This is a Christmas greeting signed as Cardinal De’Conti, the future Innocent XIII, on December 14th, 1713.
Innocent XIII reigned as Pope from 1721-1724. He was 65 years old upon his election. Although known for his diplomatic skills, personal piety, intellect and kindly disposition, Innocent’s reign served to show how politically weak the papacy had become. His predecessor, Clement XI, had refused to invest Emperor Charles VI (1711 – 1740) with Naples and Sicily because he had not been consulted about their transfer to the empire. Innocent granted the investiture in 1722 but this was a completely formal matter since the emperor had already taken possession of Naples at the Treaty of Utrecht and exchanged Sardinia for Sicily. Other territories were handled in a similar manner by the monarchs without consultation, serving to highlight the inadequacies of the Vatican. Charles VI even claimed supreme authority over the Sicilian church. Innocent was powerless.
Pope Innocent XIII is buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.