Pope Urban IV

Pope Urban IV (Latin: Urbanus IV; c. 1195 – 2 October 1264), born Jacques Pantaléon,[1] was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 August 1261 to his death in 1264. He was not a cardinal; only a few popes since his time have not been cardinals, including Gregory X, Urban V and Urban VI.


Urban IV
Pope Urban IV
Papacy began29 August 1261
Papacy ended2 October 1264
PredecessorAlexander IV
SuccessorClement IV
Personal details
Birth nameJacques Pantaléon
Bornc. 1195
Troyes, Champagne, Kingdom of France
Died2 October 1264 (aged 69)
Perugia, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Previous post
Coat of armsUrban IV's coat of arms
Other popes named Urban
Papal styles of
Pope Urban IV
Coat of arms of Pope Urban IV
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous stylenone


Urban IV was the son of a cobbler of Troyes, France.[1] He studied theology and common law in Paris and was appointed a canon of Laon and later Archdeacon of Liège. At the First Council of Lyon (1245) he attracted the attention of Pope Innocent IV, who sent him on two missions in Germany.[1] One of the missions was to negotiate the Treaty of Christburg between the pagan Prussians and the Teutonic Knights. He became Bishop of Verdun in 1253. In 1255, Pope Alexander IV made him Patriarch of Jerusalem.[1]

He had returned from Jerusalem, which was in dire straits,[1] and was at Viterbo seeking help for the oppressed Christians in the East when Alexander IV died. After a three-month vacancy, Pantaléon was chosen by the eight cardinals of the Sacred College to succeed him in a papal election that concluded on 29 August 1261. He chose the regnal name of Urban IV.

A fortnight before Urban IV's election, the Latin Empire of Constantinople, founded during the ill-fated Fourth Crusade against the Byzantines, was abolished after the re-capture of the city by the Byzantines led by general Michael VIII Palaiologos. Urban IV endeavoured without success to stir up a crusade to restore the Latin Empire.

Urban initiated construction of the Basilica of St. Urbain, Troyes, in 1262.[2]

The festival of Corpus Christi ("the Body of Christ") was instituted by Urban IV on August 11, 1264, with the publication of the papal bull Transiturus.[3] Urban asked Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican theologian, to write the texts for the Mass and Office of the feast. [4] This included such famous hymns as the Pange lingua, Tantum ergo, and Panis angelicus.

The Pope became involved in the affairs of Denmark. Jakob Erlandsen, Archbishop of Lund, wanted to make the Danish Church independent of the Royal power - which put him in direct confrontation with the Dowager Queen Margaret Sambiria, acting as regent for her son, King Eric V of Denmark. The Queen imprisoned the Archbishop, who responded by issuing an interdict. Both sides tried to get the Pope's support. The Pope agreed to several items that the Queen wanted - especially, he issued a dispensation to alter the terms of the Danish succession that would permit women to inherit the Danish throne. However, the main issues remained unsolved by Urban's death, with the case continuing at the papal court in Rome and the exiled Archbishop Erlandsen coming to Italy to pursue it in person.

In fact, the convoluted affairs of distant Denmark were of only a minor concern to the Pope. It was Italy which commanded Urban IV's near full attention: the long confrontation with the late Hohenstaufen German Emperor Frederick II had not been pressed during the mild pontificate of Alexander IV, during which it devolved into inter-urban struggles between nominally pro-Imperial Ghibellines and even more nominally pro-papal Guelf factions. Frederick II's heir Manfred was immersed in these struggles.

Urban IV's military captain was the condottiere Azzo d'Este, nominally at the head of a loose league of cities that included Mantua and Ferrara. Any Hohenstaufen in Sicily was bound to have claims over the cities of Lombardy, and as a check to Manfred, Urban IV introduced Charles of Anjou into the equation to place the crown of the Kingdom of Sicily in the hands of a monarch amenable to papal control. Charles was Count of Provence by right of his wife, maintaining a rich base for projecting what would be an expensive Italian war.

