Pope Gregory XI

Summary

Pope Gregory XI (Latin: Gregorius, born Pierre Roger de Beaufort; c. 1329 – 27 March 1378) was head of the Catholic Church from 30 December 1370 to his death in 1378. He was the seventh and last Avignon pope[1] and the most recent French pope recognized by the modern Catholic Church. In 1377, Gregory XI returned the Papal court to Rome, ending nearly 70 years of papal residency in Avignon, France. His death shortly after was followed by the Western Schism involving two Avignon-based antipopes.


Gregory XI
Bishop of Rome
Duke of Anjou leading Pope Gregory XI to the palace at Avignon, while cardinals follow (cropped).png
Gregory XI entering the Palace of the Popes, Avignon
ChurchCatholic Church
Papacy began30 December 1370
Papacy ended27 March 1378
PredecessorUrban V
SuccessorUrban VI
Orders
Ordination2 January 1371
Consecration3 January 1371
by Guy of Boulogne
Created cardinal29 May 1348
by Clement VI
Personal details
Born
Pierre Roger de Beaufort

c. 1329
Died27 March 1378(1378-03-27) (aged 48–49)
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named Gregory

Early lifeEdit

Pierre Roger de Beaufort was born at Maumont, France, around 1330. His uncle, Pierre Cardinal Roger, Archbishop of Rouen, was elected pope in 1342 and took the name Clement VI. Clement VI bestowed a number of benefices upon his nephew and in 1348, created the eighteen-year-old a cardinal deacon. The young cardinal attended the University of Perugia, where he became a skilled canonist and theologian.[2]

Conclave 1370Edit

 
Coronation of Gregory XI

After the death of Pope Urban V (December 1370), eighteen cardinals assembled at Avignon entered the conclave on 29 December. Cardinal Roger was unanimously elected on 30 December.[3] Though initially opposing his own election, Roger eventually accepted and took the name of Gregory XI. On 4 January 1371 he was ordained to the priesthood by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Guy de Boulogne, and on 5 January was consecrated Bishop of Rome and crowned by the new protodeacon Rinaldo Orsini in the cathedral Notre Dame des Doms in Avignon.[4]

PapacyEdit

Immediately on his accession he attempted to reconcile the Kings of France and England, but failed. Gregory confirmed a treaty between Sicily and Naples at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon on 20 August 1372, which brought about a permanent settlement between the rival kingdoms, which were both papal fiefs.[5]

Gregory also tried to undertake a crusade due to pleas from Catherine of Siena in 1376[6] by continuing Pope Urban V’s call for Christians to stop fighting other Christians, which Urban called for in November of 1366.[7] Efforts were also made to reform corrupt practices in the various monastic orders, such as collecting fees from persons visiting holy sites and the exhibiting of faux relics of saints.[6] Many of these acts were through the persistence of letters from Catherine of Siena.

Like the preceding popes of Avignon, Gregory XI made the fatal mistake of appointing Frenchmen, who did not understand the Italians and whom the Italians hated, as legates and governors of the ecclesiastical provinces in Italy. Italian city states opposed the move of the papacy back to Rome and specifically Florence opposed to the move due to Gregory wanting to expand the Papal states upon the papal return to Rome.[8] Before moving to Rome, however, he had to give his entire attention to the turbulent affairs of Italy. Duke Bernabo Visconti of Milan, had, in 1371, made himself master of Reggio and other places that were feudatory to the Holy See. Gregory XI excommunicated him and later declared war on him in 1372 against a Florentine led coalition of Italian city states, which later became known as the War of the Eight Saints (1375-1378). After war broke out, Gregory excommunicated the city and placed the city under interdict on 31 March 1376[9] in an attempt to quell the rebellion. Catherine of Siena tried to convince Gregory to stop the war on behalf of the Florentine state.[10] This proved to be futile as the war did not end until after Gregory’s death. The war ended with a peace treaty concluded at Tivoli in July 1378, negotiated with Pope Urban VI following the death of Gregory XI.[8]

Return to RomeEdit

 
A bolognino of Gregory XI

The return to Rome from Avignon has been an issue since Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon in 1309.[11] From Popes Clement V to Urban V, the popes of the Avignon Papacy had their reasons to stay in France and not return to Rome. After 68 years of papal rule from France, Gregory XI moved the papacy back to its former seat of power of Rome in 1377.  

