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A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of Cardinals to elect the Pope of the Catholic Church (or Bishop of Rome) who, as he is considered the Successor of Saint Peter, is the head of the Church.The conclave is the oldest ongoing method for choosing the leader of an institution.A history of political interference in these elections and consequently long vacancies between popes, and most immediately the interregnum of 1268-1271, prompted the Second Council of Lyons which decreed in 1274 that the electors should be locked in seclusion cum clave (Latin for "with a key"), and not permitted to leave until a new Bishop of Rome is elected. Conclaves are now held in the Sistine Chapel in the Palace of the Vatican.


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The Sistine Chapel (Italian: Cappella Sistina) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in the Vatican City. Its fame rests on its architecture, which evokes Solomon's Temple of the Old Testament, its decoration, frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo whose ceiling is legendary, and its purpose, as a site of papal religious and functionary activity.The Sistine Chapel is most famously known for being the location of Papal conclaves, for the election of a new pope. More commonly, it is the physical chapel of the Papal Chapel. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV in the late 15th century, this corporate body comprised about 200 persons, including clerics, officials of the Vatican and distinguished laity.


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A cardinal-nephew is a cardinal elevated by a pope who is that cardinal's uncle, or more generally, his relative. The practise of creating cardinal-nephews originated in the Middle Ages, and reached its apex during the 16th and 17th centuries.The word nepotism originally referred specifically to this practice, when it appeared in the English language about 1669.From the middle of the Avignon Papacy (1309–1377) until Pope Innocent XII's anti-nepotism bull (a papal charter), Romanum decet pontificem (1692), a pope without a cardinal-nephew was the exception to the rule.Pope Boniface IX, the second pope of the Western Schism, did not appoint cardinal-nephews. Until Pope Innocent XII, the only other exceptions were: Pope Innocent XI (who attempted to abolish the practice), popes who did not appoint cardinals (Pope Pius III, Pope Marcellus II, Pope Urban VII, Pope Leo XI), and Pope Adrian VI (who appointed one cardinal). Every Renaissance pope who created cardinals appointed a relative to the College of Cardinals, and the nephew was the most common choice.


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The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the dual goals of liberating the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslims and freeing the Eastern Christians from Muslim rule. What started as an appeal by Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos for western mercenaries to fight the Turks in Anatolia quickly turned into a wholesale Western migration and conquest of territory outside of Europe. Both knights and peasants from many nations of Western Europe travelled over land and by sea towards Jerusalem and captured the city in July 1099, establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem and other Crusader states. Although these gains lasted for less than two hundred years, the First Crusade was a major turning point in the expansion of Western power, as well as the first major step towards reopening international trade in the West since the fall of the Western Roman Empire.


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The Second Crusade (11451149) was the second major crusade launched from Europe, called in 1145 in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year. Edessa was the first of the Crusader states to have been founded during the First Crusade (1095–1099), and was the first to fall. The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other important European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe and were somewhat hindered by Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus; after crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and, in 1148, participated in an ill-advised attack on Damascus. The crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately lead to the fall of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century.


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Vatican City, officially State of the Vatican City (Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae; Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano), is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome. At approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), it is the smallest independent state in the world.The state came into existence by virtue of the Lateran Treaty in 1929, which speaks of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756 to 1870) that had previously encompassed central Italy, most of which was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final part, the city of Rome and a small area close to it, ten years later.


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The Papal States, State(s) of the Church or Pontifical States (in Italian Stato Ecclesiastico, Stato della Chiesa, Stati della Chiesa or Stati Pontificii) were one of the major historical states of Italy before the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (after which the Papal States, in less territorially extensive form, continued to exist until 1870). The Papal States comprised those territories over which the Pope was the ruler in a civil as well as a spiritual sense before 1870. This governing power is commonly called the temporal power of the Pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.


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Politics of the Vatican City takes place in a framework of an absolute theocratic monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope, exercises ex officio supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of the Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), a rare case of non-hereditary monarchy.The pope is elected in the Conclave, composed of all the cardinal electors (now limited to all the cardinals below the age of 80), after the death of the previous Pope. The Conclave is held in the Sistine Chapel, where all the electors are locked in (Latin cum clave) until the election for which a two-thirds majority is required.


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