|Papacy began 12 December 1254|
Name Pope IV
Coat of arms
Consecration March 1235
|Birth name Rinaldo di Jenne|
Predecessor Pope Innocent IV
Papacy ended 25 May 1261
Successor Pope Urban IV
|Died May 25, 1261, Viterbo, Italy|
Previous post Sant'Eustachio (1227–1232), Suburbicarian Diocese of Ostia (1232–1254)
Created cardinal September 18, 1227
Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV (1199 or ca. 1185 – 25 May 1261) was Pope from 12 December 1254 to his death in 1261.
Born as Rinaldo di Jenne in Jenne (now in the Province of Rome), he was, on his mother's side, a member of the family de' Conti di Segni, the counts of Segni, like Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX. His uncle Gregory IX made him cardinal deacon and Protector of the Order of Franciscans in 1227, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church from 1227 until 1231 and Bishop of Ostia in 1231 (or 1232). He became Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1244 (or 1240). On the death of Pope Innocent IV in 1254 he was elected pope at Naples on 12 December 1254.
Alexander IV succeeded Innocent IV as guardian of Conradin, the last of the Hohenstaufens, promising him protection; but in less than three weeks he conspired against him and bitterly opposed Conradin's uncle Manfred. Alexander IV threatened excommunication and interdict against the party of Manfred without effect. Nor could he enlist the kings of England and Norway in a crusade against the Hohenstaufens. Rome itself became too Ghibelline for the Pope, who withdrew to Viterbo, where he died in 1261. He was buried in Viterbo Cathedral, but his tomb was destroyed during sixteenth-century renovations.
Alexander's pontificate was signaled by efforts to reunite the Eastern Orthodox churches with the Catholic Church, by the establishment of the Inquisition in France, by favours shown to the mendicant orders, and by an attempt to organize a crusade against the Tatars after the second raid against Poland in 1259.
On 26 September 1255, Alexander IV canonized S. Clare of Assisi (Santa Chiara), founder of the religious order for women called the Poor Clares. He also confirmed, on 29 October 1255, in the Bull "Benigna Operatio", the reality of the stigmata attributed to S. Francis of Assisi.
The pontiff also, on 27 September 1258, declared in the Bull "Quod super" that alleged witchcraft was not to be investigated by Inquisitors of the Church, who were appointed to deal with heresy, but to be left to local authorities.
On 14 May 1254, shortly before his death, Innocent IV had granted Sicily, a papal fiefdom, to Edmund, second son of King Henry III of England. Alexander confirmed the grant on 13 May 1255, in return for 2000 ounces of gold per annum, the service of 300 knights for three months when required, and 135,541 marks to reimburse the pope for the money he had expended attempting to oust Manfred from Sicily. Henry's unsuccessful attempts to persuade his subjects to pay the taxes required to meet Alexander's demands were one of the factors in the conflict between the king and parliament which culminated in the Second Barons' War. On 12 April 1261, shortly before his death, Alexander issued a papal bull for King Henry that absolved him and the magnates of his realm from the oaths taken in the Provisions of Oxford, which was instrumental in the War.