Religion Wiki

Papal conclave of April 1555 (April 5 – April 9) was a papal conclave convoked after the death of Pope Julius III. Elected as his successor Cardinal Marcello Cervini, who took the name of Marcellus II, being the last pope in the history who retained his baptismal name.

List of participants

Pope Julius III died on March 23, 1555. Thirty seven out of fifty seven cardinals participated in the election of his successor:[1]

  • Jean du Bellay (May 21, 1535) – Cardinal-Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina; Bishop of Le Mans
  • Juan Álvarez de Toledo, O.P. (December 20, 1538) – Cardinal-Bishop of Albano; Inquisitor of Rome; Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela; Cardinal-protector of the Orders of Dominicans and Barnabites
  • Rodolfo Pio di Carpi (December 22, 1536) – Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati; Administrator of Girgento; Legate in the province of Patrimonium; Cardinal-protector of Scotland; Cardinal-protector of the Orders of Capuchins and Jesuits
  • Niccolò Caetani (December 22, 1536) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Eustachio; Archbishop of Capua; Administrator of Quimper
  • Marcello Cervini (December 19, 1539) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme; Bishop of Gubbio; Librarian of the Holy Roman Church
  • Miguel de Silva (December 19, 1539) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Trastavere; Administrator of Massa Marittima
  • Cristoforo Madruzzo (June 2, 1542) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Cesareo in Palatio; Bishop of Trento and Brixen
  • Bartolomé de la Cueva (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Bartolomeo all’Isola
  • Georges d'Armagnac (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo; Bishop of Rodez
  • Federico Cesi (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Prisca; Administrator of Cremona; Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals
  • Tiberio Crispi (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of S. S. Agata alla Suburra; Administrator of Amalfi
  • Girolamo Veralli (April 8, 1549) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Marcello
  • Giovanni Angelo Medici (April 8, 1549) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Stefano in Monte Celio; Bishop of Cassano al Ionio; Governor of Campagna e Marittima; Prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Grace
  • Fulvio della Corgna, O.S.Io.Hieros. (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Via; Administrator of Spoleto; Legate in Ascoli Piceno and Rieti
  • Giovanni Ricci (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Vitale, Gervasio e Protasio
  • Giovanni Andrea Mercurio (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Ciriaco alla Terme; Archbishop of Messina
  • Giacomo Puteo (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Simeon in Posterula; Archbishop of Bari
  • Pietro Bertani, O.P. (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Marcellino e Pietro; Bishop of Fano
  • Fabio Mignanelli (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite; Prefect of the Papal States
  • Giovanni Poggio (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Anastasia; Bishop of Tropea
  • Giovanni Battista Cicada (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Clemente; Legate in Capmagna; Administrator of Mariana
  • Cristoforo Ciocchi del Monte (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Prassede; Bishop of Marseilles
  • Giovanni Michele Saraceni (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli; Archbishop of Acerenza e Matera
  • Francesco Pisani (July 1, 1517) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Marco; commendatario of S. Maria in Portico; Protodeacon of the Sacred College of Cardinals; Bishop of Padua; Administrator of Narbonne
  • Ercole Gonzaga (May 3, 1527) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria Nuova; Bishop of Mantua; Cardinal-protector of Spain; Cardinal-protector of the Order of Canons Regular; Regent of the Duchy of Mantua
  • Ippolito II d'Este (December 20, 1538) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro; Administrator of Auch; Governor of Tivoli; Cardinal-protector of France
  • Giacomo Savelli (December 19, 1539) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano; Legate in March of Ancona
  • Girolamo Capodiferro (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro; Bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne
  • Ranuccio Farnese (December 16, 1545) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria; Grand penitentiary; Administrator of Ravenna; Archpriest of the patriarchal Lateran Basilica; Legate in Viterbo
  • Giulio Feltre della Rovere (July 27, 1547) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. S. Pietro in Vincoli; Legate in Umbria and Perugia
  • Innocenzo del Monte (May 30, 1550) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Onofrio
  • Luigi Cornaro (November 20, 1551) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Teodoro; Archbishop of Zadar
  • Girolamo Simoncelli (December 22, 1553) – Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano; Bishop of Orvieto

Fifteen electors were created by Julius III, twenty by Pope Paul III, one by Pope Clement VII and one by Leo X.

