The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Antipope Felix V (1430-1447)
Consistory of 1447 (V)

(25) 1. LUSIGNAN, Lancelot de (ca. 1406-1451)

Birth. Ca. 1406, Cyprus. He was an illegitimate son of Philippe de Lusignan (brother of King Janus II of Cyprus), constable of Cyprus from 1413, and an unknown lady; Philippe never married. Nephew of Cardinal Hugues de Lusignan (1426). His first name is also listed as Lanzilottus; and his last name as Lusignano. He was known as the Cardinal of Cyprus (Cardinalis de Chypro).

Education. Early in his life, he was destined to the ecclesiastical state. Studied at the University of Padua, where he attended the graduation of his friend Pietro del Monte on August 15, 1433; at that time he was the illustrissimus et magnifiscus dominus Lancellottus de Cipro, consanguineus regis; he finished his studies in 1436, having obtained a master's degree and a doctorate in decrees (canon law).

Early life. In 1420 or 1421, Pope Martin V granted him a dispensation super defectum natalium and allowed him to receive the minor orders. In 1428, appears the first document by which Philippe de Lusignan legitimized his son. In that same year, he became member of the household of his uncle the cardinal. On July 14, 1428, the first time he was mentioned in the papal registry, and three months after the arrival of his uncle the cardinal in Rome, Pope Martin V, by a papal bull, renewed the absolution for illegitimacy and allowed him to be promoveri ad omnes ordines et recipere et retinere beneficia etiamsi canonicatus vel dignitatis. He was addressed as Lanzilottus nobilis viri Filippi de Lusignano natus, clericus Nicosiensis. The bull showed that he was already twenty years old, then the canonical age required to become a canon. On that same date, his cousins Guy and Phoebus were also legitimized. He accompanied his uncle in his travels throughout Europe in 1428. He was an apostolic referendary. Pope Eugenius IV named him protonotary apostolic on November 23, 1434, although he appears only as notarius.

Sacred orders. He received the clerical tonsure as cleric of Nicosia.

