Henry VIII,the Reign
Adriaan Florensz, Pope Adrian VI
2 March 1459 ‒ 14 September 1523
9 January 1522 -14 September 1523
Profile Adriaan Florensz, Pope Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI , born was Pope from 9 January 1522 until his death on 14 September 1523. He was the only Dutchman ever to be Pope.
Adriaan Florensz was born on 2 March 1459 in the city of Utrecht, which was then the capital of the Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht,a part of the Burgundian Netherlands in the Holy Roman Empire.
In June 1476, he started his studies at the University of Leuven,where he pursued philosophy, theology and Canon Law, thanks to a scholarship granted by Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy.
On 30 June 1490, Adrian was ordained a priest.
In November 1506 Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy became Governess of the Habsburg Netherlands and chose Adrian as her advisor.
The next year Emperor Maximilian I appointed him also tutor to his seven-year-old grandson, and Margaret's nephew, Charles, who in 1519 would become Emperor Charles V.
By 1512 Adrian was Charles's advisor and his court obligations were so time consuming that he quit his positions at the university.
In 1515, Charles sent Adrian to Spain to convince his maternal grandfather, Ferdinand II of Aragon, that the Spanish lands should come under his rule, and not Charles's Spanish-born younger brother Ferdinand, whom his grandfather had in mind.
Adrian succeeded in that just before Ferdinand's death in January 1516. Ferdinand of Aragon,and subsequently Charles V, appointed Adrian Bishop of Tortosa, which was approved by Pope Leo X on 18 August 1516. He was consecrated by Bishop Diego Ribera de Toledo.
On 14 November 1516 the King commissioned him Inquisitor General of Aragon.
During the minority of Charles V, Adrian was named to serve with Cardinal Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros as co-regent of Spain. After the death of Jimenez, Adrian was appointed ,14 March 1518, General of the Reunited Inquisitions of Castile and Aragon, in which capacity he acted until his departure for Rome.
In the conclave after the death of the Medici Pope Leo X, Leo's cousin, Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, was the leading figure. With Spanish and French cardinals in a deadlock, the absent Adrian was proposed as a compromise and on 9 January 1522 he was elected by an almost unanimous vote. Charles V was delighted upon hearing that his tutor had been elected to the papacy but soon realised that Adrian VI was determined to reign impartially. Francis I of France, who feared that Adrian would become a tool of the Emperor, and had uttered threats of a schism, later relented and sent an embassy to present his homage.
Fears of a Spanish Avignon based on the strength of his relationship with the Emperor as his former tutor and regent proved baseless, and Adrian, having notified the College of Cardinals of his acceptance, left for Italy after six months of preparations and trying to decide which route to take, making his solemn entry into Rome on 29 August. He had forbidden elaborate decorations, and many people stayed away for fear of the plague that was raging. Pope Adrian was crowned at St. Peter's Basilica on 31 August 1522, at the age of 63.
He immediately entered upon the path of the reformer. The 1908 edition of the Catholic Encyclopaedia characterised the task that faced him:
"To extirpate inveterate abuses; to reform a court which thrived on corruption, and detested the very name of reform; to hold in leash young and warlike princes, ready to bound at each other's throats; to stem the rising torrent of revolt in Germany; to save Christendom from the Turks, who from Belgrade now threatened Hungary, and if Rhodes fell would be masters of the Mediterranean - these were herculean labours for one who was in his sixty-third year, had never seen Italy, and was sure to be despised by the Romans as a 'barbarian'.
His plan was to attack notorious abuses one by one; however, in his attempt to improve the system of indulgences he was hampered by his cardinals. He found reduction of the number of matrimonial dispensations to be impossible, as the income had been farmed out for years in advance by Pope Leo X.
In his reaction to the early stages of the Lutheran revolt, Adrian VI did not completely understand the gravity of the situation. At the Diet of Nuremberg, which opened in December 1522, he was represented by Francesco Chiericati, whose private instructions contain the frank admission that the disorder of the Church was perhaps the fault of the Roman Curia itself, and that it should be reformed. However, the former professor and Inquisitor General was strongly opposed to any change in doctrine and demanded that Martin Luther be punished for teaching heresy.
Charles V's ambassador in Rome, Juan Manuel, lord of Belmonte, wrote that he was worried that Charles's influence over Adrian waned after Adrian's election, writing " The Pope is "deadly" afraid of the College of Cardinals. He does whatever two or three cardinals write to him in the name of the college."
Adrian VI died in Rome on 14 September 1523, after one year, eight months and six days as pope. Most of his official papers were lost after his death.
He bequeathed property in the Low Countries for the foundation of a college at the University of Leuven that became known as Pope's College.
The pope was mocked by the people of Rome on the Pasquino, and the Romans, who had never taken a liking to a man they saw as a "barbarian", rejoiced at his death.