Pope Gregory IX
|Papacy began||19 March 1227|
|Papacy ended||22 August 1241|
|Created Cardinal||December 1198|
|Birth name||Ugolino di Conti|
|Born||between 1145 and 1170
Anagni, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||22 August 1241
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
|Coat of arms|
|Other popes named Gregory|
|Papal styles of
Pope Gregory IX
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Gregory IX (Latin: Gregorius IX; c. 1145/70 – 22 August 1241), born Ugolino di Conti, was Pope from 19 March 1227 to his death in 1241. He is known for instituting the Papal Inquisition, a mechanism that severely punished people accused of heresy, in response to the failures of the episcopal inquisitions established during the time of Pope Lucius III through his papal bull Ad abolendam issued in 1184.
He was created Cardinal-Deacon of the church of Sant'Eustachio by his cousin Innocent III in December 1198. In 1206 he was promoted to the rank of Cardinal Bishop of Ostia e Velletri. He became Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1218 or 1219. He was also Cardinal Protector of the Order of Franciscans.
After his elevation to the papal chair at the conclusion of the papal election of 1227, Gregory IX commissioned Konrad von Marburg to eliminate heresy throughout the whole of Germany. Gregory IX began his pontificate by suspending the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, then lying sick at Otranto, for dilatoriness in carrying out the promised Sixth Crusade. The suspension was followed by excommunication and threats of deposition, as deeper rifts appeared – Frederick II's control of the Sicilian Church, his feudal obligations to the Pope, even his continued presence in Sicily. Frederick II publicly appealed to the sovereigns of Europe complaining of his treatment. Frederick II went to the Holy Land and skirmished with the Saracens to fulfill his vow, but was soon back in Italy, where Gregory IX had taken advantage of his absence by invading his territories. A consequent invasion of the Papal states in 1228 having proved unsuccessful, the Emperor was constrained to give in his submission and beg for absolution.
Although peace was thus secured in August 1230 for a season, the Roman people were far from satisfied; driven by a revolt from his own capital in June 1232, the Pope was compelled to take refuge at Anagni and invoke the aid of Frederick II. Gregory IX and Frederick came to a truce, but when Frederick defeated the Lombard League in 1239, the possibility that he might dominate all of Italy, surrounding the Papal States, became a very real threat. A new outbreak of hostilities led to a fresh excommunication of the emperor in 1239 and to a prolonged war.
Gregory IX denounced Frederick II as a heretic and summoned a council at Rome to give point to his anathema. Frederick responded by trying to capture or sink as many ships carrying prelates to the synod as he could. Eberhard II von Truchsees, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, in 1241 at the Council of Regensburg declared that Gregory IX was "that man of perdition, whom they call Antichrist, who in his extravagant boasting says, 'I am God, I cannot err'." He argued that the Pope was the "little horn" of Daniel 7:8:
A little horn has grown up with eyes and mouth speaking great things, which is reducing three of these kingdoms—i.e. Sicily, Italy, and Germany—to subserviency, is persecuting the people of Christ and the saints of God with intolerable opposition, is confounding things human and divine, and is attempting things unutterable, execrable.
The struggle was only terminated by the death of Gregory IX on 22 August 1241. He died before events could reach their climax; it was his successor Pope Innocent IV who declared a crusade in 1245 that would finish the Hohenstaufen threat.
This pope, being a remarkably skillful and learned lawyer, caused to be prepared Nova Compilatio decretalium, which was promulgated in numerous copies in 1234. (It was first printed at Mainz in 1473). This New Compilation of Decretals was the culmination of a long process of systematising the mass of pronouncements that had accumulated since the Early Middle Ages, a process that had been under way since the first half of the 12th century and had come to fruition in the Decretum, compiled and edited by the papally commissioned legist Gratian and published in 1140. The supplement completed the work, which provided the foundation for papal legal theory.
Gregory's Bull Parens scientiarum of 1231, after the University of Paris strike of 1229, resolved differences between the unruly university scholars of Paris and the local authorities, who had precipitated this crisis by high-handed actions. His solution was in the manner of a true follower of Innocent III: he issued what in retrospect has been viewed as the magna carta of the University, assuming direct control by extending papal patronage: his Bull allowed future suspension of lectures over a flexible range of provocations, from "monstrous injury or offense" to squabbles over "the right to assess the rents of lodgings".
Gregory IX believed the problem of heresy needed serious attention and was not content with leaving it to the bishops, who might have been lax, but extended central control in this essential area as well. In 1231, he established the Papal Inquisition to deal with it, although he did not approve the use of torture as a tool of investigation or for penance.
