlar in 1118 .

Gelasius II died on January 29, 1119 after only one year of pontificate in Cluny.


The following works are considered secured:

  • Passio sancti Herasmi (for his uncle)
  • Passio sanctorum Eustasii et filiorum eius (for a monk from Montecassino named Atenulfo)
  • Passio sancti Ypolisti (for a certain Roffredo, possibly this was Archbishop of Benevento )

In addition, other works are attributed to Johannes von Gaeta.


Web links

Commons : Gelasius II.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rudolf Hüls: Cardinals, clergy and churches of Rome. 1049–1130 (= library of the German Historical Institute in Rome. 48). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1977, ISBN 3-484-80071-2 , p. 231.
  2. ^ Dietrich Lohrmann: The youth works of Johannes von Gaeta. In: Sources and research from Italian archives and libraries. Published by the German Historical Institute Rome, Volume 47 (1967), pp. 356–445, here pp. 356 f.
  3. cf. Gaeta, OSB, Giovanni da. In: Salvador Miranda : The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. ( Florida International University website ), accessed December 25, 2019.
  4. a b c cf. Volker Reinhardt : Pontifex. The history of the Popes . 2nd Edition. CH Beck, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-406-70381-2 , p. 294 .
  5. ^ Dietrich Lohrmann: Die Jugendwerke des Johannes von Gaeta, p. 376
predecessor Office successor
Paschal II. Pope
Calixt II.