Pope Paul II

Pope Paul IIAlso known as

  • Pietro Barbo


Son of Niccolo Barbo and Polixena Condulmer, wealthy Venetian merchants. Nephew of Pope Eugene IV. Studied for business, but received an excellent religious education, as well. Archdeacon of Bologna, Italy. Bishop of Cervia, Italy. Bishop of Vicena. Cardinaldeacon in 1440. Influential advisor to Pope Eugene IV, Pope Nicholas V, and Pope Callistus III. 211th pope.

He initially thought to take the name Formosus II, but it means handsome and seemed to lack humility. He then considered Mark, after the apostle, but since that was the battle cry of the army of Venice, Italy, the cardinals convinced him that it would have political overtones. He finally settled on the humble, neutral Paul II.

Elected unanimously, the cardinals required him to take an oath obligating him to several policies, and making the cardinals more powerful. Afterwards he realized that this set a dangerous precedent, and repudiated the oath. This put him at odds with the cardinals, as did his suppression of the college of abbreviators, a problem that lasted through the rest of his papacy, led to slanderous “biographies”, and rumours of a life of immorality.

To improve civil life in general, Paul started several carnivals and public feasts, sent forces throughout the Papal States to suppress thieves and robber barons, and revised the civil law of Rome, Italy. He built the palace of San Marco, established relief services for the poor, supported universities and artists, and prosecuted heretics in France and Germany. He suppressed the Roman Academy because it had fallen from Christian to pagan interests and attitudes, and were openly discussing sedition. In 1470 he declared a jubilee every 25 years. Paul tried to re-unite Russia with the Church, but failed. He supported Hungary and Albania in their struggle with Turkey, but could not get other European powers to help.


Papal Ascension


Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Paul II“. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 February 2019. Web. 24 October 2021. <>