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|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||5 December 1590|
|Papacy ended||16 October 1591|
|Consecration||13 March 1564|
by St. Charles Borromeo
|Created cardinal||12 December 1583|
by Gregory XIII
|Birth name||Niccolò Sfondrato|
|Born||11 February 1535|
Somma Lombardo, Duchy of Milan
|Died||16 October 1591 56) (aged|
Rome, Papal State
|Coat of arms|
|Other popes named Gregory|
Pope Gregory XIV (Latin : Gregorius XIV; 11 February 1535 – 16 October 1591), born Niccolò Sfondrato or Sfondrati, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 5 December 1590 to his death in 1591.
Niccolò Sfondrati was born at Somma Lombardo, then part of the Duchy of Milan, in the highest stratum of Milanese society. His mother, of the house of Visconti, died in childbirth. His father Francesco Sfondrati, a senator of the ancient comune of Milan, was created Cardinal-Priest by Pope Paul III in 1544.
In his youth he was known for his modest lifestyle and stringent piety. He studied law at Perugia and Padua, was ordained a priest and swiftly appointed Bishop of Cremona, in 1560, in time to participate in the sessions of the Council of Trent from 1561 to 1563. Pope Gregory XIII made him a Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere on 12 December 1583. Sfondrati was a close follower of Carlo Cardinal Borromeo, and when the cardinal died, he celebrated the Requiem Mass for Borromeo on 7 November 1584.Sfondrati was an intimate friend and a great admirer of Philip Neri, an Italian priest who died in 1595 and was canonised in 1622.
After the death of Pope Urban VII on 27 September 1590, the Spanish ambassador Olivares presented the conclave a list of the seven cardinals who would be acceptable to his master Philip II of Spain. On 5 December 1590, after two months of deadlock, Sfondrati, one of Philip II's seven candidates but who had not aspired to the office, was elected pope. Alessandro Cardinal Montalto came to Sfondrati's cell to inform him that the Sacred College had agreed on his election and found him kneeling in prayer before a crucifix.
On the day after he was elected Pope, Gregory XIV burst into tears and said to the cardinals: "God forgive you! What have you done?"In his bull of 21 March 1591, Cogit nos, he forbade under pain of excommunication all betting concerning the election of a Pope, the duration of a pontificate, or the creation of new cardinals.
Gregory XIV's brief pontificate was marked by vigorous intervention in favour of the Catholic party in the French Wars of Religion. Instigated by the king of Spain and the duke of Mayenne, he excommunicated Henry IV of France on 1 March 1591, reiterating the 1585 declaration of Pope Sixtus V that as a heretic (Protestant) Henry was ineligible to succeed to the throne of Catholic France and ordered the clergy, nobles, judicial functionaries, and the Third Estate of France to renounce him.
Gregory XIV levied an army for the invasion of France, and dispatched his nephew Ercole Sfondrati to France at its head. He also sent a monthly subsidy of 15,000 scudi to Paris to reinforce the Catholic League. By coming down solidly on the side of Spanish interests, in part because Gregory XIV was elected due to the influence of the Spanish cardinals, the recent papal policy of trying to maintain a balance between Spain and France was abandoned.
Gregory XIV created five cardinals, among whom was his nephew Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, his Secretary of State. He attempted to convince Philip Neri, a long-time friend, to accept the post of Cardinal, but Neri refused, saying that there were many more deserving of the honour than him.
In a decree dated 18 April 1591 (Bulla Cum Sicuti), Gregory XIV ordered reparations to be made by Catholics in the Philippines to the natives, who had been forced into slavery by Europeans, and he commanded under pain of excommunication of the owners that all native slaves in the islands be set free.
The biographers mention that Pope Gregory XIV had a nervous tendency to laughter, which occasionally became irresistible and even manifested itself at his coronation. Gregory XIV, who was in poor health before his election to the papacy, died due to a large gallstone and was succeeded by Innocent IX.