Episcopate. He received from his uncle the administration of the see of Nemosia (Limisso, or Limasol, or Lemesos) in 1436. On August 11, 1426, Lancelot received the third absolution for illegitimacy linked to the right to be promoted ad omnes ordines etiamsi episcopales et archiepiscopales and to accept such dignities if elected. His uncle intervened with Pope Eugenius IV in order to obtain for his nephew volentes regi et tibi de alicuius subventionis auxilio providere; the pope granted the request on August 28, 1436. He is referred to as magister, notarius papae, canonicus Nicosiensis, nepos cardinalis Tusculani in the nomination; and as celricus Nicosiensis, notarius papae, nobilis, nepos cardinalis in the license. In a clause of the nomination it is expressed that he owed it to his uncle and that the pension was 300 florins a year. He probably accompanied his uncle in his first trip to Cyprus in 1436 and was back in the Occident in 1438. On May 2, 1438, he was transferred to the see of Paphos, in commendam. Consecrated (no information found). In May 1438, he was in Ferrara accompanying his uncle or as his representative, although he may have been there since the previous February. On September 1, 1438, he was in the papal curia. In May 1440, he was in Pignérol and is referred to as Lancelottus de Lusignano episcopus, protonotarius, dominus helemosinarius et commissarius cardinalis de Cipro. He was mentioned as Lancelottus de Lusignano notaris et commendatarius seu administrator eccl. Paphenis in a papal bull dated July 9, 1440, granting the post of scribanus Paphensis to Philippe Sulogani. Together with his uncle he adhered to the obedience of Antipope Felix V in 1440. He accompanied his uncle to Genoa and signed the Treaty Genoa-Cyprus on April 8, 1441. In the first half of 1442, he appeared in several acts in Pignérol as locumtenes as he was referred to as decretorum doctor, protonotarius, nepos cardinalis Tuscolani. In August 1441, his uncle died and little by little, Lancelot, then thirty six years old, occupied his place. He developed his activities as prelate at the service of Antipope Felix V; as counselor-minister of his cousin, Duke Louis of Savoy; and as abbot commendatario of Notre Dame de Pignérol having succeeded his uncle at the request of the consilium communae, which the antipope granted on March 7, 1443, giving him the perpetual administration of the abbey, vacans per obitum Ugonis episcopi Tusculani vulgarier nuncupati cardinalis de Cipro; he received the privileges of the convent on the following May 11. On March 11, 1443, he signed, as protonotarius apostolicus the engagement contract between Charlotte de Savoie and Frédéric Saxe in albergonia Angeli, Lausanne. On July 30 and December 14, 1443, he appeared as executor in two bulls concerning a canonship and a pension, both in the diocese of Genève. He was provost of S. Maria de Ferrania in the diocese of Alba from January 25, 1444 until November 7, 1448. On March 3, 1444, he attended funeral of Philippe de Savoie, count of Genève and brother of Duke Louis of Savoy, celebrated in Hautecpmbe. The question of choosing between Antipope Felix V and Pope Eugenius IV was not an issue to him. In the course of the last years he had been with his uncle Cardinal Hugues who had taken the side of his relative the antipope; Lancelot had been living in Savoy and Piedmont and Savoy and not only was a cousin of the duchess of Savoy but also was part of a group of Cypriots who had established themselves in Savoy; as far as choosing between Paphos and the north of Italy, he felt better in the West than in Cyprus, which he had left when he was a young man. Besides, he belonged to the great family of Italian humanists. For joining the obedience of Antipope Felix V, Pope Eugenius IV deprived him of the see of Paphos on March 20, 1444, privatus ... qui adhaeret Felicem antipapam Amedeum ducem Sabaudiae. Between January 25 and February 5, 1445, the antipope named him patriarch of Jerusalem. On January 25, 1445, he appeared in a bull as executor, together with the archbishop of Tarentaise; he also received the iurisdictio super prioratum Sancti Sepolchri of Annecy. In documents concerning Pignérol and Piedmont, dated in February and March 1445, he appeared with title of patriarch and legatus apostolicu or legatus specialis papae. On April 22, 1445, he signed, in the first place, the famous treaty super non alienationem ducatus: Lancelotus patriarcha Hyeroslimintanusin conventu O.P. Gebennensis. On the follwoing day, April 23, he signed the engagement contract between Marguerite de Savoie and Adolphe de Gueldres. He was designated as patriarcha Hierosolymitanus during 1445 and 1446. In June 1446, he was noted as in curia residens; and on November 16 and December 13, in Genève. On December 13, 1446, he signed, in the first place, as patriarch of Jerusalem, an act, dated in Genève of Duke Louis, in favor of the cathedral chapter of Lausanne. In 1446-1447, he participated in the difficult transactions concerning the dowry of Marguerite de Savoire, who having become the widow of the king of Sicily, had married Palatine Count Louis in October 1445.

