Pope Urban II Biography
(Head of the Catholic Church and Ruler of the Papal States from 1088 to 1099)
Born In: Lagery, France
Pope Urban II was the pope from 1088 to 1099. He was known for his diplomatic skills and remarkable ambition. He was also one of the ardent supporters of the Gregorian reforms. During his time as the pope, he dealt with various issues such as transforming the Roman Curia to a royal ecclesiastical court that would help run the church, the infighting between Christian nations, and the Muslim invasions into Europe. He played a huge part in initiating the first crusade at the end of the 11th century. With a highly controversial yet influential speech, he gathered hordes of people to take part in the crusade and promised them eternal salvation as their reward. An influential cleric, Urban’s war cry helped mobilize about 60,000 to 100,000 people, who marched to reclaim Jerusalem, the Holy City. This helped Urban to reinforce the strength of the papacy as a political entity, and he was able to unite the Christians across Europe. Even though they were beaten back initially, the Christians fought back in numbers and eventually came out victorious. But Pope Urban II died before news of the fall of Jerusalem could reach Europe. He was formally beatified by Pope Leo XIII many years after his death.