Papal Elections on the Eve of Issuance of the Papal Decree In nomine Domini – Historical Analysis of the Election of Popes Stephen IX and Nicholas II
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In the context of the further history of papal elections, the importance of Nicholas II’s electoral decree is fundamental. It is at the origin of the dominant position of the College of Cardinals in the selection of the new head of the Catholic Church in a form which was enforced as binding. This study considers the circumstances of the two papal elections – Stephen IX and Nicholas II. It is based on a conviction that an endeavour at defining the rules for the election of the head of the Catholic Church is closely linked to the specific situation at the end of the 1050s, and like many previous legislative amendments to the election process reflects major problems which the Roman Curia had to deal with. If we want to understand the significance and target of Nicholas II’s electoral decree, it is essential to analyse the situation which preceded the issuance of the decree in detail. The study therefore deals not only with the circumstances around the election of Pope Nicholas II, with whom the electoral modification is primarily linked, but also the pro-reform Stephen IX and Antipope Benedict X. This is because each proves a different approach to the desired form of securing a new pope and demonstrates a distinct concept for determining electors and an appropriate method for their establishment at the Holy See.
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