The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241)
Consistory of 1239 (V)
Celebrated in Rome


(12) 1. SOMERCOTES, Robert (?-1241)

Birth. (No date found), Somercotes, Lincolnshire, England. He was related to the Foliot family that gave several bishops to the Church. His last name is also listed as Somercote and Ummarcoteand Unmancote.

Education. Initially, he was educated in Paris; later, he studied at the University of Bologna and obtained a master's in theology.

Early life. He received his first preferment in a church at Croydon from Archbishop Stephen Langton of Canterbury. He held benefices in Kent and Norfolk. He was probably chaplain or confessor of King Henry III of England around 1235. Later, he settled in the papal curia in Rome and remained there the rest of his life. Apostolic subdeacon in 1236. On May 23, 1236, he obtained the faculty of receiving other ecclesiastical benefits. Auditor of leteræ contradictæ in 1238.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon of S. Eustachio in the consistory of 1239 (1). Subscribed the papal bulls issued between April 15, 1239 and May 29, 1240. Opted for the order of cardinal priests and the title of S. Crisogono in 1239. He sharply rebuked Simon Cantelupe, a Norman noble, for charging the English with bad faith. Due to his intervention, Haymo of Faversham obtained a hearing from the pope during his suit against Frater Helias in 1239. When Emperor Friedrich II was menacing Rome in 1241, Cardinal Somercotes was one of the few who remained with the pope in the city. Participated in the papal election of 1241, in which was elected Pope Celestine IV; died during its celebration.

Death. September 26, 1241, perhaps by poisoning, Rome. Buried in his title (2).

Bibliography. Baxter, Dudley. England's cardinals. With an appendix showing the reception of the sacred pallium by the archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster. London : Burns & Oates ; New York : Benzinger, 1903, p. 17-18; Bellenger, Dominc Aidan and Stella Fletcher. Princes of the church. A history of the English cardinals. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire : Sutton Publishing Ltd., 2001, p. 13-14; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 2, 256-257; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, II, col. 87-88; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIIIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1929. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1929, p. 118; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi. Volumen I (1198-1431). Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1913; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, pp. 6 and 49; Heseltine, George Coulehan. The English cardinals. With some account of those of other English-speaking countries. London : Burns Oates & Washbourne, 1931, p. 31-32; Isaacson, Charles S. The story of the English cardinals. London : Elliot Stock, 1907, p. 43-44; Die Mittelalterlichen Grabmäler in Rom und Latium vom 13. bis zum 15. Jahrhundert. 2 vol. Bearbeitet von Tassilo Blittersdorff ... [et al.], unter Mitarbeit von Hanns Jäger-Sunstenau und Walter Koch ; redigiert von Jörg Garms, Roswitha Juffinger und Bryan Ward-Perkins. Rom : Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1981-1994. (Publikationen des Österreichischen Kulturinstituts in Rom. 2. Abteilung, Quellen ; 5. Reihe; Variation: Publikationen des Österreichischen Kulturinstituts in Rom.; 2. Abteilung, Quellen ; 5. Reihe). Contents: 1. Bd. Die Grabplatten und Tafeln -- 2. Bd. Die Monumentalgrdber, I, 69; Paravicini Bagliani, Agostino. Cardinali di curia e "familiae" cardinalizie. Dal 1227 al 1254. 2 vols. Padova : Antenore, 1972. (Italia sacra, 18-19), I, ; Quinlan, John. Our English cardinals, including the English pope. Alcester ; Dublin : C. Goodliffe Neale, 1972, p. 20; Schofield, Nicholas ; Skinner, Gerard. The English cardinals. Oxford, UK : Family Publications, 2007, p. 29-30; Williams, Robert Folkestone. Lives of the English cardinals, including historical notices of the papal court, from Nicholas Breakspear (Pope Adrian IV) to Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal Legate. 2 vols. Westmead, England : Gregg International, 1969. Responsibility: London, Wm. H. Allen & Co., 1868, I, 252-280.

Webgraphy. His engraving and arms. Araldica Vaticana.

(1) "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIIIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1929, p. 118, says that he was created cardinal deacon of S. Adriano in 1231.
(2) This is the text of his epitaph, taken from Die Mittelalterlichen Grabmäler in Rom und Latium vom 13. bis zum 15. Jahrhundert, I, 69:

[H]IC · Q(VI)ESCIT · IN · D(OMI)NO · ROB(ER)TVS · GRATE · MEMORIE · S(AN)C(T)I · EVSTACHII ·
DIACONVS · CARDINALIS · NATIONS · ANGLIC(VS) o Q(VI) · OBIIT · VI · KAL(ENDAS) · OCTOB(RIS) ·
ANNO · D(OMI)NICE · INCARNATIONIS · M° · CC° · QUADRAGESIMO · PRIMO

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(13) 2. NONATO, O. de M., Ramón (Ca. 1200/1204-1240)

Birth. Ca. 1200/1204 (1), Portell, small village of Segarra, diocese of Solsona, Catalonia (2). He was probably the fifth and youngest son of Arnau de Cardona. He is also listed as Raimundus Nonnatus; his first name as Raymond; and his last name as Nonnato. He is called "Nonato" (not born) because he was taken from his mother's womb after she had died (3); with time, "Nonato" became his last name and he never changed it. His family name is listed as Salons, Surrons and Sarroy.

