Stephen I Báncsa

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His Eminence
Stephen Báncsa
Roman Catholic Cardinal
Archbishop of Esztergom
Báncsa István 1255.JPG
Stephen Báncsa in 1255
Province Esztergom
See Esztergom
Appointed 14 August 1242
Installed 7 July 1243
Term ended 1252
Predecessor Matthias Rátót
Successor Benedict II
Other posts Cardinal Bishop of Praeneste
Created Cardinal December 1251
Rank Cardinal-Bishop
Personal details
Died 9 July 1270
Nationality Hungarian
Denomination Roman Catholic
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Stephen (I) Báncsa (Hungarian: Báncsa or Váncsa (I) István; died July 9, 1270) was the first Hungarian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Early life[edit]

He was a descendant of the original settler family, Bács. In 1236 he was Provost of Bács and Chancellor of King Béla IV between 1238 and 1240.[1] In 1241 he was appointed Bishop of Vác by King Béla.[2] He was elected by the Cathedral Chapter as Archbishop of Esztergom in 1243, being transferred from the Diocese of Vác with the permission of Pope Innocent IV, granted on July 7, 1243.[3] On July 19, 1243, Pope Innocent wrote to the new Archbishop, appointing him Apostolic Legate in Croatia and Dalmatia.[4] He served as Archbishop until he was appointed Cardinal Bishop of Praeneste (Palestrina). Even so, he continued to serve as Administrator of the Diocese of Esztergom (Strigonia) (1252–1254),[5] until a successor, Archbishop Benedict, was appointed on February 25, 1254.[6] He was advised, however, that during his Administratorship, he should not give away pensions or prebends without the express permission of the Holy See.[7]

Báncsa was made cardinal in December 1251 by Pope Innocent IV,[8] and appointed the Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina. This was at a time when the church was having problems with the Tatars.[9]

In 1253, he became ill, due to his being unaccustomed to the climate, among other reasons,[10] and he therefore petitioned Pope Innocent IV to allow him to return to Hungary. Innocent and the cardinals were reluctant to lose him and his expertise, but Innocent granted him the privilege of returning to Esztergom, and continuing his administration of that diocese, until the next Feast of All Saints (November 1). At that point he was to resign the Church of Esztergom to a prelate of the Kingdom of Hungary of his choice, and return to the Papal Curia by Christmas, 1253. If he did not return by that date, the bishopric of Palestrina was to be considered vacant.[11] He returned, of course.

Role in the Roman Curia[edit]

Báncsa was present in the Roman Curia at Anagni and subscribed papal documents under Innocent IV, on February 25, 1253; April 13, 1253; May 31, 1253; May 28, 1254; July 4, 1254; and July 22, 1254.[12] When Innocent IV moved south with the papal army to confront Manfred, the Sicilian Regent, he accompanied the Pope, leaving Anagni on October 8, arriving at Montecassino on October 13 for a three-day rest, and finally reaching Naples on October 27. The Pope died in Naples on December 7, five days after the disastrous battle of Foggia in which the papal army was soundly defeated and lost over 4,000 men. Cardinal Stephanus participated in the very short papal election of December 11–12, 1254 (that elected Raynaldus de' Conti as Alexander IV).[13] He subscribed regularly throughout the reign of Alexander IV as a member of the Pope's closest group of advisors. The Curia remained at Naples until the first week of June, 1255, and then returned to Anagni. They did not take up residence in Rome until mid-November, there to remain until June 1, 1256, when the Curia returned to Anagni.[14] During his time in Naples, Cardinal Stephen served as papal Auditor in the case of Bishop Ponce of Urgel; on December 15, 1254, he confirmed the sentence against Ponce for simony, incest, and other charges, and suspended Ponce; the sentence was confirmed by Alexander IV on January 7, 1255.[15]

On July 3, 1260, at Anagni, he and seven other cardinals signed a Decree for Alexander IV, regulating the Greek and Latin dioceses on the island of Cyprus.[16] On April 1, 1261, Cardinal Báncsa, along with Cardinals Odo of Chateauroux, John of Toledo, Hughes de Saint-Cher, and Ottobono Fieschi, signed a constitution of Alexander IV in favor of the convent of Val-de-Grace in the diocese of Konstanz.[17] The document was signed at the Lateran Palace in Rome.

