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Gregory IX

Gregory IX reigned between 1227 and 1241 where he can be found on the Biblical Timeline with World History. He was a controversial figure in papal history because of his part in the Inquisition against religious movements he considered as heretical. The pope also had a hard relationship with the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily Frederick II Hohenstaufen.

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Early Life and Election as Pope

Pope Gregory IX was born in 1145 in the ancient town of Anagni. He descended from the noble house of the Segni. The boy was named Ugo (or Ugolino), and he became the Count of Segni before his election as pope. He studied in Paris and Bologna in his youth. His uncle, Pope Innocent III, later appointed him the cardinal deacon of the church of Sant’ Eustachio in 1198. He was elevated to cardinal bishop of Ostia in 1206. It was a position that he kept until his election as pope. He became a papal legate to Germany many times during his service as cardinal bishop. He was also a staunch supporter of the Crusade. He preached its endorsement twice in Italy in 1217. He was then appointed as the Dean of the College of Cardinals in the following year.

“Pope Gregory IX”

He was elected as pope in 1227 after the death of Pope Honorius III and took the name Gregory IX to honor the monastery of  Saint Gregory ad Septem Solia. The 83-year old pope canonized Saint Francis of Assisi the next year. It was followed by the canonization of Saint Dominic later in 1234. He was a supporter of both religious orders, and after a time sent Franciscan and Dominican missionaries to Finland and Romania. He also favored the Cistercian and Camaldolese orders, as well as the supporters of the twelfth-century theologian Joachim of Fiore.


Pope Gregory IX played a great part in the suppression of the followers of the religious movements that he considered as heretical, such as Catharism (Albigensians in France) and the Waldensian movement (a forerunner of Protestantism). Both started out in France and spread in some parts of Europe. He enlisted the help of Raymond VII of Toulouse to stamp out these beliefs. Local bishops were in charge of the procedures for Inquisition in the past, but Gregory placed it under his direct control later. He supported the Militia of Jesus Christ in 1234 to pursue heretics and placed it under the Dominican Order. Although the Inquisition centered in parts of France, Germany, and Italy, it gradually spread to Spain during the reign of King James I of Aragon.

Gregory died on the 22nd of August, 1241.

Picture By Raphael, Public Domain, Link
Douglas, J. D. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub., 1978.
Kleinhenz, Christopher. Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2004.
“Pope Gregory IX – Catholic Encyclopedia – Catholic Online.” Catholic Online. Accessed November 09, 2016.
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