Pope Boniface VIII, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Pope Boniface VIII

193rd Pope of the Catholic Church

Date of Birth: 01-Jan-0001

Place of Birth: Anagni, Lazio, Italy

Date of Death: 11-Oct-1303

Profession: Catholic priest, cleric

Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

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About Pope Boniface VIII

  • Pope Boniface VIII (Latin: Bonifatius VIII; born Benedetto Caetani, c.
  • 1230 – 11 October 1303) was pope from 24 December 1294 to his death in 1303.
  • Caetani was of baronial origin with family connections to the papacy. He succeeded Pope Celestine V, a Benedictine, who had resigned from the papal throne.
  • Boniface spent his early career abroad in diplomatic roles.
  • In the College of Cardinals, he discriminated not only against the Benedictines but also members of the Colonna family, some of whom had contested the validity of the 1294 papal conclave that elected him following the unusual resignation of Pope Celestine V.
  • The dispute resulted in battles between troops of Boniface and his adversaries and the deliberate destruction and salting of the town of Palestrina, despite the pope's assurances that the surrendering city would be spared. Boniface VIII put forward some of the strongest claims of any pope to temporal as well as spiritual power.
  • He involved himself often with foreign affairs, including in France, Sicily, Italy and the First War of Scottish Independence.
  • These views, and his chronic intervention in "temporal" affairs, led to many bitter quarrels with Albert I of Germany, Philip IV of France, and Dante Alighieri, who wrote his treatise De Monarchia to dispute Boniface's claims of papal supremacy and placed the pope in the Eighth Circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy, among the simoniacs. Boniface systematized canon law by collecting it in a new volume, Liber Sextus (1298), which continues to be important source material for canon lawyers.
  • He organized the first Catholic "jubilee" year to take place in Rome in order to gain political clout over Philip IV of France or make up for loss of funds from him.
  • Boniface had first entered into conflict with Philip IV of France in 1296 when the latter sought to reinforce the nascent nation state by imposing taxes on the clergy and barring them from administration of the law.
  • The conflict escalated when the French arrested and convicted papal legate Bernard Saisset for insurrection.
  • The pope issued a bull, Ausculta Fili, in which he declared that both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope's jurisdiction, and that kings were subordinate to the power of the Roman pontiff.
  • Philip disobeyed and had Ausculta Fili publicly burnt in Paris in 1302.
  • Boniface excommunicated Philip and all others who prevented French clergy from traveling to the Holy See, after which the king sent his troops to attack the pope's residence in Anagni on 7 September 1303 and capture him.
  • Boniface was held for three days and beaten badly. Boniface died a month later, on 11 October 1303, of high fever and was buried in a special chapel.
  • Philip IV pressured Pope Clement V of the Avignon Papacy into staging a posthumous trial of Boniface.
  • He was accused of heresy and sodomy.
  • Pope Clement V referred the process to the 1311 Council of Vienne, where two knights challenged the claim to a trial by combat.
  • With no one willing to fight them, the Council declared the matter closed.
  • His body was accidentally exhumed in 1605 and was found to be in relatively good condition, dispensing the legend that he had become frenzied, gnawing his hands and bashing his brains out against the wall.

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