1903 conclave

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Pope Leo XIII. †
Coat of arms of the Cardinal Chamberlain during the Sedis vacancy
Cardinal Rampolla, the Conclave's favorite
Pope Pius X

The 1903 conclave met from July 31 to August 4, 1903, after Pope Leo XIII. died on July 20, 1903 after more than 25 years in office. The Archbishop and Patriarch of Venice Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, who took the name Pius X , was elected.


The conclave was held in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, with seven rounds of voting required. The cardinals Girolamo Maria Gotti, Angelo Di Pietro, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto and Serafino Vannutelli were rated as papabili . Favorite, however, was the (still incumbent) Cardinal Secretary of State Leos XIII. Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro , who was clearly ahead in the first two ballots. After Jan had informed Cardinal Puzyna de Kosielsko on behalf of Emperor Franz Joseph I that he was claiming the right of the exclusive and vetoed the election of Rampolla , Andrea Carlo presented Cardinal Ferrari with Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto as a compromise candidate. After five more rounds of voting, he was elected with 55 votes, 13 more than necessary. In 1904 the newly elected Pope forbade any further exercise of the exclusive rights.

Participating cardinals

38 of the 62 participating cardinals were from Italy; only James Gibbons , the Archbishop of Baltimore , was a novelty in the history of the conclave with his participation as a non-European cardinal. Brothers Serafino and Vincenzo Vannutelli were among the participants .

In addition to the Papal States, Cardinal Chamberlain Domenico Cardinal Ferrata was in charge of the convening and holding of the conclave during the vacancy. The Secretary of the Conclave was the later Cardinal Secretary of State Rafael Merry del Val .

Absent cardinals

Pietro Michelangelo Cardinal Celesia OSB from Palermo was unable to attend due to health reasons ; Due to the long journey, the Archbishop of Sydney , Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran , reached Rome only after the election.

Distribution by state

The cardinals present came from the following countries:

country cardinals present
Italy 1861Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) Italy 38
FranceFrance France 7th
Spain 1875Spain Spain , Austria-HungaryAustria-HungaryAustria-Hungary  5
German EmpireThe German Imperium German Empire 3
Portugal Kingdom 1830Portugal Portugal , Belgium , United States , United KingdomBelgiumBelgium United States 45United States United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland  1

Distribution by continents

continent cardinals present
Europe 61
Latin America 0
Canada and USA 1
Asia 0
Australia and Oceania 0
Africa 0

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