Celestine III
Bishop of Rome
Pope Celestine III, from the Liber ad honorem Augusti (1196)
ChurchCatholic Church
Papacy began30 March 1191
Papacy ended8 January 1198
PredecessorClement III
SuccessorInnocent III
Ordination13 April 1191
Consecration14 April 1191
by Ottaviano di Paoli
Created cardinalFebruary 1144
by Celestine II
Personal details
Giacinto Bobone

c. 1106
Died8 January 1198(1198-01-08) (aged 91–92)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post(s)Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (1144–1191)
MottoPerfice gressus meos in semitis tuis ("Going in Thy path")
SignatureCelestine III's signature
Other popes named Celestine
Ordination history of
Pope Celestine III
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorOttaviano di Paoli
Date14 April 1191
PlaceRome, Papal States
Elevated byPope Celestine II
DateFebruary 1144
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Pope Celestine III as principal consecrator
Martín López de Pisuerga6 June 1192
Martinho Pires1189
Philip of Poictou20 April 1197
Satirical cartoon of Celestine III crowning Emperor Henry VI with his feet. (This image refers to him as "Coelestinus 4," as the author considered Teobaldo Boccapecci as Pope Celestine II.)

Pope Celestine III (Latin: Caelestinus III; c. 1106 – 8 January 1198), was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 30 March or 10 April 1191 to his death in 1198. He had a tense relationship with several monarchs, including Emperor Henry VI, King Tancred of Sicily, and King Alfonso IX of León.

Early career

Giacinto Bobone was born into the noble Orsini family in Rome.[1] He was appointed as cardinal-deacon in 1144 by Celestine II or Lucius II.[2] Considered by the Roman Curia as an expert on Spain, Bobone conducted two legatine missions to Spain in (1154–55) and (1172–75) as the Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.[3]


Celestine was elected on 29/30 March 1191 and ordained a priest 13 April 1191.[2] He crowned Emperor Henry VI on the day after his election in 1191.[4] In 1192, Celestine recognized Tancred as king of Sicily, despite Henry VI's wife's claim.[5] He threatened to excommunicate Henry VI for wrongfully keeping King Richard I of England imprisoned, but he could do little else since the College of cardinals were against it. [5][6] He placed Pisa under an interdict, which was lifted by his successor, Innocent III in 1198.[7]

Celestine, in 1192, sent a cardinal-priest of St. Lorenzo, Cinthius, to Denmark to address the discord between the Danish princes.[8] Upon Cinthius' return to Rome, Celestine issued three papal bulls;Cum Romana ecclesia, Etsi sedes debeat, Quanto magnitudinem tuam. These bulls advised the archbishop Absalon of Lund to instruct the King of Denmark to release the bishop of Schleswig.[9] The bulls also threatened to excommunicate the offending Duke Valdemar, who had imprisoned the bishop of Schleswig, and place the kingdom of Denmark under interdict.[9] The bishop would stay imprisoned until Pope Innocent III restarted the process in 1203.[10]

Celestine condemned King Alfonso IX of León for his marriage to Theresa of Portugal on the grounds of consanguinity.[11] Portugal and León were placed under interdict.[11] Then, in 1196, he excommunicated Alfonso IX for allying with the Almohad Caliphate while making war on Castile.[12] Following his marriage with Berengaria of Castile, Celestine excommunicated Alfonso and placed an interdict over León.[13]

In December 1196, Celestine issued a bull acknowledging the possessions of the Teutonic Knights.[14]


Celestine would have resigned the papacy and recommended a successor (Cardinal Giovanni di San Paolo, O.S.B.) shortly before his death,[15] but was not allowed to do so by the cardinals.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Cross 1997, p. 309.
  2. ^ a b Duggan 2016, p. 1.
  3. ^ Robinson 2004, p. 417-418.
  4. ^ Robinson 1990, p. 510.
  5. ^ a b Robinson 2006, p. 382.
  6. ^ Poole 1926, p. 467.
  7. ^ Clarke 2007, p. 118.
  8. ^ Nielsen 2016, p. 159.
  9. ^ a b Nielsen 2016, p. 161.
  10. ^ Nielsen 2016, p. 163.
  11. ^ a b Lay 2009, p. 174.
  12. ^ Lower 2014, p. 605.
  13. ^ Moore 2003, p. 70-71.
  14. ^ Edbury 2016, p. 137.
  15. ^ William Stubbs (editor), Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene Vol. IV (London 1871), pp. 32-33.
  16. ^ Karl Holder, Die Designation der Nachfolger durch die Päpste (Freiburg Switzerland: B. Veith 1892), pp. 69-70.


Catholic Church titles Preceded byClement III Pope 1191–98 Succeeded byInnocent III

initial text from the 9th edition (1876) of an old encyclopedia