Pope Sixtus V

Pope Sixtus VAlso known as

  • Felice Peretti Montalto


His family was extremely poor, having come to Italy a few years earlier as refugees from the Turkish invasion of Dalmatia. His father was a gardener, and Felice may have been a swineherd as a boy. Novice at the Minorite convent of Montalto, Italy at age twelve. Educated at Montalto, Ferrara, and Bologna, Italy. Ordained at Siena, Italy in 1547. Noted preacher and apologist. Friend of Saint Philip Neri, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and of the men who would later become Pope Saint Pius V and Pope Paul IV. Rector of his convent in Siena in 1550. Rector of San Lorenzo in Naples in 1553. Rector at the convent of the Frari at Venice, Italy in 1556. Inquisitor general at Venice in 1557; he was so severe with heretics that in 1560 city officials demanded his recall. Professor at the Sapienza in Rome. Procurator of his order. Papal legate to Spain in 1565, working with the man who would become Pope Gregory XIII, but they did not care for each other. Apostolic vicar of the Franciscans under Pope Saint Pius V. Bishop of Sant’ Agata dei Goti, Naples in 1566. Papal confessor. Created cardinal on 17 May 1570. Bishop of Fermo, Italy in 1571. Edited an edition of the works of Saint Ambrose of Milan. Chosen 227th pope in 1585, taking the name Sixtus V.

Immediately embarked on a law and order campaign in the papal states, cracking down on gangs of highway robbers, and making his territory the safest in Europe. Worked to get the Vatican finances back on sound footing; the treasury was empty when he ascended the throne. He not only got the Church back in the black, but spending hugely on public works projects like roads, bridges and rebuilding churches, and creating an large emergency fund. His method, however, was a very poor choice; he taxed so much money out of private hands that it was a drag on the general economy. On 3 December 1586 he restricted the College of Cardinals to seventy, and revised their duties and authority. On 11 February 1588 he established the Congregation of the Inquisition, Congregation the Segnatura, Congregation for the Establishment of Churches, Congregation of Rites and Ceremonies, Congregation of the Index of Forbidden Books, Congregation of the Council of Trent, Congregation of the Regulars, Congregation of the Bishops, Congregation of the Vatican Press, Congregation of the Annona, Congregation of the Navy, Congregation of the Public Welfare, Congregation of the Sapienza, Congregation of Roads, Bridges, and Waters, and the Congregation of State Consultations. These congregations handled most of the day to day business of the Vatican, all under the final authority of the pope. He started a revision of the Vulgate text of the Bible, and was starting to revise the constitution of the Jesuits at the time of his death. He had plans to chase the Turks from Europe and to conquer Egypt for Christianity. He was known as impulsive, stubborn and autocratic in office, and by his death many of his subjects hated him, but he accomplished a huge amount in his time.


Papal Ascension


Additional Information




      MLA Citation

      • “Pope Sixtus V“. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 May 2017. Web. 8 December 2021. <>