Pope Paul V

Pope Paul V (Latin: Paulus V; Italian: Paolo V) (17 September 1550 – 28 January 1621), born Camillo Borghese, was pope from 16 May 1605 to his death in 1621. In 1611, he honored Galileo Galilei as a member of the Papal Accademia dei Lincei and supported his discoveries.[2] In 1616, Pope Paul V instructed Cardinal Bellarmine to inform Galileo that the Copernican theory could not be taught as fact, but Bellarmine's certificate allowed Galileo to continue his studies in search for evidence and use the geocentric model as a theoretical device. That same year Paul V assured Galileo that he was safe from persecution so long as he, the Pope, should live. Bellarmine's certificate was used by Galileo for his defense at the trial of 1633.[3]


Paul V
Bishop of Rome
Pope Paul V
Pope Paul V by Caravaggio.
Papacy began16 May 1605
Papacy ended28 January 1621
PredecessorLeo XI
SuccessorGregory XV
Ordination20 October 1577
Consecration27 May 1597
by Clement VIII
Created cardinal5 June 1596
by Clement VIII
Personal details
Birth nameCamillo Borghese
Born17 September 1550
Rome, Papal States
Died28 January 1621 (aged 70)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post
MottoAbsit nisi in te gloriari (Far, but in your glory)[1]
Other popes named Paul

Early life

Camillo Borghese was born in Rome on 17 September 1550 into the Borghese family of Siena which had recently established itself in Rome. He was the eldest son of seven sons of the lawyer and Sienese patrician Marcantonio Borghese and his wife Flaminia Astalli, a Roman noblewoman.


In June 1596 Camillo was made the Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Eusebio and the Cardinal Vicar of Rome[4] by Pope Clement VIII, and had as his secretary Niccolò Alamanni. During this time, he opted for other titular churches like San Crisogono and Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

Clement VIII also bestowed upon him episcopal consecration in 1597 after his appointment as Bishop of Iesi; the co-consecrators were Cardinal Silvio Savelli (former Latin Patriarch of Constantinople) and Cardinal Francesco Cornaro (former Bishop of Treviso).[5] Bishop Borghese retained the diocese of Iesi until 1599.



When Pope Leo XI died, 1605, Cardinal Borghese became pope over a number of candidates including Caesar Baronius and Roberto Cardinal Bellarmine; his neutrality in the factional times made him an ideal compromise candidate. In character he was very stern and unyielding, a lawyer rather than diplomat, who defended the privileges of the Church to his utmost. His first act was to send home to their sees the bishops who were sojourning in Rome, for the Council of Trent had insisted that every bishop reside in his diocese.[4] Soon after his accession as Pope Paul V, Borghese determined to humiliate Venice, as his predecessor had done, for attempting to preserve its independence from the papacy in the administration of its government.

Papal styles of
Pope Paul V
C o a Paulo V
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone


Paul met with Galileo Galilei in 1616 after Cardinal Bellarmine had, on his orders, warned Galileo not to hold or defend the heliocentric ideas of Copernicus. Whether there was also an order not to teach those ideas in any way has been a matter for controversy. A letter from Bellarmine to Galileo states only the injunction that the heliocentric ideas could not be defended or held; this letter was written expressly to enable Galileo to defend himself against rumors concerning what had happened in the meeting with Bellarmine.[6]

Canonisations and beatifications

Paul V canonised Charles Borromeo on 1 November 1610 and Frances of Rome on 29 May 1608. He also canonized Pompejanus in 1615 and canonized Cardinal Albert de Louvain on 9 August 1621.

He also beatified a number of individuals which included Ignatius Loyola (27 July 1609), Philip Neri (11 May 1615), Theresa of Avila (24 April 1614), Aloysius Gonzaga (10 October 1605), and Francis Xavier 19).


The pope created 60 cardinals in ten consistories held during his pontificate. He named his nephew Scipione Borghese as a cardinal (continuing the trend of nepotism) and also named Alessandro Ludovisi, who would become his immediate successor, Pope Gregory XV, as a cardinal.

Foreign relations

0 Armoiries Paul V - Mosaïque dôme St-Pierre - Vatican
Mosaic depicting the arms of Pope Paulus V (Camillo Borghese)

Ecclesiastical jurisdiction

Paul's insistence of ecclesiastical jurisdiction led to a number of quarrels between the Church and the secular governments of various states, notably Venice, where patricians, such as Ermolao Barbaro (1548–1622) of the noble Barbaro family, argued in favor of the exemption of the clergy from the jurisdiction of the civil courts. Venice passed two laws obnoxious to Paul, one forbidding the alienation of real estate in favour of the clergy, the second demanding approval of the civil power for the building of new churches (in essence, a Venetian stance that the powers of the church must remain separate from those of the state). Two priests charged by the Venetian state with cruelty, wholesale poisoning, murder and licentiousness, were arrested by the Senate and put in dungeons for trial. Having been found guilty, they were committed to prison.

