Pope Gregory IX

Pope Gregory IX (Latin: Gregorius IX; born Ugolino di Conti; c. 1145 or before 1170 – 22 August 1241) was Pope from 19 March 1227 to his death in 1241. He is known for issuing the Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition in response to the failures of the episcopal inquisitions established during the time of Pope Lucius III through his papal bull Ad abolendam issued in 1184.

The successor of Pope Honorius III, he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his cousin Pope Innocent III and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.


Gregory IX
Gregory IX (cropped)
Pope Gregory IX in a manuscript miniature (c. 1270)
Papacy began19 March 1227
Papacy ended22 August 1241
PredecessorHonorius III
SuccessorCelestine IV
Created cardinalDecember 1198
by Innocent III
Personal details
Birth nameUgolino di Conti
Bornbetween 1145 and 1170
Anagni, Papal States
Died22 August 1241 (aged 70–96)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post
Coat of armsGregory IX's coat of arms
Other popes named Gregory
Papal styles of
Pope Gregory IX
C o a Innocenzo III
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Early life

Ugolino (Hugh) was born in Anagni. The date of his birth varies in sources between c. 1145[1] and 1170.[2] He received his education at the Universities of Paris and Bologna.

He was created Cardinal-Deacon of the church of Sant'Eustachio by his cousin[3] Innocent III in December 1198. In 1206 he was promoted to the rank of Cardinal Bishop of Ostia e Velletri. He became Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1218 or 1219. Upon the special request of Saint Francis, in 1220, Pope Honorius III appointed him Cardinal Protector of the order of the Franciscans.

As Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, he cultivated a wide range of acquaintances, among them the Queen of England, Isabella of Angoulême.[4]


Gregory IX was elevated to the papacy in the papal election of 1227.[1] He took the name "Gregory" because he formally assumed the papal office at the monastery of Saint Gregory ad Septem Solia.[5]

Gregory's Bull Parens scientiarum of 1231, after the University of Paris strike of 1229, resolved differences between the unruly university scholars of Paris and the local authorities. His solution was in the manner of a true follower of Innocent III: he issued what in retrospect has been viewed as the magna carta of the University, assuming direct control by extending papal patronage: his Bull allowed future suspension of lectures over a flexible range of provocations, from "monstrous injury or offense" to squabbles over "the right to assess the rents of lodgings".

In 1233 Gregory IX established the Papal Inquisition to regularize the persecution of heresy.[6] The Papal Inquisition was intended as replacing the often chaotic and violent episcopal inquisitions which had been established by Lucius III in 1184. Gregory's aim was to bring order and legality to the process of dealing with heresy, since there had been tendencies by mobs of townspeople to burn alleged heretics without much of a trial. In 1231 Pope Gregory IX appointed a number of Papal Inquisitors (Inquisitores haereticae pravitatis), mostly Dominicans and Franciscans, for the various regions of France, Italy and parts of Germany. The aim was to introduce due process and objective investigation into the beliefs of those accused to the often erratic and unjust persecution of heresy on the part of local ecclesiastical and secular jurisdictions.[7]

Gregory was a remarkably skillful and learned lawyer. He caused to be prepared Nova Compilatio decretalium, which was promulgated in numerous copies in 1234 (first printed at Mainz in 1473). This New Compilation of Decretals was the culmination of a long process of systematising the mass of pronouncements that had accumulated since the Early Middle Ages, a process that had been under way since the first half of the 12th century and had come to fruition in the Decretum, compiled and edited by the papally commissioned legist Gratian and published in 1140. The supplement completed the work, which provided the foundation for papal legal theory.

In the 1234 Decretals, he invested the doctrine of perpetua servitus iudaeorum – perpetual servitude of the Jews – with the force of canonical law. According to this, the followers of the Talmud would have to remain in a condition of political servitude until Judgment Day. The doctrine then found its way into the doctrine of servitus camerae imperialis, or servitude immediately subject to the Emperor's authority, promulgated by Frederick II. The Jews were thus suppressed from having direct influence over the political process and the life of Christian states into the 19th century with the rise of liberalism.[8]

In 1239, under the influence of Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, Gregory ordered that all copies of the Jewish Talmud be confiscated. Following a public disputation between Christians and Jewish theologians, this culminated in a mass burning of some 12,000 handwritten Talmudic manuscripts on 12 June 1242, in Paris.

