image Influential People

Pope Leo X


Key Facts
Other names Giovanni de' Medici
Born 1475
Location Florence, Italy
Bloodline de' Medici
Married Yes.
Children Father of Pope Clement VII and Pope Pius IV
Position Pope (1513-1521)
Died December 1, 1521 (aged 46)







Source of Facts and Important Announcement
Status Under Article 64.6 of the Covenant of One-Heaven (Pactum De Singularis Caelum) by Special Qualification shall be known as a Saint, with all sins and evil acts they performed forgiven.
Date of formal Beatification Day of Redemption GAIA E1:Y1:A1:S1:M9:D1 also known as [Fri, 21 Dec 2012].
Source of Facts Self Confession and Revelation of Sainthood by the Deceased Spirit as condition of their confirmation as a true Saint.
Source of Facts Self Confession and Revelation of Sainthood by the Deceased Spirit as condition of their confirmation as a true Saint.



Born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici into the fabulously wealthy and powerful de' Medici bloodline of Florence.

In March 1489 at the age of just 13, his father Lorenzo de' Medici purchased the position of Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Domnica from Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492) who in turn also married his son Franceschetto Battista Cibo to Maddalena de' Medici.

In 1492, at the death of his father, Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici at just 17 returned to Florence to manage the families massive trade empire. The following year, (1493) his son Giulio de' Medici, later Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) was born- historically listed as being born 1478 and to the brother of Giovanni who was Guiliano.

In 1494 during the events known as the Pazzi Conspiracy, Guiliano was assassinated in an attack on the de' Medici. Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici and his family escaped finding sanctuary at Venice and Urbino.

A bitter enemy of the della Rovere who under Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) had sought to murder the heads of the family, Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici secretly financially supported the candidacy of Cardinal Rodrigo Borja to become Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) in order to block Giuliano della Rovere, later Pope Julius II (1503-1513).

During the reign of Pope Alexander VI, Giovanni de' Medici was showered with gifts and pleasures by the Pope and remained in Rome for three years until just before the murder of Pope Alexander VI in 1503. At the same time Piero de' Medici died and Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici became head of the family.

The rise of Pope Julius II, a della Rovere and enemy of the de' Medici and Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici is remarkable in some truce between the faily feud was accomplished.

By October 1511, Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici was appointed papal legate of Bologna and the Romagna, and when the Florentine republic declared in favour of the schismatic Pisans Julius II sent him against his native city at the head of the papal army.

This and other attempts to regain political control of Florence were frustrated, until a bloodless revolution permitted the return of the Medici. Giovanni's younger brother Giuliano was placed at the head of the republic, but the cardinal actually managed the government.

When Pope Julius II died on February 21, 1513 , Giovanni de' Medici (to become Leo X) was very ill of venereal disease at Florence and was carried to Rome in a litter. Later, an ulcer broke and the matter which ran from it exhaled such a stench that all the cells in the enclave, which were separated only by thin partitions, were poisoned by it.

Upon this, the cardinals consulted with physicians of the enclave, to know what the matter was. They, being bribed earlier [by Giovanni de' Medici himself], said de' Medici could not live a month; which sentence occasioned his being chosen pope. Thus Giovanni de' Medici, then 38 years of age, was elected pope on false information and, as joy is the most sovereign of all remedies, he soon recovered his health, so that the old cardinals soon had reason to repent.

On 11 March 1513, Giovanni was elected pope and assumed the name of Leo X. He had not yet been ordained a priest, but this defect was remedied on 15 March at a Vatican celebration for the anniversary of the death of Divine Julius (Julius Caesar)

