Sunday, September 10, 2006

Blessed Pope Innocent V, The First Dominican Pope

Innocent V was born in 1245 at Tarentaise, Burgundy, France. Before his election as Pope, he was known as Pierre of Tarentaise. At the age of sixteen he joined the Dominican Order. After completing his education, at the University of Paris, where he graduated as master in sacred theology in 1259 (under the tutelage of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Albertus Magnus) , he won distinction as a professor in that institution, and is known as "the most famous doctor."

Innocent V served with distinction as prior provincial of the French Dominicans, then as vicar general of the Order. He also composed a commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences.

In 1272 He became Archbishop Of Lyons and a leader in the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons in 1274. While at the Council, he delivered two discourses to the fathers and also pronounced the funeral oration on St. Bonaventure. He also sought the reunion of the Greeks with Rome. After the death of Gregory X, of whom Innocent was an intimate advisor, he was elected at Arezzo as the Successor of Peter on January 21, 1276. He chose for his motto:
"My eyes are ever toward the Lord" (Ps. 24:15).

Innocent sought to reconcile Guelphs and Ghibellines, restored peace between Pisa and Lucca, and mediated between Rudolph of Hapsburg and Charles of Anjou.

Innocent was also responsible for bringing the faith to the far east, baptizing the three ambassadors sent to him by Khubilai Khan.

He died at Rome on June 22, 1276 and was beatified in 1898 by Leo XIII.


God of truth, you bestowed on Blessed Innocent the gifts of knowledge and prudence and made him a promoter of peace and unity. By the help of his prayers may we cherish what is of heaven and in perfect unity follow what is right. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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