Urban VI.

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Urban VI. , originally Bartolomeo Prignano , (* approx. 1318 in Naples ; † October 15, 1389 in Rome ) was a Roman Catholic Pope from 1378 to 1389 .


Education and Clerical Careers

Prignano graduated as Dr. iur. utr. and then became a professor and a distinguished canonist in Naples .

From 1363 Bartolomeo Prignano was Archbishop of Acerenza until he was raised to Archbishop of Bari in 1377 . He already had many years of experience in the Curia when Pope Gregory XI. after his return to Rome in 1377 appointed head of the papal chancellery .

When the Pope returned to Rome, there were eighteen French cardinals in the College of Cardinals, four Italians and one Spanish. Of the eighteen French people, six had even refused to leave Avignon . Another cardinal was a legate in Tuscany . Thanks to the appointments of the last popes, seven of the remaining eleven cardinals came from the Limousin . For the Limousin cardinals, only their home province was important and not the universal Church. On now erupting Western Schism of contributed nepotism and parochialism of the Popes indirect complicity of Avignon. The schism lasted 39 years. During this time six antipopes were appointed.

Pontificate and Schism

Urban VI's grave in the Vatican Grottoes under St. Peter's Basilica

The conclave after the death of Gregory XI. was under strong pressure from the Roman population, who had a Pope from Rome as the successor of Gregory XI. demanded. Under these circumstances, on April 8, 1378 , the College of Cardinals elected Bartolomeo Prignano from Naples to be Pope. After his election he took the Pope's name Urban VI. and has remained the last Pope to this day who did not belong to the College of Cardinals at the time of his election.

Even before Urban was elected, the College of Cardinals had an urge to return to Avignon. The cardinals had also believed that the new pope, like the previous popes, would continue to represent French interests in particular, since he came from the kingdom of Joan I , a member of the French house of Anjou . But Urban VI. categorically refused to return to Avignon and publicly reprimanded the cardinals. When he broke French dominance in the college of cardinals with the appointment of 29 new cardinals, only three of whom were French, thirteen cardinals left Rome for Fondi . Together with the Aragonese Cardinal Pedro de Luna and supported by the French King Charles V they elected Clement VII as antipope on September 28, 1378 , thus completing the schism. In addition, the cardinals wrote a statement in which it was said that they were at the time for the election of Pope Urban VI. had been coerced. Then the 14 cardinals traveled to Avignon, the antipope later followed them.

The papal bull of the foundation of the later Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg was by Pope Urban VI. signed in Genoa on October 23, 1385. He signed the founding charter for the medieval city university of Cologne on May 21, 1388 in Perugia. In 1389 he reduced the waiting time between the jubilee years from 50 to 33 years.

Originally thrifty and energetic personally, these features of Urban VI were reversed. over time more and more into the opposite. Authoritarian behavior, righteousness and stubbornness determined his image. Nepotism and financial disruption darkened it. His rigid stance also deepened the Western schism , which would last until 1417. The schism divided not only popes, cardinals, orders and peoples, but also saints. Catherine of Siena was on the side of Pope Urban VI. Nevertheless, she wrote to him: "Justice without mercy would be more injustice than justice". On the side of the antipope Clement VII, on the other hand, was Vinzenz Ferrer , a preacher of the Dominican order .

On the side of Rome stood: the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , northern Italy, England , Hungary , Poland , the county of Flanders and the northern kingdoms. In contrast, France , Sicily , Scotland , the county of Savoy , Aragon , Castile , Navarre , Portugal , Cyprus and parts of Germany supported Pope Clement in Avignon. Joan I of Naples was a weak ruler and shuttled between pope and antipope. Eventually she became at the instigation of Pope Urban VI. murdered by Karl von Durazzo , his nephew . Karl von Durazzo succeeded her and called himself Charles III as King of Naples. After that, the Pope wanted to take several provinces of the Kingdom of Naples for the Papal States, first through diplomatic channels, then with his army. After an unsuccessful siege, he withdrew to his fortress Nocera , where he gave Charles III. banned. After six cardinals conspired against him for this reason, he had them captured and imprisoned in a cistern . On the flight from the fortress, besieged by the King of Naples, he took the cardinals with him to Genoa. Once there, Urban VI. Execute five of them on the beach on December 15, 1386, despite the intervention of the Doge of Genoa , Antoniotto Adorno , and numerous citizens of the city. Urban VI spared the sixth cardinal, an Englishman. for fear of King Richard II of England . The Roman population also revolted against Urban, so that he could only return to Rome by means of excommunication and an interdict .


Urban VI died just one year after his return. in Rome, possibly poisoned by his enemies. His death caused general joy in the Vatican.


Urban VI. is to this day the last Pope who was not a cardinal .


Web links

Commons : Urban VI.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Gregory XI. Pope
Boniface IX