The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Innocent XIII (1721-1724)
Consistory of June 16, 1721 (I)
Celebrated in Rome


(1) 1. CONTI, O.S.B.Cas., Bernardo Maria (1664-1730)

Birth. March 29, 1664, Rome. His family gave the Church Popes Innocent III, Gregory IX and Alexander IV; also, he was brother of Pope Innocent XIII. Grand-nephew of Cardinal Carlo Conti (1604). Nephew of Cardinal Giannicolò Conti (1664). Grand-uncle of Cardinal Bartolomeo Ruspoli (1730). on his mother's side. Other cardinals of the family were Giovanni dei conti di Segni (1200); Ottaviano dei conti di Segni (1205); Lucido Conti (1411) (pseudocardinal); Giovanni Conti (1483); and Francesco Conti (1517).

Education. Entered the Order of Saint Benedict Cassinese in 1680, at the monastery of S. Paolo fuori le mura, Rome.

Priesthood. Ordained, December 21, 1689. Abbot of the monastery of S. Maria di Gangi, Sicily. Abbot of the monastery of S. Maria di Farfa, Rome. Visitor of the Benedictine provinces of Rome, Etruria, and Naples.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Terracina, December 1, 1710. Consecrated, January 4, 1711, Rome, by Cardinal Michelangelo Conti (no information found about the co-consecrators). Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, January 1, 1711. Resigned government of the see for health reasons on June 3, 1720 and retired to the house of the duke of Poli, his brother.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of June 16, 1721; received the red hat and the title of S. Bernardo alle Terme, July 16, 1721. Grand penitentiary, August 3, 1721 until his death. Protector of the Order of St. Benedict Cassinese. He frequently spent time at the monstery of S. Paolo fuori le mura. He had an apoplexy in 1723, which left him partially paralyzed. Participated in the conclave of 1724, which elected Pope Benedict XIII. Abbot commendatario of S. Maria de Mentorella from 1724. Entered the conclave of 1730, which elected Pope Clement XII; died during its celebration.

Death. April 23, 1730, Rome; had an apoplexy in the conclave at 1 p.m. and died, after placida agonia, on that same day at 5:30 p.m., having received the extreme unction. Exposed in the church of S. Maria in Via, Rome, where the funeral took place without the participation of the cardinals who were in conclave. Transferred to Tivoli and buried in the church of the Madonna della Mentorella, in the jurispatronato of the House of Conti, according to his will.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, 194; Notizie per l'anno 1722. Rome : Nella Stamperia de Galeazzo Chracas, presso S. Marco al Corso, 1722, p. 173 no. 64; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 33, 44 and 372.

Link. His engraving by Johannes Christoph Kolb, Antiquariat Hille, Berlin; and his engraving by Girolamo Rossi, CalcoGRAFICA, Istituto Nazionale della Grafica.

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