Urbano II Biography

Odon de Chatillon, who would later take the religious name Urban II. (Lagery, France, year 1042 – Rome, Italy, 29 July 1099).

Catholic Pope and Religious Leader, of French origin recognized for his great role as successor to Gregory VII in the task of continuing the Reform of the Church.

Likewise, he is distinguished for having called the First Crusade, which departed for Palestine, in order to recover for the Catholic Church the Holy Land, occupied at that time by the Muslims. He is also credited with establishing the Roman Curia.

Early years

His first name was Odón de Chatillon, and he was born in Lagery, France, in 1042, although the exact date of his birth is unknown. Of noble descent, he studied ecclesiastics, entering the Benedictine order.

His first position was as archdeacon, who had the opportunity to practice at the monastery of Reims. Later, he became prior at the monastery of Cluny. In 1078 he was called to Italy by Pope Gregory VII, the date from which he became the chief papal councillor, and was also appointed as Bishop of Ostia.

A strong defender of the Reform promoted by Gregory VII, he was sent by him as ambassador in 1083 to France and in 1085 to Germany, in order to defend the Catholic Church against their respective rulers.

In Germany, he was even in prison, after a confrontation with his sovereign Henry IV. After the death of Gregory VII, he also faced his successor Victor III. However, he chose him as heir before he died.

Assumption to the Papacy

On 12 March 1088, a council developed in Terracina elected him as Pope. He chose Urban II as his name and reaffirmed his adherence to the doctrine of Gregory VII.

Upon his arrival in Rome, he was greeted by the troops of the antipapa Clement III, who had seized the holy city. Urban II traveled to Sicily, gaining the support of the Normans, which allowed him to enter Rome and settle in St. Peter’s Basilica, regaining power and excommunicating Clement III and the German Emperor Henry IV, who had decided to support the antipapa.

However, despite his efforts to gain new influence in Germany, in 1809, Clement III marched on Rome, causing Urban II to have to leave Rome. The immediate years were devoted to the relationship of ecclesiastical assemblies, in order to legislate on the endowments and marriage of the religious.

In 1093, he participated in the Lombard League, which supported the coronation of Henry IV’s son, as King of the Romans, who intended to take power over Italy from his father.

However, in 1095, Urban II also excommunicated Philip I, King of France, for having left his first wife to remarry Bertrada de Monfort. From that moment he was then confronted with the two more empowered European monarchs.

First Crusade

In 1095, during the Council of Piacenza, he received the visit of Alejo I Comneno, ambassador of the Byzantine emperor, who came to his presence, in order to ask for support in the advancement of the Seljuk Turks, who had managed to take control of Anatolia, main area of cereal production, vital for the maintenance of the empire, threatening to end the Byzantines from their territories.

Urbano then proposed the idea of a mission to march against the Muslims, regaining Byzantium and also the entire Holy Land, giving the Catholic Church back control over Jerusalem.

In November 1095 he convened the Clermont Council in order to gain the necessary support for his project. The Council was attended by mostly French priests, who were seduced by the words of Urban II who proclaimed that God had chosen France to liberate the Holy Land.

Likewise, Urban II told them of the reward of those who participated in this divine mission, who would be forgiven and blessed with the fertile Palestinian territories. To their question of whether they would participate, the clerics shouted, “God willing,” a sentence that from that point on would be the slogan of the crusade.

In 1096, under the command of Baldwin of Flanders, Robert II of Normandy, Godofredo de Bouillón and Raimundo de Tolosa, a Catholic army of soldiers, priests, peasants and knights, Normans, Flemish, Lorenes and French departed for Palestine, this group being this group majority, which caused French to naturally become the official language of the Crusades and their conquered states.

Upon their arrival in Constantinople, they managed to conquer Nicea, reconquering Anatolia and Antioch, marching to the Holy Land, in order to retake Jerusalem.

Final years

However, fourteen days before the Crusaders managed to enter the holy city, Urban II died in Rome, Italy, on 29 July 1099. Urbano was replaced by Pascual II. Seven hundred and eighty-two years after his departure, he was beatified on July 14, 1881 by Pope Leo XIII, although there is archaeological evidence of a kind of cult that would have this Pope as a central figure, considering him a saint for a very short time after his death.

Image source: biografiasyvidas.com

Urbano II Biography
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Bibliography ►

phoneia.com (July 28, 2019). Urbano II Biography. Bogotá: E-Cultura Group. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/education/urbano-ii-biography/