Papal conclave, 1830–31

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Papal conclave
Sede vacante.svg
Coat of arms during the vacancy of the Holy See
Dates and location
14 December 1830 – 2 February 1831
Quirinal Palace, Papal States
Key officials
Dean Bartolomeo Pacca
Sub-Dean Pietro Francesco Galleffi
Camerlengo Pietro Francesco Galleffi
Protopriest Luigi Ruffo-Scilla
Protodeacon Giuseppe Albani
Vetoed Giacomo Giustiniani
Ballots 83
Elected Pope
Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari
(Name taken: Gregory XVI)
Gregory XVI.jpg

A Papal conclave was held commencing 14 December 1830 after the death of Pope Pius VIII. It did not conclude until the 2 February 1831 election of Mauro Alberto Cappellari as Pope Gregory XVI.


Initially the chief candidates included Emmanuele De Gregorio and Bartolomeo Pacca, who had been papabili in the 1829 conclave, plus Giacomo Giustiniani, who was a long-serving papal diplomat but was vetoed by King Ferdinand VII.

However, it became clear eventually that none of them could gain the support of two-thirds of the cardinals, and with Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich wanting a very strong Pope to hold firm against the flood of revolution haunting Europe at the time of the conclave, Giuseppe Albani intervened. He proposed Vincenzo Macchi as his candidate, but few of the other cardinals saw Macchi as suitable for the papacy. Cappellari appeared as an alternative to both De Gregorio and Macchi only when the conclave was well-advanced, but even though Albani worked against him, Cappellari eventually took the lead and won the election.

No conclave since has lasted as much as one week, but at the time no conclave had lasted less than three weeks since 1667. The conclave took as many as eighty-three ballots for anyone to gain a two-thirds majority, whereas no conclave since has taken more than fourteen.

45 of the 54 living cardinals participated, and Bartolomeo Pacca presided as Dean of the Sacred College. Cappellari, then a Camaldolese priest and prefect of the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, was also the last Pope not yet a bishop when elected.


Duration 50 days
Number of ballots 83
Electors 45
Veto used by Ferdinand VII of Spain
against Giacomo Giustiniani