Absentee cardinals

Twenty cardinals were absent:[1]

  • François-Louis de Bourbon de Vendôme (July 1, 1517) – Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina; Administrator of Sens
  • François de Tournon (March 9, 1530) – Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina; Archbishop of Lyon; Superior General of the Order of Canons Regular of Saint Augustine
  • Robert de Lenoncourt (December 20, 1538) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Apollinare; Protopriest of the Sacred College of Cardinals; Administrator of Metz
  • Claude de Longuy de Givry (November 7, 1533) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Agnese in Agone; Administrator of Langres
  • Antoine Sanguin de Meudon (December 19, 1539) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Crisogono; Administrator of Toulouse
  • Giovanni Girolamo Morone (June 2, 1542) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina; Bishop of Novara; Papal Legate in Germany; Cardinal-protector of Austria and Ireland; Cardinal-protector of Order of Cistercians
  • Francisco Mendoza de Bobadilla (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Eusebio; Archbishop of Burgos
  • Jacques d'Annebaut (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Susanna; Bishop of Lisieux
  • Otto Truchess von Waldburg (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Sabina; Bishop of Augsburg
  • Durante de Duranti (December 19, 1544) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. XII Apostoli; Bishop of Brescia
  • Pedro Pacheco de Villena (December 16, 1545) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Balbina; Bishop of Sigüenza; Viceroy of the Kingdom of Naples
  • Henry of Portugal (December 16, 1545) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. IV Coronati; Archbishop of Évora; Legate a latere in Portugal; Inquisitor General of the Portuguese Inquisition
  • Charles de Lorraine-Guise (July 27, 1547) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Cecilia; Archbishop of Reims
  • Pietro Tagliavia de Aragonia (December 22, 1553) – Cardinal-Priest of [no title assigned]; Archbishop of Palermo
  • Girolamo Doria (January, 1529) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Tommaso in Parione; Administrator of Tarragona
  • Odet de Coligny de Châtillon (November 7, 1533) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Adriano; Administrator of Beauvais
  • Alessandro Farnese (December 18, 1534) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Lorenzo in Damaso; Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church; Archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican Basilica; Legate in Avignon; Administrator of Monreale and Cahors; Cardinal-protector of Poland, Portugal, Germany, Kingdom of Sicily, Republic of Genoa and Republic of Ragusa; Cardinal-protector of the Orders of Benedictines and Servites
  • Reginald Pole (December 22, 1536) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin; Papal Legate in England
  • Charles de Bourbon de Vendôme (January 9, 1548) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Sisto; Archbishop of Rouen
  • Louis I de Guise (December 22, 1553) – Cardinal-Deacon of [no deaconry assigned]; Administrator of Albi

Thirteen were created by Paul III, four by Clement VII, two by Julius III and one by Leo X.

Divisions in the Sacred College

College of Cardinals was divided into three parties:[2]

  • French party – the adherents of the king Henry II of France. Their leader was Charles de Lorraine-Guise.
  • Habsburg party – cardinals aligned with Emperor Charles V. Their leader was Cardinal Juan Álvarez de Toledo.
  • Italian party – group of Italian cardinals headed by Alessandro Cardinal Farnese, Cardinal-nephew of Paul III, with no direct connections with main Catholic powers: Habsburg Empire or France.

The election of Pope Marcellus II

The Cardinals present in Rome entered the conclave on April 5. Initially, they prepared and subscribed the conclave capitulation, which obliged elect to maintain neutrality in the European conflicts and forbade him conducting wars against Christian princes.[3] In spite of the existed divisions, cardinals quickly achieved consensus. On April 9 at 11 p.m.[4] they elected by acclamation[5] Cardinal Marcello Cervini. He was proposed by French faction,[6] but obtained also the support of the Imperial cardinals (e.g. Madruzzo[3]) despite the expressed wishes of Charles V against Cervini's election.[7]

On April 10 in the morning a formal scrutiny took place to confirm the election. Cervini received all votes except of his own, which he gave to Gian Pietro Carafa.[3] He retained his baptismal name, adding to it only an ordinal number (Marcellus II). On that same day, he was consecrated bishop of Rome by Cardinal Gian Pietro Carafa, bishop of Ostia e Velletri and Dean of the College of Cardinals, and crowned by Cardinal Francesco Pisani, Protodeacon of S. Marco.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 This is according to an account of this conclave in German on Vatican History and to O. Panvinio, p. 424-425. Salvador Miranda: list of participants of the conclave of April 1555 indicates that all cardinals participated in this conclave except Pietro Tagliavia de Aragonia and Louis I de Guise. The list of the electors and absentees is presented according to Panvinio, p. 424-425.
  2. Valérie Pirie: The Triple Crown: the election of Paul IV Although that link concerns the next conclave held in May 1555, the informations about parties existed in the Sacred College are correct also for the conclave of April 1555.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Vatican History
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cardinal Marcello Cervini (Pope Marcellus II by S. Miranda
  5. Bautz Biografisch-Bibliografiches Kirchenlexikon: Marcellus II
  6. The Triple Crown
  7. The Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Marcellus II