Giotto - Legend of St Francis - -25- - Dream of St Gregory
Giotto. Dream of Pope Gregory IX with St Francis of Assisi

Gregory was a supporter of the mendicant orders which he saw an excellent means for counteracting by voluntary poverty the love of luxury and splendour which was possessing many ecclesiastics. He was a friend of Saint Dominic as well as Clare of Assisi. On 17 January 1235, he approved the Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the redemption of captives. He appointed ten cardinals[9] and canonized Saints Elisabeth of Hungary, Dominic, Anthony of Padua, and Francis of Assisi, of whom he had been a personal friend and early patron. He transformed a chapel to Our Lady in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome.

Gregory IX endorsed the Northern Crusades and attempts to bring Orthodox Slavic peoples in Eastern Europe (particularly Pskov Republic and the Novgorod Republic) under Papacy's fold.[10] In 1232, Gregory IX requested the Livonian Brothers of the Sword to send troops to protect Finland, whose semi-Pagan people were fighting against the Novgorod Republic in the Finnish-Novgorodian wars;[11] however, there is no known information if any ever arrived to assist.

Struggle with Frederick II

Edicts of Gregory IX
Edicts of Gregory IX with glosses of Bernardo di Bottone. An example of books burned by the Germans.[12]
17th-century portrait

At the coronation of Frederick II in Rome, 22 November 1220, the emperor made a vow to embark for the Holy Land in August 1221. Gregory IX began his pontificate by suspending the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, for dilatoriness in carrying out the promised Sixth Crusade. Frederick II appealed to the sovereigns of Europe complaining of his treatment. The suspension was followed by excommunication and threats of deposition, as deeper rifts appeared. Frederick II went to the Holy Land and in fact managed to take possession of Jerusalem. Gregory IX distrusted the emperor, since Rainald, the imperial Governor of Spoleto, had invaded the Pontifical States during the emperor's absence.[1] In June 1229, Frederick II returned from the Holy Land, routed the papal army which Gregory IX had sent to invade Sicily, and made new overtures of peace to the pope.

Gregory IX and Frederick came to a truce, but when Frederick defeated the Lombard League in 1239, the possibility that he might dominate all of Italy, surrounding the Papal States, became a very real threat. A new outbreak of hostilities led to a fresh excommunication of the emperor in 1239 and to a prolonged war. Gregory denounced Frederick II as a heretic and summoned a council at Rome to give point to his anathema. Frederick responded by trying to capture or sink as many ships carrying prelates to the synod as he could. Eberhard II von Truchsees, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, in 1241 at the Council of Regensburg declared that Gregory IX was "that man of perdition, whom they call Antichrist, who in his extravagant boasting says, 'I am God, I cannot err'."[13] He argued that the Pope was the "little horn" of Daniel 7:8:[14]

Gregory IX bas-relief in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber
Bas-relief of Gregory IX in the US House of Representatives

A little horn has grown up with eyes and mouth speaking great things, which is reducing three of these kingdoms—i.e. Sicily, Italy, and Germany—to subserviency, is persecuting the people of Christ and the saints of God with intolerable opposition, is confounding things human and divine, and is attempting things unutterable, execrable.[15]

The struggle was only terminated by the death of Gregory IX on 22 August 1241. He died before events could reach their climax; it was his successor Pope Innocent IV who declared a crusade in 1245 that would finish the Hohenstaufen threat.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The Catholic Encyclopedia". Newadvent.org. 1909-09-01. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  2. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1990). "Gregor IX., Papst". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 2. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 317–320. ISBN 3-88309-032-8.
  3. ^ Werner Maleczek, Papst und Kardinalskolleg von 1191 bis 1216, (Vienna: Verlag der Oesterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1984), 126–133.
  4. ^ David Abulafia, Frederick II: a Medieval Emperor 1992. 480 pages. Oxford University Press, USA (1 November 1992) ISBN 0-19-508040-8
  5. ^ De Montor, Artaud. The Lives and Times of the Popes, The Catholic Publication Society of New York, 1911
  6. ^ Vizzier, Anne r., "Gregory IX", Dictionary of World Biography, Vol. 2, Frank Northen Magill, Alison Aves ed., Routledge, 1998 ISBN 9781579580414
  7. ^ Thomas Madden, "The Real Inquisition", National Review, June 18, 2004.
  8. ^ Dietmar Preissler, Frühantisemitismus in der Freien Stadt Frankfurt und im Großherzogtum Hessen (1810 bis 1860), p.30, Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, Heidelberg 1989, ISBN 3-533-04129-8 (in German). The doctrine's Vatican indexing is liber extra – c. 13, X, 5.6, De Iudaeis: Iudaeos, quos propria culpa submisit perpetua servituti; the Decretum online (in Latin)
  9. ^ Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, Cardinali di Curia e "Familiae" cardinalizie dal 1227 al 1254 2 vols. (series "Italia Sacra", Padua: Antenori) 1972 (in Italian). A prosopography that includes Gregory's ten cardinals and their familiae or official households, both clerical and lay.
  10. ^ Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. ISBN 0-14-026653-4
  11. ^ "Letter by Pope Gregory IX". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14.. In Latin.
  12. ^ Rebecca Knuth (2006). Burning books and leveling libraries: extremist violence and cultural destruction. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-275-99007-7.
  13. ^ The Methodist Review Vol. XLIII, No. 3, p. 305.
  14. ^ Daniel 7:8
  15. ^ Article on "Antichrist" from Smith and Fuller, A Dictionary of the Bible, 1893, p. 147

