Hartwell de la Garde Grissell.

Sede vacante : being a diary written during the conclave of 1903, with additional notes on the accession and coronation of Pius X. online

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Online LibraryHartwell de la Garde GrissellSede vacante : being a diary written during the conclave of 1903, with additional notes on the accession and coronation of Pius X. → online text (page 1 of 6)
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From the Library of


Burgh House ^ Hampitead.
Shelf ..^Br^... O O 1907.








The Silver Medal coined by the Cardinal Camerlengo.










of Brasenose College^ Oxford,

Chamberlain of Honour

(i\ numero

to His Holiness.

©jforD an& ILoiiDon:






1 232707






1 232707


The Author only professes to give to the public
the details of some of the Ceremonies that he wit-
nessed from the death of Pope Leo XIII. to the
Coronation of Pope Pius X., details which he entered
daily in his diary, without at the time any thought
of publication. He was, however, persuaded by friends
that they might prove of interest to the general
public as well as to those who are in communion
with Rome. Having had the privilege for a period
of some thirty-five years of being Chamberlain to
three successive Pontiffs, he has many diaries in
addition, written on other occasions, which may even-
tually be given to the public. These many inter-
esting reminiscences include an CEcumenical Council,
four Jubilees, three Canonizations, two Papal Con-
secrations of Bishops, many Consistories (including
those at which Cardinals Manning, Howard, and
Newman received their hats), a Blessing of the
Golden Rose, and of the Ducal Sword and Cap, an
' Anno Santo,' two Conclaves, and two Coronations,
as well as many pilgrimages and visits of Sovereigns
to His Holiness. He was also present in Rome at


the entry of the Italian Troops in September, 1870,
and was on duty in the Vatican on the historic occa-
sion when King Edward VII. visited the Pontiff —
the first British Sovereign who has done so for many

The Author has been further influenced in pub-
lishing this Diary by the many statements in the
public press which are contrary to fact.

60 High Street, Oxford,
October, igoj.



I. The Death of Leo XIII. and arrangements for

the Conclave . . . . . i

11. The Funeral Procession and Burial of Leo XIII. . 12

III. The Novendiali or nine days' Obsequies . -19

IV. The Preparations for the Election of the new

Pope . . . . . .28

V. The Election of the new Pope . . • 4^

VI. The Papal Mass and the Coronation . . 54


The Voting Papers used in the Scrutiny . -77


Frontispiece The Silver Medal coined by the Car-
dinal Camerlengo
Plate To face p.

I. The Lying in State in the Throne Room

of the Vatican, July 22, 1903 . . 12

II. The Lying in State in the Chapel of the
Holy Sacrament at St. Peter's, July 23,
24> 25, 1903 .... 14




III. The Catafalque in the Sixtine Chapel on

the occasion of the three solemn Re-
quiems, July 28, 29, 30, 1903

IV. The Sixtine Chapel as prepared for the

Conclave, Aug. i, 1903 .

V. The 'Sfumata' as seen from the Piazza,
Aug. 2, 1903 . . . .

VI. Proclamation by the Cardinal Deacon from
the Loggia of St. Peter's overlooking the
Piazza, Aug. 4, 1903

VII. Pope Pius X. elected Aug. 4, 1903 .

VIII. The Sixtine Chapel, shewing on the left
the Throne occupied by Cardinal Sarto
on his Election, Aug. 4, 1903

IX. The ' Sedia Gestatoria ' used at the Core
nation, Aug. 9, 1903

X. The Sacred Pallium

XI. The Tiara ....

XII. Pope Pius X. in the act of blessing

To face p.








The Prsecordia .....

Facsimile of Voting Papers, fig. i, when open
,, ,, fig- 2, when closed

„ „ fig. 3, the Accessus form




jSebc Vacante


> ^ » ♦ < -




Pope Leo XIIL died the death of the just on the
afternoon of Monday, July 20th, at about 4 o'clock.
His death was owing to an attack of pleuro-pneumonia,
according to the medical certificate, and his illness lasted
about 17 days. He governed the Church 25 years and
5 months, and he died at the advanced age of 93 years,
4 months and 18 days.