Cardinalate. Created pseudocardinal priest by Antipope Felix V in Genève before August 1447; received the title of S. Lorenzo in Damaso. The title had been vacant since the death of Pseudocardinal Aleksander Mazowiecki, prince-bishop of Trent, on June 2, 1444. After his promotion to the cardinalate, he resigned the patriarchate of Jerusalem. He appears as cardinal in the documents issued by the antipope from August 19, 1447 until February 1449. In the acts of Pignérol, he is mentioned as cardinal for the first time on December 29, 1447. On June 28, 1448, as cardinalis de Cipro, he was a witness for Duke Louis in a concession for François de Grilly, papal chamberlain. He was also witness in another act signed the following November 14. In December 1448, Duke Louis placed him in charge of the transactions with Jean Grimaldi of Monaco concerning the sale and the new allegiance with Roquebrune and of half of Menton, which resulted in the treaty signed in Turin by the pseudo cardinal on December 19 of that year. The treaty was very important for Savoy because it gave the duchy an exit to the sea closer than Nice. In February 1449, he conducted the negotiations in Milan that led to the conventiones cum communitate Mediolanensis. From Milan, he went to Genoa, where he resided in casa Simonis de Moneta; in that city he engaged Raffael Adorno, Barnaba Adorno and Pierre Spinola to overthrow Doge Lodovico Campofregoso; the three promised, that once in power, they would intervene in Cyprus to safeguard the rights of Anne de Lusignan (or of Cyprus), wife of Duke Louis of Savoy. Agnès de Lusignan, sister of Cardinal Hugues, who was in the court of Savoy, must not have been aware of the plan because she returned to Cyprus in October of that year; on the 23rd of that month, Cardinal-Legate Amedédéd gave her a lttera passus, authorizing her to travel cum toto suo apparato universaque familia, equis, bahutis, valesiis, vestibus, iocalibus, libris, auro, argento monetato et non monetato, veysella, litteris financiis et aliis rebus. On April 7, 1449, Antipope Felix V reconciled with Pope Nicholas V, who named him, Amédée de Savoie, bishop of the suburbicarian see of Sabina, dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and legate in all the territories that had recognized him as antipope at the moment of his abdication, in the first place Savoie and Piedmont. The pope also confirmed the acts of the antipope. The prelates elevated by the antipope to the cardinalate were demanded to request a new nomination by the pope. There is no record that Pseudocardinal Lancelot ever requested to be nominated cardinal by Pope Nicholas V but this did not exclude him as he is mentioned as a cardinal in ecclesiastical and lay documents dated July 17 and 25, August 14, October 4 and 13, November 7 and December 19, 1449. On July 27, 1449, Duke Louis, addressing him as notre cher ami et cousin Lancelot de Lusignan cardinal de Chypre named him arbiter in dispute between Jean, bastard of Armagnac, and the dauphin of Vienne. The first three pseudocardinals who made the request, Louis Aleman, C.R.S.J. (who had been created by Pope Martin V), Guillaume-Hugues d'Estaing, O.S.B., and Louis de La Palud, O.S.B., were confirmed on December 19, 1449. In the meantime, a rupture, which reason is unknown, had occurred between Pseudocardinal Lancelot and then Cardinal-legate Amédée de Savoie. Chronica Latina Sabadiae relates: Amadeus abstulit capellum Lanceloti de Lusignano cardinalis de Cipro, quem propter sua demerita, in Montecalieri, cum honore ecclesiastico depositavit et privavit. This chronicle was written before March 27, 1450, because on that date, Cardinal-legate Amédée named Henricus de Alibertis abbot comendatario of S. Maria de Pignérol and insisted in various acts that Lancelot de Lusignan was because his demeritis exigentibus privatus dicto monasterio et quibuscumque aliis beneficiis ecclesiasticis que in titulum et in commendam obtinebat, et inhabilis declaratus, prout in sententia per nos lata, cuis tenorum hic haberi pro sufficienter expresso, hec et alia plenius continetur. Lancelot did not accept the loss of his benefices and in 1450 he was abbot commenadatario of another monastery, S. Benigno di Fruttuaria Canavese; and still called himself Cardinal of Cyprus. It is not clear if Cardinal-legate Amédée had received the right to deprive Lancelot of the cardinalate, right reserved to Pope Nicholas V. Lancelot continued to call himself a cardinal even one year after his demotion. Humanist Francesco Filelfo wrote him a letter on February 1, 1451, in which he addressed him as Lanceloto cardinali. In documents of March and April 1451 from the House of Savoy and the diocese of Lausanne, he was still recognized as such. All this even though there was no certain proof that he had received confirmation or a new nomination to the cardinalate from Pope Nicholas V. In an act dated March 18, 1451, it is related that Duke Louis pays homage to the bishop of Lausanne, Georges de Saluces, in the presence of reverendissimus in Christo Lancelottus de Lusignano, cardinalis de Chypro vulgaiter nuncupatus. Another act, dated April 6, 1451, has the signature, in the first place, of reverendissimus dominus Lancelotti de Lusignano, cardinalis de Chypro. In papal documents concerning Pignérol, Lancelot is referred to only as notarius papae olim abbas.

Death. There is no documentary record of his death, but it seems that he died at the court of Savoy in Genève between April 6, 1451 and mid August of that same year. In a papal bull issued in Rome and dated October 20, 1451, Lancelot is said quondam, formerly, which was a way to indicate that he had died. Cardinal Amédée had preceded Lancelot in death as he had passed away on January 7 of that year. He was probably buried in Genève.

Bibliography. Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi. Volumen II (1431-1503). Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1914; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, pp. 203 and 211; Riidt de Collenberg, Weyprecht H. "Les Cardinaux de Chypre Hugues et Lancelot de Lusignan" in Archivum historiae pontificiae, XX (1982), 83-128.

Webgraphy. Biography, in French, Revue de l'Orient latin, vol. 1, p. 35-36, Gallica, Bibliothèque numérique, Bibliothèque Nationale de France; his genealogy, B2 C1, Genealogy EU.

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