Pope Clement V was the 195th pope and one of several popes born in France. He reigned for more than eight years and is known for a papal bull issued against the Knights Templar. This article looks at his election and other details about the pope.

Early Life

Pope Clement V was born sometime around 1264 in the Kingdom of France to a family who had a close relationship with the Church. Known as Raymond, he had a brother named Berard who served as the Archbishop of Lyon. Raymond worked as an officer and participated in some clergy meetings in the Cathedral of Saint Andre. He later moved from Bordeaux to Lyon to work with his brother as a vicar general, which led to his appointment as a cardinal-bishop and then a bishop. Raymond also worked with Pope Boniface VIII as a chaplain and later became the Archbishop of Bordeaux.

Papal Election

When Pope Benedict XI died in 1304, cardinals from France and Italy were divided on who to elect next. They spent several months arguing before finally selecting Raymond at a conclave. He was elected in June and crowned in November. Though many asked him to come to Rome for his coronation, he decided to stay in France and have his coronation in Lyon.

Papacy

Best known for the decree he issued against the Knights Templar, Pope Clement V created a document that allowed the prosecution of those men. That prosecution led to rumors of sodomy and other illegal acts that some still believe today. Clement V remained in France during his reign and became the first of the Popes of Avignon. He spoke out against the Dulcinian movement and claimed that the followers were heretics. This was one of the last acts he performed before passing away on April 20, 1314. A popular legend claims that a storm started unexpectedly in the middle of the night and that lightning struck the church where his body lay in state. By the time the fire went out, there were only ashes left behind.

Quick Facts About Pope Clement V

  • He was born circa 1264 in Villandraut, which was in Gascony in the Kingdom of France.
  • His birth name was Raymond Bertrand de Got. Some records show his last name as either de Goth or de Gouth.
  • He died on April 20, 1314, around the age of 50 while in the Kingdom of France.
  • His remains were buried in Uzeste as specified in his will.
  • The papacy of Pope Clement V began on June 5, 1305.
  • He remained pope until his death in 1314.
  • John XXII was his successor to the papal throne.

Interesting Facts About Pope Clement V

  • During his coronation, thousands of people showed up. John II, the Duke of Brittany, was on hand for the celebration and traveled through the streets with the pope’s horse. The walls of the city could not handle the unexpected traffic. When one collapsed, several hundred people were injured. John II died a few days later of injuries sustained during the incident.
  • When Dante wrote “Divine Comedy,” he marked a spot in the eighth circle of Hell, which he claims was reserved for the pope. Dante was one of many people from this era who thought the pope was weak and rewarded people due to his nepotism.
  • Historians claim that Clement V was the first pope to receive a papal tiara during his coronation.
  • The final resting spot of the pope is in La Chaise-Dieu in Auvergne.
  • Rumors surrounded the pope during his election that claimed he agreed to work with and bow to King Philip IV of France.