Martin IV, Pope
MARTIN IV, POPE
Pontificate: Feb. 22, 1281 to Mar. 29, 1285; b. Simon de Brion, or Brie, near Angers; d. Orvieto. In 1260 he became chancellor of louis ix. As cardinal (1261) he was papal legate in France under Urban IV, Clement IV, and Gregory X and supported the advancement of Louis's brother, Charles of Anjou, to the Sicilian throne. It was to Charles that he owed his election to the papal throne at Viterbo (1281) and his coronation at Orvieto, where he resided since he was not allowed to enter Rome. Martin in turn reinforced Charles's position in Italy by making him Roman senator and endorsing his Eastern projects. In 1281 he excommunicated the Emperor michael viii paleologus, thereby ruining any chance for the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches before 1437. The anti–French rebellion in Sicily, the Sicilian Vespers (1282), forced Charles to abandon the hoped–for conquest of Constantinople in favor of the reconquest of Sicily. The Sicilians tried to place their League of Free Communes under papal suzerainty but later called in King Peter III of Aragon, who had long plotted to invade the island. Pope Martin reciprocated by excommunicating the Sicilians, declaring their new King deposed, and organizing a crusade gainst Peter under Philip III of France. Sicily and Aragon successfully resisted, but the papacy long remained committed to the reconquest of Sicily. Martin was deeply interested in the work of the franciscans, granting them the right of preaching and hearing confessions in the bull Ad fructus uberes (1281) and relaxing their rules on poverty in the Exultantes (1283).
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