Pope Adrian VI

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Pope Adrian VI (2 March 1459 – 14 September 1523), born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens[1], served as Bishop of Rome from 9 January 1522 until his death some 18 months later. He was the last non-Italian Pope until John Paul II, 456 years later. He is, together with Marcellus II, one of two modern popes to retain his baptismal name after election. He is buried in the Santa Maria dell'Anima church in Rome.

He was born Adriaan Florisz Boeyens under modest circumstances in the city of Utrecht, which was then the capital of the bishopric of Utrecht, the Burgundian Netherlands. He was the son of Floris/Florens Boeyens van Utrecht, also born in Utrecht, and his wife Gertruid. He is the only Dutchman to have ever become pope. He is often called a 'German pope', a usage deriving from this era when areas of modern Germany and the Germanic Low Countries were not distinguished.

Adrian VI was known for having launched the Catholic Reformation (also known as the Counter-Reformation) in response to the Protestant Reformation.


Early life

Adrian was probably born in a house on the corner of the Brandsteeg and Oude Gracht that was owned by his grandfather Boudewijn (Boeyen for short). His father, a carpenter and likely shipwright, died when Adrian was 10 years or younger.[2] Adrian VI studied from a very young age under the Brethren of the Common Life, either at Zwolle or Deventer and was also a student of the Latin school (now Gymnasium Celeanum) in Zwolle.[3]. In June 1476, he started his studies at the University of Louvain, where he pursued philosophy, theology and Canon Law, due to a scholarship granted by Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, becoming a Doctor of Theology in 1491, Dean of St. Peter's and vice-chancellor of the university. His lectures were published, as recreated from his students' notes; among those who attended was the young Erasmus.

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