Gregory was constantly receiving pleas and threats from Catherine of Siena through letters. In total, she wrote 14 letters between 1375 and 1378 until Gregory died. These letters delt with different matters such as peace, church reform, and moving the papacy back to Rome. Catherine persuades him by saying that it is easier to achieve Gregory’s goal of peace among the city states in Italy by expanding the influence of the Papal states if the papacy is back in Rome.[12] Catherine’s goals of church reform in her eyes seems more plausible if the papacy is in Rome as well.  

The return of the Curia to Rome began on 13 September 1376. Despite the protests of the French king and the majority of the cardinals, Gregory left Avignon on that day and made his way to Marseilles, where he boarded a ship on 2 October. Arriving at Corneto on 6 December, he decided to remain there until arrangements were made in Rome concerning its future government. On 13 January 1377, he left Corneto, landed at Ostia the next day, and from there sailed up the Tiber to the monastery of San Paolo. On 17 January he left the monastery to make a solemn entrance into Rome that same day. [13][14][15]

DeathEdit

Gregory XI did not survive much longer after his move to Rome. He died on 27 March 1378 aged 48-49.[16] Pope Urban VI, an Italian, was elected to the papacy after his death. However, his decision to move the papacy back to Rome led to the Western Schism and the rise of the Antipopes. Most of Europe supported Antipope Clement VII as the true pope.[17] (Walsh 2011) While the papacy was in Rome following Gregory’s death, it took another century of popes fighting to restore the papacy to its former glory and to firmly establish itself back in Rome.

Subsequently, the Western Schism created by the selection of rival popes forced Europe into a dilemma of papal allegiance. This schism was not resolved fully until the Council of Constance (1414–1418).[18]

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes, (HarperCollins, 2000), 245.
  2. ^ Ott, Michael. "Pope Gregory XI." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 29 May 2019  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ G. Mollat The Popes at Avignon 1305–1378, London 1963, p. 59
  4. ^ S. Miranda Cardinal Pierre Roger de Beaufort (Pope Gregory XI)
  5. ^ Hayez, Michel (2002). "Gregorio XI, papa". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Vol. 59. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana.
  6. ^ a b Villegas, D., 2021. Catherine of Siena’s spirituality of political engagement. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 77(2).
  7. ^ Clarke, Peter D. “BETWEEN AVIGNON AND ROME: MINOR PENITENTIARIES AT THE PAPAL CURIA IN THE THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH CENTURIES.” Rivista Di Storia Della Chiesa in Italia, vol. 63, no. 2, 2009, pp. 455–510
  8. ^ a b Peterson, David S. 2002. "The War of the Eight Saints in Florentine Memory and Oblivion." In Society and Individual in Renaissance Florence, Ed. William J. Connell.
  9. ^ Williman, Daniel, and Karen Corsano. “THE INTERDICT OF FLORENCE (31 MARCH 1376): NEW DOCUMENTS.” Rivista Di Storia Della Chiesa in Italia, vol. 56, no. 2, 2002, pp. 427–81
  10. ^ Ott, Micheal (1909). "Pope Gregory XI, The Catholic Encyclopedia".
  11. ^ Rollo-Koster, J., 2015. Avignon and Its Papacy, 1309–1417: Popes, Institutions, and Society.
  12. ^ Villegas, D., 2021. Catherine of Siena’s spirituality of political engagement. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 77(2).
  13. ^ Joëlle Rollo-Koster, Raiding Saint Peter: Empty Sees, Violence, and the Initiation of the Great Western Schism (1378), (Brill, 2008), 182.
  14. ^ Francis Thomas Luongo, The Saintly Politics of Catherine of Siena, xii.
  15. ^ Harvey, Margaret The English in Rome, 1362–1420: Portrait of an Expatriate Community, (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 3.
  16. ^ Richardson, C., 2009. Reclaiming Rome: Cardinals in the Fifteenth Century. Leiden: Brill.
  17. ^ Walsh, M., 2011. The Cardinals: Thirteen Centuries of the Men Behind the Papal Throne. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub.
  18. ^ Welsh, Frank (2008). The Battle for Christendom The Council of Constance, the East-West Conflict, and the Dawn of Modern Europe. New York: The Overlook Press. pp. 117–153. ISBN 978-1-59020-123-7.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Gregory XI". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