For two years Urban IV negotiated with Manfred regarding whether Manfred would aid the Latins in regaining Constantinople in return for papal confirmation of the Hohenstaufen rights in the realm. Meanwhile, the papal pact solidified with Charles a promise of papal ships and men, produced by a crusading tithe, and Charles's promise not to lay claims on Imperial lands in northern Italy, nor in the Papal States. Charles promised to restore the annual census or feudal tribute due the Pope as overlord, some 10,000 ounces of gold being agreed upon, while the Pope would work to block Conradin from election as King of the Germans.

Before the arrival in Italy of his candidate Charles, Urban IV died at Perugia on 2 October 1264. His successor was Pope Clement IV, who immediately took up the papal side of the arrangement.

There is a story that the pope's death was related to Great Comet of 1264 which he fell sick at sometime near the arrival of the comet and then he died when the comet disappeared.

Legend of Tannhäuser

Tannhäuser, a prominent German Minnesänger and poet, was a contemporary of Pope Urban IV—the pope died in 1264, and the Minnesänger died shortly after 1265. Two centuries later, the pope became a major character in a legend which grew up about the Minnesänger, which is first attested in 1430 and propagated in ballads from 1450.[5]

The legendary account makes Tannhäuser a knight and poet who found the Venusberg, the subterranean home of Venus, and spent a year there worshipping the goddess. After leaving the Venusberg, Tannhäuser is filled with remorse and travels to Rome to ask Pope Urban IV if it is possible to be absolved of his sins. Urban replies that forgiveness is as impossible as it would be for his papal staff to send forth green leaves. Three days after Tannhäuser's departure Urban's staff begins to grow new leaves; messengers are sent to retrieve the knight, but he has already returned to Venusberg, never to be seen again; while the Pope, for refusing a penitent, is damned eternally.[6]

There is no historical evidence for the events in the legend.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Steven Runciman, The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean Word in the Later Thirteenth Century, (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 54.
  2. ^ "Basilique Saint-Urbain de Troyes - Sites Religieux". Visiter la Champagne (in French). Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  3. ^ Saint Thomas Aquinas by Jean-Pierre Torrell, Catholic University of America Press, 1996, p. 130
  4. ^ Saint Thomas Aquinas by Jean-Pierre Torrell, Catholic University of America Press, 1996, pp. 129-136
  5. ^ Barbara, Walters (2006). The Feast of Corpus Christi. Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0271076386.
  6. ^ Morris, William (2002). The Earthly Paradise. Psychology Press. p. 714. ISBN 9780415941518. Retrieved 6 September 2012.


  • David Abulafia, 1988. Frederick II, pp 413ff.
  • Richard, Jean (1999). The Crusades: c. 1071 – c. 1291. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-62566-1.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Robert of Nantes
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Succeeded by
William II of Agen
Preceded by
Alexander IV
Succeeded by
Clement IV
1261 papal election

The papal election of 1261 (26 May – 29 August) took place after the death of Pope Alexander IV on 25 May and chose Pope Urban IV as his successor. Since Pope Alexander had been resident in Viterbo since the first week of May 1261, the meeting of the cardinals to elect his successor took place in the Episcopal Palace at Viterbo, which was next to the Cathedral of S. Lorenzo. The actual date of the beginning of the Electoral Meeting (there were, as yet, no Conclaves) is unknown. If the canon of Pope Boniface III (A.D. 607) were still in effect (and there is no reason to think that it was not), then the Election could not begin until the third day after the Pope's burial.

Adoro te devote

"Adoro te devote" is a Eucharistic hymn written by Thomas Aquinas. "Adoro te devote" is one of the five Eucharistic hymns, which were composed and set to music for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV as a Solemnity for the entire Roman Catholic Church.

Since the beginning of its composition and it being set to music, the "Adoro te devote" was chanted as an Eucharistic Hymn during the Saint Mass in honorem SS. Sacramenti (in honour of the Most Blessed Sacrament), as it was written in the Latin manuscripts. So it was also chanted for the Eucharistic adoration.

Strictly speaking, Aquinas seems to have used it also as a private prayer, for a daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The "Adoro te devote" is one of the medieval poetic compositions, being used as spoken prayers and also as chanted hymns, which were preserved in the Missale Romanum published in 1570 following the Council of Trent (1545–1563).

The "Adoro te devote" is still sung today, though its use is optional in the post-Vatican II ordinary form.

