Nephew of Pope Innocent III. Educated at the University of Paris and University of Bologna. Friend of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic de Guzman. Count of Segni. Lawyer. Papal chaplain to Innocent III. Archpriest of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal–deacon of Saint Eustachio Basilica in 1198. Cardinal–bishop of Ostia and Velletri in May 1206. Papal legate to Germany in 1207 to settle the dispute over the German throne; though the did not entirely settle the matter, his group of diplomats managed a truce between the two claimants. In 1209 they returned and got the princes to acknowledge Otto of Brunswick as king, ending the war over the succession. Worked for the choice of Pope Honorius III in 1216. Legate to Lombardy and Tuscia for Honorius. Peacemaker between Pisa and Genoa in 1217. Peacemaker between Milan and Cremona in 1218. Peacemaker between Bologna and Pistoia in 1219. Preached Crusade throughout Italy. Appointed special protector of the Franciscan Order in 1220. Reluctant pope at age 80.
He suspended Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II for not carrying out the Sixth Crusade that he had promised at his coronation on 22 November 1220. He then excommunicated Frederick, and threatened to depose him when he complained; Frederick’s army marched on the Pope, lost in the field, and Frederick had to beg for absolution. In June 1232, a popular revolt in Rome caused Gregory to flee to Anagni. Frederick came to his aid, and the two reconciled to a point, but in 1239 hostility broke out between the them, leading to a war that lasted until Gregory’s death.
Gregory supported the Dominicans, and conducted the funeral services for Saint Dominic de Guzman. He supported Saint Clare of Assisi and the Poor Clares, and founded several convents for them. Supported the Camaldolese Order, and helped the Premonstratensians move into Livonia and Courland. Gave new statutes to the Carmelites on 6 April 1229. Suported the Cistercians and the Teutonic Order to Christianize Prussia and surrounding areas. Approved the Order of Our Lady of Mercy on 17 January 1235. Sent missionaries to Asia and North Africa, and oppressed supported Christians in the Holy Land.
He strongly opposed heresy, supporting the belief that they not only opposed the Church, but because kings were chosen by God, heretics were traitors to the civil order, as well. Assisted King Louis IX to suppress the heretical Albigensians in France, and supported any attempt to turn heretics over to civil authorities. Established the Monastic Inquisition in April 1233, appointing Dominicans to investigate accusations of heresy in France. He worked for a reunion of the Latin and Greek Churches, and in 1232 even got an acknowledgement of papal primacy, but the Greeks felt they were often poorly treated by the west, and they then fell into dispute over whether the host must be leavened or unleavened, and talks ended. He supported the University of Paris, and intervened to prevent philosophy from supplanting theology. Gregory appointed fourteen cardinals during his papacy including the men who would later be Pope Innocent IV and Pope Alexander IV.
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- New Catholic Dictionary
- “Pope Gregory IX“. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 November 2008. Web. 25 February 2017. <>