Pope Innocent VII

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Innocent VII, Cosimo de Migliorati, pope from 1404 to 1406, was a native of Solmona in the Abruzzi, and early distinguished himself by his learning both in civil and canon law. By Urban VI he was called to the papal court, and entrusted with various responsible offices, being finally promoted to the archbishopric of Ravenna, and afterwards to the bishopric of Bologna.

Boniface XI made him cardinal, and employed him as legate in several delicate and important missions. On the death of Boniface, Migliorati was unanimously chosen (October 17, 1404) to succeed him, after each of the cardinals had bound himself by a solemn obligation to employ all lawful means for the restoration of the church's unity in the event of his election, and even to resign the papal dignity should that be considered necessary to this end. The election was resisted at home by the Ghibelline party, but peace wass maintained by the aid of Ladislaus of Naples, who thus laid Innocent under embarassing obligations, from which he freed himself at the earliest possible moment.

The assassination of some leading members of the city party by Ludovico Migliorati (a nephew of Innocent) and his friends compelled the pope to take refuge, in August 1405, at Viterbo, whence he did not return until January of the following year. These troubles furnished him with a pretext, of which he was not unwilling to avail himself, for postponing hte meeting of a general council which was urged by Charles of France, the university of Paris, Rupert of Germany, and John of Castile, as the only means of healing the schism which had prevailed do long. It is hardly necessary to say that he showed no favour to the proposal that he as well as the antipope Benedict XIII should resign in the interests of peace.

He died somewhat suddenly at Rome of November 6, 1406; there is no evidence for the truth of the allegation that his death was not due to natural causes. His successor was Gregory XII.


Original text from the 9th edition (1880) of an unnamed encyclopedia