Pope Leo X

detail from 'Portrait of Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de' Medici and Luigi de' Rossi', 1518-1519, Oil on panel, Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy, by Raphael; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Giovanni de Medici


Son of Lorenzo de Medici the Magnificent. Tutored by the great Italian humanists of his day. Created cardinal in boyhood. Exiled from Florence, Italy with his family in 1494. Head of his family before he was 30. Elected 217th pope at 38.

Leo was a pious man, but an incompetent ruler, more interested in the arts than administering the Church. Patron of assorted artists and writers, including Raphael. Called the ineffectual Fifth Lateran Council. Signed a concordat with France that revoked the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges and led to Gallicanism. Granted King Henry VIII of England the title Defender of the Faith. The Protestant Reformation began during his reign. Martin Luther posted his theses against the sale of Indulgences in 1517; Leo practiced these sales to fund his building program. Leo excommunicated the reformers, but failed to deal effectively with the trouble.


Papal Ascension


MLA Citation

  • “Pope Leo X“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 June 2019. Web. 21 October 2021. <>