Conclave

Judging from the sound of this report, it won’t be too long before we have a conclave…

Here’s a good description of what goes on at a conclave, from a time when they had them fairly frequently…

The Pope [John XXI] had added a new wing to his palace at Viterbo. It was carelessly built. On 12 May 1277 as he lay sleeping his his new bed-chamber the ceiling collapsed on him. He was terribly hurt and died eight days later… One of Pope John’s few acts had been to revoke the decrees passed at Lyons whiich confined the cardinals, with increasing austerity, till they appointed a successor to the Papacy. At the time of the Pope’s death only eight of the eleven cardinals in the College were near enough to Viterbo to take part in the election. Four of these were Italians and four Frenchmen. They could not agree between themselves. For six months they bickered, till the citizens of Viterbo in exasperation imprisoned them in the papal palace, and at the same time made it clear that they wished for an Italian. The French cardinals gave way. On 25 November 1277 Cardinal John Gaetan Orsini was elected as Pope, with the title of Nicholas III.

From The Sicilian Vespers by Steven Runciman, pp.181-2.

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