Pope Sixtus IV

detail from a bronze monument of Pope Sixtus IV, by Antonio del Pollaiolo, c.1490Also known as

  • Francesco della Rovere


Born to a poor family. Franciscan monk. Studied philosophy and theology at the University of Pavia, Italy. Teacher at Padua, Bologna, Pavia, Siena, and Florence in Italy. Procurator of the Franciscans in Rome, Italy. Franciscan Provincial of Liguria. Created cardinal in 1467 by Pope Paul II. Noted theological writer, and a man with a blameless personal life. Chosen 212th pope.

Sixtus preached Crusade against the Turks, and sent legates throughout Europe to drum up support. Some troops were raised, some field action taken, but very little was accomplished. He opposed King Louis XI’s policy of approving all papal decrees before their publication in France, but was not able to stop it. Worked without success to re-unite Russia with the Vatican.

His foreign affairs work coming to nothing, he turned his attention to Italian politics, which tarnished his papacy with intrigues, conspiracies, and nepotism, and involved the Vatican in wars between Italian states, and the appointment of unworthy churchmen. He reigned in abuses in the Spanish Inquisition, and condemned the Waldenses. He supported artists and writers, was the patron of the construction of the Sistine Chapel, and lavishly endowed the Vatican library. Sixtus spread his good work through the city of Rome, improving the infrastructure, and the water and sewer systems.


Papal Ascension


MLA Citation

  • “Pope Sixtus IV“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 January 2019. Web. 19 September 2021. <>