Pope Adrian V was the 184th pope and the fifth man to take the name Adrian following his election. He was Italian by birth and best known for annulling a papal bull of Gregory X. This article will focus on the life of Pope Adrian V.
Born Ottobuono de’ Fieschi, the man who would later become Pope Adrian V belonged to a feudal family in Italy. Named a papal chaplain in 1243, he served as a clerk in a local church. Other church leaders noted his work and commitment and rewarded him with new roles. He would become an archdeacon, canon, chancellor and dean as he moved to new locations in Bologna, Parma and later Paris.
Time in England
Pope Clement IV worried about the fighting between King Henry III in England and local barons. He picked Ottobuono as a representative of the church and asked him to oversee the problems. As a papal legate, he was responsible for keeping the situation under control and bringing awareness to the Crusades. Though he only spent three years in England, he developed a strong following, which would later lead to his election as pope. In April of 1268, just a few months before he left, Ottobuono created the canons that locals would use as their laws. Those laws remained in place until the Protestant Reformation.
Election as Pope
Following the death of Innocent IV in 1276, the papal committee picked Ottobuono as the next pope. He was one of four men who served as pope in that same year. Gregory X issued a papal bull that called for a committee of men to come together and elect the new pope. Adrian V annulled that bull not long after becoming pope. Though some in the church believed that he was a good choice, he died before he could make any other changes. San Francesco Alla Rocca is his final resting place.
Quick Facts About Pope Adrian V
- Adrian V was born circa 1210 t0 1220 in Genoa, which was part of the Republic of Genoa and the Holy Roman Empire.
- His birth name was Ottobuono de’ Fieschi.
- He died on August 18, 1276, in Viterbo, which was part of the Papal States of the Holy Roman Empire.
- Though church records do not note an official cause of death, he likely died of natural causes.
- The papacy of Adrian V began on July 11, 1276.
- His papacy ended on August 18, 1276.
- John XXI was the successor to Pope Adrian V.
Interesting Facts About Pope Adrian V
- Pope Adrian V ranks as one of the shortest reigning popes of all time. He served as pope for only 38 days. Adrian V was around the age of 60 when he took the position and was the same age when he passed away.
- Dante made Adrian V one of the characters featured in the “Divine Comedy.” In the pope, he encounters Adrian in purgatory, where the pope was sent due to committing the sin of ambition.
- Adrian is one of the few early popes related to other popes. Pope Innocent IV was his uncle and appointed him a Cardinal Deacon in 1251. He held that role for more than a decade before becoming an archpriest.
- Another famous relative of the pope was King Henry III. King Henry’s wife Eleanor had a cousin named Thomas II of Savoy who would later marry the pope’s sister.
- The Statute of Marlborough is a piece of legislature used by England for many years and one of the oldest written laws of the country. Adrian V appears on the document as one of the witnesses to its creation.