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This section of the site presents a general list of the cardinals from the pontificate of Pope Gelasius I (492-498) to the most recent consistory of Pope Francis celebrated on November 28, 2020.
By the decree In Nomine Domini, Pope Nicholas II decided that the cardinal bishops would be the sole electors of the popes. The other two ranks of cardinals, priests and deacons, would give their consent to the election. From that moment on, the cardinals acquired a preeminence in the hierarchy of the Church that is second only to the Roman Pontiff. By the decree Licet de vitanda, promulgated on March 19, 1179, by Alexander III, during the Third Lateran Ecumenical Council, all cardinals--bishops, priests and deacons--became the exclusive electors of the pope.
The cardinals are organized chronologically by the pontificates in which they were created. The pontificates are arranged by century. Those pontificates which expand beyond a century are listed in the century where the larger number of years occurred; for example, the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) is among the ones in the 19th century. Within each pontificate, the cardinals are arranged by the date of their creation. Included will be the position which the cardinals occupied when they were elevated and the date of their death. Concurrently, the lists of cardinals participating in the election of the popes is provided in the catalog of Conclaves.
The section was inspired by the request of many visitors to the site as well as by the desire to continue and complete a similar project initiated by Annuaire Pontifical Catholique in 1925.
The sources used for this section, besides Annuaire, are Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum: et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M., by Alfonso Chacón, O.P. (or Alphonsus Ciaconio) and updated by Agostino Oldoini, S.J.; Cronotassi dei Cardinali de Santa Romana Chiesa: nelle loro sedi suburbicarie titoli presbiterali e diaconie dal secolo V all'anno del signore MDCCCLXXXVIII; compilata sui manoscritti originali ed autentici esistenti nella biblioteca e negli archivi vaticani e su molteplici altre fonti storiche edite ed inedite antiche e moderne, by Francesco Cristofori; Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentoris Aevi sive Summorum Pontificum, S.R.E. Cardinalium Ecclesiarum Antistitum Series, edited by Guilelmus van Gulik, Conradus Eubel, Ludovicus Schmitz-Kallenberg, Remigius Ritzler, Pirminus Sefrin, and Zeno Pieta; Memorie Storiche de' Cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, by Lorenzo Cardella; and Dictionnaire des Cardinaux, used with great caution because of the numerous errors it contains. Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2019 is the source for the official chronology of the popes.
For the period between 1198 and 1922, the leading source used is Hierarchia catholica medii et recentoris aevi sive Summorum Pontificum, S.R.E. cardinalium ecclesiarum antistitum series, with notes from Annuaire Pontifical Catholique, to clarify discrepancies. For the initial period, 492 to 1198, the latter is the leading source.
©1998-2022 Salvador Miranda.