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Alexander VII

Pope from 1655. Fabio Chigi was born at Siena, where he studied philosophy, law, and theology, receiving his doctorate in theology in 1626. He entered papal service at Rome. After being Inquisitor of Malta, he became nuncio at Cologne (1639-51). During negotiations leading to the Peace of Westphalia* (1648), he urged Catholic princes not to sacrifice the rights of the church. Secretary of state to Innocent X (1651) and cardinal (1652), after his election as pope he at first strongly opposed nepotism, but in 1656 he gave way to pressure and called his brother and nephews to Rome. His pontificate was marked by disputes with Catholic powers, notably with France. When he resisted French claims, Louis XIV seized Avignon and Venaissin, and threatened to invade the states of the church, and Alexander had to accept the humiliating Peace of Pisa (1664). Theologically strongly anti-Jansenist, in 1665 he condemned the Jansenists’* views, but they refused to submit. Following the controversy on Probabilism,* he condemned in 1665- 66 forty-five Laxist propositions, though not the Probabilist system. He befriended the Jesuits and procured the readmission of the order to the republic of Venice. He encouraged foreign missions and did much to modernize and embellish Rome.

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