Honorius II, Pope

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Pontificate: Dec. 15, 1124 to Feb. 13 or 14, 1130; b. Lambert Scannabecchi, at Fagnano, near Imola, Italy, date unknown; d. Rome. Widely known for his learning, he entered papal service under urban ii and was made a cardinal by paschal ii in 1117. His most important task as a papal diplomat was acting as callistus ii's representative in the negotiations with Emperor henry v that culminated in the Concordat of Worms in 1122. His pontificate was concerned in large part with securing for the Church the rights promised by that concordat. Lambert's election as pope was marked by an outbreak of the feud between the pierleoni and the frangipani families, which divided the Roman nobility and interfered with the electoral process. The first conclave ended on Dec. 15, 1124, with the election of Honorius, supported by the Frangipani, and the election of an antipope, Celestine II (Cardinal Teobaldo Buccapecci), supported by the Pierleoni. After it became clear that Honorius was supported by the sanior pars of the cardinals, Celestine lost his supporters and resigned. On December 21, Honorius also resigned, only to be reelected immediately by the assembled cardinals. With the death of Henry V in 1125, Honorius moved to consolidate the Church's position with regard to the empire by supporting the election of lothair iii, count of Supplinburg, to succeed to the imperial throne rather than allow either of Henry's nephews, Frederick or Conrad of Hohenstaufen (later to rule as Conrad III), to assume power. When Conrad declared himself king in opposition to Lothair, Honorius excommunicated him, thus placing the papacy clearly on Lothair's side. Within the papal lands Honorius sought to pacify the rebellious Roman barons and to defend the duchy of Apulia from roger II of Sicily, but after failing to prevent Roger's seizure of the duchy, Honorius recognized his right to hold it in return for Roger's oath of fealty, thus paving the way for the creation of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In addition to these political controversies, Honorius was mindful of the spirit of reform within the Church. In 1126 he confirmed the establishment of the premonstratensians, who combined the active with the contemplative life, and in 1128 he approved the rule of the templars, who had been founded to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. Even as he lay dying, however, the two factions that disputed his election were gathering for the new election, which was to lead to a serious schism.

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[j. m. muldoon]