Pope Clement XI

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Pope Clement XI (23 July 1649 – 19 March 1721), born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was Pope from 1700 until his death in 1721.



Early life

Albani was born in Urbino, into a noble family that had established itself there from northern Albania in the 15th century[1] and were originally soldiers of Scanderbeg against the Ottoman Empire. During his reign as a Pope the famous Illyricum Sacrum was commissioned, and today it is one of the main sources of the field of Albanology, with over 5000 pages divided in several volumes written by Daniele Farlati and Dom. Coletti.

He was governor of Rieti and Urbino, and was created Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria in Aquiro by Pope Alexander VIII, whom he succeeded as Pope on 23 November 1700.


Soon after his accession, the War of Spanish Succession broke out. Despite initially holding an ambiguous neutrality, Clement was later forced to name Charles, Archduke of Austria, as King of Spain, since the imperial army had conquered much of northern Italy and was threatening Rome itself (January 1709).

By the Treaty of Utrecht that concluded the War, the Papal States lost their suzerainty over the Farnese Duchy of Parma and Piacenza in favour of Austria, and lost Comacchio as well. It was a blow from which the declining prestige of the Papal States would never recover.

In 1713 the bull Unigenitus was published. The bull greatly disturbed the peace of the Gallican (French) church. It condemned 101 propositions from the works of Quesnel as heretical and as identical with propositions already condemned in the writings of Jansen.

The resistance of many French ecclesiastics and the refusal of the French parlements to register the bull led to controversies extending through the greater part of the 18th century. Because the local governments did not officially receive the bull, it was not, technically, in force in those areas – an example of the interference of states in religious affairs common before the 20th century.

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