At 9.30 on the morning of July 21st, the Camer-
lengo Cardinal Oreglia di Santo Stefano, July 21.
accompanied by the * Sotto Camerlengo ' Mgr. Pas-
serini, the ' Uditore Generale ' Mgr. Pericoli, the Prefect
of Ceremonies Mgr. Riggi, and the different officials
of the Reverenda Camera Apostolica, entered the
death chamber to make the customary recognition
of the corpse. Mgr. Marzolini having removed the



white veil which covered the face of the deceased
Pontiff, the Cardinal Camerlengo and his attendants
knelt in meditation. He then rose and recited the
usual prayers and sprinkled the corpse with holy
water ; Mgr. Nussi, Dean ot the College of Proto-
notaries, read the official document called the ' Rogito.'
The fisherman's ring, which is never worn by the
Pope, but remains in the custody of Mgr. the Maestro
di Camera, should on this occasion have been con-
signed by him to the Cardinal Camerlengo, to be
broken at the Congregation held shortly afterwards
in the Hall of the Consistory. It was, however,
stated that through some accident it was for the time

It may also be here mentioned that no such cere-
mony as striking the dead Pope's forehead with a
silver hammer takes place, and that the exact method
of calling aloud his name is not tied down to any
determinate form, but is left to the discretion of the
Cardinal Camerlengo ^.

The ' Rogito ' having been duly signed in presence
of witnesses by the Camerlengo in the Throne Room,
seals were at once affixed to the back door of the
death chamber by the Maggiordomo's secretary,
Cavaliere Martinucci, and two Noble Guards were

^ In an original MS. diary in my possession written by Domenico
Cappelli of Ascoli, who was Master of Ceremonies to five Popes — Alex-
ander VII., Clement IX., Clement X., Innocent XL, and Alexander

VIII he states that the custom of calling aloud three times the words

' Pater Sancte^ was discontinued on the death of Cieineut X. in 1676.


placed on duty at the principal entrance. The body
of the deceased Pontiflf was now washed by the Peni-
tentiaries of St. Peter's.

The same afternoon, at 5 o'clock, the embalming
01 the corpse took place under the direction July 21.
of Prof. Lapponi, assisted by Drs. Capparoni, Salucci,
Battistini, Masciarelli, Amici, and Guido Lapponi.

At 11.30 the same night the Pope's 'Prsecordia'
were carried in a terracotta jar by two of the Noble


Guard, accompanied by others ot the same corps,
and by Mgr. Maestro di Camera and the Dean of the
Scopatori Segreti, and others carrying lighted torches,

and down the
B 2

through the different ante-chambers


great staircase, to the Cortile of San Damaso. Here
the jar was placed in one of the Palace carriages and
taken by Mgr. Angeh', the late Pope's private secretary,
and Mgr, Marzolini, his private chaplain, to the Church
of SS. Vincenzo ed Anastasio a Trevi, where for the
night it was deposited in a small Chapel in the
Convent. On the following morning it was placed
within the wall of the Church on the Epistle side
of the Altar, under the jars containing the ' Praecordia'
of Pius VIII., Leo XII., and Gregory XVI. The
'Praecordia' of Pius IX. had in 1878 been placed in
the Crypt of St. Peter's, but will eventually be re-
moved to this Church, a space having been left for
his name over that of Leo XIII. The 'Praecordia'
preserved in this Church include those of all the
Popes from Sixtus V., 1590, and were removed to
this spot (it being the parish Church of the Palazzo
Ouirinale) by Pope Benedict XIV.

