Biography of Papa Calixto III (1378-1458)

Born in Játiva (Valencia) December 31, 1378 and died in Rome on August 6, 1458, it agreed to the Papal Chair in April of the year 1455, as successor of Nicolás V. Son of Domingo and Francina, born in the Tower of Canals, atalaya in which inhabited his family - secondary branch of the Valencian Borja-, was baptized with the name of Alfonso de Borja in the parish of Játiva.

From the origins to the Court of Alfonso V

He studied law at Zaragoza, later moving to Lleida. The training acquired during this period, coupled with the degree of doctor of civil and Canon law, helped him to enter the service of King Alfonso V as a lawyer, that would mark the later development of his life. At the service of the King, Alfonso became auditor of the Royal Chamber, as well as Canon of the Cathedral of Lérida, vicar general of the diocese, parish priest of Montoir - Mallorca - and Professor of Canon and civil law from the University of Lleida. In 1419, he/she mediated in the conflict between Alfonso V, Juan of Castilla - cousin and brother-in-law of the former-, and Juan de Navarra - brother of the first-. The outcome of the negotiations conducted by Alfonso de Borja was subscription, by three litigants, an agreement committing to resolve through dialogue the future confrontations between them.

The Bishop of Valencia

From the moment an ecclesiastical career of Alfonso de Borja began to emerge. Highlighted by its role as mediator in the conflict between Martín V and Clement VIII, who was claimed as successor of the antipope Benedict XIII, thanks to the performance of Alfonso de Borja, Clement VIII renounced his status of heir to the Chair of Pedro. This fact, Alfonso was appointed as Bishop of Valencia - one of the Peninsular dioceses of greater wealth-which was awarded - in 1429 - by Pope Martín V as a sign of appreciation for his services. In the year 1432, just three years after his appointment as Bishop of the diocese which he/she was born, was called to Italy as Deputy Foreign Minister and Advisor to private King. From this moment on, he/she went to reside in Italy continuously, rarely returning to his homeland.

Rome: Cardinal to Pope

Cardinal was named on two of may of the year 1444, by Pope Eugenio IV, who thus expressed its appreciation for have prevented the attendance of King Alfonso V at the Council of Basel, as his representative attending the own Alfonso de Borja. In this way, our protagonist was able to materialize the key jump of his career, passing to reside, from those moments in Rome, without ever seeing his native Valencia again. Once integrated into the Roman Curia, his outstanding training as a lawyer - fruit of the beginnings of his career in Lerida-linked to the austere life that was characterized, constituted the two basic pillars on which the respect and the trust of most of the members of the Curia were settled. After the death of Pope Nicolás V, on April 8, the year 1455, after only four days of deliberation by the conclave, was announced the appointment of Alfonso de Borja as a new Pontiff, to take the name of Calixto III.

Callixtus III, the new Pontiff

The pontificate of Calixto III was mainly characterized by its constant attention to the conquest of Constantinople, the fact that he/she already said in its first statement of intent as the new Pontiff. At the same time, Calixto III proceeded to materialize the canonization of his countryman Vicente Ferrer, who - according to tradition - had predicted that Alfonso de Borja was Pope and that would elevate him to the altar. Likewise, Calixto III began the rehabilitation of the maid of Orleans, which would later become known as Joan of arc, which had been condemned by an ecclesiastical court as witch, which earned him the condemnation of the bonfire.

During the time that lasted his brief pontificate, Calixto III called to Rome many of their relatives, as well as a good number of compatriots. In the College of Cardinals, he/she ushered in two of his nephews, Rodrigo de Borja - who would be elected Pope with the name Alejandro VI- and Luis Juan; of these two, Rodrigo would become Vice Chancellor of the Roman Church, made this in full accordance with custom surround yourself with people you trust - especially linked by links family - located at major checkpoints. In this sense, Rodrigo Borja, showed that a Deputy Foreign Minister does not need the existence of blood ties to perform their functions satisfactorily, which allowed him to remain in his post for five different pontificates, these is, thirty-five years in a row. On August 6, celebration of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in the year 1458, died Calixto III, being succeeded by Pius II.


SCHÜLLER PIROLI, S.: The Popes Borgia. Callixtus III and Alejandro VI. Valencia: Alfons el Magnànim, 1991.

VVAA.: Els temps dels Borja. Valencia: Generalitat Valenciana. Series Minor No. 39, 1996.