1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gregory (Popes)/Gregory XI

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Gregory XI. (Pierre Roger de Beaufort), pope from the 30th of December 1370 to the 27th of March 1378, born in Limousin in 1330, created cardinal-deacon of Sta Maria Nuova by his uncle, Clement VI., was the successor of Urban V. His efforts to establish peace between France and England and to aid the Eastern Christians against the Turks were fruitless, but he prevented the Visconti of Milan from making further encroachments on the States of the Church. He introduced many reforms in the various monastic orders and took vigorous measures against the heresies of the time. His energy was stimulated by the stirring words of Catherine of Siena, to whom in particular the transference of the papal see back to Italy (17th of January 1377) was almost entirely due. Whilst at Rome he issued several bulls to the archbishop of Canterbury, the king of England, and the university of Oxford, commanding an investigation of Wycliffe’s doctrines. Gregory was meditating a return to Avignon when he died. He was the last of the French popes who for some seventy years had made Avignon their see, a man learned and full of zeal for the church, but irresolute and guilty of nepotism. The great schism, which was to endure fifty years, broke out soon after the election of his successor, Urban VI.

See H. J. Tomaseth, “Die Register u. Secretäre Urbans V. u. Gregors XI.” in Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung (1898); Baluzius, Vitae pap. Avenion. vol. I (Paris, 1693); L. Pastor, History of the Popes, vol. I, trans. by F. I. Antrobus (London, 1899); F. Gregorovius, Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. 6, trans. by Mrs G. W. Hamilton (London, 1900–1902); J. P. Kirsch, Die Rückkehr der Päpste Urban V. u. Gregor XI. von Avignon nach Rom (Paderborn, 1898); J. B. Christophe, Histoire de la papauté pendant le XIV e siècle, vol. 2 (Paris, 1853). There is a good article by J. N. Brischar in the Kirchenlexikon, 2nd edition.