Pope Clement XII, born Lorenzo Corsini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 12 July 1730 to his death in 1740.
Pope Clement XIV, born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 19 May 1769 to his death in 1774. At the time of his election, he was the only Franciscan friar in the College of Cardinals, having been a member of OFM Conventual. To date, he is the last pope to take the pontifical name of "Clement" upon his election.
Pope Gregory XV, born Alessandro Ludovisi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 February 1621 to his death in 1623.
Pope Gregory XIII, born Ugo Boncompagni, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 May 1572 to his death in 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally accepted civil calendar to this day.
Pope Urban VII, born Giovanni Battista Castagna, was head of the Catholic Church, and ruler of the Papal States from 15 to 27 September 1590. His twelve-day papacy was the shortest in history.
Pope Innocent IX, born Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 October to 30 December 1591.
Pope Leo XI, born Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1 April 1605 to his death. His pontificate is one of the briefest in history, having lasted under a month. He was from the prominent House of Medici originating from Florence. Medici's mother opposed his entering the priesthood and sought to prevent it by having him given secular honours, but after her death he eventually was ordained a priest in 1567. In his career he served as Florence's ambassador to the pope, Bishop of Pistoia, Archbishop of Florence, papal legate to France, and as the cardinal Prefect for the Congregation of the Bishops and Religious. He was elected to the papacy in the March 1605 papal conclave and served as pope for 27 days.
Pope Sixtus V, born Felice Piergentile, was head of the Catholic Church from 24 April 1585 to his death. As a youth, he joined the Franciscan order, where he displayed talents as a scholar and preacher, and enjoyed the patronage of Pius V, who made him a cardinal. As a cardinal, he was known as Cardinal Montalto.
Federico Borromeo was an Italian cardinal and Archbishop of Milan.
Bonifazio Bevilacqua Aldobrandini was an Italian Cardinal. He was the uncle of Pope Gregory XIV.
Scipione Gonzaga was an Italian cardinal, chiefly remembered for his friendship and patronage of the troubled poet Torquato Tasso and his support, against other family members, for his cousin Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
A cardinal-nephew was a cardinal elevated by a pope who was that cardinal's relative. The practice of creating cardinal-nephews originated in the Middle Ages, and reached its apex during the 16th and 17th centuries. The last cardinal-nephew was named in 1689 and the practice was abolished in 1692. The word nepotism originally referred specifically to this practice, when it appeared in the English language about 1669. From the middle of the Avignon Papacy (1309–1377) until Pope Innocent XII's anti-nepotism bull, Romanum decet pontificem (1692), a pope without a cardinal-nephew was the exception to the rule. Every Renaissance pope who created cardinals appointed a relative to the College of Cardinals, and the nephew was the most common choice, although one of Alexander VI's creations was his own son.
Paolo Emilio Sfondrati was an Italian Cardinal.
The 1592 papal conclave elected Pope Clement VIII in succession to Pope Innocent IX.
The October to December 1590 papal conclave was the second conclave of 1590, and the one during which Gregory XIV was elected as the successor of Urban VII. This conclave was marked by unprecedented royal interference from Philip II of Spain.
Filippo Sega was a Catholic bishop from 1575 to 1596 and a cardinal from 1591 to 1596. He served as a papal diplomat in several important and sensitive posts, in Flanders, Spain, Vienna, Prague, and France.
Francesco Sfondrati (1493–1550) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal and the father of Pope Gregory XIV.
Pedro de Deza (1520–1600) was a Spanish Roman Catholic cardinal and bishop.
Giovanni Vincenzo Gonzaga (1540–1591) was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.
Scipione Lancelotti (1527–1598) was an Italian who became a cardinal within the Roman Catholic Church.
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|Catholic Church titles|
| Bishop of Cremona |
1560 – 1590
| Pope |
5 December 1590 – 16 October 1591