Gelasius II, Pope
GELASIUS II, POPE
Pontificate: Jan. 24, 1118 to Jan. 28, 1119; b. John of Gaeta; d. Abbey of Cluny. The son of John Coniulo of Gaeta, Italy (not a member of the Gaëtani family), he entered Monte Cassino as an oblate c. 1060 under Abbot Desiderius (1058–87), the future Pope victor iii. As his master John had Alberic of Monte Cassino, whose teachings influenced the style of his Lives of SS. Erasmus, Eustasius, and Hypolistus. Pope urban ii called the young subdeacon as prosignator to his chancery as early as 1088, promoted him in the same year to deacon and cardinal, and made him chancellor in 1089. In this office John carried out important improvements in the papal chancery, increasing its personnel and reforming the style (revival of the Cursus Leoninus ) and the dating of papal documents. Probably in 1111 he received from Pope paschal ii the church of S. Maria in Cosmedin, whose reconstruction was begun by him.
John was unanimously elected pope on Jan. 24, 1118, in the church of S. Maria in Pallara on the Palatine. At the end of the ceremony the pope and the cardinals were attacked by Cencius II frangipani, who imprisoned the pope and released him only after an uprising of the other nobles and the people. The arrival in Rome of Emperor henry v early in March forced the pope to withdraw to his home town, Gaeta, where he was consecrated priest, bishop, and pope, and assumed the name Gelasius II (March 10). Meanwhile, Henry V, supported by the celebrated irnerius of Bologna, had the disgruntled Abp. Mauritius of Braga proclaimed antipope, with the name of Gregory VIII. Gelasius excommunicated him together with Henry V. The approach of Robert of Capua's army caused Henry to leave Rome, and Gelasius was able to return to Rome, whence he fled to France in September after a new attack by Cencius. He stayed briefly at Saint-Gilles near Nîmes and elsewhere in southern France and held a synod in Vienne. He died at Cluny, where he was buried on the following day.
Bibliography: Vita Gelasii by padulf, in Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 1886–1953) 3:157–166, 135–136; see also 2:311–321. Annales Romani, ibid. 2:347. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198, ed. s. loweneld (Graz 1956) 1:6631–81. For John's lives of saints, o. engels, Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 51 (1956) 16–33, Erasmus; Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 35 (1955) 1–45, Eustasius and Hypolistus; The Historical Journal 76 (1957) 118–133. c. erdmann, "Mauritius Burdinus (Gregor VIII)," Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 19 (1927) 205–261. r. elze, "Die päpstliche Kapelle im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert," Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonistische Abteilung 36 (1950) 145–204. j. haller, Das Papsttum (Stuttgart 1950–53) 2:503–504. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des 20. Hr. (Munich 1954–59) 3:151–154. w. ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages (2d ed. New York 1962) 327–331. g. andrisani, "Gelasio II a Capua," Benedictina 40 (Rome 1993) 35–47. o. engels, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 3d. ed. (1995). r. volpini, "Documenti nel 'Sancta sanctorum' del Laterno. I resti dell' 'Archivio' di Gelasio II," Lateranum 52 (1986), 215–64. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 163.