Báncsa did not attend the papal election of May 26 - August 29, 1261 (Urban IV),[18] according to Salvador Miranda.[19] He was present, however, according to Wilhelm Sievert.[20] On January 23, 1262, at Viterbo, less than five months after the Election, Cardinal Stephanus participated with eleven other cardinals in signing a Bull to the benefit of the Teutonic Knights.[21] The evidence, tentative as it is, tends to favor Sievert.

Cardinal Báncsa was present for the Election of October 1264 - February 5, 1265 (that elected Clement IV).[22] On February 26, at Perugia, only three weeks after the Election and three days after the Coronation, he and fifteen other cardinals subscribed a bull, Olim regno, notifying Henry of England and his son Edmund that they were not the true possessors of the Kingdom of Sicily.[23]

Báncsa was working in Viterbo in the Curia in 1268. On March 28, 1268, he is attested as having judged a case in favor of the Lateran Basilica.[24]

The Cardinal also participated in the Election of November 1268 - September 1, 1271,[25] the longest papal election in history, during which he died, purportedly on July 9, 1270.[26][19] In the Spring of 1270, Cardinal Báncsa, Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi, and other prelates wrote to the General Chapter of the Order of Preachers, which was meeting in Milan, thanking them for their services to the Church.[27]

His nephew Orbász Báncsa was the first Hungarian to obtain a doctorate from the University of Padua (1264).[28] His other nephew was Stephen II Báncsa, the Archbishop of Kalocsa from 1267 to 1278.[29]

Date of death[edit]

The date of death is according to the sources consulted (as cited by Salvador Miranda),[26] except J. P. Adams Sede Vacante 1268-71, who quotes a document from the Vatican Archives that shows that Cardinal Stephen subscribed a letter dated August 22, 1270, and therefore could not have died on July 9.[30]