This morning, the ist Congregation, composed
1st Con- of twenty Cardinals, was held after the


July 21. ceremony of the recognition of the corpse
at about 10.30 in the Hall of the Consistory,
when the fisherman's ring, according to custom,
should have been broken, but it had, as stated, been
temporarily mislaid. At this Congregation my old
and much respected friend, Monsignor Merry del Val,
Archbishop of Nicea, was unanimously elected Pro-
Secretary of the Sacred College in the place of
Monsignor Volpini lately deceased.


The 2nd Congregation took place on Wednesday,
July 22nd, in the Hall of the Consistory, 2nd con-
in tlie presence oi twenty-seven Cardinals, July 22.
when important business was conducted, consisting of
instructions as to the removal of the Pope's body
from the Throne Room to St. Peter's, and the Prefect
of Ceremonies, Mgr. Riggi, issued his printed instruc-
tions as to the robes to be worn during the ' Sede
Vacante ' by the Cardinals and Prelates.

The 3rd Congregation was held on Thursday morn-
ing, July 23rd, in the Hall of the Con- 3rd con-

. , gregation,

sistory, in the presence of twenty - nine Ju'y 23-
Cardinals, when the names of their Eminences Car-
dinal Casali del Drago, Macchi, and Delia Volpe
were chosen to superintend the structural arrange-
ments of the Conclave ; the boxes containing a large
number of petitions and briefs were delivered up for
safe keeping by Cardinal di Pietro, the ' Pro-Datario,'
and Mgr, Marini, the ' Sostituto ' of the 'Segreteria'
of Briefs ; and the Matrix of the leaden Bull was
handed over to be destroyed by Mgr. Spezza, the
Regent of the Cancelleria.

There was chosen to act as Confessor during the
Conclave the Papal Sacristan, Mgr. Pifferi, Bishop
of Porfirio, but he afterwards resigned in favour of
Father Palmieri, S.J. Drs. Lapponi and Pelagallo
were chosen as Physicians, and Dr. Cagiati as Sur-
geon, and Fra Diodato Camarani, of the Order called


Fate bene Fratelli, was nominated Chemist. It was
also arranged that the burial of the Pope should
take place on the evening of Saturday, July 25th,
in the niche near the Chapel of the Choir in the
Vatican Basilica, and that the corpse of the Pope
should remain there till the monument at St. John
Lateran was completed ; and, moreover, that the
Vatican Chapter should formally agree to consign
the body of the deceased Pontiff to the Commission,
whenever the demand to do so might be made.

This morning I visited the Cardinal Camerlengo
and the Maggiordomo to get instructions as to the
duties during the Sede Vacante of myself and my
five brother Chamberlains di numero. Owing to the
fact that all the Supernumerary Chamberlains, both
ecclesiastical and lay, cease to hold office immediately
after the Pope's burial, I find we shall have much
to do.

The 4th Congregation was held in the Hall of the
4th Con- Consistory on Friday, July 24th, in the

gregation, •' _ J ^ J J t »

July 24. presence of thirty-one Cardinals, when, after
important business, it was announced by Mgr. Merry
del Val, the Secretary, that the Pope had graciously
bequeathed a considerable sum of money to the poor
of Rome, Carpineto, and Perugia. I visited Mon-
signor Merry this afternoon. His offices are in the
Borgia apartments.

The 5th Congregation was held in the Hall of


the Consistory on Saturday morning, July 25th, in

the presence of thirty-eight Cardinals, when, 5th con-

after important business, they appointed July 25-
Commendatore Puccinelli, Maestro di Casa, and
one of the six Chamberlains of Honour di nmnero,
as * Provvisioniere ' to the Conclave, and Cavalicre
Sneider and Cavaliere Mannucci as Clerks of the
Works for the Conclave ; also the Conte Capogrossi
Guarna, one of the six Chamberlains of Honour di
numero, and Dean of the Consistorial Advocates, was
appointed * Commissario ' during the Conclave.

