Pope Sixtus V or Xystus V (13 December 1521 – 27 August 1590), born Felice Piergentile, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 24 April 1585 to his death in 1590. As a youth, he joined the Franciscan order, where he displayed talents as a scholar and preacher, and enjoyed the patronage of Pius V, who made him a cardinal.
As Pope, he energetically rooted out corruption and lawlessness across Rome, and launched a far-sighted rebuilding programme that continues to provoke controversy, as it involved the destruction of antiquities. The cost of these works was met by heavy taxation that caused much suffering. His foreign policy was regarded as over-ambitious, and he excommunicated both Elizabeth I of England and Henry IV of France. He is recognized as a significant figure of the Counter-Reformation.
|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||24 April 1585|
|Papacy ended||27 August 1590|
|Consecration||12 January 1567|
by Antonio Lauro
|Created cardinal||17 May 1570|
by Pius V
|Birth name||Felice Piergentile to Grottammare, then Felice Peretti|
|Born||13 December 1521|
Grottammare, Papal States
|Died||27 August 1590 (aged 68)|
Rome, Papal States
|Coat of arms|
|Other popes named Sixtus|
Felice Piergentile was born on 13 December 1521 at Grottammare, in the Papal States, to Francesco Piergentile (also known as Peretto Peretti), and Mariana da Frontillo. His family was poor. Felice later adopted Peretti as his family name in 1551, and was known as "Cardinal Montalto".
According to the biographer and church historian Isidoro Gatti, the Peretti family came from Piceno, today's Marche, in Italy. Another possibility is that the Montalto name originates from his father having come from the village of that name, which is in fact near Peretti's village of Grottamare. Motoki Nomachi, however, holds that he was of Dalmatian Slavic origin, and according to Sava Nakićenović, he hailed from the Svilanović family from Kruševice in the Bay of Kotor. The theory that his family originated in Kruševice is supported by the fact that the Pope used three pears for his coat of arms (the toponym Kruševice is derived from kruška, "pear"). According to this theory, Peretti may be an Italian rendition of the Slavic surname, as Peretti itself links to pears (pere in Italian).
About 1552 he was noticed by Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, Protector of the Franciscan order, Cardinal Ghislieri (later Pope Pius V) and Cardinal Caraffa (later Pope Paul IV), and from that time his advancement was assured. He was sent to Venice as inquisitor general, but was so severe and conducted matters in such a high-handed manner that he became embroiled in quarrels. The government asked for his recall in 1560.
|Papal styles of|
Pope Sixtus V
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
After a brief term as procurator of his order, he was attached to the Spanish legation headed by Ugo Cardinal Boncampagni (later Pope Gregory XIII) in 1565, which was sent to investigate a charge of heresy levelled against Bartolomé Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo. The violent dislike he conceived for Boncampagni exerted a marked influence upon his subsequent actions. He hurried back to Rome upon the accession of Pius V, who made him apostolic vicar of his order, and, later (1570), cardinal.
During the pontificate of his political enemy Gregory XIII (1572–85), Cardinal Montalto, as he was generally called, lived in enforced retirement, occupied with the care of his property, the Villa Montalto, erected by Domenico Fontana close to his beloved church on the Esquiline Hill, overlooking the Baths of Diocletian. The first phase (1576–80) was enlarged after Peretti became pope and was able to clear buildings to open four new streets in 1585–6. The villa contained two residences, the Palazzo Sistino or "di Termini" ("of the Baths") and the casino, called the Palazzetto Montalto e Felice.
Displaced Romans were furious, and resentment of this act was still felt centuries later, when the decision was taken to build the central pontifical railroad station (begun in 1869) in the area of the Villa, marking the beginning of its destruction.
Cardinal Montalto's other concern was with his studies, one of the fruits of which was an edition of the works of Ambrose. As pope he personally supervised the printing of an improved edition of Jerome's Vulgate – said to be "as splendid a translation of the Bible into Latin as the King James version is into English."
Though not neglecting to follow the course of affairs, Felice carefully avoided every occasion of offence. This discretion contributed not a little to his election to the papacy on 24 April 1585, with the title of Sixtus V. One of the things that commended his candidacy to certain cardinals may have been his physical vigour, which seemed to promise a long pontificate.
The terrible condition in which Pope Gregory XIII had left the ecclesiastical states called for prompt and stern measures. Sixtus proceeded with an almost ferocious severity against the prevailing lawlessness. Thousands of brigands were brought to justice: within a short time the country was again quiet and safe. It was claimed that there were more heads on spikes across the Ponte Sant'Angelo than melons for sale in the marketplace. And clergy and nuns were executed if they broke their vows of chastity.
