(April 10, 1585—April 24,1585

SS Peter and Paul




The two patron saints of the Roman church, Peter with a book and keys, Paul with a sword..

Arms of Card. Guastavillani


Arms of Filippo Card. Guastavillani, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (1584-1587), surmounted by the Ombrellone, crossed keys.

Berman, p. 114 #1304.

Stemma of Cardinal Filippo Guastavillani Born in Bologna in 1541, FILIPPO CARDINAL GUASTAVILLANI [Vastavillani] (1541-1587) was the son of Angelo Michele Guastavillani, a patrician of Bologna, and of Giacoma Boncompagni, whose brother became Pope Gregory XIII in 1572. Filippo was a senator of the city of Bologna from 1571 until 1576. His uncle made him a cardinal deacon on July 5, 1574, and he received the Deaconry of Santa Maria Nuova, which he exchanged for Santa Maria in Cosmedin in 1577, and that for Sant' Angelo in Pescheria in 1583, and finally Sant' Eustachio in 1587. He held various administrative posts in the Papal States, Spoleto (1578), Ancona (1578-1581; 1585), the Holy House of Loreto (1585-1587) . He became Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on May 14, 1584, and held the office until his death on August 17, 1587.


Alessandro Cardinal Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III, was the Bishop of Ostia and Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals at the time of the Interregnum.

The Hereditary Marshal of the Holy Roman Church and Protector of the Conclave was Don Bernardino Savelli (Francesco Cancellieri, Notizie storiche delle stagioni e di siti diversi in cui sono stati tenuti i conclavi . . . (Roma 1823), 19-20, from the conclave diary of Paolo Alaleona, Papal Master of Ceremonies).

The Governor of Rome was Sangiorgio, and the Governor of the Borgo, and thus Governor of the Conclave, was Ghislieri. Don Giacomo Boncompagni, Duke of Soria, General of the Church, and the others took their oath of loyalty on the afternoon of April 21. Other Guardians of the Conclave were the Ambassador of the King of France, and the two Ambassadors of Bologna.

Death of Gregory XIII

Pope Gregory XIII (Boncompagni) died on April 10. 1585, the Wednesday before Palm Sunday, at the age of 83. The novendiales began on April 11.


The Cardinals

During the reign of Gregory XIII (1572-1585), thirty-nine cardinals had died (Petramellari, 203). There were sixty living cardinals at the time of the Conclave of 1585 (list in Petramellari, 273-275).


Cardinals attending:

  1. Alessandro Farnese (aged 64), Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia e Velletri, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Vice-Chancellor S.R.E. (died March 2, 1589) Grandson of Pope Paul III
  2. Giacomo Savelli (aged 62), Suburbicarian Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina, Sub-Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals. (died December 5, 1587) Vicar of Rome
  3. Giovanni Antonio Serbelloni (aged 66), Suburbicarian Bishop of Frascati. (died March 18, 1591)
  4. Alfonso Gesualdo (44), Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano (died February 14, 1603). Vice-Protector of Hungary.
  5. Giovanni Francesco Gambara (52), Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina (died May 5, 1587).