At the conclusion of this Congregation were in-
troduced by the Papal Masters of Ceremonies the
entire body of the Ambassadors and Ministers accre-
dited to the Holy See, accompanied by their respec-
tive secretaries and attaches, all in full uniform. They
included those of Portugal, France, Prussia, Russia,
Spain, Austria, Monaco, Brazil, Columbia, the Republic
of Dominica, Bolivia, and the ministers of Belgium,
Bavaria, Argentina, Chili, Costa Rica, Haiti and Peru.
A discourse, written in the French language, was
read by the Portuguese Ambassador, as Dean of the
Corps Diplomatique, expressing their united grief and
sincere condolence at the irreparable loss to Christen-
dom through the death of its Chief Pastor, Leo XHI.,
praising at the same time his wisdom and piety, and
praying that Almighty God would assist the Sacred
College in their choice of a worthy successor, qualified
to maintain the good estate of the Catholic Church,


and to guide her aright in the due maintenance of
peace and tranquillity. The Cardinal Camerlengo
replied in suitable words, thanking the Ambassadors
for their kind and sympathetic address ; after which
they were severally presented, and kissed the hands
of their Enjinences.

The reply of the Cardinal Camerlengo concluded
with words to this effect : " Cest avec ces sentiments
qiCa la veille du pvocJiain Cojiclave, le S acre- College
prend conge dtt Corps Diplomatique,'' &c., &c. These
words gave occasion to some comment in the Press,
and were supposed to imply that any veto on the
part of the Powers would not be tolerated.

The 6th Congregation was held on the morning of

6th Con- Sunday, July 26th, in the Hall of the Con-

July 26th. sistory, when details regarding the Cere-
monial to be observed during the Conclave were dis-
cussed. The ceremonial enjoined by Pope Gregory
XV. was agreed to and accepted, with certain modifica-
tions, such as were adopted at the Conclave of 1878.
Arrangements as to meals were also discussed, and it
was settled that those Cardinals who wished to dine in
their own apartments might do so, if they so wished.
Cardinal Vaszary, Prince Primate of Hungary, on
account of ill health, obtained leave to have his food
brought from the Convent of St. Basilio, where he
had been residing ; and it was prepared by his
private chef, whom he had brought with him from


Hungary. The Conclavists agreed to dine together
with certain exceptions, and the Cardinals' servants
did the same. There were present at this Congrega-
tion as many as forty-five Cardinals. Cardinal Delia
Volpe and others complained of certain scandals in
connection with the burial of the Pope the previous
evening ; and the Cardinal Camerlengo expressed his
intention to inquire into the matter.

The 7th Congregation was held on Monday, July

27th, in the Hall of the Consistory, when 7th con-

there were forty - nine Cardinals present. J"'y 27.
It was principally concerned with the assignment of
the cells. Cardinal Cavagnis, as last of the Cardinal
Deacons, drew lots for the dififerent Cardinals. There
were two ballot-boxes, in which were placed balls with
the names of each Cardinal written on them, and other
balls with numbers corresponding to the cells. It was
agreed that Cardinals Mocenni, Rampolla, and the
Camerlengo should be permitted to retain their apart-
ments. The Cardinal Camerlengo announced that the
late Secretary of State, Cardinal Rampolla, desired to
read the late Pontiff's will, of which he. Cardinal
Mocenni, and Cardinal Cretoni were the executors.
The Avvocato Carlo Patriarca, the late Pope's private
lawyer and counsellor in the administration of the
property of the Holy See, was present. The Pope's
nephews, Ludovico, Camillo, and Riccardo Pecci, as well
as the two nieces, Anna and Maria, with their husbands


Conte Moroni and the Marchese Canali di Rieti, were
also invited ; but from feelings of delicacy were not
present. The Avvocato Patriarca at once read the will,
which did not amount to more than a few lines. It
bore date July 8th, 1900, and was signed '' Gioacchino
Pecci, Leone P.P. XIII." He left everything to the
Holy See. His nephews had been already provided for
at different times during his life, and he therefore had
declared that none of his family were to have any
further bequests. In a separate envelope he left 50,000
lire to the poor of Rome, 20,000 lire to the poor of
Perugia, and 10,000 lire to the poor of Carpineto, his
birthplace. Monsignor Nussi, the Dean of the College
of Protonotaries, then drew up a ' processo verbale,'
which was duly signed by himself, the Avvocato
Patriarca, Monsignor Merry del Val, Secretary to the
Sacred College, and the executors.

