Bentivenga da Bentivengi

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Bentivenga de Bentivengis
Diocese Albano
Predecessor Bonaventura, O.Min.
Successor Bérard de Got
Created Cardinal March 12, 1278
by Pope Nicholas III
Personal details
Born Aquasparta, Umbria, Italy
Died last week of March, 1289
Nationality Italian, Tuscan

Bentivenga de Bentivengis, O. Min. (ca. 1230 – 25 or 26 March 1289), also written Bentivegna de Bentivegni, or de Bentivenghi or Bentivegnawas, was an Italian Franciscan and cardinal.

Early life[edit]

Bentivenga de Bentivengis was born in Aquasparta, in Umbria. He had at least two siblings, a brother named Angelerius and a sister named Clara.[1] He entered the Order of Franciscans at a young age, and took a degree in Theology; he held the title Magister. He became famous as a theologian and preacher.

In 1264 he was personal chaplain of Cardinal Stephen Bancsa, Bishop of Palestrina.[2] Cardinal Bancsa died in 1270, during the Conclave of 1268–1271. He had also been chaplain and confessor of Cardinal Giovanni Caetano Orsini, probably between 1271 and 1276.[3] Cardinal Orsini became Pope Nicholas III on 25 November 1277. One may assume, therefore, that Bentivenga was present for the three conclaves that took place in 1276. He may even have accompanied Cardinal Orsini to the Second Ecumenical Council at Lyons in 1273–1275; it is certain that Cardinal Orsini was there along with all of the other cardinals. In 1276 Fr. Bentivenga was elected bishop of Todi (1276–1278) and confirmed by Pope John XXI.[4] He held the bishopric until he was named a cardinal, a matter of some fifteen months; his successor was Angelerius de Bentevengis, his own brother.[5]

In the consistory of March 12, 1278, Pope Nicholas III created him Cardinal-Bishop of Albano. In a papal bull of 12 September 1278, Cardinal Bentivenga is mentioned as having been an examiner into the election of a new abbot for the Monastery of Nonantola.[6] In January, 1279, he sat on a cardinalatial committee that examined and approved the election of John Peckham as Archbishop of Canterbury.[7] On 25 September 1279 Pope Nicholas named him to assist in the office of the Penitentiaries up to the next Easter Sunday.[8] Cardinal Bentivenga is claimed as an Auditor of the Rota under Nicholas III.[9] He was involved in the redaction of the Constitution Exiit qui seminat, of Nicholas III, which was issued on 14 August 1279.[10] In the Spring of 1280, Cardinal Bentivenga advised Pope Nicholas on the appointment of a new bishop for the diocese of Troia, and the Pope was pleased to follow his recommendation.[11] Pope Nicholas died of an apoplectic stroke on 22 August 1280, at Castro Soriano in the diocese of Viterbo. The election of his successor would therefore take place in Viterbo, which had seen two other conclaves in the previous five years—both of them violent.

Papal election, 1280–81[edit]

Cardinal Bentivenga participated in the Conclave which followed the Pope's death. It had been clear for some time that it would be a difficult business. Nicholas III had created a total of nine cardinals, and had taken care to diminish greatly the number of adherents of the Angevin King Charles I of Sicily, who had had a strong hand in the previous four conclaves. Charles nonetheless intended to have a pope to suit his needs. At the time of the Pope's death there were thirteen cardinals, three of whom were Orsini who would never vote to accommodate King Charles. Two or three more opponents could (and did) produce a deadlock. The city of Viterbo was in the hands of enemies of the Orsini, who had led the people of Viterbo in expelling the late Pope's nephew, Orso Orsini, replacing him with a regime favorable to King Charles. Charles himself was in Viterbo.[12] Worried about the functioning of necessary organs of the Church in the spiritual realm, the Cardinals on August 28, 1280, elected Bentivenga to the office of penitentiary and put him in charge of the other penitentiaries and their staff.[13] With these powers, on 25 September, Cardinal Bentivenga dispensed a priest who, against the rules of his diocesan synod, had taken longer than a year to be ordained after obtaining a parish, and thereby occurred the penalty of excommunication.[14]