  1. ^ Peter G. Glockner and Nora Varga Bagossy (editors), Encyclopaedia Hungarica: English Volume I (Calgary: Hungarian Ethnic Lexicon Foundation, 2007), p. 117. Rosa, Mario, Levillain, ed., 2002, "Curia", The Papacy: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-92228-3. p. 468
  2. ^ Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi I editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 511. Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa I. parte 2 (Roma 1792), p. 285.
  3. ^ Augustino Theiner (editor), Vetera monumenta historica Hungariam sacram illustrantia Tomus primus (Romae 1859), p. 186, no. CCXLIII. Potthast, no. 11081.
  4. ^ Theiner, p. 187, no. CCXLVII.
  5. ^ Augustino Theiner (editor), Vetera monumenta historica Hungariam sacram illustrantia Tomus primus (Romae 1859), p. 214-215, no. CCCCIV (December 30, 1252). Potthast, no. 14816-14818.
  6. ^ Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi edition altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 464. Cf. Miranda, Salvador. 1997. "13th Century (1198-1303)."
  7. ^ Augustino Theiner (editor), Vetera monumenta historica Hungariam sacram illustrantia Tomus primus (Romae 1859), p. 218, no. CCCCXIII (Perugia, February 15, 1253). Potthast, no. 14885.
  8. ^ Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi I editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 7.
  9. ^ Howorth, Henry Hoyle. 1876. History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th Century. Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 151.
  10. ^ "...metuens postmodum aeris intemperiem inexperti, et nonnulla impedimenta, multasque necessitates exponens, propter quae tuae non expediebat personae in Italicis partibus commorari...." This should not be taken to mean that the climate of Rome disagreed with Cardinal Báncsa; the Papal Court had been living at Perugia or Anagni since November 5, 1251.
  11. ^ F. Ughelli, Italia Sacra I (Venice 1716), pp. 209-210. Potthast, no. 15010. E. Berger (editor), Les registres d' Innocent IV tome III (Paris 1897), p. 273, nos. 6800-6801.
  12. ^ August Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum II (Berlin 1875), p. 1284.
  13. ^ Sede Vacante of 1254 and Election (Dr. J. P. Adams)
  14. ^ Potthast, p. 1472, p. 1309.
  15. ^ Registres d' Alexandre IV Tome I, p. 24, no 93. Potthast, no. 15621. J. Sbaralea (editor), Bullarium Franciscanum II (Rome 1761), p. 7. Peter Linehan, The Spanish Church and the Papacy in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge: CUP 1971), pp. 87-88.
  16. ^ Potthast, no. 17910. Johann Paul Reinhard, Vollstandiges Geschichte des Konigreichs Cypern I (Erlangen and Leipzig: Wolfgang Walther 1766), Beihang, p. 60.
  17. ^ T. Ripoll (editor), Bullarium Ordinis FF Praedicatorum Tomus primus (Rome 1729), no. 298, pp. 408-409.
  18. ^ Sede Vacante of 1261 and Election (Dr. J. P. Adams)
  19. ^ a b Miranda, Salvador. 1997. "Papal elections and conclaves of the 13th Century (1216-1294)."
  20. ^ Wilhelm Sievert, "Das Vorleben des Papstes Urban IV.," Römische Quartalschrift 10 (1896), 451-505; 12 (1898) 127-151, at p. 147, states that Stephen of Palestrina was one of the eight cardinals who were present.
  21. ^ Ernestus Strehlke, Tabula Ordinis Theutonici (Berlin 1869), p. 412, no. 623. Potthast, no. 18221.
  22. ^ Sede Vacante of 1264-1265 and Election (Dr. J. P. Adams)
  23. ^ Potthast, no. 19037. A. Tomassetti (editor), Bullarum, Diplomatum et Privilegiorum Taurinensis editio Tomus III (Turin 1858), p. 722-726.
  24. ^ Vincenzo Forcella, Catalogo dei manoscritti relativi alla storia di Roma I (Roma 1879), p. 171, no. 537 (Vat. Lat. 8034).
  25. ^ Sede Vacante of 1268-1271 and Election (Dr. J. P. Adams)
  26. ^ a b , but compare further, Alfonso Chacon (edited by A. Olduin), Vitae et res gestae pontificum romanorum II (Romae 1677) , p. 131: "e vivis sublatus est sedente Clemente IV anno videlicet a partu Virginis 1266." Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie de' cardinali della chiesa romana santa I. 2 (Roma 1792), p. 286: "Se non che in un necrologio del decimoterzo secolo esistente nella Biblioteca di S. Spirito in Saxia si trova segnata la morte del Cardinale Strigoneinse nel di 10. Luglio del 1266, con che pare, che rimanga decisa qualunque questione." Michael Szvorényi, Purpura Pannonica (Eger 1811), p. 5: "...cum ob intemperiem aeris Italiae, rediisset in Hungariam, reperit successorem Benedictum; tandem 1266, et juxta alios 1269, vita functus." Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica Volume 88 (Venezia 1858), p. 88: " ...e nel pontificato di quest' ultimo cambio il temporale coll'eterno nella sua morte, accadotagli in età decrepita nel 1266, non si sa se in Italia o in Ungheria. Timon, forse con più di ragione, fisse la sua morte al 1269, ad onta che il Necrologio del secolo XIII esistente nella biblioteca di s. Spirito in Saxia di Roma, registry la morte del cardinal Strigoniense a' 10 luglio 1266. P. Egidi, who edited that Necrology, does not vouch for the date of 1266, but does indicate that the date of July 10 is the date given in the manuscript: P. Egidi, Necrologi e libri affini della Provincia Romana (Roma 1908), p. 140; at p. 110 n. 2 he makes the year 1268.
  27. ^ Heinrich Finke, Ungedruckte Dominikanerbriefe des 13. Jahrhunderts (Paderborn 1891), p. 75 no. 38.
  28. ^ Vittore Branca, Venezia e Ungheria nel Rinascimento ( Florence: Leo S. Olschki 1973), p. 228.
  29. ^ His appointment was approved in Consistory by Clement IV on December 11, 1266: Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi I editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 197. Stephen had been a student in Bologna. He was elected Archbishop of Zagreb in 1264, but was refused confirmation by Pope Urban IV because he was under the minimum age for a bishop.
  30. ^ He did not participate, however, in the election of the compromise committee or the final vote on September 1, 1271. If he died on a July 9, then it was in 1271.
Political offices
Preceded by
Matthias Rátót
Succeeded by
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Matthias Rátót
Bishop of Vác
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Matthias Rátót
Archbishop of Esztergom
Succeeded by