Pope Leo XI

Pope Leo XIAlso known as

  • Alessandro Ottaviano de’ Medici


Son of Ottavio de’ Medici and Francesca Salviati. Great nephew of Pope Leo X. Alessandro’s father died when the boy was very young. Educated at home by a Dominican priest. A pious boy, he felt an early call to the priesthood, but his mother opposed his vocation since he was the only son in the family. To expose him to a worldly life she sent him to the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany who knighted him. He travelled to Rome, Italy in 1560 where he began a lifelong friendship with Saint Phillip Neri. After the death of his mother in 1566, Alessandro resumed his studies for the priesthood. Ordained on 22 July 1567. Ambassador for 15 years from the Grand Duke Cosimo to the Vatican on 10 June 1569. Chosen bishop of Pistoia, Italy on 9 March 1573 by Pope Gregory XIII. Archbishop of Florence, Italy on 15 January 1574. Created cardinalpriest on 12 December 1583. Part of the conclave of 1585 that chose Pope Sixtus V. Part of the two conclaves of 1590 that chose Pope Gregory XIV and Pope Urban VII. Part of the conclave of 1591 that chose Pope Innocent IX. Part of the conclave of 1592 that chose Pope Clement VIII. Papal legate to France from 3 April 1596 to 10 November 1598 for Pope Clement VIII; he worked for increased influence of the Church, reduced influence of the Huguenots at the court. Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. Bishop of Albano in 1600. Bishop of Palestrina in 1602. Chosen 232nd pope in 1605. His pontificate lasted less than a month during which his greatest accomplishment was to oppose nepotism.


Papal Ascension


MLA Citation

  • “Pope Leo XI“. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 November 2020. Web. 30 July 2021. <>