Pope Blessed Urban V

detail of a stained glass window of Pope Blessed Urban V in the church of Saint Martin of Florac, date and artist unknown; photographed on 6 January 2009 by Vassil; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Guillaume de Grimoard
  • Urbanus V



Born to the nobility, one of four children of Guillaume de Grimoard, Lord of Bellegarde, and of Amphélise de Montferrand; his brother later became a cardinal and papal legate. Guillaume became a Benedictine monk at the priory of Chirac, France in 1327. Priest, ordained at the Chirac monastery in 1334. He studied literature and law in Montpellier, France, and then law at the University of Toulouse, France. He received a doctorate in Canon Law on 31 October 1342, and was known as one of the most learned men of his day. Appointed prior of Nôtre-Dame du Pré in the diocese of Auxerre, France by Pope Clement VI. Abbot of Saint-Germain en Auxerre monastery on 13 February 1352. Benedictine Procurator-General at the Papal court. Taught canon law in Montpellier, in Paris and in Avignon, France. Vicar-general of the diocese of Clermont, France c.1350. Vicar-general of the diocese of Uzès, France in 1357. Served as papal legate in Italy several times. Abbot of the abbey of Saint Victor in Marseilles, France from August 1361 to 1362. Advisor to Pope Innocent VI. Apostolic Nuncio in Italy.

Sixth of the Avignon Popes; he took the name Urban saying that “all the popes who have borne this name were saints“. As pope he eschewed the pomp of the throne, and continued to live by the Benedictine Rule, which led to opposition from courtiers who preferred a more regal life in court. He cut tithes in half, supported students, clerical training, seminaries and colleges, worked to re-unite Latin and Greek Christians, fought the heresies of the day, built churches and monasteries, restored many that had fallen on hard times or fallen away from discipline. He fought absentee bishops, bishops of multiple dioceses, and simony, founded a university in Hungary, restored the medical school in Montpellier, and approved the establishment of the University of Krakow. He preached crusade against the Viscontis in Italy, accusing them of theft of Church property. Preached crusade against the Turkes in 1363, but little came of it as many of the leaders died of natural causes before troops could be put into the field. Urged by Saint Bridget of Sweden and by Saint Catherine of Siena to return the papacy to Rome, he moved his court back to Rome, entering the city on 16 October 1367, the first pope to do so in 60 years. He was met by jubilant Romans and clergy. He re-discovered relics of Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostle in the papal chapel of the Lateran basilica when he prepared to say Mass there on 1 March 1368; they were later placed and new reliquaries and enshrined. However, outbreaks of plague and violence in the city led him to return to France, arriving there on 24 September 1370. He fell ill soon after, and his remaining weeks were ones of physical decline.


  • 1310 Grizac Castle, Languedoc, France as Guillaume de Grimoard

Papal Ascension



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Blessed Urban V“. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 August 2020. Web. 19 September 2021. <>