2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
The first pope to resign, Celestine V was born Pietro del Marrone in 1209/10 and is called St. Pietro. He became a Benedictine while he was in his teens and entered the solitary life when he was in his 20's. The piety of his life attracted followers, who later became the Celestines; in 1263, Urban IV incorporated them into the Benedictines. In 1276, Pietro was chosen abbot of the monastery of St. Maria di Faifala, the abbey where he had been professed. In 1293, he returned to the solitary life on Mt. Onofrio, near Mt. Marrone. A year later, he was elected pope and was brought down the mountain on a donkey to fullfill a prophecy of Joachim of Fiore about a meek pope. Celestine became the tool of Charles II of Naples and became increasingly unhappy in the office to which he had, against his will, been elected. On the advice of Cardinal Benedetto Caetani, who succeeded Celestine as Boniface VIII, Celestine resigned after five months as pope. He hoped to return to his beloved hermitage but was imprisoned in the Castel Fumone. He escaped once and was captured. Pietro died in 1296, and Clement V canonized him in 1313.
Karen Rae Keck
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