Pope Martin V

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Pope Martin V (c. 1368 – February 20, 1431), born Odo (or Oddone) Colonna, was Pope from 1417 to 1431. His election effectively ended the Western Schism (1378–1417).



The son of Agapito Colonna and Caterina Conti, he belonged to one of the oldest and most distinguished families of Rome. His brother Giordano became Prince of Salerno and Duke of Venosa, while his sister Paola was Lady of Piombino in 1441–45.

He became apostolic protonotary under Pope Urban VI (1378–89), was created Cardinal Deacon by Pope Innocent VII (1404–06), and in 1410 was the delegate of antipope Alexander V (1409–10) to hear an appeal which had been taken to the Papacy by Jan Hus. In 1390, he was elected bishop of Urbino, but resigned in 1409 before receiving episcopal consecration. He also served as archpriest of the Lateran Basilica from 1412.

He was elected pope on St. Martin's Day (November 11), 1417, at the Council of Constance by a conclave consisting of twenty-three cardinals and thirty delegates of the council, which, after deposing antipope John XXIII (1410–15), had long been divided by the conflicting discourses of Pope Gregory XII (1406–15) and antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423).

Martin V was widely esteemed for his moderation, learning, uprightness, and business ability, but he is not viewed as a reforming Pope. His first act after his election was to publish a brief that confirmed all the regulations made by his predecessors regarding the papal chancery, regulations which had long been the subject of complaints. When the "nations" of the council pressed their plans for reform, Martin V submitted a counter-scheme and ultimately entered into negotiations for separate concordats, for the most part vague and illusory, with the Holy Roman Empire, England, and France.

By issuing the Papal Bull to exterminate Hussites, Wycliffites, and other heretics in Bohemia on March 1,[1] 1420, Martin V initiated the Hussite Wars.

He left Constance at the close of the council (May 1418), but travelled slowly through Italy, lingered at Florence, and did not venture to enter Rome until September 1420, when his first task was to seek to restore it to the prosperity and order to which it had become a stranger.

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