He appointed ten cardinals and canonized Saints Elisabeth of Hungary, Dominic de Guzmán, Anthony of Padua, and Francis of Assisi, of whom he had been a personal friend and early patron. His encroachments upon the rights of the English Church during the reign of King Henry III of England are well known; similar attempts against the liberties of the national church of France were supposedly the occasion of the Pragmatic Sanction of King Louis IX of France, now generally thought to be a 14th-century forgery.
Gregory IX was a prominent opponent of Judaism during his life, condemning it as "containing every kind of vileness and blasphemy". In the 1234 Decretals, he invested the doctrine of perpetua servitus iudaeorum – perpetual servitude of the Jews – with the force of canonical law. According to this, the followers of the Talmud would have to remain in a condition of political servitude until Judgment Day. The doctrine then found its way into the doctrine of servitus camerae imperialis, or servitude immediately subject to the Emperor's authority, promulgated by Frederick II. The Jews were thus suppressed from having direct influence over the political process and the life of Christian states into the 19th century with the rise of liberalism. In 1239, under the influence of Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, Gregory ordered that all copies of the Jewish Talmud be confiscated. Following a public disputation between Christians and Jewish theologians, this culminated in a mass burning of some 12,000 handwritten Talmudic manuscripts on June 12, 1242, in Paris. Subsequent popes repeated this practice.
He transformed a chapel to Our Lady in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome.
Gregory IX endorsed the Northern Crusades and attempts to conquer Orthodox Russia (particularly the Pskov Republic and the Novgorod Republic). In 1232, Gregory IX requested the Livonian Brothers of the Sword to send troops to protect Finland, whose semi-Pagan people were fighting against the Novgorod Republic in the Finnish-Novgorodian wars; however, there is no known information if any ever arrived to assist.
It is claimed in popular books and websites that Gregory's condemnation of heretics worshipping Satan in the form of a black cat in his bull Vox in Rama led to a massacre of cats across Europe. It is also claimed that this supposed "cat massacre" worsened the Black Death a century after Gregory's time, because the plague was spread by rats who were unchecked in Europe due to the decline of cat numbers. The Black Death began in central Asia and spread west, devastating large swathes of central Asia, Asia Minor and the Middle East before hitting Europe. Recent research provides evidence that the plague was an airborne infection spread from human to human, not one spread by the fleas on rats. There is no credible evidence, however, that such an edict was ever issued by Gregory IX, though claiming that black cats were used in devil-worshipping rituals may have led some people to exterminate cats in their environment.
- "The Catholic Encyclopedia". Newadvent.org. 1909-09-01. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1990). "Gregor IX., Papst". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 2. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 317–320. ISBN 3-88309-032-8.
- Werner Maleczek, Papst und Kardinalskolleg von 1191 bis 1216, (Vienna: Verlag der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1984), 126–133.
- David Abulafia, Frederick II: a Medieval Emperor 1992. 480 pages. Oxford University Press, USA (1 November 1992) ISBN 0-19-508040-8
- The Methodist Review Vol. XLIII, No. 3, p. 305.
- Daniel 7:8
- Article on "Antichrist" from Smith and Fuller, A Dictionary of the Bible, 1893, p. 147
- (English) Rebecca Knuth (2006). Burning books and leveling libraries: extremist violence and cultural destruction. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 166. ISBN 0-275-99007-9.
- Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, Cardinali di Curia e "Familiae" cardinalizie dal 1227 al 1254 2 vols. (series "Italia Sacra", Padua: Antenori) 1972 (Italian). A prosopography that includes Gregory's ten cardinals and their familiae or official households, both clerical and lay.
- Dietmar Preissler, Frühantisemitismus in der Freien Stadt Frankfurt und im Großherzogtum Hessen (1810 bis 1860), p.30, Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, Heidelberg 1989, ISBN 3-533-04129-8 (German). The doctrine's Vatican indexing is liber extra – c. 13, X, 5.6, De Iudaeis: Iudaeos, quos propria culpa submisit perpetua servituti; the Decretum online (Latin)
- Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. ISBN 0-14-026653-4
- "Letter by Pope Gregory IX". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14.. In Latin.
- "The History of Human-Animal Interaction - The Medieval Period - Animals, Cats, Europe, and Ages". Libraryindex.com. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Thorpe, Vanessa (2014-03-29). "Black death skeletons reveal pitiful life of 14th-century Londoners". The Guardian/The Observer. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Gregory IX
- Iben Fonnesberg‐Schmidt, The Popes and the Baltic Crusades 1147–1254 (Leiden, Brill. 2007) (The Northern World, 26).
|Catholic Church titles|
Ottaviano di Paoli
|Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
Rinaldo di Jenne