The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Nicholas V (1447-1455)
Consistory of April 7, 1449 (III)


(8) 1. SAVOIE, Amedeo di (1383-1451)

Birth. September 4, 1383 (1), castle of Chambéry, France. Eldest son of Count Amédée VII of Savoie, and Bonne, of the dukes of Berry, niece of King Charles V of France. He was called Amedeo VIII le Pacifique. His first name is also listed as Amadeo, Amadeus and Amedée; and his last name as Savoia, Savoy, Saboya and Saboy. Relative of Cardinal Maurizio di Savoia (1607).

Education. (No information found).

Early life. Succeeded his father at his death on November 1, 1391; according to late count's will, the regency was to be exercised not by the mother but by the grandmother, Bona di Borobone, assisted by a council of grand feudatari; in 1398, he was declared of age but the government remained in the hands of the regents. In 1393, he married Marie de Bourgogne; in the fall of 1403, they started living as husband and wife; they had several children (2); she died in 1422 of childbirth. He became the first duke of Savoie in 1406; confirmed on February 19, 1416, by King Sigismund of Germany, later Holy Roman emperor; count of Piedmont in 1418. In October 1434, deeply affected by the deaths of his wife and of his eldest son, Amedeo, in 1431, he retired to the castle of Ripaille, near Thonon, on the lake of Gèneve; there, he founded and governed the order of knights hermits of Saint-Maurice; he kept the diplomatic affairs of the duchy and delegated its daily administration on his second son, Ludovico.

Antipapacy. The Council of Basle deposed Pope Eugenius IV on June 24, 1439; and had Duke Amedeo VIII elected pope (antipope) on November 5, 1439, by one cardinal, Louis Aleman; eleven bishops (3); seven abbots; and fourteen theologians; the election was irregular. Enea Silvio Piccolomini, future Pope Pius II, was his secretary from 1439 to 1442. He accepted his election on January 5, 1440, after a long period of hesitation, and took the name Felix V. He resigned the duchy of Savoie on January 6, 1440 in favor of his son Ludovico. In Thonon, he received the minor orders. He entered Basle on June 24, 1440; there he received the major orders; and on June 26, celebrated his first mass. He was consecrated and crowned on July 24, 1440, in Basle, by Cardinal Aleman. On November 17, 1442, tired of the attacks and offenses of the council's fathers studied insults, he went to Lausanne and, later, to Gèneve. In March 1444, he named himself administrator of the see of Genève; occupied the post until his death. He was called the antipope of the dukes because he was only recognized by the dukes of Savoie, Milan, Bavaria and Tyrol, and a few others. After the death of Pope Eugenius IV on February 23, 1447, a period of intense negotiations followed. He wrote to the new Pope Nicholas V and summoned him to appear before his tribunal. A congress celebrated in Bourges in June 1447, transferred shortly after to Lyon, demanded the antipope's resignation; he refused; nevertheless, he declared that he was going to resign the tiara by the end of 1448; thanks to the mediation of King Charles VII of France, an agreement was reached with the pope; the antipope retracted all the censures he had issued on his adversaries; and then he was absolved by Pope Nicholas V on January 18, 1449. He solemnly abdicated before the fathers of the Council of Lausanne on April 7, 1449 in Lausanne. He created 25 pseudocardinals and signed numerous bulls which are kept in eight unpublished volumes in the Archives of Genève.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal bishop in the consistory of April 23, 1449 (4). His ambassadors presented his oath of obedience to the pope in Spoleto on June 20, 1449. Named bishop of the suburbicarian see of Sabina and papal legate and apostolic vicar of Savoie and the part of Bernese territory included in the diocese of Lausanne, and was given a pension from the apostolic treasury. Dean of the Sacred College (5). He retired to Ripaille. He was the last antipope.

Death. January 7, 1451, Genève; he had stipulated that his remains be buried in Altacomba but his will was not respected. Buried in the monastery of Ripaille; in 1536, heretic people from Bern sacked his tomb, which was the object of veneration; the remains were saved and hidden elsewhere; in 1576, Emanuele Filiberto of Savoie transported them to Turin and buried them in the royal chapel of the Santa Sindone (Holy Shroud); King Carlo Alberto, had a marble monument erected, work of Benedetto Cacciatori.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, III, 120-121; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 4 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, II, cols. 930-948 and 976; Cognasso, Francesco. "Felice V, antipapa." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, II, 640-644; Del Re, Niccolò. Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 488; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. VII. Les cardinaux de la fin du XVe siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1932. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1932, p. 149-150; 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. ; Amédée VIII-Félix V, premier duc de Savoie et pape (1383-1451) : premier duc de Savoie et pape (1383-1451) : colloque international, Ripaille-Lausanne, 23-26 octobre 1990. Études publiées par Bernard Andenmatten et Agostino Paravicini Bagliani ; avec la collaboration de Nadia Pollini. Lausanne : Fondation Humbert II et Marie Jose de Savoie : Bibliothèque historique vaudoise, 1992. (Bibliothèque historique vaudoise ; no 103); Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, pp. 243-244.

Links. Biography, in English; biography, in English (Britannica); portraits and biography, in Italian; biography, in French; biography, in German; his arms, last one on the last row, no.36; his portrait; his portrait riding a horse; his arms and portrait as pope; stamp as duke of Savoie; his engraving; and his genealogy.

(1) This is according to all the printed sources consulted which mention the date of his birth, except Agostino Oldoini, in his addition to Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 933, who says that he was born on September 4, 1384; his genealogy, linked above; and his biographies in Italian and French, linked above, also say that he was born on September 4, 1383; his biographies in English and German, linked above, say that he was born on December 4, 1383.
(2) They were: Margherita, who died very young; two boys, both named Antonio, who died in infancy; Maria, Amedeo, Ludovico; Bona; Margherita; and Filippo.
(3) They were: Guillaume Didier, bishop of Vercelli; Giorgio de Saluzzo, bishop of Aosta; Giovanni de Parella, bishop of Ivrea; Luigi de Romagnano, bishop of Turin; Jean d'Arces, archbishop of Tarentaise; François de Meez, O.S.B., bishop of Genève; Bernard de La Planche, bishop of Dax (he became ill and was replaced by Louis de Glandeves, bishop of Marseille); Frédéric zu Rhein, bishop of Basle; Otón de Moncada y de Luna, bishop of Tortosa; Jordi d'Ornos, bishop of Vich; and Luis Gonçalves de Amaral, bishop of Viseu. See the complete list of electors in the biographical entry of Pseudocardinal Juan de Segovia, note 1.
(4) He was the only case of a cardinal created after having been (anti) pope; during the schism there were similar cases but those (anti) popes had been created cardinals before.
(5) This is according to Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 976.

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