Pope Gregory XIII

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Pope Gregory XIII (7 January 1502 – 10 April 1585), born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally-accepted civil calendar to this date.


Early biography


He was born in the city of Bologna, the son of Cristoforo Boncompagni (10 July 1470–1546) and wife Angela Marescalchi and paternal grandson of Giacomo Boncompagni and wife Camilla Piattesi, where he studied law and graduated in 1530. Afterwards, he taught jurisprudence for some years; his students included notable figures such as Cardinals Alexander Farnese, Reginald Pole and Charles Borromeo. He had an illegitimate son before he took holy orders.[1]

Career before Papacy

At the age of thirty-six he was summoned to Rome by Pope Paul III (1534–1549), under whom he held successive appointments as first judge of the capital, abbreviator, and vice-chancellor of the Campagna; by Pope Paul IV (1555–1559) he was attached as datarius to the suite of Cardinal Carlo Carafa; and by Pope Pius IV (1559–1565) he was created Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto Vecchio and sent to the Council of Trent.

He also served as a legate to Philip II of Spain (1556–1598), being sent by the Pope to investigate the Cardinal of Toledo. It was here that he formed a lasting and close relationship with the Spanish King, which was to become very important during his foreign policy as Pope.

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