Education. Entered the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (Mercedarians) in Barcelona in 1221 (or 1224), with the help of Viscount Guillén Folch of Cardona; in 1218, he had met and become friend of Pedro Nolasco, founder of the order and future saint. He received a juridical formation in canon law.

Priesthood. Ordained ca. 1224. In 224, he made his first "redemption of captives" trip (4) to the kingdom of Valencia, which was still under the Moslems, After the Spanish kings freed a great part of the territory from Muslim control, the Mercedarians went to Northern Africa where there were many Christian prisoners. In 1226, he made his first trip to Algeria, freeing 140 captives. He returned to Algeria in 1229; and to Bugía; in 1332. It is not known if his last trip, in 1236, was to Algeria or Tunisia. His trip to Rome, to support his order's causes, must have taken place between his last two trips but the date is uncertain.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of 1239; received the deaconry of S. Eustachio in 1240 (5). He was called to Rome by Pope Gregory IX and died while traveling to that city.

Death. Sunday August 26, 1240 (6), Cardona. Buried in the small church of San Nicolás (later monastery of Sant Ramon de Portell); his mausoleum was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939); his relics that still remained were stolen in August 2007 from that monastery.

Canonization. Canonized by Pope Benedict XIII; his feast was fixed by Pope Urban VIII on May 9, 1626; his eulogy was included in the Roman Martyrology by Pope Alexander VII on August 7, 1657; it was extended to the entire Church by Pope Clement IX on August 13, 1669; Pope Innocent XI decreed on March 10, 1681, that his feast be celebrated on August 31. He is the patron saint of obstetricians.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 2, 260-262; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, II, col. 90-93; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIIIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1929. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1929, p. 119; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi. Volumen I (1198-1431). Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1913; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, pp. 6 and 49; Inglés, José. San Ramón Nonato : Cardenal mercedario. 2d ed. Santiago : Ed. Rapid, 1939; Llorens i Sole, Antoni. "Sant Ramon Nonat. Un nou cami que mena al coneixement del sant. Era el cinqué i darrer fill del cavaller, Arnau de Cardona?". Analecta Sacra Tarraconensia, LIX (1986), 223-257; Paravicini Bagliani, Agostino. Cardinali di curia e "familiae" cardinalizie. Dal 1227 al 1254. 2 vols. Padova : Antenore, 1972. (Italia sacra, 18-19), I, 534-536; Placer, G. S. Ramón Nonato y su Hermandad. Orense : [s.n.], 1937; Sancho, Manuel. Vida de S. Ramón Nonato. Barcelona : Eugenio Subirana, 1910; Serra Vilaró, Joan. Los señores de Portell, patria de San Ramón, descendientes de los vizcondes de Cardona. Barcelona : Editorial Balmes, 1958. (Biblioteca histórica de la Biblioteca Balmes, ser.2, v. 21).

Webgraphy. Biography by Francis Mershman, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; images and biography, in Italian, Santi e Beati; biography, in Spanish, Convento San Ramón Nonato, Buenos Aires; San Ramón Nonato y la Orden de la Merced, in Spanish; biography by M. Penedo Rey, in Spanish, Gran Enciclopedia Rialp; his image, kneeling down next to Our Lady of Mercy, together with St. Pedro Nolasco, founder of the order, in a painting by Mateo Pisarro, 17th/18th century, church of Yavi, Jujuy, Argentina, Asociación Ciencia Hoy, Buenos Aires; images, 19th century Mexican paintings, Colonial Arts.

(1) Some sources indicate that he was born in January or on February 2.
(2) This is according to all the sources consulted, except his last biography in Spanish, linked above, which says that he was born a century later at the end of the 13th; created cardinal by Pope Clement VI around 1350; and died on August 31, 1348 or 1350.
(3) Some historians say that the one who performed the operation with his dagger was Guillén Folch, viscount of Cardona, who was hunting nearby and who later was his godfather. The viscount's sons, Ramón V and Ramón VI, maintained a close friendship with the future cardinal and saint.
(4) He was named "redemptor", one who exchanged himself for Christians who were held captives by the Muslims; when he realized one his redemption trips, probably in Algeria, he was held captive and suffered the torment of the "padlock in the mouth" to impede him from preaching.
(5) Paravicini Bagliani, Agostino. Cardinali di curia e "familiae" cardinalizie. Dal 1227 al 1254. 2 vols. Padova : Antenore, 1972. (Italia sacra, 18-19), II, 535, indicates that he should be eliminated from the list of cardinals created by Pope Gregory IX because that deaconry was occupied by another cardinal.
(6) Several sources say that he died on August 31, 1240; and some say that he died on Sunday August 31, 1240 or on the last Sunday of August, which in 1240 was August 26.

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