Bishop of Rome
Portrait of Leo X
Papacy began 3 March 1431
Papacy ended 17 March 1441
Predecessor Martin V
Successor Eugene IV
Orders
Consecration 14 July 1398
Created Cardinal 5 August 1424
by Pope Martin V
Personal details
Birth name Henry Beaufort
Born c. 1375
Château de Beaufort, Anjou
Died 17 March 1441 (aged 66)
Acre, Kingdom of Jersualem
Noble family House of Beaufort
Father John of Gaunt
Mother Katherine Swynford
Previous post Bishop of Winchester (1404–1431)
Cardinal Priest of Sant'Eusebio (1426–1431)
Bishop of Lincoln (1398–1404)
Chancellor of Oxford University (1397–1399)
Dean of Wells (1397–1398)

Leo X

Leo X (born Henry Beaufort; c.1375 – 17 March 1441) was Pope from 1430 until his death in 1441. He was the first Angevin[a] to take the papal throne. His papacy is remembered for the great successes made in crusading across Europe, as well as the reconciliation of the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Orthodox Church in 1434.

Bishop of Rome
Papacy began 3 March 1431
Papacy ended 17 March 1441
Predecessor Martin V
Successor Eugene IV
Orders
Consecration 14 July 1398
Created Cardinal 5 August 1424
by Pope Martin V
Personal details
Birth name Henry Beaufort
Born c. 1375
Château de Beaufort, Anjou
Died 17 March 1441 (aged 66)
Acre, Kingdom of Jersualem
Noble family House of Beaufort
Father John of Gaunt
Mother Katherine Swynford
Previous post Bishop of Winchester (1404–1431)
Cardinal Priest of Sant'Eusebio (1426–1431)
Bishop of Lincoln (1398–1404)
Chancellor of Oxford University (1397–1399)
Dean of Wells (1397–1398)

Early life


Beaufort was born in Anjou, possession of the Kingdom of England in France, and educated for a career in the Church. After his parents were married in early 1396, Henry, his two brothers and one sister were declared legitimate by Pope Boniface IX and legitimated by Act of Parliament on 9 February 1397, but they were barred from the succession to the throne. This later proviso was promulgated with the exact phrase excepta regali dignitate (English: the royal dignity excepted) by their half-brother Henry IV with dubious authority.

A career in the Church and the State

On 27 February 1398, he was nominated Bishop of Lincoln, and on 14 July 1398, he was consecrated. After Henry of Bolingbroke deposed Richard II and took the throne as Henry IV in 1399, he made Bishop Beaufort Lord Chancellor of England in 1403, but Beaufort resigned in 1404 when he was appointed Bishop of Winchester on 19 November.

Between 1411 and 1413, Bishop Beaufort was in political disgrace for siding with his nephew, the Prince of Wales, against the king, but when King Henry IV died and the prince became King Henry V, he was made Chancellor once again in 1413, but he resigned the position in 1417. Pope Martin V offered him the rank of Cardinal, but King Henry V would not permit him to accept the offer.

Henry's successes in France and the death of Charles VI in 1421 changed things for Beaufort. With the naming of Henry as Prince and Regent of France, the need for alliances grew. Henry accepted Martin V's offer of a cardinalship and dispatched Beaufort along with his brother, John of Lancaster, to assist with the crusade in Bohemia. It was during this crusade that Cardinal Beaufort would begin his ascent.

The crusade in Bohemia


Early in 1422, Beaufort and Bedford arrived in Kuttenberg along with roughly 1,000 retinue. The death of Jan Žižka in battle only a few months before had shattered the radical Taborite restistance in central Bohemia.

Pope and warrior


Beaufort's rise to the Papacy is something of a question, as his tenure as Cardinal was one of martial prowess with little care for the Church's beauracracy. Historians argue to what degree the College of Cardinals was manipulated into supporting the young Angevin Cardinal.[b,c] Nevertheless, on 3 March 1431, Henry Beaufort was elected by an absolute majority of the conclave, choosing the name Leo X.

The Ottoman threat

Quickly into Leo's tenure as pope, a renewed crusade against the Ottoman Sultanate came into question. Popular support and the petitioning of such an endeavour from both Sigismund and John VIII made it reality. Only a month into his papacy, Leo issued the papal bull Praeteritis Honorem launching the Ottoman Crusade in response to the Ottoman threat to Christendom.

References


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Martin V
Pope in Rome
3 March 1431 – 17 March 1441
Succeeded by
Eugene IV