Agustin Pérez (bishop)

Agustin Pérez (died 1286) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Osma (1261–1286).

Anchero Pantaléone

Anchero Pantaleone (1210–1286) was a French cardinal and cardinal-nephew of Pope Urban IV, his uncle who elevated him on 22 May 1262.

After the death of Urban IV in 1264, Cardinal Ancher supervised the construction of the Basilica of St. Urbain, Troyes, that his uncle had started.

Ancher was cardinal protopriest from 1277. He died on 1 November 1286.

Audi filia et

Audi filia et and De sinu patris were two letters written by either Pope Urban IV (1165–1264) or Pope Clement IV (1200–1268). They are undated, but were probably written during the 1260s, separately chastising one noblewoman and one nobleman for inappropriate activities. According to historians such as Hans E. Mayer and Peter W. Edbury, the letters were written in 1261 or 1262, and were intended for the Cypriote queen Plaisance of Antioch (1235–1261) and her lover John of Jaffa (1215–1266), who left his wife Marie of Armenia to pursue the relationship. Other historians such as David Nicolle, Steven Runciman and Christopher Tyerman believe that the date is more likely 1268, that the noblewoman was another Cypriot queen, Isabella of Ibelin (1252–1282), and it was her affair with Julian of Sidon (born c. 1230, d. 1275) that prompted the papal letters.

Basilique Saint-Urbain de Troyes

The Basilique Saint-Urbain de Troyes (Basilica of Saint Urban of Troyes), formerly the Église Saint-Urbain, is a massive medieval church in the city of Troyes, France.

It was a collegial church, endowed in 1262 by Pope Urban IV. It is a classic example of late 13th century Gothic architecture.

The builders encountered resistance from the nuns of the nearby abbey, who caused considerable damage during construction.

Much of the building took place in the 13th century, and some of the stained glass dates to that period, but completion of the church was delayed for many years due to war or lack of funding.

Statuary includes excellent examples of the 16th century Troyes school.

The vaulted roof and the west facade were only completed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been listed since 1840 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

Cardinals created by Urban IV

Pope Urban IV (1261–1264) created fourteen new cardinals in two consistories. The exact dates of these consistories are not clear. Contemporary reports suggest that they were held on 24 December 1261 ("Saturday before Christmas") and in May 1262. However, some modern authors contest the accuracy of these reports as contradicting the established custom of that time, according to which the promotions of cardinals were celebrated on Saturdays of the Ember weeks, which fell on 17 December 1261 and 3 June 1262 respectively.

Exultavit cor nostrum

Exultavit cor nostrum is a letter, also known as a Papal bull, from Pope Urban IV to the Mongol Ilkhanate leader Hulagu in 1263/1264.

The letter was evidently in response to a message brought to Urban by John the Hungarian, who claimed to be the Mongol envoy (it was not uncommon for individuals to present themselves as envoys, even when they were not). According to John, Hulagu desired to become a Christian, and requested that Urban send a representative who would help to baptise him.Pope Urban responded with the Exultavit, which indicated that Urban had heard of Hulagu's sympathies towards Christianity through other sources. Urban cautiously welcomed Hulagu's envoy, and announced that William II of Agen, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, would be investigating further.

Lauda Sion

"Lauda Sion Salvatorem" is a sequence prescribed for the Roman Catholic Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi. It was written by St. Thomas Aquinas around 1264, at the request of Pope Urban IV for the new Mass of this feast, along with Pange lingua, Sacris solemniis, Adoro te devote, and Verbum supernum prodiens, which are used in the Divine Office.

List of French popes

Seventeen popes have had French ancestry, all in the second half of the medieval era. The seven popes of the Avignon Papacy were French and are bolded. Since the end of the Avignon Papacy, no French person has been elected pope.

French is the most common non-Italian papal ancestry.

