Gregory XI

Last of the Avignon popes. Born Pierre Roger de Beaufort, he was created a cardinal in 1348 by his uncle, Clement VI, and studied law at Perugia. Faced with arbitration between the houses of Anjou and Aragon concerning territorial rights and papal homage, he was compelled to wage a painful war against Florence and the Visconti which unleashed a general revolt in the Papal States (1375); Florence ended it by negotiation in 1377. He was concerned with reform in the religious orders, especially the Dominicans and Hospitallers, and with heresy. The Inquisition was reactivated, principally against the Waldensians, and certain of Wycliffe’s* theses were condemned. As with Urban V before him, he wanted to take the papacy back to Rome, where he arrived in January 1377. Unable to settle the disturbances, he considered returning to Avignon, but death intervened—and the Great Schism* was to follow.