The 8th Congregation was held in the Hall of the
8th Con- Consistory, after the first Requiem in the


July 28. Sixtine Chapel, on Tuesday, July 28th, when
fifty-three Cardinals were present. The plans and tele-
graphic arrangements of the Conclave were distributed
to each Cardinal.

The 9th Congregation, consisting of fifty-eight Car-
9th Con- dinals, was held in the Hall of the Consis-


July 29. tory, after the second Requiem in the Six-
tine Chapel, on Wednesday, July 29th, when a commis-


sion was appointed to superintend the sanitary con-
ditions of the Palace during the Conclave. It consisted
of Cardinals Cavicchioni, Boschi, and Tripcpi. Another
commission was also appointed for the approval of the
names of the Cardinals Conclavists, consisting of Car-
dinals Respighi and Cassetta. Prelates and members
of the Papal Household were not eligible ; with the
exception of a few of the candidates, the list was

The loth Congregation was held in the Hall of the

Consistory, after the third Requiem in the loth Con-

Sixtine Chapel, on Thursday, July 30th, J">y 30th.
when all the Cardinals, with the exception of six, were
present. The Cardinal Camerlengo distributed to the
Sacred College the silver medal of the ' Sede Vacante,'
which he had had specially struck for the occasion, and
proposed a protest against the continued usurpation and
spoliation of the Church's patrimony, which was unani-
mously agreed to.


AT St. Peter's.

On the morning of Wednesday, July 22nd, the body
July 22. of the Pope, which had been embalmed at
5 o'clock the previous evening, was placed on a bier
covered with red velvet under the Canopy in the
Throne Room, where it lay in state. During the day
it was visited by those who had obtained special per-
mission to do so, and they knelt and prayed for the
repose of the Pope's Soul, and afterwards kissed the
feet. The body was guarded by Chamberlains and
the Noble Guard, who took their turn every half-
hour; the Penitentiaries of St. Peter's meanwhile
recited the usual prayers. The body was vested
in a white Cassock, with Sash, Rochet, white Zuc-
chetto, red Mozzetta and Camauro^, white stockings
and red shoes embroidered with a cross ; the hands
in white mittens were clasping a rosary and crucifix,
and there was an amethyst ring on the finger.
Later in the afternoon the body was vested pon-
tifically, and at 7 o'clock it was placed on a
bier by members of the Noble Guard, to be car-

^ The Camauro is a cap of red satin, or velvet, trimmed with ermine.
On Holy Saturday and throughout Easter week it is white, as are also
the Mozzetta, the Stole, and the Shoes.



ried to St. Peter's. The bier was supported by 12
Sediari, and preceded by others carrying h'ghted
torches. The procession passed through the different
ante-chambers, the Sala Clementina, Scala Nobile,
Loggie, Sala Ducale, and Sala Regia, and down the
Scala Regia into St. Peter's. It was escorted all the
way by the Noble and Swiss Guards and followed by
the College of Cardinals, many Bishops and Prelates,
the whole of the Corps Diplomatique, Knights of
Malta, the Prince Colonna, assistant at the Papal
Throne, and the Prince Chigi, Hereditary Marshal
of the Conclave, together with the great officers of
State and members of the Household. The bier on
which the body was carried was covered with a rich
Pall of crimson velvet and lama.