The worries of the cardinals about a deadlocked Conclave were justified, for the Conclave continued through the rest of 1280 with no resolution. January 1281 passed, and still there was no pope. Then Riccardo Annibaldi, the hereditary enemy of the Orsini intervened. Stirring up the people of Viterbo, he led an attack on the Conclave which resulted in the kidnapping of two of the Orsini cardinals, Matteo Rosso Orsini and Giordano Orsini (the late pope's brother). Cardinal Giordano was released after three days, apparently having given some guarantees, while Cardinal Matteo was held until after the new pope was chosen. On February 22, the Cardinals, thoroughly intimidated, elected the man who had negotiated King Charles' entry into Italy and coronation as King of Sicily, Cardinal Simon de Brion, who became Pope Martin IV.[15]

Nine days after his election and twenty days before his Coronation, on Monday, 3 March, Pope Martin IV granted Cardinal Bentivenga a number of penitential powers, individually denominated, which belonged to the Pope, including the right of absolving from ecclesiastical censures and excommunications, including those imposed by diocesan bishops and by the University of Paris; this extended to persons travelling to the Holy Land on penitential pilgrimages. On August 12, the Cardinal was granted the power of absolving the Romans who had participated in the forbidden election of King Charles to the office of Senator of Rome.[16] He sometimes notes that his decisions are given after oral instructions from the Pope.[17]

Papal election, 1285[edit]

Main article: Papal election, 1285

Cardinal Bentivenga participated in the Papal election, 1285—a one-day Conclave that produced a pope on the first ballot, the Roman aristocrat, Giacomo Savelli, who took the name Honorius IV;[18] and the Papal election, 1287-1288—a long drawn out affair, due to illnesses and the plague, that caused all the cardinals but one to leave the Conclave to convalesce or die in their own homes. Five cardinals died.[19] Cardinal Bentivenga continued to function as penitentiary during the Sede Vacante of 1287–1288. He was still at the papal residence at Santa Sabina on 14 May 1287.[20] He is sometimes said to have been Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals from December 1285, though there is no positive evidence of the fact or the title. On 4 May 1288, he was assigned the commenda of the title Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo on the Caelian Hill.[21] He is mentioned as the author of a sermon collection and a Veritatis Theologicae Volumen, both disappeared.[22]

Later life[edit]

Far in anticipation of the need, Cardinal Bentivenga obtained from Pope Martin IV the right to make his own Last Will and Testament. The date on the grant is 5 August 1281.[23] The Annales Minorum state that Cardinal Bentivenga died at Todi on March 16 (xvii kal. Apr.), 1289, and that he was buried in the Franciscan church of S. Fortunato.[24] Ferdinando Ughelli agrees as to the place, but puts Bentivenga's death on March 26 (vii kal. Apr.).[25] An alternative scenario places his death in Rome and his burial in S. Maria in Aracoeli.[26] It has been pointed out that one of the codicils of his Last Will and Testament was signed at Rome on 25 March 1289, making it unlikely that he died in Todi on the 16th.[27]


