Portrait of Pope Urban VIII (Latin: Urbanus VIII, Pontifex Romanus), Bishop of Rome (1623-1644); Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644), Cardinal (1606-1623)
Pope Urban VIII (Italian: Papa Urbano VIII; baptised 5 April 1568 – 29 July 1644) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 6 August 1623 to his death in 1644. He expanded the papal territory by force of arms and advantageous politicking, and was also a prominent patron of the arts and a reformer of Church missions. However, the massive debts incurred during his pontificate greatly weakened his successors, who were unable to maintain the papacy's longstanding political and military influence in Europe. He was also an opponent of Copernicanism and involved in the Galileo affair. He was born Maffeo Barberini in April 1568 to Antonio Barberini, a Florentine nobleman, and Camilla Barbadoro. His father died when he was only three years old and his mother took him to Rome, where he was put in the charge of his uncle, Francesco Barberini, an apostolic protonotary. At the age of 16, he became his uncle's heir. He was educated by the Society of Jesus ("Jesuits"), and received a doctorate of law from the University of Pisa in 1589. In 1601, Barberini, through the influence of his uncle, was able to secure from Pope Clement VIII appointment as a papal legate to the court of King Henry IV of France. In 1604, the same pope appointed him as the Archbishop of Nazareth, an office joined with that of Bishop of the suppressed Dioceses of Canne and Monteverde, with his residence at Barletta. At the death of his uncle, he inherited his riches, with which he bought a palace in Rome, which he made into a luxurious Renaissance residence. Pope Paul V also later employed Barberini in a similar capacity, afterwards raising him, in 1606, to the order of the Cardinal-Priest, with the titular church of San Pietro in Montorio and appointing him as a papal legate of Bologna. Barberini was considered someone who could be elected as pope, though there were those such as Cardinal Ottavio Bandini who worked to prevent it. Despite this, throughout 29–30 July, the cardinals began an intense series of negotiations to test the numbers as to who could emerge from the conclave as pope, with Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi dismissing Barberini's chances as long as Barberini remained a close ally of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, whose faction Barberini supported. Ludovisi had discussions with Cardinals Farnese, Medici and Aldobrandini on 30 July about seeing to Barberini's election. The three supported his candidacy and went about securing the support of others, which lead to Barberini's election just over a week later. On 6 August 1623, at the papal conclave following the death of Pope Gregory XV, Barberini was chosen as Gregory XV's successor and took the name Urban VIII. Urban VIII's papacy covered 21 years of the Thirty Years' War, (1618-1648) and was an eventful one, even by the standards of the day. He canonized Elizabeth of Portugal, Andrew Corsini and Conrad of Piacenza, and issued the papal bulls of canonization for Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Society of Jesus, "Jesuits") and Francis Xavier (also a Jesuit), who had been canonized by his predecessor, Pope Gregory XV.
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