Pope Urban III
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|Papacy began||25 November 1185|
|Papacy ended||20 October 1187|
|Created cardinal||September 1173|
by Pope Lucius III
|Birth name||Uberto Crivelli|
Cuggiono, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||20 October 1187|
Ferrara, Holy Roman Empire
|Other popes named Urban|
Early life and papal election
Crivelli was born in Cuggiono as the son of Guala Crivelli and had four brothers: Pietro, Domenico, Pastore and Guala. He was, on his mother's side, the uncle of the future Pope Celestine IV. He studied in Bologna.
In 1182, he was made a cardinal by Pope Lucius III. His original title is unknown, but he opted to be the Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina in 1182. Lucius appointed him Archbishop of Milan in 1185. Lucius III died on 25 November 1185; Cardinal Crivelli was elected that same day. The haste was probably due to fear of imperial interference.
He vigorously took up his predecessor's quarrels with Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, including the standing dispute about the disposal of the territories of the countess Matilda of Tuscany. This was embittered by personal enmity, for at the sack of Milan in 1162 the emperor had caused several of the pope's relatives to be proscribed or mutilated. Even after his elevation to the papacy, Urban III continued to hold the archbishopric of Milan, and in this capacity refused to crown as King of Italy Frederick I's son Henry, who had married Constance, the heiress of the kingdom of Sicily. By this marriage the papacy lost that Norman support on which it had so long relied in its contests with the emperor.
Urban exerted himself to bring about peace between England and France, and on 23 June, 1187, his legates by threats of excommunication prevented a pitched battle between the armies of the rival kings near Châteauroux, and brought about a two years' truce.
While Henry in the south cooperated with the rebel Senate of Rome, his father Frederick blocked the passes of the Alps and cut off all communication between the Pope, then living in Verona, and his German adherents. Urban III now resolved on excommunicating Frederick I, but the Veronese protested against such a proceeding being resorted to within their walls. He accordingly withdrew to Ferrara, but died before he could give effect to his intentions. His successor was Gregory VIII.
- Duffy, Eamon, Saints & sinners: A History of the Popes, (Yale University Press, 2001), 392.
- Coulombe, Charles A., Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes, (Citadel Press, 2003), 249.
- Webster, Douglas Raymund. "Pope Urban III." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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