Gregory XI, Pope

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Pontificate: Dec. 30, 1370 to March 26, 1378; b. Pierre Roger de Beaufort, in the Limousin, 1329; d. Rome. This final representative of the avignon papacy studied law at Perugia after having been made cardinal (May 1348) by his uncle, Pope clement vi. When elected pope in Avignon, Gregory was considered a pious, knowledgeable, and modest priest bothered by a weak constitution. He proved, however, a more resolute pope than he has often been credited with being. His reign was preoccupied with three problems, primarily with peace. Arbitration between the houses of Anjou and Aragon resulted in the recognition of the latter's right to the Kingdom of Trinacria, on condition of homage to the pope (1374). Negotiators were dispatched to the Anglo-French talks at Bruges. In Italy, where there was already violent fighting against the Visconti, Gregory alarmed Florence when he sent agents to reassert papal power in central Italy; Florence, backed by the Visconti, went to war, unleashing a general revolt in the states of the church (1375). The pope was compelled to wage a painful war to recover his lands; Florence ended it by negotiation in December 1377. The second concern of Gregory was for the reform of the religious orders, especially the dominicans and hospitallers. His third problem was heresy. The inquisition was reactivated, especially against the waldenses in the Alps. Certain of wyclif's theses were condemned.

Like Pope urban v before him, Gregory always cherished the idea of taking the papacy back to Rome, and in September 1376 he actually left Avignon, entering Rome on Jan. 17, 1377. His death there 14 months later marked the beginning of the dissension that gave rise to the western schism.

Bibliography: Lettres se rapportant à la France, ed. l. mirot et al. (Paris 193557); Indices, ed. g. mollat and e. r. labande; Lettres intéressant les pays autres que ta France, ed. g. mollat (Paris 1962). É. baluze, Vitae paparum Avenionensium, ed. g. mollat, 4 v. (Paris 191427). p. ameilh, "Itinerarium domini Gregorii papae XI" in Rerum italicarum scriptores, 5001500 3.2:690712; Fr. tr. p. ronzy (Florence 1952). j. p. kirsch, Die Rückkehr der Päpste Urban V. und Gregor XI. von Avignon nach Rom (Paderborn 1898). g. mollat, "Grégoire IX et sa légende," Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique 49 (Louvain 1954) 873877; The Popes at Avignon, tr. j. love (New York 1963). f. cardini, "L'idea di crociata in santa Caterina da Siena," Studi sulla storia e sull'idea di crociata (Rome 1993) 42356. m. harvey, "The Household of Cardinal Langham," The Journal of Ecclesiastical Studies 47 (1996) 1844. u. nicolini, "Perugia e l'origine dell' osservanza francescana," Scritti di Storia (Naples 1993) 44758. a. i. pini, Città medioevali e demografia storica: Bologna, Romagna, Italia (Bologna 1996). h. schmidinger, "Die Rückkerhr Gregors XI. Nach Rom in den Berichten des Cristoforus von Piancenza," in Ecclesia peregrinans. Josef Lenzenweger zum 70. Geburtstag (Vienna 1986) 13341. p. r. thibault, Pope Gregory XI: The Failure of Tradition (Lanham, MD 1986). st. weiss, "Kredite europäischer Fürsten für Gregor XI. Zur Finanzierung der Rückkehr des Papsttums von Avignon nach Rom," Quellen und Forschungen aus Italienschen Archiven und Bibliotheken (Tübingen 1997) 176205. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 225.

[e. r. labande]