ReferencesEdit

  • Ameilh (Aemilii), Pierre (Petrus) (1952). Le voyage de Grégoire XI ramenant la Papauté d'Avignon à Rome, 1376–1377 suivi du texte latin et de la traduction franç. de l'Itinerarium Gragerii XI de Pierre Ameilh. [Petrus Amelii] (in French). Florence: Coppini.
  • Hanawalt, G.Barbara. The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History, 1998, Oxford Univ. Press, p. 143
  • Cairns, E.Earl. Christianity Throughout the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church, 1996, Zondervan, pp. 241 & 248–250.
  • Gherardi, Alessandro (1868). La guerra dei Fiorentini con Papa Gregorio XI detta la guerra degli otto santi memoria compilata sui documenti dell' archivio fiorentino (in Italian). Firenze: Tipi di Cellini.
  • Jugie, Pierre (2008). La formation intellectuelle du cardinal Pierre Roger de Beaufort, le pape Grégoire XI: nouveau point sur la question (in French). Florence: Sismel.
  • Mirot, Léon (1899). La politique pontificale et le retour du Saint-Siège à Rome en 1376 (in French). Paris: É. Bouillon. p. 198.
  • Ocker, Christopher, Johannes Klenkok: a friar's life, c. 1310–1374 , American Philosophical Society, 1993, ISBN 0-87169-835-8
  • Thibault, Paul R. (1986). Pope Gregory XI: the failure of tradition. Lanham MD USA: University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-8191-5463-7.
  • Clarke, Peter D. “BETWEEN AVIGNON AND ROME: MINOR PENITENTIARIES AT THE PAPAL CURIA IN THE THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH CENTURIES.” Rivista Di Storia Della Chiesa in Italia, vol. 63, no. 2, 2009, pp. 455–510
  • De Angelis, Laura, and Vicki Whittaker. “Florence’s Ruling Class at the Turn of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries.” Revue Française de Science Politique (English Edition), vol. 64, no. 6, 2014, pp. 65–79
  • Harvey, Margaret The English in Rome, 1362–1420: Portrait of an Expatriate Community, (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 3.
  • Peterson, David S. 2002. "The War of the Eight Saints in Florentine Memory and Oblivion." In Society and Individual in Renaissance Florence, Ed. William J. Connell.
  • Richardson, C., 2009. Reclaiming Rome: Cardinals in the Fifteenth Century. Leiden: Brill.
  • Rollo-Koster, J., 2015. Avignon and Its Papacy, 1309–1417: Popes, Institutions, and Society.
  • Rollo-Koster, J., Raiding Saint Peter: Empty Sees, Violence, and the Initiation of the Great Western Schism (1378), (Brill, 2008), 182.
  • Villegas, D., 2021. Catherine of Siena’s spirituality of political engagement. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 77(2).
  • Walsh, M., 2011. The Cardinals: Thirteen Centuries of the Men Behind the Papal Throne. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub.
  • Williman, Daniel, and Karen Corsano. “THE INTERDICT OF FLORENCE (31 MARCH 1376): NEW DOCUMENTS.” Rivista Di Storia Della Chiesa in Italia, vol. 56, no. 2, 2002, pp. 427–81
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Pope
1370–1378
Succeeded byas Roman pope
Succeeded byas Avignon pope