  6. Girolamo Simoncelli (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca (died 1605) Administrator of Orvieto. "Sanseverino". Grand-nephew of Julius III
  7. Markus Sitticus von Hohenems (or Altemps) (aged 53), nephew of Pius IV, Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere (d. 1595), Bishop of Konstanz, Germany.
  8. Ludovico Madruzzo (aged 53), Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio (d. 1600) Prince-Bishop of Trent. Protector of Germany.
  9. Iñigo de Aragona (aged 50 or 51), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina (died 1600)
  10. Marc' Antonio Colonna (aged 62), Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in vinculis (died March 14, 1597)
  11. Tolomeo Galli (aged 57), Cardinal Priest of Sant' Agata in Suburra (d. 1607) "Como". Secretary of State of Pope Gregory XIII
  12. Prospero Santacroce (aged 70), Cardinal Priest of San Clemente (died 1589) Doctor (probably of law), Padua.
  13. Guglielmo Sirleto (aged 70), Cardinal Priest of San Lorenzo in Pansiperna (died October 6, 1585) Bibliothecarius of the Holy Roman Church (Vatican Librarian)
  14. Gabriele Paleotti (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of San Martino ai Monti (d. 1597) Archbishop of Bologna .
  15. Michele Bonelli, OP, (aged 44), Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, grand nephew and Nipote of Pius V, (d. 1598) "Alessandrino"
  16. Antonio Carafa (aged 47), Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni e Paolo (died January 31, 1591) .
  17. Giulio Antonio Santorio (or Santori). Cardinal Priest of San Bartolomeo all' Isola (died May 9, 1602)
  18. Pier Donato Cesi (aged 64).Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (died September 29, 1586)
  19. Charles d'Angennes de Rambouillet (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of Santa Eufemia (died March 23, 1587) Bishop of Le Mans
  20. Felice Peretti Montalto, OFM.Conv. (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of San Girolamo degli Schiavoni (died August 27, 1590) Pope Sixtus V
  21. Girolamo Rusticucci (aged 48), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna, former Bishop of Sinigaglia (died 1603).
  22. Nicolas de Pellevé (aged 70), Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (died 1594) Archbishop of Sens.
  23. Gian Girolamo Albani (aged 81), Cardinal Priest of San Giovanni a Porta Latina (died April 15, 1591).
  24. Filippo Boncompagni (aged 36), Cardinal Priest of San Sisto (died June 9, 1586) Penitentiary Major, Archpriest of S. Maria Maggiore (Liberian Basilica).
  25. Alessandro Riario (aged 41), Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (died July 18, 1585), Patriarch of Alexandria.
  26. Pedro de Deza (aged 65), Cardinal Priest of Santa Prisca (died August 27, 1600).
  27. Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti (aged 65), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quattro Coronati (died December 30, 1591).
  28. Giambattista Castagna (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of San Marcello (died September 27, 1590) Legate in Bologna.
  29. Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of SS Quirico e Giulitta (died 1605) "Cardinal of Florence" Fiorenza, Archbishop of Florence.
  30. Giulio Canani (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of San Eusebio (d. 1592) Bishop of Adria; Doctor in utroque iure, Ferrara.
  31. Niccolò Sfondrati (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (died October 16, 1591) Bishop of Cremona.
  32. Filippo Spinola (aged 49), son of Agostino Spinola [Genuensis].  His brother was the Emperor's pincerna (cupbearer-winetaster). Created Cardinal Priest of Santa Sabina (1584-1593) by Gregory XIII on December 12, 1583.  Referendary of both Signaturae.  Bishop of Bisignano (1566-1569).  Bishop of Nola (1569-1584), at the request of Emperor Rudolph II.  Sixtus V made him Legate of Perugia, the Duchy of Spoleto and Umbria.  (died August 20, 1593)
  33. Matthieu Cointerel (aged 66), Cardinal Priest of San Stefano al Monte Celio (San Stefano Rotondo) (died November 29, 1585)
  34. Scipione Lancelotti (aged 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Simeone Profeta (died 1598) Doctor in utroque iure (Bologna) at the age of 18.  Consistorial Advocate.

  35. Ferdinando de' Medici (aged 35), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica, Legate in Perugia (died February 22, 1609) Grand Duke of Tuscany 1587-1609, resigned the cardinalate in 1588.
  36. Luigi (Ludovico) d' Este (aged 47), son of Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara, and Renée, daughter of Louis XII of France; nephew of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este. Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (December 19, 1583; died December 30, 1586) Administrator of Auch, France (1563-1586), appointed through the patronage of Henri II. Protector of France [Gallia christiana 1 , 1004].
  37. Guido Luca Ferrero (aged 47), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Vito e Modesto (died May 16, 1585)
  38. Filippo Guastavillani (aged 44), Cardinal Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria (died August 17, 1587) Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
  39. Andreas von Austria (aged 26) Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nova (died 1621) nephew of Emperor Charles V and also of Emperor Ferdinand I, Bishop of Brixen (arrived on April 23).
  40. Giovanni Vincenzo Gonzaga, O.Hosp.S.Joh.Hieros.(aged 44), Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (died December 23, 1591)
  41. Antonmaria Salviati (aged 48), Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria in Aquiro (died 1602) .
  42. Francesco Sforza di Santa Fiora (aged 22) [Born at Parma, on November 6, 1562];  his father was Conte di Santa Fiore; his mother Catharina was a relative of Pope Julius III. Grand-nephew of Pope Paul III.  Nephew of Cardinal Guido Ascanio Sforza.  Cardinal Deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro (1584-1585);  then Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere (July 29, 1585-1588).  Before being created cardinal, he was a courtier of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and married the Grand Duke's sister. He had then fought in the Netherlands with his uncle, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma.  Canon of S. Niccolo in Carcere.  Sixtus V appointed him Legate in the Romagna.   (died 1624)

