Pope Gregory XI
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|Papacy began||30 December 1370|
|Papacy ended||27 March 1378|
|Successor||Urban VI (Roman claimant)
Clement VII (Avignon claimant)
|Ordination||2 January 1371|
|Consecration||3 January 1371|
|Created Cardinal||29 May 1348
by Clement VI
|Birth name||Pierre Roger de Beaufort|
Maumont, Limousin, Kingdom of France
|Died||27 March 1378
Rome, Papal States
|Other popes named Gregory|
He was born Pierre Roger de Beaufort in Maumont in the modern commune of Rosiers-d'Égletons, Limousin, around 1330. The nephew of Pope Clement VI, he succeeded Pope Urban V at the papal conclave of 1370 and was the seventh and last of the Avignon Popes.
During his pontificate, vigorous measures (e.g., burning at the stake, confiscation of property) were taken against proponents of Lollardy, which had found acceptance in Germany, England, and other parts of Europe. Efforts were 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.
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.
John Wycliffe's 19 reformation articles on church-related items as he wrote in his On Civil Dominion  and 21 proposed reformation articles of Johannes Klenkoka's Decadecon  were submitted to Pope Gregory XI in the early part of the 1370s. Gregory formally condemned fourteen articles of Decadecon in 1374  and nineteen propositions of Wycliffe's On Civil Dominion in 1377.
His decision to return to Rome on 17 January 1377 is supposedly attributed in part to the incessant pleas, demands, and threats of Catherine of Siena. A return had been attempted by Gregory's predecessor, Urban V, but the demands of the Hundred Years' War brought him north of the Alps again, and Avignon was still the seat of the Bishop of Rome. The project of returning again to Rome was delayed by a conflict between the pope and Florence, known as the War of the Eight Saints. The pope put Florence under interdict during 1376.
Gregory XI did not long survive this trip, dying on 27 March 1378. He was buried the following day in the church of Santa Maria Nuova. After his death the College of Cardinals was pressured by a Roman mob that broke into the voting chamber to force an Italian pope into the papacy. The Italian chosen was Urban VI. Soon after being elected, Urban gained the Cardinals' enmity. The cardinals withdrew from Rome to Fondi, where they annulled their election of Urban and elected a French pope, Clement VII, before returning to Avignon in 1378.
Subsequently, the Western Schism created by the selection of rival popes forced the people of Europe into a dilemma of papal allegiance. This schism was not resolved fully until the Council of Constance (1414–1418) was called by a group of cardinals. Boldly, the council deposed both current popes and, in 1417, elected Martin V as their successor. The chaos of the Western Schism thus brought about reforming councils and gave them the power over who was elected, replacing (for a time) the College of Cardinals.
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- Ocker, p. 62
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- 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.
- 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.
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|Catholic Church titles|
30 December 1370 – 27 March 1378