Pope Adrian VI

Pope Adrian VI

Infobox Pope
English name = Adrian VI
Latin name = Adrianus VI

birth_name = Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens
term_start = January 9, 1522
term_end = September 14, 1523
predecessor = Leo X
successor = Clement VII
birth_date = birth date|1459|3|2
birthplace = Utrecht, Holy Roman Empire
dead = dead
death_date = death date and age|1523|9|14|1459|3|2
deathplace = Rome, Papal States
other = Adrian

Pope Adrian VI (Utrecht, March 2, 1459 – September 14, 1523), born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens, son of Floris or Florentz Boeyens, from Utrecht, and wife Gertrude N, served as Bishop of Rome from 9th January 1522 until his death some 18 months later. He was the last non-Italian pope until John Paul II, 456 years later. He is, together with Marcellus II, one of two 'modern' popes to retain his baptismal name after election. He is buried in the German national church in Rome, Santa Maria dell'Anima. He is the only Dutch person to have become pope.

Life and work

He was born Hadriaan Florentzsoon Boeyens under modest circumstances in the city of Utrecht, which was then the capital of the bishopric of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was the son of Florentz Boeyens van Utrecht, also born in Utrecht, and his wife Gertrude Boeyens. Utrecht was at that time part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. In Germany Adrian is sometimes considered a German pope, as the Holy Roman Empire was largely inhabited by Germans, but especially because of the nationalist influence of the 19th century. His nationality (not ethnicity, which was undoubtly Dutch) more accurately was that of an 'imperial subject' rather than 'German'. Nevertheless 'German' is often used as the demonym of the Holy Roman Empire, though not always correctly. [pag 71, Adrianus VI De Nederlandse paus by J. Bijloos. (covers entire paragraph)] His sister Margaretha Florentzdotter Boeyens married Heinrich van Holand, Baron of Rhenoburg, and gave birth to Francisco de Holanda an ancestor of Deodoro da Fonseca, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda and Chico Buarque.

He was the last pope to have come from outside Italy until the election of the Polish John Paul II in 1978.

Adrian VI was known for having attempted to launch a Catholic Reformation (or counter reformation) as a response to the Protestant Reformation. His efforts were fruitless as they were ignored by most of his Renaissance ecclesiastical contemporaries and his tenure as pope too brief to make a lasting impression.

Adrian VI studied under the Brethren of the Common Life, either at Zwolle or Deventer and was also a student of the Latin school (now "Gymnasium Celeanum") in Zwolle. [cite book |last=Coster |first=Wim |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Metamorfoses. Een geschiedenis van het Gymnasium Celeanum |origdate= |origyear=2003|origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate=2007-06-30 |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Waanders |location=Zwolle |language=Dutch |isbn=90-400-8847-0 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=17 and 19 |chapter=De Latijnse School te Zwolle |chapterurl= |quote= ] Some texts mention his name as Adrian or Adriaan Florisz, A. Florisz Boeyens, A. Florens or any other combination. 'Florens' or 'Florisz' means 'Floriszoon' – son of Floris. His father was called Floris and his grandfather Boeyen. Therefore, he is sometimes referred to as Adriaan, son of Floris, son of Boeyen: Adriaan Florisz Boeyens.

At the University of Louvain he pursued philosophy, theology and Canon Law, due to a scholarship granted by Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, becoming a Doctor of Theology in 1491, Dean of St. Peter's and vice-chancellor of the university. His lectures were published, as recreated from his students' notes; among those who attended was the young Erasmus.

In 1507 he was appointed tutor to Emperor Maximilian I's (1493 – 1519) seven year old grandson, Charles, who was later to become Emperor Charles V (1519 – 58). In 1515 Adrian was sent to Spain on a diplomatic errand, and after his arrival at the Imperial Court in Toledo, Charles V secured his succession to the See of Tortosa, and on 14 November 1516 commissioned him Inquisitor General of Aragon. The following year, Pope Leo X (1513 – 21) created Adrian a cardinal, naming him Cardinal Priest of the Basilica of Saints John and Paul.During the minority of Charles V, Adrian was named to serve with Francisco Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros as co-regent of Spain. After the death of the Jimenez, Adrian was appointed (14 March 1518) General of the Reunited Inquisitions of Castile and Aragon, in which capacity he acted until his departure for Rome. During this period, Charles V left for the Netherlands in 1520, making the future pope Regent of Spain, during which time he had to deal with the Revolt of the Comuneros.

