Urban II.

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Urban II, 14th century from the Roman de Godfroi de Bouillon

Urban II , formerly Odo de Châtillon , Odo de Lagery or Eudes de Châtillon , also Eudes de Lagery , Otto von Lagery , Otto von Châtillon , Bishop Otto von Ostia (* around 1035 - † 29 July 1099 ) was a Roman Catholic Pope from 1088 to 1099.

He called for the crusade on November 27, 1095 . Through this first crusade , Eastern Christianity (including Jerusalem ) was to be freed from the rule of Muslims . Urban was on July 14, 1881 by Leo XIII. beatified .


Monument to Urban II in Clermont-Ferrand . Sculptor: Henri Gourgouillon

Eudes de Châtillon

Eudes came from the noble family of the Lagery near Châtillon-sur-Marne . He attended the cathedral school in Reims , where the founder of the Carthusian Order , Bruno of Cologne , was his teacher. Later, he was canon and archdeacon of the Cathedral of Reims . Then Eudes moved to Rome for the first time , where he became a canon of St. John . In 1070 or 1071 he was accepted by Abbot Hugo into the Abbey of Cluny in order, after a brief activity as prior , to be sent to Rome for the order, where he was appointed Cardinal Bishop of Ostia by Gregory VII in 1078 . As one of the Pope's closest confidants, he served the Curia as papal legate in Germany and France from 1082 to 1085 . After Gregory's death in 1085 Desiderius was elected Pope, who was named Viktor III. headed the church until 1087. After his death, Eudes, who is described as a strong and bald man with a long beard, was elected Pope Urban II by the conclave in Terracina on March 12, 1088 .


Urban II. Was under Gregory VII. Prudent as church politician by conciliation leveled and diplomatic skill some eccentricities Gregory. As his successor, he was given the task of saving the reform papacy , which had been troubled by Gregory's expulsion and death .

As early as 1080 Wibert von Ravenna had been elected antipope with imperial support and had in 1084 as Clemens III. ascended the papal throne while Gregory was declared deposed and died a year later. Clement III. ruled parallel to this during the entire duration of Urban’s pontificate and stayed frequently in Rome until 1092. Outside France and the Iberian Peninsula, which remained connected to the reform papacy, Clemens was initially largely able to assert himself. When Urban took office, Clemens was recognized in Germany and Northern Italy and also established himself in England , Hungary and Croatia . Urban spent most of his pontificate as a traveling pope, mainly between France and Italy. In Rome, during the crusade, he temporarily gained the upper hand, but it was not until after Urban’s death that the Wibertines were finally expelled from the city.

In 1089 Urban arranged the marriage of Mathilde von Tuszien , the most important pillar of the reform camp in Italy, with Welf V , the son of the deposed Duke of Bavaria Welf IV , a traditional opponent of the emperor. He also tried the tense relations with the Byzantine Empire to improve, and lifted in 1089 the ban against the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I on. Urban's initiative for a military campaign to the Orient arose in connection with his efforts to compensate with Byzantium.

From around the mid-1090s, Urban stabilized. The overwhelming response to his call to the crusade, which was also used as a "declaration of war" against his rival Clemens III. can be valued contributed to its decline. Especially in northern Italy, Clemens lost support, Rome was secured by the Normans during the crusade , so that from 1096 onwards the Wibertines lost support there too. Nevertheless, Urban had to be buried in July 1099, after he had died in the house of his protector Pierleone († around 1124), under strong security precautions in St. Peter's Church, because the Lateran and other parts of the city were again in the hands of the Wibertines.

European secular conflicts

Exile and the Italian War

In 1090 Henry IV was on a second Italian campaign (until 1097) after the opposition in the empire had almost completely collapsed. Heinrich was able to hold on until 1092, but then suffered a severe defeat at Canossa by Mathilde's troops , so that Urban was able to reactivate the Lombard League of Cities: Milan , Cremona , Lodi and Piacenza were now against the emperor. In 1093 Heinrich's son Konrad also moved to the reform papal camp. While Conrad was crowned King of Italy in Milan, Henry IV was forced to withdraw to Veneto. Urban was able to reside in Rome since November 1093 under the protection of the Frangipani family , but controlled only a small district around Santa Maria Nuova . With the help of donations from France, he succeeded shortly afterwards in buying the Lateran Palace from the Wibertine commandant. Pope Henry IV excommunicated in 1093 and Philip I of France in 1095 : The French king had got into conflict with Urban after he had cast out his wife. However, the dispute was soon settled. Philip I was accepted back into the church in 1096. In Germany the sermons of the Hirsau reformers showed certain successes, but the position of the imperial antipope in the imperial church remained safe throughout the 1090s and the attempts of the Gregorian party to gain a foothold in the imperial episcopate failed. The Bavarian Duke Welf IV , allied with Mathilde , who had supported the reformers' side after Urban II was raised to the rank of Pope and had to flee, moved back to the imperial camp in 1096.


In England, however, Anselm of Canterbury , who had refused to allow William II to invest, was expelled from the country. Here, too, the curia was initially interested in limiting the conflict - but now perhaps in order to pool forces against Heinrich. 1095 was on the synod of Piacenza Clement III. banned again in confirmation of a simony judgment. The decrees against simony and also against the marriage of clergy became binding for the entire church.

