Pope Callixtus III
|Papacy began||8 April 1455|
|Papacy ended||6 August 1458|
|Consecration||31 August 1429
by Pierre de Foix
|Created Cardinal||2 May 1444|
|Birth name||Alfonso de Borja|
31 December 1378|
Canals, Valencia, Crown of Aragon
|Died||6 August 1458
Rome, Papal States
|Other popes named Callixtus|
|Papal styles of
Pope Callixtus III
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Callixtus III or Callistus III (31 December 1378 – 6 August 1458), born Alfons de Borja, was Pope from 8 April 1455 to his death in 1458. He is the last pope to take the name "Callixtus" upon his election.
Alfons de Borja was born in La Torreta, now a neighbourhood of Canals, Valencia – today in Spain – but at that time in the Señorío de Torre de Canals, Kingdom of Valencia under the Crown of Aragon. He was the son of Domingo de Borja and Francina Llançol. He was baptized at St. Mary's Basilica in Xativa, where he is now honored with a statue.
During the western schism, he supported Antipope Benedict XIII, and was the driving force behind Antipope Clement VIII's submission to Pope Martin V in 1429. His early career was spent as a professor of law at the University of Lleida, where he received his doctorate, and he then served as a diplomat to the Kings of Aragon, especially during the Council of Basel (1431–1439). He became a cardinal after reconciling Pope Eugene IV with King Alfonso V of Aragon.
While he was a young priest, he attended a sermon by St. Vincent Ferrer. At the end of his message, the Dominican said to the future pope: "My son, you one day will be called to be the ornament of your house and of your country. You will be invested with the highest dignity that can fall to the lot of man. After my death, I shall be the object of your special honor. Endeavor to persevere in a life of virtue." As pope, Borja canonized Ferrer, on 3 June 1455.
He was raised to the papal chair in 1455 at a very advanced age, as a "compromise candidate" in the papal conclave that year, taking the name Callixtus III. He is viewed by historians as being extremely pious, a firm believer in the authority of the Holy See, and, like the second Borgia pope, he went to great lengths to advance his immediate family.
In 1456, he issued the papal bull Inter Caetera to Portugal (not to be confused with Inter Caetera of 1493). This bull reaffirmed the Portuguese right to reduce infidels and the Moors to servitude by the earlier bulls Romanus Pontifex and Dum Diversas, thus reaffirming the papal consent to the enslavement of Africans. This confirmation of Romanus Pontifex also gave the Portuguese the military Order of Christ under Prince Henry the Navigator.
Inter Caetera of 1456 was in direct opposition, however, to the stance taken by Pope Eugene IV in the 1435 bull Sicut Dudum, where infidels were acknowledged to have been created in the image of God and having souls, which implied that no Christian had the right to take away their liberty.
On 20 February 1456, Pope Callixtus III elevated two of his nephews to the position of cardinal. The first of them was Rodrigo de Borja ("Borgia" in Italian), who later became Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), infamous for his alleged corruption and immorality. The second was Luis Julian de Milà.
On 29 June 1456, Callixtus ordered the church bells to be rung at noon (see noon bell) as a call to prayer. As the order spread, the ringing of the bells was taken also as a crusading call to lift the Siege of Belgrade. The Siege of Belgrade was broken on 22 July in a notable victory against the Turks. To commemorate this victory, Callixtus III ordered the Feast of the Transfiguration to be held on 6 August.
He approved of the founding of the University of Greifswald that took place in the year 1456.
Callixtus III's pre-papal coat of arms featured a grazing ox.
The "bull against the comet"
According to one story that first appeared in a 1475 posthumous biography and was subsequently embellished and popularized by Pierre-Simon Laplace, Callixtus III excommunicated the 1456 apparition of Halley's Comet, believing it to be an ill omen for the Christian defenders of Belgrade from the besieging armies of the Ottoman Empire. No known primary source supports the authenticity of this account. The 29 June 1456 papal bull of Callixtus III calling for a public prayer for the success of the crusade, makes no mention of the comet. By 6 August, when the Turkish siege was broken the comet had not been visible in either Europe or Turkey for several weeks.
- European treaties bearing on the history of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Ed. Frances Gardiner Davenport, Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1917.
- Gower, Ronald Sutherland, Joan of Arc, BiblioBazaar LLC, 2007.
- Hibbert, Christopher, The Borgias and their enemies: 1431–1519, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008.
- The Lives and Times of the Popes, Vol.4, Ed. Artaud de Montor, Catholic Publication Society of America, 1911.
- Frederick Rolfe, Chronicles of the House of Borgia, 1901.
- Hibbert, Christopher, The Borgias and their enemies: 1431–1519, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008), 11.
- "Anna y Canals. Valencia". palomatorrijos (in Spanish). 12 June 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2014. "... En el siglo XIV se construyó junto a la torre, y aprovechando parte de sus murallas, un pequeño Palacio Gótico que era la sede de la baronía de La Torre, independiente de Canals, cuyos titulares eran los Borja. En este lugar nació en 1378 Alfonso Borja, el que fuera futuro papa Calixto III. ...'"
- Rolfe, p. 12
- McBrien, Richard P. (2000). Lives of the Popes: The pontiffs from St Peter to John Paul II. San Francisco: HarperCollins. p. 260. ISBN 0060653043.
- Rolfe, p. 12-13
- European treaties bearing on the history of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, ed. Frances Gardiner Davenport, (Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1917), 27.
- The Lives and Times of the Popes, Vol.4, Ed. Artaud de Montor, (Catholic Publication Society of America, 1911), 190.
- Gower, Ronald Sutherland, Joan of Arc, (BiblioBazaar LLC, 2007), 180.
- John Stein (1913). "Bartolomeo Platina". In Charles George Herbermann. The Catholic Encyclopedia 12. Robert Appleton Co. pp. 158–159. OCLC 1017058.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Callistus III.|
- European treaties bearing on the history of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Ed. Frances Gardiner Davenport, Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1917. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=23628818
- DIARIO BORJA BORGIA (Spanish)
|Catholic Church titles|
8 April 1455 – 6 August 1458