Paul V insisted that they be released to the Church. He demanded the release of the priests as not being amenable to the secular law. When this was refused, the Pope threatened an interdict on account of the property laws and the imprisonment of ecclesiastics, which threat was presented to the Senate on Christmas 1605. The Venetian position was ably defended by a canon lawyer, Paolo Sarpi, who extended the matter to general principles defining separate secular and ecclesiastical spheres. In April 1606 the Pope excommunicated the entire government of Venice and placed an interdict on the city. Father Sarpi strongly advised the Venetian government to refuse to receive the Pope's interdict, and to reason with him while opposing force by force. The Venetian Senate willingly accepted this advice and Fra Paolo presented the case to Paul V, urging from history that the Pope's claim to intermeddle in civil matters was a usurpation; and that in these matters the Republic of Venice recognized no authority but that of God. The rest of the Catholic clergy sided with the city, with the exception of the Jesuits, the Theatines, and the Capuchins. The dissenting clergy were forthwith expelled from Venetian territories. Masses continued to be said in Venice, and the feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated with displays of public pomp and "magnificence", in defiance of the Pope. Within a year (March 1607) the disagreement was mediated by France and Spain. The Most Serene Republic refused to retract the laws, but asserted that Venice would conduct herself "with her accustomed piety." The Jesuits, which Venice considered subversive Papal agents, remained banned. No more could be expected. Paul withdrew his censure.

The Venetian Republic rewarded Fra Paulo Sarpi, its successful canon lawyer, with the distinction of state counsellor in jurisprudence and the liberty of access to the state archives, which infuriated Pope Paul. In September 1607, after unsuccessfully attempting to lure Father Sarpi to Rome, the Pope responded by putting out a contract on his life.[7][8] Father Sarpi was the target of at least two assassination plots in September and October.[7] Stabbed fifteen times with a stiletto, Fra Sarpi somehow managed to recover, while the assassins found refuge in the Papal territories.[7]

Relations with England

Paul V's hard-edged Catholic diplomacy cut the ground from under moderate Catholics in England. His letter of 9 July 1606 to congratulate James I on his accession to the throne was three years late and seemed to English eyes merely a preamble to what followed, and his reference to the Gunpowder Plot, made against the life of the monarch and all the members of Parliament the previous November, was unfortunate for the papal cause, for papal agents were considered by the English to have been involved (the effigy of Pope Paul V is still burnt every year during the Lewes Bonfire celebrations). However, the Pope in that letter pleaded with James not to make the innocent Catholics suffer for the crime of a few, and Paul V also promised to exhort all the Catholics of the realm to be submissive and loyal to their sovereign—in all things not opposed to the honour of God. The oath of allegiance James demanded of his subjects, however contained clauses to which no 17th-century Catholic could in conscience subscribe: the oath of allegiance was solemnly condemned in a brief published a matter of weeks later (22 September 1606, extended 23 August 1607). This condemnation served only to divide English Catholics. The other irritant (to the papacy) in English relations was Cardinal Bellarmine's letter to the English archpriest George Blackwell, reproaching him for having taken the oath of allegiance in apparent disregard of his duty to the Pope. The letter received enough circulation to be referred to in one of James's theological essays (1608), and Bellarmine was soon fencing in a pamphlet exchange with the King of England.

0 Basilique Saint-Pierre - Rome (2)
Facade of St Peter's Basilica

Relations with Japan

San Juan Batista
Pope Paul V welcoming the embassy of the Japanese samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga in Rome in 1615.
Japanese painting, 17th century.

In November 1615, Paul V welcomed the embassy of the Japanese samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga in Rome.[9]

Hasekura gave the Pope a letter (from Date Masamune) which requested a trade treaty between Japan and New Spain. The letter also asked for Christian missionaries to be sent to Japan. The Pope agreed to the dispatch of missionaries, but left the decision for trade to the King of Spain.

Emanuele Ne Vunda Sala dei Corazzieri Palazzo Ducale
Painting of Emanuele Ne Vunda, ambassador from Alvaro II to Pope Paul V in 1604–1608, Sala dei Corazzieri, Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome, 1615–1616.