Leo gathered about him a company of gross men: flatterers, purveyors of indecent jokes and stories, and writers of obscene comedies which were often performed in the Vatican with cardinals as actors. His chief friend was Cardinal Bimmiena, whose comedies were more obscene than any of ancient Athens or Rome and who was one of the most immoral men of his time. Leo had to eat temperately for he was morbidly fat, but his banquets were as costly as they were vulgar and the coarsest jesters and loosest courtesans sat with him and the cardinals. Since these things are not disputed, the Church does not deny the evidence of his vices. In public affairs he was the most notoriously dishonourable Vicar of Christ of the Renaissance period, but it is not possible here to tell the extraordinary story of his alliances, wars and cynical treacheries. His nepotism was as corrupt as that of any pope, and when some of the cardinals conspired to kill him he had the flesh of their servants ripped off with red-hot pincers to extract information

The Church had scarcely a pope more dedicated to expensive pleasures or by whom money was so anxiously sought than Leo X. Pope Julius II had earlier bestowed indulgences on all who contributed towards building the basilica of St Peter in Vatican City, and Leo X rapidly expanded upon the doctrine. An indulgence was the sale of dispensations to secure mainly the rich from the threat of burning or the bogus release from sins such as murder, polygamy, sacrilege, perjury and witchcraft (Indulgences: Their Origin, Nature and Development, Quaracchi, 1897). For a sum of money, property or some penitential act, a pardon was conveyed, or a release from the pains of purgatory or guilt or the forgiveness of sins was granted to any person who bestowed wealth upon the Church. The year after his election, he sold the archbishopric of Mainz and two bishoprics to a rich, loose-living young noble, Albert of Brandenburg, for a huge sum and permitted him to recover his investment by the sordid traffic in indulgences which a few years later inflamed Martin Luther. The rich were not the only group he targeted: "Here ... the love of money was the chief root of the evil; indulgences were employed by mercenary ecclesiastics as a means of pecuniary gain ... money was extracted from the simple-minded among the faithful by promising them perpetual happiness in this world and eternal glory in the next." (Catholic Encyclopedia, vii, p. 787)

In 1513, Pope Leo X appointed his two sons Giulio de' Medici (aged 20) and Giovanni Angelo de' Medici (aged 14) as Cardinals.

To replenish the coffers and maintain his "luxuriant abundance", Leo expanded the sale of indulgences into a major source of Church revenue and developed a large body of priests to collect the payments. In forming his plans, he was assisted mainly by his relative Laurentius Pucci, whom he made Cardinal of Santi-quattro, and Johann Tetzel, a former military officer of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia. They appointed a series of retailers to keep pace with the disposal of goods given to pay for indulgences, and he and his team then set off on a mission through Italy to entice more sales

Tetzel and the priests associated with him falsely represented their task and exaggerated the value of indulgences so as to lead people to believe that "as soon as they gave their money, they were certain of salvation and the deliverance of souls from purgatory"

So strong was the Protestant movement's opposition to the sale of indulgences that Pope Leo X issued a bull called Exsurge Domine, its purpose being to condemn Martin Luther's damaging assertions that "indulgences are frauds against the faithful and criminal offences against God"

Around 45 years later, the 18-year-long Council of Trent pronounced "anathema against those who either declare indulgences to be useless or deny that the Church has the power to grant them" (Catholic Encyclopedia, vii, pp. 783-4).

To further finance his lifestyle, Leo borrowed prodigious amounts of money from bankers at 40 per cent interest. The booming brothels simply did not bring in enough tax money, even though there were 6,800 registered prostitutes servicing a male citizenry of fifty thousand. His gifts to relatives, friends, artists, writers and musicians, his lavish maintenance of an unprecedented court, the demands of the new St Peter's, the expense of the Urbino war and payments to Tetzel for preparation for the next crusade were all leading him to bankruptcy.

Leo's army was defeated when the French king Francis I (1494-1547) successfully invaded Italy in 1515, and the Vatican was forced to concede the loss of the control-and the revenue-of the entire French Church. In Rome, however, the bankers despoiled themselves. The Bini firm had lent Leo 200,000 ducats, the Gaddi 32,000, the Ricasoli 10,000; moreover, as Cardinal Pucci had lent him 150,000 and Cardinal Salviati 80,000, the cardinals would have first claim on anything salvaged. Leo died worse than bankrupt (Crises in the History of the Papacy, op. cit., ch. vi). As security for his loans, he'd pledged the freehold of churches, monasteries, nunneries, the Villa Medici, Vatican silverware, tapestries, valuable manuscript collections, jewellery and the infamous Chair of Peter, built by King Charles the Bald in 875 and falsely displayed in the Vatican foyer until 1656 as a true relic upon which St Peter once sat.