Next Sixtus set to work to repair the finances. By the sale of offices, the establishment of new "Monti" and by levying new taxes, he accumulated a vast surplus, which he stored up against certain specified emergencies, such as a crusade or the defence of the Holy See. Sixtus prided himself upon his hoard, but the method by which it had been amassed was financially unsound: some of the taxes proved ruinous, and the withdrawal of so much money from circulation could not fail to cause distress.
Immense sums were spent upon public works, in carrying through the comprehensive planning that had come to fruition during his retirement, bringing water to the waterless hills in the Acqua Felice, feeding twenty-seven new fountains; laying out new arteries in Rome, which connected the great basilicas, even setting his engineer-architect Domenico Fontana to replan the Colosseum as a silk-spinning factory housing its workers.
Inspired by the ideal of the Renaissance city, Pope Sixtus V’s ambitious urban reform programme transformed the old environment to emulate the “long straight streets, wide regular spaces, uniformity and repetitiveness of structures, lavish use of commemorative and ornamental elements, and maximum visibility from both linear and circular perspective." The Pope set no limit to his plans, and achieved much in his short pontificate, always carried through at top speed: the completion of the dome of St. Peter's; the loggia of Sixtus in the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano; the chapel of the Praesepe in Santa Maria Maggiore; additions or repairs to the Quirinal, Lateran and Vatican palaces; the erection of four obelisks, including that in Saint Peter's Square; the opening of six streets; the restoration of the aqueduct of Septimius Severus ("Acqua Felice"); the integration of the Leonine City in Rome as XIV rione (Borgo).
Besides numerous roads and bridges, he sweetened the city air by financing the reclamation of the Pontine Marshes. Consequently, the spatial organization, monumental inscriptions and restorations throughout the city reinforced the control, surveillance, and authority that alluded to the power of Pope Sixtus V. Good progress was made with more than 9,500 acres (38 km2) reclaimed and opened to agriculture and manufacture. The project was abandoned upon his death.
Sixtus had no appreciation of antiquities, which were employed as raw material to serve his urbanistic and Christianising programs: Trajan's Column and the Column of Marcus Aurelius (at the time misidentified as the Column of Antoninus Pius) were made to serve as pedestals for the statues of SS Peter and Paul; the Minerva of the Capitol was converted into an emblem of Christian Rome; the Septizodium of Septimius Severus was demolished for its building materials.
The subsequent administrative system of the Catholic Church owed much to Sixtus. He limited the College of Cardinals to seventy. He doubled the number of the congregations and enlarged their functions, assigning to them the principal role in the transaction of business (1588). He regarded the Jesuits with disfavour and suspicion. He meditated radical changes to their constitution, but death prevented the execution of his purpose. In 1589 was begun a revision of the Vulgate, the so-called Editio Sixtina.
Sixtus V created 33 cardinals in eight consistories during his reign, which included his grandnephew Alessandro Peretti di Montalto and his future successor Ippolito Aldobrandini who would later become Pope Clement VIII.
In his larger political relations, Sixtus entertained fantastic ambitions, such as the annihilation of the Turks, the conquest of Egypt, the transport of the Holy Sepulchre to Italy, and the accession of his nephew to the throne of France. The situation in which he found himself was difficult: he could not countenance the designs of those he considered as heretical princes, and yet he mistrusted Philip II of Spain and viewed with apprehension any extension of his power.
Sixtus agreed to renew the excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and to grant a large subsidy to the Armada of Philip II, but, knowing the slowness of Spain, would give nothing until the expedition actually landed in England. This way, he saved a fortune that would otherwise have been lost in the failed campaign. Sixtus had Cardinal Allen draw up the An Admonition to the Nobility and Laity of England, a proclamation to be published in England if the invasion had been successful. The extant document comprised all that could be said against Elizabeth I, and the indictment is therefore fuller and more forcible than any other put forward by the religious exiles, who were generally very reticent in their complaints. Allen carefully consigned his publication to the fire, and we only know of it through one of Elizabeth's spies, who had stolen a copy.
Sixtus excommunicated Henry of Navarre (future Henry IV of France), and contributed to the Catholic League, but he chafed under his forced alliance with Philip II of Spain, and looked for escape. The victories of Henry and the prospect of his conversion to Catholicism raised Sixtus V's hopes, and in corresponding degree determined Philip II to tighten his grip upon his wavering ally. The Pope's negotiations with Henry's representative evoked a bitter and menacing protest and a categorical demand for the performance of promises. Sixtus took refuge in evasion, and temporised until his death on 27 August 1590.