Pope Silvester II, 999–1003: Gerbert of Aurillac

St. Pope Leo IX, 1049–1054: Bruno, Count of Dagsbourg

Pope Stephen IX, 1057–1058: Frederick of Lorraine

Pope Nicholas II, 1058–1061: Gerard of Burgundy

Bl. Pope Urban II, 1088–1099: Otho of Lagery (or Otto or Odo)

Pope Callistus II, 1119–1124: Guido of Vienne

Pope Urban IV, 1261–1264: Jacques Pantaléon

Pope Clement IV, 1265–1268: Guy Foulques

Bl. Pope Innocent V, 1276: Pierre de Tarentaise

Pope Martin IV, 1281–1285: Simon de Brie

Pope Clement V, 1305–1314: Bertrand de Got

Pope John XXII, 1316–1334: Jacques d'Euse

Pope Benedict XII, 1334–1342: Jacques Fournier

Pope Clement VI, 1342–1352: Pierre Roger

Pope Innocent VI, 1352–1362: Stephen Aubert

Bl. Pope Urban V, 1362–1370: Guillaume de Grimoard

Pope Gregory XI, 1370–1378: Pierre Roger de Beaufort

Pantaleon (disambiguation)

Pantaleon was an early 2nd century BC Greco-Bactrian king.

Pantaleon may also refer to:

Pantaleon of Pydna (4th century BC), Macedonian officer under Alexander the Great

Pantaleon of Pleuron (3rd century BC), Aetolian general

Saint Pantaleon (died 303), Christian martyr

Jacques Pantaléon (1195–1264), Patriarch of Jerusalem, later Pope Urban IV

Pantalon, musical instrument, a variation of the hammered dulcimer

Pantaleon y las visitadoras, is a film based on the eponymous comic novel by Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa (2010 Nobel Prize in Literature)

Perugia Papacy

Perugia was a long-time papal residence during the 13th century. Five popes were elected here: Pope Honorius III (1216–1227), Pope Clement IV (1265–1268), Pope Honorius IV (1285–1287), Pope Celestine V (1294), and Pope Clement V (1305–1314). These elections took place in the Palazzo delle Canoniche adjoining the Perugia Cathedral.

The Cathedral contained the tombs of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216), Pope Urban IV (1261–1264), and Pope Martin IV (1281–1285). These were destroyed by Gérard du Puy, the cardinal-nephew of Pope Gregory XI (1370–1378).During du Puy's tenure as papal governor during the War of the Eight Saints he pillaged the Duomo construction site for materials for his private fortress. According to Heywood, due to du Puy's construction, "so certain did it appear that the Papal Curia was about to be transferred to Perugia that foreign merchants began to negotiate for the hire of shops and warehouses in the city." The tomb of Pope Benedict XI (1303–1304) is still extant in S. Domenico.

Prussian uprisings

The Prussian uprisings were two major and three smaller uprisings by the Prussians, one of the Baltic tribes, against the Teutonic Knights that took place in the 13th century during the Prussian Crusade. The crusading military order, supported by the Popes and Christian Europe, sought to conquer and convert the pagan Prussians. In the first ten years of the crusade five of the seven major Prussian clans fell under the control of the less numerous Teutonic Knights. However, the Prussians rose against their conquerors on five occasions.

The first uprising was supported by Duke Swietopelk II, Duke of Pomerania. The Prussians were successful at first, reducing the Knights to only five of their strongest castles. Conversely, the duke suffered a series of military defeats and was eventually forced to make peace with the Teutonic Knights. With Duke Swietopelk's support for the Prussians broken, a prelate of Pope Innocent IV then negotiated a peace treaty between the Prussians and the Knights. However, this treaty was never honored or enforced, especially after the Battle of Krücken at the end of 1249.The second uprising, known in historiography as "The Great Prussian Uprising", was prompted by the 1260 Battle of Durbe, the largest defeat suffered by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. This uprising was the longest, largest, and most threatening to the Teutonic Order, who again were reduced to five of their strongest castles. Reinforcements for the Knights were slow to arrive, despite repeated encouragements from Pope Urban IV, and the position of the Order looked set to worsen. Luckily for the Order, the Prussians lacked unity and a common strategy and reinforcements finally reached Prussia in around 1265. One by one, Prussian clans surrendered and the uprising was ended in 1274.

The later three lesser uprisings depended on foreign help and were suppressed within one or two years. The last uprising in 1295 effectively ended the Prussian Crusade and Prussia became a Christian German-speaking territory, which assimilated native Prussians and a number of settlers from different German states.

Robert de Prebenda

Robert de Prebenda (or Robert de la Provendir) (died 1284) was a 13th-century Anglo-French cleric who held the position of Bishop of Dunblane, Scotland.