Election as Bishop of Rome

In the conclave after the death of the Medici Pope Leo X, his cousin, Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was the leading figure. With Spanish and French cardinals in a deadlock, the absent Adrian was proposed as a compromise and on January 9, 1522 he was elected by an almost unanimous vote. Charles V was delighted upon hearing that his tutor had been elected to the papacy but soon realised that Adrian VI was determined to reign impartially. Francis I of France, who feared that Adrian would become a tool of the Emperor, and had uttered threats of a schism, later relented and sent an embassy to present his homage. Fears of a Spanish Avignon based on the strength of his relationship with the Emperor as his former tutor and regent proved baseless, and Adrian left for Italy at the earliest opportunity, making his solemn entry into Rome on 29 August. He was crowned in St. Peter's Basilica on the 31 August 1522, at the age of sixty-three and immediately entered upon the path of the reformer. The 1908 edition of the "Catholic Encyclopedia" characterised the task that faced him:

:"To extirpate inveterate abuses; to reform a court which thrived on corruption, and detested the very name of reform; to hold in leash young and warlike princes, ready to bound at each other's throats; to stem the rising torrent of revolt in Germany; to save Christendom from the Turks, who from Belgrade now threatened Hungary, and if Rhodes fell would be masters of the Mediterranean-- these were herculean labours for one who was in his sixty-third year, had never seen Italy, and was sure to be despised by the Romans as a 'barbarian'." [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01159b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia (1908)] ]

His plan was to attack notorious abuses one by one; but in his attempt to improve the system of indulgences he was hampered by his cardinals; and he found reducing the number of matrimonial dispensations to be impossible as the income had been farmed out for years in advance by Pope Leo X.

The Italians saw in him as a pedantic foreign professor, blind to the beauty of classical antiquity. Musicians such as Carpentras, the composer and singer from Avignon who was master of the papal chapel under Leo X, left Rome due to Adrian VI's indifference to the arts. Thus, musical standards at the Vatican declined significantly during his tenure.

Adrian was not successful as a peacemaker among Christian princes, whom he hoped to unite in a war against the Turks. In August 1523 he was forced into an alliance with the Empire, England, Venice, against France; meanwhile in 1522 the Sultan Suleiman I (1520 – 66) had conquered Rhodes.

In his reaction to the early stages of the Lutheran revolt, Adrian VI did not completely understand the gravity of the situation. At the Diet of Nuremberg which opened in December 1522 he was represented by Francesco Chiericati, whose private instructions contain the frank admission that the disorder of the Church was perhaps the fault of the Roman Curia itself, and that it should be reformed. However, the former professor and Inquisitor General was strongly opposed to any change in doctrinal, and demanded that Luther be punished for teaching heresy.

The statement in one of his works that a pope may err, privately or in a minor decree, including matters of faith, attracted attention. Catholics claim that it was a private opinion, not an official pronouncement and therefore does not conflict with the dogma of papal infallibility. Catholic apologists point to the fact that Adrian VI merely theoreticised about the issue.

Adrian VI died on 14 September 1523, after a somewhat brief tenure. Most of his official papers were lost after his death. He published "Quaestiones in quartum sententiarum praesertim circa sacramenta" (Paris, 1512, 1516, 1518, 1537; Rome, 1522), and "Quaestiones quodlibeticae XII." (1st ed., Leuven, 1515).

Italian writer Luigi Malerba used the confusion among the leaders of the Catholic Church, which was created by Adrian's unexpected election, as backdrop for his 1995 novel, "Le maschere" (The Masks), about the struggle between two Roman cardinals for a well-endowed church office.


* Luther Martin. "Luther's Correspondence and Other Contemporary Letters," 2 vols., tr.and ed. by Preserved Smith, Charles Michael Jacobs, The Lutheran Publication Society, Philadelphia, Pa. 1913, 1918. [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC02338418&id=m4r3cwHjnvUC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=%22Luther%27s+Correspondence+and+Other+Contemporary+Letters%22 vol.I (1507-1521)] and [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC02338418&id=oEy_3aDT61sC&printsec=titlepage&dq=%22%09Luther%27s+Correspondence+and+Other+Contemporary+Letters%22 vol.2 (1521-1530)] from Google Books. Reprint of Vol.1, Wipf & Stock Publishers (March 2006). ISBN 1-59752-601-0
* Gross, Ernie. "This Day In Religion." New York:Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 1990. ISBN 1-55570-045-4.
* Malerba Luigi. "e maschere", Milan: A. Mondadori, 1995. ISBN 88-04-39366-1


ee also

* Pasquinade
* The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

External links

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01159b.htm Pope Adrian VI] Catholic Encyclopedia
* [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC02338418&id=oEy_3aDT61sC&pg=PA141&dq=%22%09Luther%27s+Correspondence+and+Other+Contemporary+Letters%22 Pope Adrian VI to Francesco Chieregati, Nov. 25, 1522] [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03658b.htm] Re: Luther, corruption in the Catholic Church, the need for reform, etc.

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