Crusade call

Shortly afterwards, envoys of the Byzantine emperor Alexios I appeared, reported on the threat from the Seljuks and offered negotiations to unification in order to obtain arms aid from the Latin Christians against the Muslims.

In Cremona Urban met King Konrad, whom he was able to force to swear a security oath and to swear the officium stratoris by leading the Pope's horse as his marshal by the reins. In return, Urban promised him the help against his father and arranged the marriage to a daughter of Rogers of Sicily .

The affliction of the Byzantines was confirmed in a letter from Alexios to Robert of Flanders . Some historians suspect that this gave Urban the decisive impetus for his call to the First Crusade , which was issued to the French knights on November 27, 1095 at the Synod of Clermont .

Contemporary witnesses reported that the assembled crowd was too big to find space in the cathedral, which is why Urban made his passionate appeal to the crowd in the open field in front of the city gates. Urban's dramatic speech about the sufferings of Christianity in the East, the mistreatment by those of different faiths and the need for the liberation of the holy city of Jerusalem - but nothing at all is mentioned in one of the traditional versions of the wording of the speech, which all differ from one another according to the chroniclers enthusiastically received. Allegedly, the later motto of the Crusades - “ God wants it! " - embossed. Adhemar de Monteil , Bishop of Le Puy , who was later appointed leader of the procession, knelt in a previously arranged appearance immediately after the end of the speech in front of Urban and was the first to ask for permission to march, and many others should come connected to him immediately. After that he held synods in Tours and Rouen , which spread the appeal. The Church's itinerant preachers sent across the country did the rest.

The call to the crusade was very successful in large parts of Europe and received a great response. Urban's project united the French aristocrats, who had long been involved in disputes among themselves, for the first time and gave them an ideal basis with the aim of a “just” struggle in the service of the Christian cause, which at the same time strengthened the supremacy claim of his office: the peace of God demanded before the call , which the Limiting the still outstanding feuds, at the same time strengthened the authority of the church intervening here and represented an essential event of the power-political role of the church and the papacy in the medieval history of Europe. The forgiveness of sins promised to the participants by the Pope was an extremely attractive incentive for participation . The reconciliation with the Eastern Church, which the Pope might strive for, however, failed to materialize due to persistent differences in power politics and conflicting interests; on the contrary, the crusades ultimately led to the complete alienation of the churches. Even in the short term, the crusade company intensified the Latin-Greek antagonism, as the Norman knights, allied with the papacy for decades, who were designated enemies of the Byzantine Empire and who used the crusade for their fight against Byzantium, played a decisive role in it.

Urban II himself only partially witnessed the success of the knight army, which set out in 1096. He probably heard of the capture of Antioch in 1098 and of the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem , but the news of the bloody capture of the city never reached him, as he died on July 29, 1099.


  • Alfons Becker : Pope Urban II (= writings of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. 19). 3 parts. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1964, 1988, 2012.
  • Heinrich Hagenmayer: Epistulae Et Chartae - Ad Historiam Primi Belli Sacri Spectantes - Quae supersunt aevo aequales ac genuinae - The letters of the crusade from the years 1088–1100. A collection of sources on the history of the first crusade with explanations. Innsbruck 1901.
  • Walther Holtzmann : The union negotiations between Emperor Alexios I and Pope Urban in 1089. In: Byzantinische Zeitschrift . 28, 1928, pp. 105-157.
  • Georg Gresser : The synods and councils in the time of the reform papacy in Germany and Italy by Leo IX. to Calixt II. 1049-1123. Paderborn 2006.
  • Georg Gresser: The crusade idea of ​​Pope Urban II as reflected in the synods of Piacenza and Clermont. In: Peter Bruns, Georg Gresser (ed.): From the Schism to the Crusades 1054–1204. Paderborn 2005, pp. 133-154.
  • Georg Kreuzer: Urban II ( Memento from June 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon . (BBKL). Volume 15, Bautz, Herzberg 1999, ISBN 3-88309-077-8 , Sp. 1391-1394.
  • Dana Carleton Munro, The Speech of Pope Urban II. At Clermont, 1095, in:  The American Historical Review 11 (1902), pp. 231-242. Digitized

Web links

Commons : Urbanus II  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Georg Kreuzer: Urban II ( Memento from June 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon . (BBKL). Volume 15, Bautz, Herzberg 1999, ISBN 3-88309-077-8 , Sp. 1391-1394.
  2. ^ Rudolf Pörtner: Operation Holy Sepulcher - Legend and Reality of the Crusades (1095–1187). Econ Verlag, Düsseldorf et al. 1977, pp. 14-15.
  3. Christiane Laudage: The business with sin. Indulgence and indulgences in the Middle Ages. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2012, ISBN 978-3-451-31598-5 , p. 148 f.
  4. Georg Gresser: The synods and councils in the time of the reform papacy in Germany and Italy by Leo IX. to Calixt II. 1049-1123. Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, p. 285.
predecessor Office successor
Viktor III Pope
Paschal II.
Gerald of Ostia Bishop of Ostia
Odon II.