Urban VIII

Urban VIII, 1568–1644, pope (1623–44), a Florentine named Maffeo Barberini; successor of Gregory XV. Throughout his pontificate the Thirty Years War raged in Germany. For various political reasons, Urban gave little help to the Catholics. The old story that Urban rejoiced at Protestant victories because he hated the Hapsburgs is, however, false. His policy in Italy was unsuccessful, and he was humiliated by defeat at the hands of the Farnese of Parma.

Urban was very active in church affairs: he published the revised breviary, normalized liturgical practice, canonized many saints, instituted new orders, and continued the reformation of the church. He built and decorated extensively in Rome. Urban sanctioned the second condemnation of Galileo for his support of the Copernican theory that placed the sun, rather than the earth, at the center of the universe, but later freed him. He condemned the posthumous work of Cornelis Jansen, Augustinus. Urban's strict legislation against easy acceptance of miracles is still in effect. He was succeeded by Innocent X.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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