External links

Further studies

  • Pietro Balan, Storia di Gregorio IX e suoi tempi 3 volumes (Modena 1873).
  • Joseph Felten, Papst Gregor IX. (Freiburg i.B. 1886).
  • Guido Levi, Registri dei Cardinali Ugolino d' Ostia e Ottaviano degli Ubaldini (Roma 1890).
  • Iben Fonnesberg‐Schmidt, The Popes and the Baltic Crusades 1147–1254 (Leiden, Brill. 2007) (The Northern World, 26).
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Ottaviano di Paoli
Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
Succeeded by
Rinaldo di Jenne
Preceded by
Honorius III
Succeeded by
Celestine IV
Cardinals created by Gregory IX

Pope Gregory IX (r. 1227-41) created sixteen cardinals in five consistories that he held throughout his pontificate. This included three future successors (Celestine IV, Innocent IV, and Alexander IV) in the first allocation in 1227.

Church of Saint Mary of the Germans

The Church of Saint Mary of the Germans (Hebrew: כנסיית מרים של הגרמנים‎ Latin: Santa Maria Alemannorum or Santa Maria Alemanna) a Catholic church, built in Romanesque style, now in ruins, located in the Old City of Jerusalem on the northeast slope of Mount Zion.

It was in 1126, after the First Crusade, when a German pilgrim and his wife, whose names are unknown, founded a hospice for pilgrims from the Holy Roman Empire. He joined the Hospice of St. John of Jerusalem. Celestine II sets the rules in 1143, taking the hospital under his protection, but with a right of prior review of the Order of St. John. The building was partly destroyed by the attacks of 1187, and rebuilt in 1229. Frederick II assigned it to the Teutonic Knights in April 1229, but then it went to the Order of St. John by order of Pope Gregory IX. As a result of the capture of Jerusalem in 1244, the hospice and church were left in ruins.

The ruins were discovered in 1872 by T. Drake. They are now partially open as part of a public archaeological park.

Disputation of Paris

The Disputation of Paris, also known as the Trial of the Talmud, took place in 1240 at the court of the King Louis IX of France. It followed the work of Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity who translated the Talmud and pressed 35 charges against it to Pope Gregory IX by quoting a series of allegedly blasphemous passages about Jesus, Mary, or Christianity. Four rabbis defended the Talmud against Donin's accusations.

Geoffrey de Liberatione

Galfredus, Galfred or Geoffrey de Liberatione was Bishop of Dunkeld and Bishop-postulate of St Andrews. He was a clerk to King Alexander II of Scotland as early as 1219, as well as being a canon of Dunkeld and precentor of Glasgow. He was elected to the bishopric of Dunkeld in 1236. After an investigation by Pope Gregory IX regarding a defect of birth possessed by Galfred, he was confirmed as bishop in sometime in 1237.

In 1238, after the death of William de Malveisin, bishop of St Andrews, Geoffrey was postulated to that see. However, this postulation was disallowed by the Pope, and Geoffrey remained bishop of Dunkeld. Geoffrey was one of the bishops present at the coronation of King Alexander III in 1249. He died at Tippermuir on St Cecilia's Day (22 November) 1249. He was buried in the cathedral of Dunkeld.

