Urban II (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Through the practice of a quiet, astute diplomacy, Urban II laid the foundation for papal supremacy within the medieval church and lifted the papacy to the leadership of Western Christendom during the High Middle Ages.
Urban II was born Odo (historians have also found his name referred to as Otto, Otho, or Eudes) in Châtillon-sur-Marne, France. Most scholars place his birth in the year 1042, others as early as 1035. Odo came from a knightly family. His father was Eucher, the lord of Lagery.
From the beginning of his education, Odo was destined to play a role in the reform movement that swept through the Church during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He began his education for the clergy in the cathedral school at Reims, in northeastern France. There, he studied under Saint Bruno, a canon of the cathedral and master of the school, who later founded the strict Carthusian Order of monks.
Odo’s character and administrative talents were recognized early by his superiors at Reims. He rose rapidly through the ranks. He served as canon and around 1055 was appointed archdeacon of the cathedral church. Perhaps following the example of his former teacher, Saint Bruno, Odo sought the more disciplined atmosphere of the monastery. Sometime between 1067 and 1070, he entered the famous monastery of Cluny, just north of Lyons, in central France.
Cluny was the...
(The entire section is 2211 words.)
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