Pope Benedict XI

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Blessed Pope
Benedict XI
B Benedikt XI.jpg
Papacy began 22 October 1303
Papacy ended 7 July 1304
Predecessor Boniface VIII
Successor Clement V
Ordination 1300
Created Cardinal 4 December 1298
by Boniface VIII
Personal details
Birth name Nicola Boccasini
Born 1240
Treviso, Italy, Holy Roman Empire
Died 7 July 1304
Perugia, Papal States
Previous post
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Feast day 7 July
Beatified 24 April 1736 (cultus confirmed) by Pope Clement XII
1773 (beatified)
by Pope Clement XIV
  • Dominican habit
  • Papal tiara
Other popes named Benedict
Papal styles of
Pope Benedict XI
Coat of arms of Pope Benedict XI.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Blessed
Tomb of Benedict XI.

Pope Benedict XI (Latin: Benedictus XI; 1240 – 7 July 1304), born Nicola Boccasini, was Pope from 22 October 1303 to his death in 1304. He was beatified with his cultus confirmed by Pope Clement XII and formally beatified by Pope Clement XIV.


Pre-papal career[edit]

Born in Treviso, he succeeded Pope Boniface VIII, but was unable to carry out his policies. Benedict XI was a Dominican and when he was made Master of the Order in 1296, he issued ordinances forbidding public questioning of the legitimacy of Boniface VIII's election on the part of any Dominican. At the time of the seizure of Pope Boniface VIII at Anagni in 1303, Boccasini was one of only two cardinals to defend the papal party in the Lateran Palace itself. However, upon being elected Pope at the papal conclave of 1303, he released King Philip IV of France from the excommunication that had been laid upon him by Boniface VIII, and practically ignored Boniface's bull Unam sanctam, which asserted papal supremacy over secular rulers. Nevertheless, on 7 June 1304, Benedict excommunicated Philip IV's implacable minister Guillaume de Nogaret and all the Italians who had played a part in the seizure of Boniface VIII at Anagni.

Pontificate and death[edit]

After a brief pontificate of eight months, Benedict XI died suddenly at Perugia. As original reports had it, suspicion fell primarily on Nogaret with the suspicion that his sudden death was caused by poisoning. There is no direct evidence, however, to either support or disprove the contention that Nogaret poisoned the pope. Benedict XI's successor, Clement V removed the papal seat from Rome to Avignon, inaugurating the period sometimes known as the Babylonian Captivity. He and the French popes who succeeded him were completely under the influence of the kings of France.

Benedict XI was the author of a volume of sermons and commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, the Psalms, the Book of Job, and the Book of Revelation.

Caesar Baronius wrote that on the Monday of Easter week in 1304, Pope Benedict XI was celebrating mass, but a pilgrim interrupted it, because he wanted the pope to hear this confession. Rather than telling him to find another time or another priest to have his confession, the Pope left the mass to hear his confession and then returned to continue the mass.[1]

Papal numbering[edit]

A note on the numbering: Pope Benedict X is now considered an antipope. At the time of Benedict's election, however, this status was not recognized, thus the man the Roman Catholic Church officially considers the tenth true Pope Benedict took the official number XI rather than X. This has advanced the numbering of all subsequent Popes Benedict by one. Popes Benedict XI-XVI are, from an official point of view, the tenth through fifteenth popes by that name.


  1. ^ Leonard of Port Maurice. Counsels to Confessors. Loreto Publications, 2008


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Stephen of Besançon
Master General of the Dominican Order
Succeeded by
Albert of Chiavari
Preceded by
Leonardo Patrasso
Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia
Succeeded by
Nicolò Albertini
Preceded by
Boniface VIII
22 October 1303 – 7 July 1304
Succeeded by
Clement V