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Niccolò Caetani (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of San Eustachio (died May 1, 1585) Archbishop of Capua.
  2. Georges d'Armagnac (aged 84 or 85), Cardinal Priest of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano (died July 10, 1585) Administrator of the Archdiocese of Toulouse, Co-Legate in Avignon
  3. Charles II de Bourbon-Vandôme (aged 61), Cardinal Priest of San Crisogono (died May 9, 1590) Archbishop of Rouen
  4. Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle (aged 67), Suburbicarian Bishop of Sabina, Archbishop of Besançon (died September 21, 1586)
  5. Albrecht von Austria (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon (of S. Croce in Gerusalemme), son of Emperor Maximilian II (died 1621) Viceroy of Portugal 1585-1595.
  6. Louis de Lorraine de Guise (aged 29), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died December 24, 1588)) Archbishop of Reims
  7. Charles de Lorraine de Vaudémont (aged 23), Cardinal Deacon without deaconry (died Octob er 30, 1587) Administrator of Toul, and Bishop of Verdun
  8. Gaspar Quiroga y Vela (aged 73), Cardinal Priest of Santa Balbina (died November 12, 1594) Archbishop of Toledo
  9. Rodrigo de Castro Osorio de Lemos (aged 62), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died September 18, 1600) Archbishop of Seville
  10. François de Joyeuse (aged 22), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died 1615) Archbishop of Narbonne
  11. Michele della Torre (aged 74), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died February 21, 1586) Bishop of Ceneda.
  12. Agostino Valeri (or Valier) (aged 54), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died May 23, 1606) Bishop of Verona.
  13. Vincenzo Lauro (aged 62), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died December 17, 1592) Bishop of Mondovi.
  14. Alberto Bolognetti (aged 46), Cardinal Priest without titulus (died May 17, 1585) Bishop of Massa marittima. Nuncio in Poland.
  15. Jerzy Radzvil (Radziwill) (aged 28) [Lithuania], a convert to Catholicism.  Made a Cardinal Priest without titulus by Gregory XIII on December 12, 1583.  Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (July 14, 1586-1600). Coadjudtor of Vilnius in 1576. Bishop of Vilnius (1579-1591).  Bishop of Krakow (1591-1600).  Legate of Clement VIII to the Emperor Rudolph. He came to Rome for the Jubilee of 1600, which began at Christmas of 1599, but died suddently  on January 21, 1600.  He was buried in the Gesu.
  16. Simeone Tagliavia d'Aragona (aged 34) [born in the Castle of Veziano, in the diocese of Mazzara in Sicily], son of Carlos, Duke of Terranova, Prince of Vetrana, and Margarita Ventimiglia; nephew of Cardinal Pietro Tagliavia.  Taken to Spain as a child, studied at the Complutense; laureate in philosophy and theology. His father was Spanish ambassador to the Diet of Cologne, and spent nine years ruling Sicily in the name of the Emperor Charles V; he also ruled various province in Spain and the Netherlands for Philip II. Simeone was named a cardinal by Gregory XIII at the age of 33. Cardinal Priest without titulus. He was given S. Maria Angelorum in Thermis on May 20, 1585 [Eubel III, p. 65].  He was prefect of the SC of Bishops and Regulars. (died May 20, 1604).
  17. Charles III de Bourbon de Vendôme (aged 23), Cardinal Deacon without deaconry (died May 9, 1590) Coadjutor Archbishop of Rouen
  18. András Báthory (aged 19), nephew of Stephen Báthory, King of Poland. Cardinal Deacon of San Adriano al Foro (1584-1587) (died October 28, 1599) Bishop of Warmia (Ermland, in Prussia) (1584-1599).  He was entrusted with the governorship of Transylvania, in the face of the Turkish onslaught, but, due to the treachery of Vaivod Michael of Wallachia, the territory passed under the control of Austria, and he lost his governorship.  During a battle against the Voivod, he was in retreat, fell of his horse, and died of his injuries, on October 28, 1599.