In 1581 Francesco Peretti, the nephew of the then Cardinal Montalto, had married Vittoria Accoramboni, a woman famous for her great beauty and accomplishments who had many admirers. The future pope's nephew was, however, soon assassinated, and his widow married the powerful Paolo Giordano I Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, who was widely considered to have been involved in the killing of her first husband.
On becoming pope, Sixtus V immediately vowed vengeance on both the Duke of Bracciano and Vittoria Accoramboni. Warned in time, they fled - first to Venice and then to Salò in Venetian territory. Here the Duke of Bracciano died in November 1585, bequeathing all his personal property to his widow. A month later Vittoria Accoramboni, who went to live in Padua, was assassinated by a band of bravos hired by Lodovico Orsini, a relative of her late husband.
Sixtus extended the penalty of excommunication relating to the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on contraception and abortion. While the Church taught that abortion and contraception were gravely sinful actions ("mortal sins"), it did not apply to all mortal sins the additional penalty of excommunication. Although homicide had always required this penalty, contraception had not. Patristic and Medieval theologians and physicians had long speculated and debated over the exact moment the fertilised egg became a human being.
While there was broad agreement among them that life was present at conception and that it could only become a human being, the thinking was that this did not necessarily mean God had infused the rational, immortal soul into the body at conception. Following Aristotle, many in the West had theorized that the matter had to be prepared to a certain point before this could happen and, prior to then, there was only a vegetative or sensitive soul, but not a human soul. This meant that killing an organism before the human soul is infused would still be a grave sin of abortion (or at least contraception), but that it was not properly a homicide and, thus, did not require excommunication.
Some theologians argued that only after proof of the "quickening" (when the mother can feel the fetus's movement in her womb, usually about 20 weeks into gestation) that there was incontrovertible evidence that ensoulment had already occurred. Until Sixtus V, canon lawyers had applied the code from Gratian whereby excommunications were only given to abortions after the quickening. In 1588 the pope issued a papal bull, Effraenatam or Effrenatam ("Without Restraint"), which declared that the canonical penalty of excommunication would be levied for any form of contraception and for abortions at any stage in fetal development. The reasoning on the latter would be that the soul of the unborn child would be denied Heaven.
Sixtus V died on 27 August 1590 from malarial fever. He was the last Pope to date to use the name Sixtus. The pope became ill with a fever on 24 August and which intensified the following day.
As Sixtus V lay on his death bed, he was loathed by his political subjects, but history has recognized him as a significant figure in the Counter Reformation. On the negative side, he could be impulsive, obstinate, severe, and autocratic. On the positive side, he was open to large ideas and threw himself into his undertakings with great energy and determination. This often led to success. His pontificate saw great enterprises and great achievements. He slept little and worked hard. Having inherited a bankrupt treasury, he administered his funds with competence and care, and left five million crowns in the coffers of the Holy See at his death.
Тада ]е на папско] стол иди био папа Сикст V, старином Словении са ]адранских обала а по ро- г)енъу земл>ак Калвучэдев.
Знаменит ]е био Бокел. папа Сикст V. нз породице СвилановиЬа, са Крушевице.
Из овог је племена, како је доказивано, био папа Сиксто V, који је у свом грбу, за знак, да је с Крушевица уметнуо три крушке, а потписивао се „РегеШ". И данас Крушевичани приповије- дају, како су, са »Карос воде" језуити одвели
Who will not detest such an abhorrent and evil act, by which are lost not only the bodies but also the souls? (Popes believe in the limbo of the little ones) Who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the impiety of him who will exclude a soul created in the image of God and for which Our Lord Jesus Christ has shed His precious Blood, and which is capable of eternal happiness and is destined to be in the company of angels, from the blessed vision of God, and who has impeded as much as he could the filling up of heavenly mansions (left vacant by the fallen angels), and has taken away the service to God by His creature?