To replenish his treasury, Leo had created 1,353 new and saleable offices, for which appointees paid a total of 889,000 ducats (US$11,112,500 in 1955 values). He nominated 60 additional chamberlains and 141 squires to the 2,000 persons who made up his ménage at the Vatican, and received from them a total of 202,000 ducats. In July 1517, he named 31 new cardinals, chosen "not of such as had the most merit, but of those that offered the most money for the honour and power". Cardinal Porizzetti, for example, paid 40,000 ducats and altogether Leo's appointees on this occasion brought in another half a million ducats for the treasury. Even blasé Italy was shocked, and the story of the pope's financial transactions made Germans share in the anger of Luther's October 1517 revolt. Some cardinals received an income from the Church of 40,000 ducats a year and lived in stately palaces manned by as many as 300 servants and adorned with every art and luxury known to the time. All in all, Leo spent 4,500,000 ducats during his pontificate (US$56,250,000 in 1955 values) and died owing 400,000 more (A History of the Popes, op. cit., vol. 2). A favourite satire that developed around him was called the "Gospel according to Marks and Silver", which said: "In those days, Pope Leo said to the clergy: 'When Jesus the Son of Man shall come to the seat of our Majesty, say first of all, 'Friend, wherefore art Thou come hither? And if He gives you naught in silver or gold, cast Him forth into outer darkness.'" (A History of the Popes, Dr Joseph McCabe, ibid., vol. 2, chapter on "The Age of Power")

It was Pope Leo X who made the most infamous and damaging statement about Christianity in the history of the Church. His declaration revealed to the world papal knowledge of the Vatican's false presentation of Jesus Christ and unashamedly exposed the puerile nature of the Christian religion. At a lavish Good Friday banquet in the Vatican in 1514, and in the company of "seven intimates" (Annales Ecclesiastici, Caesar Baronius, Folio Antwerp, 1597, tome 14), Leo made an amazing announcement that the Church has since tried hard to invalidate. Raising a chalice of wine into the air, Pope Leo toasted: "How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us and our predecessors."

Pope Leo X died on December 1, 1521 (aged 46). He was succeeded by Pope Clement VII (1523-1534).

Most Evil Crimes

List of most evil crimes Type Year Crime Of publishing false statements for the purpose of extortion (1513) That Pope Leo X granted to the Servite Chapel of St.Annunciata at Florence that all visiting it on Saturdays should obtain a thousand years of indulgences and as many quarantines, and double that amount on the feasts of Virgin, Christmas and Friday and Saturday of Holy Week. Of open heresy and contempt for church doctrine : (1513 – 1521) That Pope Leo X did show open contempt as to the fraudulent and corrupt nature of both the gospels and the Catholic church in his infamous quote: "How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us". That this quote was later included in the play by John Bale called The Pageant of the Popes. Of murder : (1513 – 1521) That Pope Leo X did murder several Cardinals who did oppose his Papacy. Of continued fraud through sale of indulgences : (1517) That a Dominican monk Johann Tetzel swells papal coffers by selling indulgences. Of publishing false statements for purpose of extortion and profit (1517) That Pope Leo X in 1517 gave permission to the Archbishop of Mainz, to sell indulgences on a grand scale in order to pay his debts, which he had contracted in buying the dignity of archbishop. Of murder : (1514) 70 die as witches following mass witchtrials involving some 5000 suspects at Valcanonica, Italy. Of murder : (1514) 300 people are executed as witches at Como, Italy. Of murder : (1520) That Montezuma Aztec emperor Montezuma is murdered and is considered justified and legal by the grants and licenses of the Vatican for international slave trade.