Count Barnaba Chiaramonti (Pius VII) elected Pope
Pope Pius VII, OSB (14 August 1742 – 20 August 1823), born Count Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was Pope from 14 March, 1800 to 20 August, 1823.
Following the death of Pius VI, virtually France's prisoner, at Valence in August 1799, the conclave met on 30 November, 1799 in the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio, Venice. There were three main candidates, two of whom proved to be unacceptable to the Habsburgs, whose candidate, Alessandro Cardinal Mattei, could not secure sufficient votes. After several months of stalemate, Chiaramonti was elected as a compromise candidate. He was elected Pope Pius VII at Venice on 21 March, 1800 in a rather unusual coronation, wearing a papier-mâché papal tiara, the original having been seized by the French along with Pius VI. Then an Austrian vessel, the "Bellona", brought him to Pesaro, from where he reached Rome by land.
One of Pius VII's first acts was to appoint Ercole Consalvi, who had acted as secretary to the recent conclave, to the college of cardinals and to the office of Cardinal Secretary of State.
Youngest of six children of Count Scipione Chiaramonti. His mother was an Italian noble who, when widowed, entered a Carmelite convent and prophesied his ascension to the papacy. Educated at the college for nobility at Ravenna. Benedictine monk at Santa Maria de Monte age 16, taking the name Brother Gregory. Priest at age 21 in 1765. Teacher at colleges in Parma and Rome, and the monastery of San Callisto, Rome. Family friend of Pope Pius VI. Abbot of San Callisto. Bishop of Tivoli in 1782. Bishop of Imola in the Papal States. Created cardinal by Pope" Pius VI on 14 February 1785. Elected Pope on 14 March 1800 following a 14 week conclave.
Signed the Concordat of 1801 with Napoleon Bonaparte in order to re-establish the Church in post-Revolutionary France. It permitted the civil government to nominate bishops and archbishops, but left it to the Pope to confirm them. Much of the agreement was erased by later declarations (the Organic Acts) by Napoleon, declarations with Pius did not accept. Travelled to Paris in 1804 to crown Napoleon emperor, but Napoleon took the crown from Pius's hands, crowning himself.
Pope from 1800 to 1823, the son of Count Scipione Chiaramonti and the deeply religious Countess Ghini, was born at Cesena on the 14th of August 1740 (not 1742). After studying at Ravenna, at the age of sixteen he entered the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary in his native town: here he was known as Gregorio. Almost immediately he was sent by his superiors to Padua and to Rome for a further course of studies in theology. He then held various teaching appointments in the colleges of his order at Parma and at Rome. He was created an abbot of his order by his relative Pope Pius VI, who also appointed him Bishop of Tivoli on the 16th of December 1782, and on the 14th of February 1785, because of excellent conduct of office, raised him to the cardinalate and the see of Imola. At the death of Pius VI the conclave met at Venice on the 30th of November 1799, with the result that Chiaramonti, the candidate of the French cardinal-archbishop Maury, who was most skilfully supported by the secretary of the conclave Ercole Consalvi, was elected pope on the 14th of March 1800. He was crowned on the 21st of that month; in the following July he entered Rome, on the 11th of August appointed Consalvi cardinal-deacon and secretary of state, and busied himself with administrative reforms.