Clemens V.

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Clemens V.

Clement V , originally Bertrand de Got , (* between 1250 and 1265 in Villandraut , France , † April 20, 1314 in Roquemaure , France) was Pope of the Catholic Church from June 5, 1305 to April 20, 1314 . In 1309 he moved the papal residence to Avignon .

Church career

Probably Bertrand de Got came from the old nobility of southern France. He joined the Order of the Grammontese and became a monk . He studied law at the Roman Law School in Orléans and in Bologna . He later entered the papal service and became chaplain to Pope Boniface VIII , who appointed him Bishop of Comminges in 1295 . Four years later (1299) Boniface VIII appointed him Archbishop of Bordeaux . His friendship with the French King Philip IV the Handsome probably developed during his time as Archbishop .


Clement V coat of arms, modern tracing

On June 5, 1305, after eleven months of meeting in Perugia, the conclave elected him as the new Pope. Since the number of French and Italian cardinals had been balanced, it was not possible to agree on a candidate for a long time. The coronation of Pope Clement V took place at his request on November 14, 1305 in Lyon . Clemens' friend, the French King Philip IV, was also present.

Pope Clement V stayed alternately in Bordeaux, Poitiers and Toulouse until 1309 . In March 1309 he designated Avignon as the new seat of the Popes, whereby the so-called " Babylonian exile of the Church " began, which was only introduced in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI. ended. He took his provisional residence in the Dominican monastery in Avignon .

The dissolution of the Knights Templar

In August 1307 an attempt by the Pope to unite the Johanniter and the Templars had failed . On Friday, October 13, 1307, the French King Philip IV had all the Templars arrested in France. The reason was that the French king, who was always in need of money, wanted to secure the huge fortunes of the Temple Order, even though it was the Temple Order that had repeatedly saved the French state from bankruptcy. This coup had been planned by the king since September 1307. In the Templar trial , Philip IV had the French Inquisitor General bring charges of heresy and blasphemy against the order, whereby the numerous accused members of the order were usually extorted from confessions under torture .

The Council of Vienne , convened by Clemens V and opened by himself on October 16, 1311, decided that the Templars had not been convicted of the heresy and blasphemy accused of them. Regardless of the Council's opinion, Pope Clement V lifted the Knights Templar on March 22, 1312 with the Bulle Vox in excelso on the grounds that the bad reputation of the order alone meant that such a measure was necessary to avert further damage to the Church as a whole. The Pope then transferred the goods of the order to the Knights of St. John through the Bull Ad providam . The last Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay , is said to have cursed the Pope and the King at the stake on March 18, 1314, which is why Clement V was later called "the cursed Pope" by at least parts of the devout population. The papal historian Johannes Haller called the procedure against the Knights Templar the “most monstrous judicial murder” that ever existed. The other princes of Europe initially rejected the papal instructions against the Knights Templar.

Secular politics

Under Pope Clement V and his successors in Avignon, the papacy became a provincial institution in the south of France. The only exceptions were Benedict XII. and Urban V .; under Clement V, who was a compliant tool of the French kings, Gascony dominated . The consequence of this one-sided policy was corruption with the favoritism and nepotism that it promoted . The Italian cardinals barely escaped a slaughter planned by the nephews of Pope Clement V against them. He reinforced the preponderance of French or French-minded cardinals by appointing more French cardinals. Five of them were close relatives. He also made seven relatives bishops and archbishops, respectively. In his unscrupulous nepotism he resembled his later successors Sixtus IV and Alexander VI. Even by his contemporaries, the Avignon Curia was derided as the "Klementine fair". The curia became a credit company for spiritual dignity, which the Pope awarded to anyone interested in wealth. Pope Clement V needed money. As it was so vividly called, his mistress Brunissende de Foix Talleyrand de Périgord, the ancestor of Talleyrand , was more expensive than “the whole holy land”.

After Albrecht I's murder on May 1, 1308, Philip IV's brother, Karl von Valois , tried to secure the German royal crown, which Clemens only apparently supported. The French attempt failed and Henry VII was elected Roman-German king instead. The Pope initially supported Heinrich and had him crowned Emperor on June 29, 1312 in Rome by representatives. However, when Heinrich tried more and more ambitiously to uphold imperial rights and also took action against allies of the Pope, above all against Robert of Naples , a conflict arose with Clemens, who was also put under pressure by Philip IV. The Dominican and Bishop Nikolaus von Butrinto prepared a report for Pope Clement V on Henry VII's move to Italy . The dream of restoring the old empire died with Emperor Heinrich on August 24, 1313; after the death of the emperor, the Pope announced that Roberts' condemnation was invalid.

Dante's negative judgment on Pope Clement V is evident. In the 19th song of his Divine Comedy, Dante had Pope Nicholas III in the third trench of the eighth circle of hell . announce the imminent journey into hell of Pope Clement V. Quote: "Because after him ( Boniface VIII. ) Comes from the west a worse man - a rampant shepherd of souls".

Clemens founded the University of Perugia and turned the school where he had studied into the University of Orléans . The first under John XXII. on October 25, 1317 publicly proclaimed Clementinae back. This canonical collection of laws was valid until 1917.

Pope Clement V died on April 20, 1314 presumably of cancer and was buried in the Notre Dame church in Uzeste .



  • Sophia Menache: Clement V . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1998, ISBN 0-521-59219-4 ( Cambridge studies in Medieval life and thought Ser. 4, 36).

Web links

Commons : Clemens V.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Benedict XI. Pope
John XXII.