Pope Leo XI

[Pope Leo XI]
Also known as
Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici
Son of Ottavio de' Medici and Francesca Salviati. Great nephew of Pope Leo X. Alessandro's father died when the boy was very young. Educated at home by a Dominican priest. A pious boy, he felt an early call to the priesthood, but his mother opposed his vocation since he was the only son in the family. To expose him to a worldly life she sent him to the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany who knighted him. He travelled to Rome in 1560 where he began a lifelong friendship with Saint Phillip Neri. After the death of his mother in 1566, Alessandro resumed his studies for the priesthood. Ordained on 22 July 1567. Ambassador for 15 years from the Grand Duke Cosimo to the Vatican on 10 June 1569. Chosen bishop of Pistoia on 9 March 1573 by Pope Gregory XIII. Archbishop of Florence on 15 January 1574. Created cardinal-priest on 12 December 1583. Part of the conclave of 1585 that chose Pope Sixtus V. Part of the two conclaves of 1590 that chose Pope Gregory XIV and Pope Urban VII. Part of the conclave of 1591 that chose Pope Innocent IX. Part of the conclave of 1592 that chose Pope Clement VIII. Papal legate to France from 3 April 1596 to 10 November 1598 for Pope Clement VIII; he worked for increased influence of the Church, reduced influence of the Huguenots at the court. Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. Bishop of Albano in 1600. Bishop of Palestrina in 1602. Chosen 232nd pope in 1605. His pontificate lasted less than a month during which his greatest accomplishment was to oppose nepotism.
2 June 1535 in Florence, Italy as Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici
Papal Ascension
elected on 1 April 1605; crowned on Easter Sunday 10 April 1605
27 April 1605 in Rome, Italy of natural causes; buried in Saint Peter's basilica
Additional Information
Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
Catholic Encyclopedia
New Catholic Dictionary
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