Opening of the Conclave. Factions

The conclave began in the Vatican on April 21, Easter Sunday. At the opening ceremonies, out of sixty living cardinals thirty-two cardinals were in attendance, according to Paolo Alaleone, the Master of Ceremonies (Gattico, p. 338). The oration de pontifice eligendo was pronounced by Msgr. Marcantonio Mureti. Two factions, led by the Cardinals Ferdinando de' Medici and Ludovico d' Este (grandson of King Louis XII of France and Protector of France before the Holy See), were struggling for control and willing to combine to make a pope, if only they could agree on a common candidate.

On Monday, April 22, the Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Farnese, the Cardinal Dean, and all of the Cardinals received Holy Communion. After Mass, the Bulls of Julius II, Pius V and Gregory XIII were read and the Cardinals swore to observe them. In mid-afternoon all of the Conclavists were summoned to the Capella Paolina. The senior cardinal of each order (Farnese, Simoncelli, and Medici) and the Chamberlain (Guastavillani) presided. As each person's name was called by Msgr. Alaleone, one by one they were permitted to leave the chapel, thus making sure that no unauthorized persons were present.


Early Maneuvers

In the morning of Tuesday, April 23, the Cardinals unanimously voted to give the Masters of Ceremonies four scudi for each cardinal every month during the Sede Vacante, as their regalia for participation in the Conclave.

Cardinal Andreas of Austria also arrived on April 23, and presented the Conclave officials with a document signed by Gregory XIII, which granted him the privilege of electing the pope even if he had not been ordained Deacon. Tthe Brief was read to the Cardinals, who assembled in the Capella Paolina. The document was authenticated and registered by the Secretary of the Conclave on the instruction of the Cardinals. All the Cardinals then went to the Entrance to the Conclave to welcome the Austrian Cardinal, but before he entered Cardinal de' Medici also presented a Brief of Pope Pius IV which had been confirmed by Pius V, granting him the same right of participating in Conclave even though he was not at least a Deacon. This was also read aloud by the Secretary, Silvio, and registered. Cardinal Sforza also presented a document testifying that he had been ordained to the Diaconate, and that too was registered (Gattico, pp. 338-339).

On the 23nd of April, it appeared that Cardinals Pier Donato Cesi and Guglielmo Sirleto were favored by the vote, though by the next morning they were abandoned, having been the subject of much maneuvering by the faction leaders. Wanting to avoid the potential influence of cardinals who had not yet arrived, Medici then proposed two names to D' Este, those of Cardinals Albani and Montalto, and invited him to choose. D' Este imposed conditions, however, and the projected deal, when news got out, caused much indignation. Through a series of misdirections and strategems, Medici convinced the cardinals that Montalto was NOT his candidate, though Cardinal Altemps (Markus Sittich von Hohenems, cousin of Carlo Borromeo and nephew of Pius IV) guessed that he was, which Medici confirmed. Altemps, who was a leader of a group of cardinals who had been created by his uncle, was brought into Medici's circle.


The Influence of Cardinal Madruccio

On the evening of the 23rd, Ludovico Cardinal Madruzzo (Madruccio), who was the designated leader of the Spanish faction, arrived in Rome and had conversations with the Spanish and Imperial ambassadors before he entered conclave.

On Wednesday, the 24th of April, before daylight, Medici had explained to Montalto all that had been done on the previous day in favor of his candidacy, and advised him as to how affairs should be conducted. D'Este met with Farnese—who believed that Montalto had no voting strength—and managed to further misdirect him. During a meeting in the Pauline Chapel, d' Este recruited Guastavillani, the Cardinal Camerlengo; Giambattista Castagna, the Cardinal of San Marcello; and Francesco Sforza.

According to Paolo Alaleone, the Master of Ceremonies, Cardinal Madruzzo was admitted to the Conclave on April 24 along with Cardinal Ferrero. Alaleone noticed that while the two cardinals were in the Chapel and the Bulls governing the Conclave were being read by them, after which they took the required oaths, two other Cardinals, Bonelli and Boncompagni had left the Chapel.

Meeting immediately with Cardinal d' Este, Madruzzo learned of d' Este's dislike of his own favorite, Sirleto. With Sirleto blocked and considering that a completely pro-Spanish pope would be as unpalatable as a completely pro-French one, Madruzzo therefore declared himself to d'Este to be against Cardinal Albani, and thus in favor of Montalto. Altemps, Medici and Gesualdo then put pressure on Madruccio as well, and he was won over. As leader of the Spanish interest, Madruccio brought his own influence to bear on Andrew of Austria, Colonna, Deza (Seza), Gonzaga, Sfondrati and Spinola. With all of these adherents, Medici and d'Este still needed four votes. These could only be had in the group of Gregory XIII's cardinals organized by Alessandro Farnese, the Dean of the College of Cardinals.

