Camilla Chafer Biography & Facts
Pope Sixtus V (Italian: Sisto V; 13 December 1521 – 27 August 1590), born Felice Piergentile, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 24 April 1585 to his death. As a youth, he joined the Franciscan order, where he displayed talents as a scholar and preacher, and enjoyed the patronage of Pius V, who made him a cardinal. As a cardinal, he was known as Cardinal Montalto.
As Pope, he energetically rooted out corruption and lawlessness across Rome, and launched a far-sighted rebuilding programme that continues to provoke controversy, as it involved the destruction of antiquities. The cost of these works was met by heavy taxation that caused much suffering. His foreign policy was regarded as over-ambitious, and he excommunicated both Queen Elizabeth I of England and King Henry IV of France. He is recognized as a significant figure of the Counter-Reformation. He is the most recent pope to date to take on the pontifical name "Sixtus".
Felice Piergentile was born on 13 December 1521 at Grottammare, in the Papal States, to Francesco Piergentile (also known as Peretto di Montalto, from the city of origin Montalto delle Marche), and Mariana da Frontillo. His father had taken refuge in Grottammare to escape the oppression of the Duke of Urbino, finding there a job as a gardener. Felice later adopted Peretti as his family name in 1551, and as a cardinal was known as "Cardinal Montalto" (to reflect his affection to his homeland).
At the age of 9 years old, Felice came back in Montalto to join his uncle in the Franciscan Convent of San Francesco delle Fratte. At the age of 12 he was initiated as a novice of the Franciscan Order, assuming the name of Fra Felice (Friar Felix) in 1535, maintaining his birth name. From this year, he started philosophical and theological studies, moving between different convents of the Order. He finally completed his studies in the Franciscan Magna Domus of Bologna on September 1544. He had three years earlier already been ordained as a deacon.
About 1552 he was noticed by Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, Protector of the Franciscan order, Cardinal Ghislieri (later Pope Pius V) and Cardinal Caraffa (later Pope Paul IV), and from that time his advancement was assured. He was sent to Venice as inquisitor general of the Venetian Holy Inquisition, but was so severe and conducted matters in such a high-handed manner that he became embroiled in quarrels. In 1560, the Venetian government asked for his recall.
After a brief term as procurator of his order, he was attached in 1565 to the papal legation to Spain headed by Cardinal Ugo Boncampagni (later Pope Gregory XIII) which was sent to investigate a charge of heresy levelled against Bartolomé Carranza, Archbishop of Toledo. The violent dislike which Peretti conceived for Boncampagni had a marked influence upon his subsequent actions. He hurried back to Rome upon the accession of Pius V, who made him apostolic vicar of his order, and, later (1570), cardinal.
During the pontificate of his political enemy Gregory XIII (1572–1585), Cardinal Montalto, as he was generally called, lived in enforced retirement, occupied with the care of his property, the Villa Montalto, erected by Domenico Fontana close to the cardinal's beloved church on the Esquiline Hill, overlooking the ancient Baths of Diocletian. The first phase (1576–1580) of building was enlarged after Peretti became pope and was able to clear buildings to open four new streets in 1585–86. The villa contained two residences, the Palazzo Sistino or "Palazzo di Termini" and the casino, called the Palazzetto Montalto e Felice.
This clearance programme was an undoubted gain in the relief it brought to the congestion of the crowded medieval city. Clearly, however, Romans displaced by it were furious, and resentment was still felt centuries later, until the decision was taken to build the central railroad station, inaugurated by Pope Pius IX in 1863, the chosen site being the area of the Villa, which became doomed to destruction.
Cardinal Montalto's other occupation at this period was with his studies, one of the fruits of which was an edition of the works of Ambrose. As pope he would personally supervise the printing of an improved edition of Jerome's Vulgate.
Election as pope
Though not neglecting to follow the course of affairs, Felice carefully avoided every occasion of offence. This discretion contributed not a little to his election to the papacy on 24 April 1585, with the title of Sixtus V to honor Pope Sixtus IV, also a Franciscan like himself. One of the things that commended his candidacy to certain cardinals may have been his physical vigour, which seemed to promise a long pontificate. His papal coronation was held on 1 May 1585 and he was crowned by the protodeacon Ferdinando de' Medici.
Reforms in the city of Rome
The terrible condition in which Pope Gregory XIII had left the Papal States called for prompt and stern measures. Sixtus proceeded with an almost ferocious severity against the prevailing lawlessness. Thousands of brigands were brought to justice: within a short time the country was again quiet and safe. It was claimed that there were more heads on spikes across the Ponte Sant'Angelo than melons for sale in the marketplace. And clergy and nuns were executed if they broke their vows of chastity.Next Sixtus set to work to repair the finances. By the sale of offices, the establishment of new "Monti" and by levying new taxes, he accumulated a vast surplus, which he stored up against certain specified emergencies, such as a crusade or the defence of the Holy See. Sixtus prided himself upon his hoard, but the method by which it had been amassed was financially unsound: some of the taxes proved ruinous, and the withdrawal of so much money from circulation could not fail to cause distress.Immense sums were spent upon public works, in carrying through the comprehensive planning that had come to fruition during his retirement, bringing water to the waterless hills in the Acqua Felice, feeding twenty-seven new fountains; laying out new arteries in Rome, which connected the great basilicas, even setting his engineer-architect Domenico Fontana to replan the Colosseum as a silk-spinning factory housing its workers.
Inspired by the ideal of the Renaissance city, Pope Sixtus V's ambitious urban reform programme transformed the old environment to emulate the "long straight streets, wide regular spaces, uniformity and repetitiveness of structures, lavish use of commemorative and ornamental elements, and maximum visibility from both linear and circular perspective." The Pope set no limit to his plans, and achieved much in his short pontificate, always carried through at top speed: the completion of the dome of St. Peter's; the loggia of Sixtus in the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano; the chapel of the Praesepe in Santa Maria Maggiore; additions or repairs to the Quirinal, Late.... Discover the Camilla Chafer popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Camilla Chafer books.