SAINTS

DEC. 19: BLESSED URBAN V, POPE

(1310-1370)

Guillaume De Grimoard, who would later be crowned Pope Urban V, was born to a noble family of Languedoc, France. He joined the Benedictines and taught law at Avignon.

In 1352, he became the abbot of Saint-Germain Auxerre and in 1361 of Saint-Victor in Marseille. In 1362 he succeeded Innocent VI as pope and was crowned in Avignon, where the papacy resided from 1309 to 1377.

Urban wanted to bring the papacy back to Rome. In preparation he reformed the Avignonese Curia and did much to restore peace to Italy. Though the French court was against the papal move, Holy Roman emperor Charles IV escorted Urban to Rome. There on June 4, Urban crowned Charles king of Burgundy.

One of the motives of Urban to reestablish the Holy See in Rome was to strengthen his position in reuniting the Eastern and Western Catholic churches. Arriving in Rome, however, Urban found the city in shambles, so he began to restore the many churches there.

In October 1369, the Byzantine emperor John V Paleologus came to Rome where he confessed the Roman faith and offered to submit the Eastern Church to Roman supremacy. The clergy and people of the east would not have it though and the union was a failure. The two churches never joined as one.

With continued uprisings in the Italian Papal States and a war between England in France, Urban returned disappointed to Avignon in 1370. Despite his failures, Urban was respected for his austerity and piety. He founded universities at Orange, Krakow and Vienna and is thusly known as a patron of education.

Adapted by. A. J. Valentini from: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d.-a). Blessed Urban V | pope. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved Dec. 8, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Blessed-Urban-V