Pope Leo XI

pope of the Catholic Church in April 1605 (1535-1605)

Pope Leo XI (Latin: Leo Undecimus; 2 June 1535 – 27 April 1605), born Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici, was an Italian priest of the Roman Catholic Church and the 233rd Pope for only 26 days in April 1605.[1]

Leo XI
Papacy began1 April 1605
Papacy ended27 April 1605
PredecessorPope Clement VIII
SuccessorPope Paul V
Personal details
Birth nameAlessandro Ottaviano de' Medici
Born(1535-06-02)2 June 1535
Died27 April 1605(1605-04-27) (aged 69)
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named Leo

Early life


He was born in Florence. His grandmother was a sister of Leo X.[2]



In 1567, Medici was ordained as a priest.[2]

In 1569, Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, sent Father Medici to be the ambassador of Florence in the court of Pope Pius V. For 15 years in Rome, Father Medici was the representative of the city and the Medici family.[2]



Gregory XIII made him Bishop of Pistoia in 1573. He was named Archbishop of Florence in 1574.[2]



Gregory raised him to the rank of cardinal in 1583.[2]

In 1596, Clement VIII sent Cardinal Medici as ambassador to the court of Henry IV of France.[2]

On 1 April 1605, Cardinal Medici was elected pope. He chose to be called Leo XI in honor of his uncle Pope Leo X.[2]

When he was elected, Leo XI was almost seventy years of age, and he died within the month. His death came as a result of fatigue and cold in the ceremony of taking possession of the Basilica of St John Lateran.[3] He was called Papa Lampo ("Lightning Pope") because his papacy was so short.



The Coat of Arms of the Medici popes
  1. "List of Popes," Catholic Encyclopedia (2009); retrieved 2011-11-8.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Pope Leo XI", Catholic Encyclopedia; retrieved 2011-11-8.
  3. Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. (1839). "Leo XI", Penny cyclopaedia, Vol. 13, p. 428.

Other websites


  Media related to Leo XI at Wikimedia Commons

  •   "Pope Leo XI" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  • "Leo XI" in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911
  • Catholic Hierarchy, Pope Leo XI
  • Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Cardinal Medici Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  • Leo XI at St Peter's Basilica
Preceded by
Clement VIII
Succeeded by
Paul V