Location in St Peter's

Monument to Bl. Innocent XI
(Sept. 21, 1676 - Aug 12, 1689) Benedetto Odescalchi
by P. E. Monnot

Square & Area

Vatican City

Colonnade Saints
Floorplan #2
The History
Related Sites
Innocent XI
St Sebastian Altar

The figure of the Pope is flanked by Faith and Fortitude. The bas-relief shows the victory over the Turks in Vienna in 1683.

Innocent XI was beatified Oct. 7, 1956, his feast day is August 13.

The pope's body is visible under the St. Sebastian altar on the opposite side of the basilica.


From: 'St. Peter's - Guide to the Basilica and Square'

On the left, towards the central nave, is the funeral Monument of Innocent XI (1676-1689), the work of the French sculptor Pierre Etienne Monnot. The Pontiff, making a solemn, oratorical gesture, is seated on the throne set above a sarcophagus, in giallo antico marble. A bas-relief on the urn of John Sobieski, shows the Victory over the Turks in Vienna in 1683.

From: 'St. Peter's Basilica - A Virtual Tour' by Our Sunday Visitor
Facing it is the Monument to Innocent XI, executed by P. E. Monnot who, inspired equally by Algardi and Bernini, created a work with a harmonious compositional unity. The bas-relief shows the Liberation of Vienna from the Turks in 1683 thanks to Sobiesky, which undoubtedly was a decisive episode in the history of Europe.

The two metal lions sustaining the black marble urn overlaid with bronze refer to the arms of the Odescalchi family to which the Pope belonged. He is solemnly represented above as if talking to the people. The two allegorical figures do not represent, as is often repeated, Religion and Justice but rather, as rightly indicated by R. U. Montini in his "Tombs of the Popes" (1957), Faith and Fortitude, symbolizing the Christian virtues shown by the Pope in his struggle against the Turks, with prayer, diplomacy and huge financial aid, though a donation of 5 million florins.

Other Sources
Innocent XI was elected pope on Sept. 21, 1676, against the opposition of King Louis XIV of France, who proved to be an enemy of ecclesiastical privileges during Innocent's pontificate. He inherited an insolvent papal treasury but averted bankruptcy through wise taxation, rigid economizing, and financial support from Catholic powers. Innocent aided the war against the Turks by subsidizing King John III of Poland and the Holy Roman emperor Leopold I in a campaign that led to the relief of Vienna (1683) from the Turkish siege.

In doctrinal matters, Innocent sympathized somewhat with the Jansenists, followers of a nonorthodox ecclesiastical movement created by Bishop Cornelius Jansen of Ypres, which opposed Louis's religious policies. Although a friend of Miguel de Molinos, the Spanish mystic and proponent of the doctrine of Christian perfection known as Quietism, Innocent allowed Molinos to be arrested by the papal police and tried for personal immorality and heresy. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and Innocent condemned his propositions in 1687.

Innocent is considered the outstanding pope of the 17th century, largely because of his high moral character. In a time of frequent papal corruption he was free from nepotism and his integrity was unquestioned. He was beatified by Pope Pius XII on October 7, 1956.