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EUGENIUS °, name of four popes. They include the following:

eugenius iii (1145–53). At the time of Eugenius' solemn entry into Rome in 1145, the Jews of the city formed part of the procession which welcomed him. Probably as a result of the anti-Jewish persecutions following the preaching of the Second Crusade, Eugenius renewed the Sicut Judaeis, Pope Calixtus ii's bull of protection for the Jews (see papal *bulls). In doing this, he may have acted on the advice of *Bernard of Clairvaux, his former teacher, with whom he maintained close relations. In one of a series of letters to Pope Eugenius written between 1149 and 1152, Bernard pointed out that the concern of the pope should also go out to the Jews.

eugenius iv (1431–47). The greater part of his reign was especially favorable for the Jews. In 1432, soon after his ascent to the papal throne, Eugenius iv ratified the privileges of the Jewish communities of Lombardy, the Marches, and Sardinia. He retained his predecessor's Jewish personal physician, Elia di Sabato, and in 1433 confirmed his freedom of the city and his salary. On Feb. 6, 1434, he assured the German Jewish communities of his protection, particularly against attempts at forced conversion, any interference with the practice of their religion, and desecration of their cemeteries. Eugenius ordered the lay and ecclesiastical authorities to assist the Jewish communities in the payment of their taxes.

The change in his attitude probably followed on the deliberations of the Council of Basle (1431–37), which also adopted a severe attitude toward Christian heresies. In order not to appear dilatory in his strictness toward the Jews, in 1442 Eugenius forbade Christians in Leon and Castile to have any relationships with them as maids or menservants. The Jews were forbidden to erect any new synagogues, to lend money on interest, and to work on Sundays and Christian holidays; they were to be excluded from public office and could not testify against Christians. The provisions of this bull were soon extended to Italy, where the Jews were also prohibited from studying any book but the Pentateuch. As a result many Jews left the Papal States, taking refuge especially in Mantua, where the ruler, Giovanni Francesco Gonzaga, offered them fairly liberal conditions. After large sums of money had changed hands, the restrictive measures were rescinded in December 1443. From then on, Eugenius once more extended his protection to the Jews. Only a few days before his death, he issued a bull against forced baptisms in Spain.


Vogelstein-Rieger, 1 (1895), 222–3; 2 (1896), 9–13; Milano, Italia, 154–6; Roth, Italy, 162–4 and passim; J. Gill, Eugenius iv (Eng., 1961); M.A. Dimier, in: Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclesiastiques, 15 (1963), 1349ff.; S. Grayzel, Church and the Jews… (19662), 76.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]