The vestments in which the body of the Pope
was now robed were of red lama, in the follow-
ing order : — White Zucchetto, white Cassock, Sash,
^iooJUt^ Falda^ red Buskins and Sandals, -Rochet, Amice,
Alb, Girdle, with the Succintorio° attached to it.
Pectoral Cross, Fanone ^, red Stole, Tunicle, Dalmatic,

^ The Falda is a skirt of very tliin white silk with a train, and is
worn round the waist over the Cassock.

'^ The Succintorio is in shape like a Maniple, with a lamb em-
broidered on it, and is fastened to the Pope's girdle and hangs on
his left side. It formerly served to hold a purse for giving alms.

^ The Fanone is a double tippet made of silk with coloured stripes
of four colours, having a cross embroidered on the breast. It is worn
over the alb and under the stole and tunicle. The upper tippet rests
on the Pope's head while the vestments are being put on, after which
it is adjusted over the Chasuble.



Gloves, and Chasuble, Pallium with its three jewelled
pins, placed over the outer tippet of the Fanone, gold
Mitre, amethyst Ring, and red Maniple. In the hands
were placed the same crucifix and rosary as before.
There were numbers of devout people who had obtained
special permission, kneeling on either side, and in the
Sala Ducale, as the procession passed, and saying
prayers for the repose of the Soul of His Holiness.

At the entrance of the Basilica Monsignor Pericoli
gave the first absolution. The body was then car-
ried up the Basilica and placed for a few moments
in front of the High Altar, when another absolution
was given by Monsignor Ceppetelli, the Latin Patri-
arch of Constantinople. It was then carried into
the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, where the
body was placed on a catafalque covered with a
pall of red velvet and lama trimmed with gold lace,
where it was exposed to public veneration till the
evening of Saturday, July 25th, surrounded by 18
large torches in standard candlesticks, and guarded
by the Noble and Palatine Guard. On either side
of this catafalque was attached a red velvet ' Cappel-
lone ® ' in sign of the Pope's twofold jurisdiction. The
feet of the Pope were not put through the iron gates
of the Chapel to be kissed, owing to certain scandals
which occurred in 1878 when the body of Pius IX.
lay in state. Thousands each da}' visited the Basilica.

^ Tlie Cappellone is a large red velvet hat.




On Saturday evening at 7 o'clock, preceded by the
Chapter of St. Peter's and the Seminary, juiy 25.
and escorted by the Noble Guard and members of
the Household, the body was carried from the Chapel
of the Blessed Sacrament by the ' Mansionari ' of St.
Peter's into the Chapel of the Choir, Tlie appearance
of the dead Pope was considerably changed since
the embalming, being somewhat ghastly. In the
Choir Stalls was standing, according to seniority
and precedence, the College of Cardinals, while the
Corps Diplomatique was in the side gallery, and
the nephews and nieces of the deceased Pontiff were
in the Choir Gallery on the right. There were also
reserved places in the Chapel for the Roman nobility
and for the families of the Ambassadors. In front of
the Chapel space was kept for the Bishops, Prelates,
and members of the Household.

There were three coffins, one within the other,
placed on the Gospel side of the Altar ; that in
which the corpse was to be placed being lined with
red satin. The prescribed prayers and psalms having
been sung, preparations were made for enclosing the
corpse, and it was lifted from the bier and placed within
the inner coffin. Monsignor CeppetelH then sprinkled
it with holy water, and incensed it. The Maggior-
domo, Mgr. Cagiano, covered the face, and the Maestro
di Camera, Mgr. Bisleti, the hands of the Pope with
a white silk veil edged with gold lace, and then, with
the assistance of the Masters of Ceremonies, the whole


body was wrapt with a covering of red silk edged
also with gold lace. Monsignor Cagiano then placed

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Online LibraryHartwell de la Garde GrissellSede vacante : being a diary written during the conclave of 1903, with additional notes on the accession and coronation of Pius X. → online text (page 1 of 6)