Gilbert of Dunkeld

Gilbert of Dunkeld was a 13th-century bishop of Dunkeld. He began his career in the diocese as a chaplain to Bishop Hugh de Sigillo. When Hugh's successor as bishop, Matthew the Scot, died unexpectedly in 1229, it was Gilbert whom the chapter chose to elect as Matthew's successor. The details of Gilbert's consecration are unknown. It was during Gilbert's episcopate that Inchcolm Priory was elevated to the status of an abbey. The latter monastic establishment was in the diocese of Dunkeld because it had been an earlier Dunkeld foundation, dedicated, like Dunkeld Cathedral was, to Saint Columba, hence the name Insula Columbae, or in the vernacular, Innse Choluim, "island of Columba". On 22 May 1235 Pope Gregory IX wrote to Gilbert authorizing the elevation, and, moreover, instructing Gilbert to donate to the monastery a portion of the see's revenues. Gilbert died sometime in the year 1236, and was buried in Inchcolm Abbey. There survives one charter of bishop Gilbert.

Juan Domínguez de Medina

Juan Domínguez de Medina (died 1 Oct 1246) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Burgos (1240–1246) and Bishop of Osma (1231–1240).

Niccolò dei Conti di Segni

Niccolo Conti di Segni - Italian cardinal allegedly created by Pope Gregory IX with the title of San Marcello in the consistory of December 1228 (or 1230) and subsequently sent as papal legate to Armenia to mediate in the conflicts between king Hethum I of Armenia and the Principality of Antioch; king Hethum I considered him partial in favor of the Principality of Antioch and asked pope for his recalling. He is said to have died in 1239.

Some scholars doubt the existence of this cardinal because he did not subscribe any papal bulls and his legation in Armenia is not attested in the contemporary sources. Agostino Paravicini Bagliani indicates that he's confused with Niccolo da Anagni (1206–72), nephew of Pope Gregory IX, who was only the lower official of the Roman Curia during his pontificate. He was never promoted to the cardinalate, despite serving as camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church under Pope Alexander IV (1254–61).


Palamuse is a small borough (Estonian: alevik) in Jõgeva County, in Jõgeva Parish, Estonia, located about 12 km (7 mi) southeast of the town of Jõgeva. It is passed by the Amme River. With a population of 551 (as of 1 January 2011)Palamuse was the biggest settlement and the administrative centre of Palamuse Parish.

Palamuse is best known for being depicted in the Oskar Luts' 1912–1913 novel Spring (Kevade) as the settlement called "Paunvere". The 1969 film adaptation Spring was also filmed in Palamuse. His brother, filmmaker Theodor Luts (1896-1980) was born in Palamuse.

Palamuse was first mentioned in a letter by Pope Gregory IX on 20 November 1234. The settlement evolved around the Palamuse St. Bartholomew's Church which was built in 1234 by the monks of the Kärkna Abbey. The church was reconstructed in Gothic style in the 15th century. Tower was added in the 19th century. In 1929 the church gained its today's interior.

Parens scientiarum

Parens scientiarum (Latin: The Mother of Sciences) is the incipit designating a papal bull issued by Pope Gregory IX on April 13, 1231, after the University of Paris strike of 1229. The bull assured the independence and self-governance of the University of Paris, where the pope had studied theology.

Pietati proximum

Pietati proximum (3 August 1234), more commonly known as the Golden Bull of Rieti · was a papal bull by Pope Gregory IX which confirmed the Teutonic Order's domination of the Chelmno land east of the lower Vistula, and of any other lands conquered by Teutonic Order in Prussia ("to eternal and absolute ownership"). The German Orders should answer exclusively to the sovereignty of the Pope. The Bull of Rieti presented the written authorization of a previous verbal consent given in August and September 1230. The Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Hermann von Salza, had stubbornly insisted on a written document.

The Bull of Rieti corresponds to the Golden Bull of Rimini of 1226, with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and the Treaty of Kruszwica of 1230 with the Polish Duke Conrad of Mazovia.

On 26 July 1257 this Bull was confirmed by Pope Alexander IV.

Pope Gregory

Gregory has been the name of sixteen Roman Catholic Popes and two Antipopes. The Latin name is Gregorius.