In Rome, the pope financed the completion of St. Peter's Basilica, and improved the Vatican Library. He restored the Aqua Traiana, an ancient Roman Aqueduct (named after him Acqua Paola), bringing water to the rioni located on right bank of the Tiber (Trastevere and Borgo) using materials from his demolition of the Forum of Nerva. He had always encouraged Guido Reni. Like many Popes of the time he was also allegedly guilty of nepotism, and his nephew Scipione Borghese wielded enormous power on his behalf, consolidating the rise of the Borghese family.

Paul V also established the Bank of the Holy Spirit in 1605.


Paul V died on 28 January 1621 of a stroke in the Quirinal Palace and was succeeded as pope by Pope Gregory XV. The pope had been ill for more than three months following a series of strokes, and died six hours following his last stroke the morning of his death.

Episcopal succession

While bishop, he was the principal consecrator of:[10]

and the principal co-consecrator of:[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Pope Alexander VII (1655–1667)". GCatholic. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ a b "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Pope Paul V". www.newadvent.org.
  5. ^ Charles Bransom, Jr., "The Episcopal Lineage of Pope Clement X & Pope Paul V," Apostolic Succession & Episcopal Lineages in the Roman Catholic Church (blog), retrieved: 2018-09-14.
  6. ^ Kelly, Henry Ansgar (December 2016). "Galileo's Non-Trial (1616), Pre-Trial (1632–1633), and Trial (May 10, 1633): A Review of Procedure, Featuring Routine Violations of the Forum of Conscience". Church History. 85 (4): 724–761. doi:10.1017/S0009640716001190. ISSN 0009-6407.
  7. ^ a b c Robertson, Alexander, Fra Paolo Sarpi: the Greatest of the Venetians, London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. (1893), pp. 114–117
  8. ^ Watson, J. Henry, The History of Fra Paolo Sarpi, New York: La Croce (1911)
  9. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Hasekura Tsunenaga" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 412.
  10. ^ a b "Bishop Pope Paul V - Camillo Borghese" Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved June 294, 2017


  • James I, De Triplici Nodo, Triplex Cuneus, (his anonymous pamphlet encouraging loyalty to the Crown, accompanied by letters from Paul V about the Catholic Church's opinion of the Oath of Allegiance, and James' responses to them).
  • Stephen A. Coston, King James VI & I and Papal Opposition, 1998.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Leo XI
16 May 1605 – 28 January 1621
Succeeded by
Gregory XV
1621 papal conclave

The papal conclave of 1621 (February 8 – February 9) was convened on the death of Pope Paul V and ended with the election of Alessandro Ludovisi as Pope Gregory XV. It was the shortest conclave in the seventeenth century.

Alessandro di Sangro

Alessandro di Sangro (died 18 February 1633) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Benevento (1616–1633) and Titular Patriarch of Alexandria (1604–1633)

Banco di Santo Spirito

Not to be confused with Banco Espírito Santo, founded in 1920 in Portugal.The Bank of the Holy Spirit (Italian: Il Banco di Santo Spirito) was a bank founded by Pope Paul V on December 13, 1605. The Bank was the first national bank in Europe (as the bank of the Papal States), the first public deposit bank in Rome, and the oldest continuously-operating bank in Rome until its merger in 1992.

Bartolomé Lobo Guerrero

Bartolomé Lobo Guerrero (1546 – January 12, 1622) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Lima (1607–1622) and the second Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1596–1607).

Bernardino de Almansa Carrión

Bernardino de Almansa Carrión (July 6, 1579 – September 26, 1633) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1631–1633) and Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1629–1631).

Bust of Pope Paul V

The Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini made two Busts of Pope Paul V. The first is currently in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. 1618 is the commonly accepted date for the portrait of the pope. In 2015, a second bust was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It was created by Bernini 1621, shortly after the death of Paul V, and commissioned by his nephew, Cardinal Scipione Borghese. A bronze version of this sculpture exists in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola also known as Il Fontanone ("The big fountain") is a monumental fountain located on the Janiculum Hill, near the church of San Pietro in Montorio, in Rome, Italy. It was built in 1612 to mark the end of the Acqua Paola aqueduct, restored by Pope Paul V, and took its name from him. It was the first major fountain on the right bank of the River Tiber.

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese (English: Borghese Gallery) is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building was integrated with its gardens, but nowadays the Villa Borghese gardens are considered a separate tourist attraction. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621). The Villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese himself, who used it as a villa suburbana, a country villa at the edge of Rome.

Scipione Borghese was an early patron of Bernini and an avid collector of works by Caravaggio, who is well represented in the collection by his Boy with a Basket of Fruit, St Jerome Writing, Sick Bacchus and others. Other paintings of note include Titian's Sacred and Profane Love, Raphael's Entombment of Christ and works by Peter Paul Rubens and Federico Barocci.

