Born wealthy. Nephew of Pope Gregory XII. He was described as tall, thin, princely and imposing. Coming into his inheritance, he gave a fortune to the poor, then entered the Augustinian monastery in Venice, Italy. Bishop of Siena, Italy at age 24, but he resigned when his flock objected to being led by a foreigner. Cardinal-priest of San Clement in 1408. Papal legate to Picenum for Pope Martin V. 207th pope.
Eugene continued his life of simple, straightforward, monastic piety as pope, which served as an excellent example; his lack of concern over politics, nepotism, tactfulness, and the standard financial concerns of his predecessors served to disrupt relations with those in high office, both civil and ecclesiastical. On 18 December 1431 Eugene dissolved the Council of Basle; it has been called by Pope Martin V, and had done very little, but the dissolution was seen as an attempt to block reforms. The attendees refused to leave, and on 15 February 1432 issued a statement asserted the authority of a council over a pope. Supported by secular authorities, on 29 April 1432 the Council issued a command for the Pope and his cardinals to appear before them. Schism seemed inevitable, but the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund managed to bring them together, and on 15 December 1433, Eugene acknowledged the Council‘s legitimacy.
In May 1434 some of Eugene’s enemies stirred up a popular revolt against him in Rome, Italy, and the pope was forced to flee to Florence, Italy. His gratitude to the Florentines led to papal support of many of their artists and writers, which in turn led to strengthening of the Humanist movement. Meanwhile, the Council, which still sat, and which was under the leadership of Cardinal d’Allemand of Arles, confiscated all sources of Eugene’s income, and issued statements stripping him of power. Eugene appealled to the thrones of Europe for support, and issued an order for the Council to transfer to Ferrara, Italy. Some of the members ignored the order, and threatend to depose Eugene, but others acknowledged that the pope still had such authority, and moved to Ferrara. There they reconvened on 8 January 1438 under the leadership of Cardinal Albergati where they debated over a year on re-union with the Greek Church. The result was the Decree of Union on 5 July 1439 and a resurgence in the power and prestige of Pope Eugene. The twelve remaining members of the Council at Basle continued to meet, and on 25 June 1439 they claimed to have deposed Eugene; they then elected the anti-pope Felix V, but they were generally ignored. Decrees of re-union were negotiated with the Armenians on 22 November 1439, with the Jacobites in 1443, and with the Nestorians in 1445.
On 28 September 1443, Eugene returned to Rome, secure in his position, and safe from attack. He worked hard in his remaining days to help the sad state of Romans, reconcile all parties to the recent disputes, and improve spiritual life throughout Christendom. He preached Crusade against the advance of the Turks toward Europe, but after some initial battlefield wins the crushing defeat at Varna in 1444 put an end to the campaign.