Before the scrutiny began, Cardinals Bonelli and Boncompagni, who were having conversations with those cardinals who were outside the Chapel, returned and announced to Cardinal Montalto (Peretti) that they were making him pope. Boncompagni, Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto, asked Montalto to choose the name of Sixtus. This activity was noticed by the rest of the Cardinals, but at that point the announcement was made that all should return to their places.



When the cardinals finally assembled in the Paoline Chapel, d' Este declared that it was not necessary to proceed to a ballot, since it was obvious who the new pope was. Without opposition the cardinals proceeded to do hommage ('adoration') to Felice Cardinal Peretti, OFM, "Cardinal Montalto," though, immediately afterwards, a vote was conducted by asking each cardinal to cast his vote aloud. The vote was unanimous. While he was still in his place, Montalto signed and swore to the Electoral Capitulations and made his formal acceptance of his election. The new pope retired to the Sacristy to revest himself in the papal garments, and he was then led to the papal throne by Cardinals De Medici and Guastavillani.

Cardinal François de Joyeuse arrived in Rome too late to participate in the Conclave.

The coronation of Sixtus V took place on May 1. As senior cardinal deacon Cardinal de' Medici placed the tiara on his head. On May 5, Sixtus took possession of the Lateran.

Procession of Sixtus V to the Lateran, 1585
Procession of Sixtus V to the Lateran for the Possessio (Fresco in the Vatican Library)


Portrait of Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici, seated at a table
Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici
(Grand Duke Ferdinando I)


For the Conclave of 1585, see Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici da San Pietro sino al ... Pio Papa VII   third edition, Volume 8 (Roma 1822) 103-106. L. Ranke, The Ecclesiastical and Political History of the Popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Volume I (tr. S. Austin) (Philadelphia 1841); Giovanni Leti, Vita di Sisto Quinto, pontefice romano Volume II (Torino 1852) 40-86; Baron Joseph Alexandre Hübner, The Life and Times of Sixtus V Volume I (tr. H.E.H. Jerningham) (London 1872), pp. 187-205; id., Sixte-Quint nouvelle édition (Paris 1882) Vol. II, pp. 435-443 (a letter of April 24, 1585, from Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici to Grand Duke Francesco de' Medici).


Giovanii Antonio Petramellari, Ad librum Onuphrii Panvinii de summis pontif. et S. R. E. Cardinalibus a Paulo IV ad Clementis Octavi Annum Pontificatus Octavum Continuatio (Bononiae: Apud heredes Ioannis Rosij, MDIC). Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo Quarto (Roma 1793).


Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753).


M. Antonii Mureti oratio habita ad Illustrissimos et Reverendissimos S. R. E. Cardinales ipso die Paschae, cum subrogandi Pontificis causa conclave ingressuri essent anno MDLXXXV (Romae: apud Franciscum Zanettum 1585). 11pp.


Alexandre de Hübner, Sixte-Quint  nouvelle edition Tome I (Paris: Hachette, 1882).


Augustinus Brunus, "Vita Gabrielis Palaeoti S. R. E. Cardinalis, Episcopi Sabinensis, archiepiscopi Bononiensis," E. Martène-U. Durand, Veterorum scriptorum et monumentorum...amplissima collectio Tomus VI (Paris 1729), 1385-1438. Paolo Prodi, Il cardinale Gabriele Paleotti (1522-1597) 2 volumes (Roma: edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1959, 1967).


P. O. von Törne, Ptolémée Gallio, Cardinal de Côme  (Paris: Alphonse Picard, 1907).   G. B. Adriani, "Della vita e delle varie Nunziature del Cardinale Prospero Santa Croce," Miscellanea di storia Italiana V.


The Ceremoniale which was in effect at the Conclave of 1585, published at Venice in 1582, is reprinted in Iohannes Gerhardus Meuschen (editor), Caeremonialia Electionis et Coronationis Pontificis Romani et Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Francorurti: ex officina B. Joh. Max. a Sande.  MDCCXXXII), pp. 135-192.



February 10, 2015 10:24 AM

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