Date of Birth: 11/21/1854
Benedict XV (.. Latin Benedictus PP XV, to the enthronement - Giacomo, the Marquis della Chiesa, Italy Giacomo della Chiesa;. November 21, 1854 - January 22, 1922) - Pope in 1914-1922.
Born November 21, 1854 in Pegli, near Genoa. He studied law and theology. He took the priesthood in 1878 and entered the papal diplomatic service. In 1907, Pope Pius X appointed him Archbishop of Bologna, and in 1914 he became a cardinal.
Despite the beginning of World War II, the conclave after the death of Pius X was attended by 60 of the 65 living cardinals. After four days of discussion, the pope has been elected candidates, Cardinal della Chiesa, who took the name Benedict in honor of his great predecessor Benedict XIV. State Secretary with him became an outstanding lawyer, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri. In the context of world war blazing in the papal diplomatic activity has been limited to the force of circumstances. In 1918, the pope entered into force the new Code of Canon Law. Upon receipt of Poland`s independence Apostolic See established diplomatic relations with it.
August 20, 1914 the first pope of XX century. He died, and on September 3 on the papal throne conclave chose Marquis Giacomo della Chiesa, who took the name of Benedict XV. Benedict XV was an experienced politician. He managed in the difficult conditions of World War II and the postwar period, if not to increase the authority and influence of the Catholic Church, then, at least, keep them at the same level. Feeling sorry Central European Powers, Benedict XV held formal neutrality that after the war, when fully reveal its criminal imperialist character, brought him certain dividends, has given rise to the legend of him as an "apostle of peace".
The February Revolution in Russia was met at the Vatican with mixed feelings. On the one hand, there is expected that with the fall of the tsarist weakened relationship of Orthodoxy with the government and it will be extended to the territory of Russia the influence of the Catholic Church. On the other - feared that the revolution will eventually more radical, entice other nations for a cause, and the church is the same, if not more, damage, as did the French Revolution.
Events in Russia have prompted Benedict XV to establish May 1, 1917 a special Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which was supposed to ensure the subordination of Catholicism Christian churches in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Appropriate personnel for this work was to prepare the Pope established the Institute of Oriental Studies, in which the number of students allowed to take and Orthodox.
When the October Revolution, Benedict XV was convinced that the Soviet vlastbudet strangled by the combined efforts of the internal counter-revolution and world imperialism. From the very first days after the victory of October the Vatican took an active part in inflating the myth depicting the Soviet state in the role of persecutor persecutor of religion and priests. In March 1919, the Vatican asked the People`s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Republic to protest against the alleged persecution of the clergy. Commissar Chicherin replied that no one is prosecuted for his faith in Soviet Russia, and expressed surprise that the Pope did not protest against the atrocities of the White Guards and foreign interventionists in the occupied territories of the Soviet Republic.
Vatican agents filled the Baltic countries - Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. They kept it ultra-elements, encouraged anti-Soviet activities. Benedict XV sought loopholes to penetrate Soviet Russia. So, in 1922 in connection with the hunger suffered by the population of large areas of the country, the Vatican has offered to send a mission to help the starving. The Soviet government, not wanting to aggravate relations with the Catholic Church, had decided to accept the mission. However, later it was found, the Vatican could not resist in order not to use the mission to interfere in the internal affairs of the Soviet country.
The church policy, votlichie from Pius X, Benedict XV adhered to a moderate course. He approved in 1917. canonical code - the supreme law of the clergy and believers, created on the initiative of Pius X. Benedict XV stop the persecution of the modernists allowed within certain limits of theological discussion, wary trot out excommunications and condemnations. In addition, the atmosphere of World War II and post-war conditions did not contribute to the persecution of "heretics". Dad thought it prudent to eliminate the Congregation of the Index, transferring its functions Congregation Holy Office (the Inquisition).
Very active proved to Benedict XV on the mission field. After World War Congregation of Propaganda Fide, Veda work of missionaries, became hard to expand its activities in Asia, the Middle East, Africa. The Pope urged the missionaries to observe in the first place the interests of the church, not their governments, to educate staff of local origin clergy, treated with great respect for the national cultures and customs. This orientation was intended to strengthen the authority of the Catholic missionary work among the local population and thus make it work even more useful for the colonizers.
January 22, 1922 Benedict XV died. February 6, 1922 he was elected Pope, Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Achille Ratti, who took the name Pius XI.