Pope Gregory I "the Great" (590–604), after whom the Gregorian chant is named

Pope Gregory II (715–731)

Pope Gregory III (731–741)

Pope Gregory IV (827–844)

Pope Gregory V (996–999)

Pope Gregory VI (1045–1046)

Antipope Gregory VI

Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085), after whom the Gregorian Reform is named

Pope Gregory VIII (1187)

Antipope Gregory VIII

Pope Gregory IX (1227–1241)

Pope Gregory X (1271–1276)

Pope Gregory XI (1370–1378)

Pope Gregory XII (1406–1415)

Pope Gregory XIII (1572–1585), after whom the Gregorian calendar is named

Pope Gregory XIV (1590–1591)

Pope Gregory XV (1621–1623)

Pope Gregory XVI (1831–1846)

Pope Gregory IX and Judaism

The relations between Pope Gregory IX and Judaism were comparatively good for a medieval Pope, since Gregory acted as a political protector to persecuted Jewish communities. However, he also enacted canonical laws that were later criticized for having maintained the Jews' separate status in medieval society.

Rachel suum videns

Rachel suum videns is a papal bull issued by Pope Gregory IX on 17 November 1234 calling for a crusade to the Holy Land and ordering Dominicans and Franciscans to preach in favour of it. It was issued before the truce between Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and the Egyptian Sultan, Al-Kamil, was due to expire.


Sayn was a small German county of the Holy Roman Empire which, during the Middle Ages, existed within what is today Rheinland-Pfalz.

There have been two Counties of Sayn. The first emerged in 1139 and became closely associated with the County of Sponheim early in its existence. Count Henry II was notable for being accused of satanic orgies by the Church's German Grand Inquisitor, Conrad von Marburg, in 1233. Henry was acquitted by an assembly of bishops in Mainz, but Conrad refused to accept the verdict and left Mainz. It is unknown whether it was Henry's Knights which killed Conrad on his return to Thuringia, but investigation was foregone due to the cruelty of Conrad, despite Pope Gregory IX ordering his murderers to be punished. With the death of Henry in 1246, the County passed to the Counts of Sponheim-Eberstein and thence to Sponheim-Sayn in 1261.

The second County of Sayn emerged as a partition of Sponheim-Sayn in 1283 (the other partition being Sayn-Homburg). It was notable for its numerous co-reigns, and it endured until 1608 when it was inherited by the Counts of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. A lack of clear heirs of William III of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn led to the temporary annexation of the comital territories by the Archbishop of Cologne until the succession was decided. In 1648 following the Thirty Years' War, the County was divided between Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn-Altenkirchen and Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hachenburg.

Thomas (bishop of Finland)

Thomas (Finnish: Tuomas) is the first known Bishop of Finland. Only a few facts are known about his life. He resigned in 1245 and died in Visby three years later.

Treaty of Ceprano (1230)

The Treaty of Ceprano was signed in Ceprano on August 1230 between Pope Gregory IX and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. Based on the terms of the accord, Frederick agreed not to violate any territories held by the Papacy. In return for Frederick's concessions in Sicily, the Pope removed his sentence of excommunication. Overall, the treaty helped to establish lines of reconciliation between the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church.

Vox in Rama

Vox in Rama (Latin: A voice in Ramah) is a papal bull issued by Pope Gregory IX in either 1232, 1233 or 1234 condemning a German heresy known as Luciferian, a form of devil worship. The bull was issued to King Henry, son of Emperor Frederick II, in June 1233 and subsequently to Archbishop Siegfried III of Mainz demanding they use all efforts to stop the practice.

Walter d'Eynsham

Walter d'Eynsham, also known as Walter de Hempsham was a medieval Archbishop of Canterbury-elect.

Walter was a monk of Christ Church Priory in Canterbury, when he was chosen to be the Archbishop of Canterbury on 3 August 1228 by his fellow monks of the cathedral chapter. His appointment was over-ruled by King Henry III of England and Pope Gregory IX on 5 January 1229. He was examined by a group of cardinals on theological matters and declared to have answered badly, thus allowing the pope to declare him ineligible for the office.

William Scot

William Scot (or William of Stitchill; died c. 1243) was a medieval Bishop of Durham-elect.

Scot was Archdeacon of Worcester in December 1218. He was elected to the see of Durham before 20 October 1226 but the election was quashed by Pope Gregory IX on 19 May 1227. He died about 1242 or 1243.Scot may have been the father of Robert Stitchill, who was Bishop of Durham from 1260 to 1274.

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