He was the son of Geoffrey de Rotyngton (Ruddington), a minor land-owner in Nottinghamshire. By 1255, he was Dean of Dunblane, probably brought in by Bishop Clement. He held a canonries in the bishopric of Glasgow and in the bishopric of Dunkeld, which later got him in trouble with Pope Urban IV. He was bishop-elect of Dunblane by 2 January 1259. His consecration was delayed because he was in Rome attempting to gain the more prestigious bishopric of Glasgow by opposing the election of Nicholas de Moffat. In this he evidently failed, and was consecrated as Bishop of Dunblane sometime between 22 August 1259 and 1 September 1260.

Although Robert spent a lot of time in England, he tried to continue the attempts of his predecessor Clement to reinvigorate the bishopric of Dunblane. He attended the Second Council of Lyon in 1274. He was once appointed a papal judge-delegate in 1275, and twice served as an ambassador for King Alexander III of Scotland in England (both in 1279). Robert was alive on 5 February 1284, but was dead by 18 December. He was succeeded by William, Abbot of Arbroath.

The Mass at Bolsena

The Mass at Bolsena is a painting by the Italian renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1512 and 1514 as part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Raphael Rooms, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It is located in the Stanza di Eliodoro, which is named after The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple.

The Mass at Bolsena depicts an Eucharistic miracle that is said to have taken place in 1263 at the church of Santa Cristina in Bolsena. A Bohemian priest who doubted the doctrine of transubstantiation, was celebrating mass at Bolsena, when the bread of the eucharist began to bleed. The blood that spouted from the host and fell onto the tablecloth in the shape of a cross and he was reconverted. The following year, in 1264, Pope Urban IV instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi to celebrate this miraculous event. The blood stained Corporal of Bolsena is still venerated as a major relic in the Orvieto Cathedral.

Present in this painting is a self-portrait of the artist, Raphael, as one of the Swiss Guard in the lower right of the fresco, facing out with bound-up hair. This is one of several instances in which Raphael has placed himself in his paintings. Also shown in the work is Pope Julius II (1443–1513), kneeling at the right, and his daughter Felice della Rovere, shown on the left at the bottom of the steps, in profile, in dark clothes. The four cardinals to the right have also been identified as Leonardo Grosso della Rovere, Raffaello Riario, Tommaso Riario and Agostino Spinola, relatives of Julius.


Transiturus de hoc mundo is the incipit of the papal bull issued on 11 August 1264 by Pope Urban IV in which the feast of Corpus Christi (festum corporis) was declared throughout the entire Latin Rite. This was the very first papally sanctioned universal feast in the history of the Latin Rite.Thomas Aquinas contributed substantially to the bull, mostly in parts concerned with the liturgical text the new feast.

Aquinas composed the sequence Tantum ergo sacramentum for this purpose.

The successors of Urban IV did not uphold the decree, and the feast was suspended until 1311, when it was reintroduced by Clement V at the Council of Vienne.

Tyge (bishop)

Tyge or Tuke or Tycho (d. 23 November 1272 on Samsø) was bishop of the Diocese of Aarhus in Aarhus, Denmark. Tyge completed studies in Paris where he obtained a magister degree. Tyge became bishop of Aarhus with the support of Pope Urban IV and was involved in the ouster of Jacob Erlandsen, Archbishop of the Diocese of Lund. Bishop Tyge was known as a staunch supporter of the Danish kings and was for a period the de facto head of church in Denmark. Tyge died on Samsø on 23 November 1273. His successor was the former arch deacon Peder Aaby which had been Tyge's and king Eric V'a trusted supporter during the conflict with the church.

William II of Agen

William II of Agen (also known as Guillaume d'Agen) was the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1261–70. Among other things, he was tasked by Pope Urban IV in 1263 by the papal bull Exultavit cor nostrum to investigate the legitimacy of an alleged ambassador with the Mongol Empire, John the Hungarian.

William de Boderisham

William de Boderisham (or Bonderish, c.1263–1270?) was an English Dominican theologian who served as Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace in the 14th century. He was appointed by Pope Urban IV in 1263.

1st–4th centuries
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13th–16th centuries
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