New Catholic Dictionary – Pope Adrian IV

Pope Adrian IVArticle

Reigned from 4 December 1154 to 1 September 1159. Apostle of the North; probably born c.1100 at Abbot’s Langley, Hertfordshire, England as Nicholas Breakspear; died at Anagni, Italy. He went abroad as a wandering scholar, and became an Augustine Canon at Saint Rufus, near Avignon. Later he was made bishop of Albano and cardinal, and sent as papal legate to Scandinavia, where he erected the See of Trondhjem, and established the Peterspence. He was unanimously elected pope, 1154. By interdict he subdued the populace of Rome, in revolt under Arnold of Brescia; brought Frederick Barbarossa to submission before conferring upon him the imperial crown; and made an agreement with William I of Sicily which aroused the resentment of the emperor, and led to open strife. As for the “Donation of Ireland,” whereby he is said to have bestowed that country upon Henry II, King of England, by the Bull, Laudabiliter , Cardinal Gasquet recently summed it up thus: “A careful examination will reject the Bull as an undoubted forgery Adrian IV, far from granting any approbation to Henry in his design on Ireland, …positively refused to be a party to such an injustice.”

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Adrian IV”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 August 2017. Web. 26 February 2021. <>