  1. ^ Tenneroni, p. 265.
  2. ^ Eubel, "Registerband", p. 3.
  3. ^ Luca Wadding, Annales Minorum V (second edition by J. M. Fonseca) (Roma 1733), p. 49
  4. ^ E. Cadier (editor), Registre de Jean XXI (Paris 1892), p. 26 no. 76 (Viterbo, 18 December 1276).
  5. ^ Registres de Nicolas III (Paris 1905), p. 34 no. 109 (10 August 1278). Sigismondo da Venezia, Biografia serafica degli uomini illustri che fiorirono nel francescano istituto per santita, dottrina e dignita fino a'nostri giorni (Venezia: G. B. Merlo, 1846), p. 90. Lorenzo Leonij, Cronaca dei vescovi di Todi (Todi 1889), pp. 64–67.
  6. ^ J. H. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum III (Rome 1765), no. LXII, p. 344.
  7. ^ J. H. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum III (Rome 1765), no. XCVII, pp. 375–377.
  8. ^ Eubel ("Der Registerband", p. 20) quotes an entry in the register: "Memorandum, quod sanctissimus pater dominus Nicolaus, summus pontifex, mandavit venerabili B. Alban. episcopo Viterbii in camera sua, ut usque ad festum dominicae Resurrectionis proximae futurae adsisteret et iuvaret poenitentiarios in his, quae essent cum ipso domino expedienda contingentia officium poenitentiariae." (September 26, 1279). Cardinal Bentivenga was not Grand Penitentiary (Major Penitentiarius), both because of the terms of his appointment, and because the Office itself did not yet exist. In documents he calls himself domini papae penitentiarius. The Bishop of Viterbo was a fellow Franciscan, Peter by name. See S. Sägmüller, "Zur Thätigkeit und Stellung der Kardinäle bis Papst Bonifaz VIII," Theologische Quartalschrift 80 (Ravensburg 1898), p. 107.
  9. ^ Domenico Bernini, Il Tribunale della S. Romana Rota (Roma 1717), pp. 293, 295,
  10. ^ August Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum II, no. 21628. J. H. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum III (Rome 1765), no. 127, p. 404-416. Benedetto Mazzara, Leggendario francescano, istorie de Santi, Beati, Venerabili ed altri Uomini illustri, che fiorirono nelli tre Ordini istituiti dal serafico padre San Francesco III ( Venezia: Domenico Lovisa, 1721), p. 7. F. Elizondo, "Bulla «Exiit qui seminat» Nicolai III, (14 Augusti 1279)," Laurentianum 4 (1963), 59–117. Rosalind B. Brooke, The Image of St Francis: Responses to Sainthood in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge; CUP 2006), pp. 96–101. Roberto Lambertini, "Poverty and Power: Franciscans in Later Medieval Political Thought," in Jill Kraye, Risto Saarinen (editors), Moral Philosophy on the Threshold of Modernity (Dordrecht: Springer Science & Business Media, 2006), pp. 141–147.
  11. ^ J. H. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum III (Rome 1765), no. CLVI, pp. 459–460.
  12. ^ Giovanni Villani, Cronica, Book VII chapter 58.
  13. ^ Eubel, "Registerband", p. 20-21: Memorandum quod sacrum collegium venerabilium partum dominorum Cardinalium hac die apud ecclesiam S. Laurentii Viterbien. commisit vive vocis oraculo et concessit venerabili patri domino fratri Bentevenge dei gratia Albanen. episcopo ibidem presenti in officio et super officio penitentiarie apostolice sedis, usque quod idem collegium aliud duxerit ordinandum, illam et tantam auctoritatem et potestatem, quam et quantam quondam sanctissimus pater dominus Nicolaus papa III. commiserate et concesserat ipsi domino Albanen. in officio et super officio memorato.
  14. ^ Eubel, "Registerband", p. 30 no. 18.
  15. ^ Sede Vacante and Conclave, 1280–1281 (Dr. J. P. Adams).
  16. ^ Eubel, "Regesten", pp. 21–22.
  17. ^ E.g. Eubel, "Registerband", p. 56 no. 48; p. 58 no. 52. In the documents from this appointment he calls himself Fr. Bentivenga miseratione divina Albanensis episcopus.
  18. ^ Sede Vacante and Conclave of 28 March–2 April, 1285 (Dr. J. P. Adams).
  19. ^ Sede Vacante and Conclave of 3 April, 1287—22 February, 1288 (Dr. J. P. Adams).
  20. ^ Eubel, "Registerband", p. 63 no. 57.
  21. ^ E. Langlois (editor), Les Registres de Nicolaus IV, tome III (Paris 1892), pp. 948–949, nos. 7031–7032.
  22. ^ Luca Wadding, Scriptores ordinis minorvm (Romae 1650), pp. 53–54.
  23. ^ J. H. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum III (Rome 1765), no. III, pp. 470–471.
  24. ^ Wadding, Annales Minorum V, p. 223.
  25. ^ F. Ughelli (editio altera N. Colet), Italia sacra I (1717), 264.
  26. ^ Wadding, Annales Minorum V, p. 223, following Alfonso Chacon.
  27. ^ Tenneroni, p. 260. The Will was published by Lorenzo Leònij, Inventario dei codici della comunale di Todi (Todi 1878). It should be noted that Todi was under the Interdict at the time, because of the Guelf-Ghibbeline strife with Foligno: Leonij, Cronaca dei vescovi di Todi (Todi 1889), pp. 65–67. Cf. Potthast, no. 22683 (April 26, 1288); 22931 (7 April 1289), where the Tudertines are warned to stop aiding the people of Perugia, who were in rebellion against the Church. The Tudertines had first incurred excommunication and interdiction on 30 March 1280: J. H. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum III (Rome 1765), no. CLIV, pp. 455–456.


  • Annibale Tenneroni, "Inventario di sacri arredi appartenuti ai Cardinali Bentivenga e Matteo Bentivegna di Acquasparta," Archivio storico italiano 2 (1888), 260–266.
  • C. Eubel, "Der Registerband des Cardinalgrossponitentiars Bentevenga," Archiv für katholischen Kirchenrecht 64 (1890), 3–69.

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