Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.
The successor of Pope Honorius III (1216–27), he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII (1073–85) and of his uncle Pope Innocent III (1198–1216), and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.
Ugolino was born in Anagni. Date of his birth fluctuates in the sources between ca. 1145 and 1170.
He was created Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio by his cousin (not uncle) Innocent III in December 1198. In 1206 he was promoted to the rank of Cardinal Bishop of Ostia e Velletri. He became dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1218 or 1219. He was also Cardinal Protector of the Order of Franciscans.
As Cardinal Bishop of Ostiahe had been a friendly man. He had many friends, including the Queen of England at that time.
Gregory IX began his pontificate by suspending the Emperor Frederick II, then lying sick at Otranto, for dilatoriness in carrying out the promised Sixth Crusade. The suspension was followed by excommunication and threats of deposition, as deeper rifts appeared – Frederick II's control of the Sicilian Church, his feudal obligations to the Pope, even his continued presence in Sicily. Frederick II publicly appealed to the sovereigns of Europe complaining of his treatment. Frederick II went to the Holy Land and skirmished with the Saracens to fulfill his vow, but was soon back in Italy, where Gregory IX had taken advantage of his absence by invading his territories. A consequent invasion of the Papal states in 1228 having proved unsuccessful, the Emperor was constrained to give in his submission and beg for absolution.
Although peace was thus secured (August 1230) for a season, the Roman people were far from satisfied; driven by a revolt from his own capital in June 1232, the Pope was compelled to take refuge at Anagni and invoke the aid of Frederick II. Gregory IX and Hohenstaufen came to a truce, but when Frederick II defeated the Lombard League in 1239, the possibility that he might dominate all of Italy, surrounding the Papal States, became a very real threat. A new outbreak of hostility led to a fresh excommunication of the emperor in 1239, and to a prolonged war.
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