Gregorius IX

Gregorius IX

Pope from March 19, 1227 - August 22, 1241.
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Pope Gregory IX
  2. Papacy of Gregory IX
  3. Conflict with Frederick II

Biography of Pope Gregory IX

Pope Gregory IX was the head of the Roman Catholic Church from March 19, 1227, to August 22, 1241. He was born in Anagni, Italy, with his birthdate varying between sources from 1145 to 1170. Gregory received his education at the universities of Paris and Bologna. He was elevated to the position of cardinal deacon of the Church of Sant'Eustachio by his cousin, Pope Innocent III, in December 1198. In 1206, he was promoted to the rank of cardinal bishop of Ostia and Velletri. He became the dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1218 or 1219. Upon the special request of Saint Francis of Assisi in 1220, Pope Honorius III appointed Gregory as the cardinal protector of the Franciscan Order. As the Cardinal of Ostia, he established a wide circle of acquaintances, including the then Queen of England, Isabella of Angoulême.

Papacy of Gregory IX

Gregory IX's papacy lasted for over eighty years, beginning in 1227 when he was elected as pope. He took the name "Gregory" because he was proposed as a candidate in the Monastery of St. Gregory. Following in the footsteps of Pope Gregory VII and Pope Innocent III, Gregory IX continued to strengthen the authority of the Roman throne. Concerned about the spread of heresies in Spain and France, as well as the violence of the mob against heretics, Gregory IX established the papal inquisition in 1231 to regulate the proceedings against heretics, although he did not endorse the use of torture as a means of pressure. In 1232, the pope handed over the inquisition to the Dominicans.

Gregory IX approved the Northern Crusades of the Teutonic Order, whose goal was to baptize the Baltic pagans (at that time known as Yemians) and led to the Teutonic Order's attempt to seize the Russian lands of the Pskov and Novgorod principalities. In a bull dated November 24, 1232, Gregory IX requested the Livonian Brothers of the Sword to send troops to protect the partially pagan Finland, whose conversion was being conducted by Swedish bishops, from being colonized by the Novgorodians. In 1234, the Livonian Order suffered a defeat at the hands of the Novgorodians, led by Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, in the Battle of the Omovzha near Yuryev. However, in 1237, Gregory IX turned to the Swedes with an appeal to organize a crusade in Finland, after which they coordinated joint actions with Denmark and the Teutonic Order, undertaken in 1240. In 1234, in the treatise "Decretals," he outlined the doctrine of "perpetua servitus iudaeorum" - the perpetual servitude of Jews. According to this treatise, followers of the Talmud were to remain in a state of political slavery until Judgment Day. In 1239, under the influence of Nicholas Donin, a converted Jew, Gregory ordered all copies of the Talmud to be confiscated. After a public dispute between Christian and Jewish theologians, 12,000 manuscripts of the Talmud were burned on June 12, 1242, in Paris.

Gregory was a supporter of the mendicant orders, seeing them as an excellent means to counter the tendency for luxury among many clergy. He was a friend of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis of Assisi. The pope canonized Francis of Assisi and many other popular saints in Catholicism, including Elizabeth of Hungary and Anthony of Padua.

Conflict with Frederick II

During his coronation in Rome on November 22, 1220, Frederick II vowed to go to the Holy Land in August 1221. Gregory IX constantly reminded him of this vow as the emperor was in no hurry to fulfill it. This caused discord between them. Eventually, the emperor did embark on a journey to the Holy Land, but during this time, Reynald, the imperial governor of Spoleto, invaded the Papal States. In June 1229, Frederick II returned from the Holy Land, defeated the papal army sent by Gregory IX to invade Sicily, and openly clashed with the pope.

Gregory IX and Frederick reached a truce, but after Frederick's defeat of the Lombard League in 1239, the likelihood of his dominance over all of Italy became a real threat. In 1239, Gregory IX excommunicated him from the church. War broke out. The attempt to convene a council to condemn the emperor in 1241 was thwarted by the actions of the emperor's son Enzio, who intercepted ships carrying bishops at sea. The emperor's army approached Rome, while the Mongols reached the borders of Germany (there is a version of a strategic alliance between the Mongols and the emperor against the Guelphs).

The conflict only ended with the death of Gregory IX on August 22, 1241. He was succeeded by Innocent IV, who declared a crusade in 1245 to eliminate the threat of the Hohenstaufens.

Gregory's bull "Vox in Rama" is the first official church document to declare the black cat as a manifestation of Satan. It is possible that this bull, which encouraged the extermination of cats, became one of the indirect causes of the bubonic plague epidemic that originated from Central Asia - under such conditions, the population of rats, carriers of the plague, sharply increased.