Hernando de Arias y Ugarte

Hernando de Arias y Ugarte (September 9, 1561 – January 27, 1638) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Lima (1628–1638), Archbishop of La Plata o Charcas (1624–1628), Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1616–1625), and Bishop of Quito (1613–1616).

House of Borghese

Borghese is the surname of a princely family of Italian noble and papal background, originating as the Borghese or Borghesi in Siena, where they came to prominence in the 13th century holding offices under the commune. The head of the family, Marcantonio, moved to Rome in the 16th century and there, following the election (1605) of his son Camillo as Pope Paul V they rose in power and wealth. They were one of the leading families of the Black Nobility and maintain close ties to the Vatican.

Juan Castro (bishop)

Juan Castro, OSA (25 January 1547 – 1 August 1611) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1608–1609).

Leonardo Donato

Leonardo Donà, or Donato (Venice, February 12, 1536 – Venice, July 16, 1612) was the 90th Doge of Venice, reigning from January 10, 1606 until his death. His reign is chiefly remembered for Venice's dispute with the papacy, which resulted in Pope Paul V placing a papal interdict on Venice 1606–1607.

Marino Grimani (doge)

For the cardinal of the same name, see Marino Grimani.

Marino Grimani (Venice, 1 July 1532 – Venice, 25 December 1605) was the 89th Doge of Venice, reigning from 26 April 1595 until his death. Grimani's reign as doge was principally remembered for two reasons:

the splendid celebrations for the coronation of his wife, Morosina Morosini; and

the beginning of the quarrel with the papacy that resulted in Pope Paul V placing the Republic of Venice under papal interdict in the reign of Grimani's successor, Leonardo Donato (1606–1607).

May 1605 papal conclave

The papal conclave of May 1605 was convened on the death of Pope Leo XI and ended with the election of Camillo Borghese as Pope Paul V. This was the second conclave of 1605, with the one that had elected Leo XI having concluded just 37 days earlier. It is significant for having the only recorded case of an injury at a papal conclave, which was the result of a physical fight amongst the cardinals over who should be elected pope.

Pedro Ordóñez y Flórez

Pedro Ordóñez y Flórez (1560–1614) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1610–1614).

Portrait of Pope Paul V

Portrait of Pope Paul V (c. 1605–1606) is a painting by the Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), now in the Galleria Borghese, Rome.

Camillo Borghese reigned as Pope Paul V from 1605 to 1621. Caravaggio's biographer Giovanni Bellori records that the artist painted a seated portrait of him as pope, which must place the work between Borghese's election on 16 May 1605 and Caravaggio's flight from Rome in May 1606 following the death of Ranuccio Tommassoni. The portrait is attested in the Borghese collection from 1650.

Many scholars have doubted the authenticity of this painting, considering the composition too uninspired for the artist's style. But the scholar John Gash in his authoritative (revised) 2003 catalogue of Caravaggio believes the work is genuine, pointing out that the pose would have been beyond the artist's control - Paul V was noted for his dignified and even taciturn demeanor, and would be unlikely to accept direction. "[H]is unostentatious bearing exemplifies the sober, cautious and, in fact, genuinely religious spirit of the man...". Gash also points out that Paul's narrowed eyes, far from conveying suspicion and malevolence as many writers assert, are the result of chronic myopia. Also note the startling similarities between this portrait and Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X.

According to Bellori Caravaggio obtained his introduction to Paul through the papal nephew, cardinal Scipione Borghese. Scipione was an avid art collector, destined to acquire many of Caravaggio's canvasses, but he was to prove of little value as a patron either to Caravaggio or to others, preferring to enhance his collection through extortion and sharp practice rather than by support and purchase. He would eventually become one of the crucial figures in Caravaggio's final days.

Two Busts of Cardinal Scipione Borghese

Two Busts of Cardinal Scipione Borghese are marble portrait sculptures executed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1632. Cardinal Scipione Borghese was the nephew of Pope Paul V, and had commissioned other works from Bernini in the 1620s. Both versions of this portrait are in the Galleria Borghese, Rome.

Ulpiano Volpi

Ulpiano Volpi or Volpiano Volpi (1559 – 10 March 1629) was an Italian Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop (Personal Title) of Novara (1619–1629), and Archbishop of Chieti (1609–1615).

Wawrzyniec Gembicki

Wawrzyniec Gembicki (5 August 1559 – 10 February 1624) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Gniezno (1616–1624), Bishop of Włocławek (1610–1616), and Bishop of Chelmno (1600–1610).

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