|Catholic Church titles|
24 April 1585 – 27 August 1590
The papal conclave of 1585 (21–24 April), convoked after the death of Pope Gregory XIII, elected Cardinal Felice Peretti Montalto (O.F.M.Conv), who took the name of Pope Sixtus V. Forty-two of the sixty cardinals participated in the conclave. The absence of thirty percent of the cardinalate makes this conclave one of the most sparsely attended in the history of the modern Roman Catholic Church. Fourteen of Gregory XIII's thirty cardinals failed to attend, a startlingly high number.Antonio Avendaño y Paz
Antonio Avendaño y Paz, O.F.M. or Bishop Antonio de San Miguel Avendaño y Paz (1520 – 7 November 1590) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Quito (1588–1590) and Bishop of La Imperial (1564–1588).Bartolomé Martinez Menacho y Mesa
Bartolomé Martinez Menacho y Mesa (Mechado) (1517 – February 16, 1604) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1593–1604)
and Bishop of Panamá (1587–1593).Bust of Giovanni Battista Santoni
The Bust of Giovanni Battisti Santoni is a sculptural portrait by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Believed to be one of the artist's earliest works, the bust forms part of a tomb for Santoni, who was majordomo to Pope Sixtus V from 1590 to 1592. The work was executed sometime between 1613 and 1616, although some have dated the work as early as 1609 (when Bernini was ten years old), including Filippo Baldinucci. The work remains in its original setting in the church of Santa Prassede in Rome.Cristóbal Senmanat y Robuster
Cristóbal Robuster y Senmanat or Cristóbal Robuster y Senmanat (1524–1597) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Orihuela (1587–1593).Fabio Blondus de Montealto
Fabio Blondus de Montealto or Fabio Biondi (died 6 December 1618) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Patriarch of Jerusalem (1588–1618).Fontana dell'Acqua Felice
The Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, is a monumental fountain located in the Quirinale District of Rome, Italy. It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V. It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88.Giovanni Battista Albani
Giovanni Battista Albani (died 1588) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Patriarch of Alexandria (1586–1588).Giovanni Battista Santorio
Giovanni Battista Santorio or Giovan Battista Santoro (died 29 February, 1592) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Tricarico (1586–1592) and Bishop of Alife (1586–1592).Immensa Aeterni Dei
Immensa Aeterni Dei is an apostolic constitution in the form of a papal bull issued by Pope Sixtus V on 22 January 1588. The constitution reorganized the Roman Curia, establishing permanent congregations of cardinals to advise the pope on various subjects. The primary role of the document was to provide instruction in condemning or correcting literature which were against Catholic doctrine. The document also had the authority to give permission for selected individuals to read books which were forbidden. It has since been superseded, most recently by Pope John Paul II's constitution Pastor Bonus.Juan d'Espinar
Juan d'Espinar (died 1601) was a Roman Catholic bishop who served as Prelate of Santa Lucia del Mela (1590–1601).Ludovico de Torres (cardinal)
Ludovico de Torres (1552 – 8 July 1609) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Cardinal-Priest of San Pancrazio (1606-1609) and Archbishop of Monreale (1588-1609).Mario Bolognini
Mario Bolognini (died 25 February, 1605) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Salerno (1591–1605), Archbishop (Personal Title) of Crotone (1588–1591), and Archbishop of Lanciano (1579–1588).Nicolás de Ramos y Santos
Nicolás de Ramos y Santos (1531 – December 1, 1599) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1592–1599) and the third Bishop of Puerto Rico (1588–1592).Paolo Alberi
Paolo Alberi (also Paolo Albero) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Dubrovnik (1588–1591).Pedro Portocarrero (bishop)
Pedro Portocarrero (died 1600) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Cuenca (1597–1600), Bishop of Córdoba (1594–1597), and Bishop of Calahorra y La Calzada (1589–1594).Piazza Colonna
Piazza Colonna is a piazza at the center of the Rione of Colonna in the historic heart of Rome, Italy. It is named for the marble Column of Marcus Aurelius, which has stood there since AD 193. The bronze statue of Saint Paul that crowns the column was placed in 1589, by order of Pope Sixtus V. The Roman Via Lata (now the Via del Corso) runs through the piazza's eastern end, from south to north.Sacred Congregation of Rites
The Sacred Congregation of Rites was a congregation of the Roman Curia, erected on 22 January 1588 by Pope Sixtus V by Immensa Aeterni Dei and its functions reassigned by Pope Paul VI on 8 May 1969.
The Congregation was charged with the supervision of the liturgy, the dispensation of the decrees of Canonical coronations, other various sacraments, and the process of canonization of saints. With the modern reforms of Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council, it was divided into the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
The secretary, or second-highest official of the Congregation once served as the personal sacristan to the Pope.Vulgata Sixtina
The Vulgata Sixtina was a Latin edition of the Bible from 1590, prepared on the orders of Pope Sixtus V. It was the first edition of the Latin Vulgate authorised by a pope, but its official recognition was short-lived.
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