Also known as
- Fabio Chigi
Born to the nobility, the son of Flavio Chigi and Laura Marsigli. Great-nephew of Pope Paul V. Due to poor health, Fabio was educated at home by his mother and a series of tutors. Doctor of philosophy, law and theology at the University of Siena in 1626. Referendary of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature. Referendary of the Tribunal of Justice. Referendary of the Tribunal of Grace. Papal vice-legate in Ferrara, Italy from 1627 to 1632. Inquisitor in Malta. Ordained in December 1634. Bishop of Nardò, Italy on 8 January 1635. Papal nuncio in Cologne, Germany from 11 June 1639 to 1651. Papal envoy extraordinary to the conference in Münster, Germany, in 1644, which negotiated the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years’ War. Vatican Secretary of State for Pope Innocent X in 1651. Created cardinal–priest on 19 February 1652. Archbishop of Imola on 13 May 1653. Part of the 80-day conclave of 1655, and unanimously elected 237th Pope.
During his pontificate, repeated difficulties with Louis XIV led to the temporary loss of Avignon, France and acceptance of the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Pisa in 1664. Alexander fought Jansenism by compelling the French clergy to sign his “formulary.” Supported Venice in their fight with the expanding Turks. He was a patron of art, beautified Rome and many of its churches, enlarged the libraries of the Vatican and the Roman University, and befriended men of letters.
- 22 May 1667 in Rome, Italy of natural causes
- buried in Saint Peter’s Basilica
- his tomb statuary is by the artist Bernini
- “Pope Alexander VII“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 June 2015. Web. 14 February 2016. <>