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Urban VII
Papacy began 15 September, 1590
Papacy ended 27 September, 1590
Predecessor Sixtus V
Successor Gregory XIV
Personal details
Birth name Giovanni Battista Castagna
Born August 4, 1521(1521-08-04)
Rome, Papal State
Died September 27, 1590 (aged 69)
Rome, Papal State
Other Popes named Urban
Papal styles of
Pope Urban VII

Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg

Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style none

Pope Urban VII (4 August, 1521 – 27 September, 1590), born Giovanni Battista Castagna, was Pope for thirteen days in September 1590. He was of Genoese origin, although born in Rome. He was created Cardinal-Priest of S. Marcello in 1584. He was chosen successor of Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) on September 15, 1590, but died of malaria (27 September, 1590) before consecration, making his either the shortest or second shortest papal reign in history, depending on whether Pope-elect Stephen is considered a real pope (he has not been so considered by the Catholic Church since 1961).

He had previously served as governor of Bologna and as archbishop of Rossano, and was for many years nuncio to Spain; his election to the papacy was largely backed by the Spanish faction.

Urban VII's short passage in office gave rise to the world's first known public smoking ban, as he threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose".[1]



  • Wikisource-logo.svg "Pope Urban VII" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
  • The Death of the Popes by Wendy J. Reardon, 2004.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Sixtus V
Succeeded by
Gregory XIV

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

URBAN VII. (Giovanni Battista Castagna), successor of Sixtus V., was born on the 4th of August 1521. He became governor of Bologna, archbishop of Rossano, and was long nuncio to Spain. Gregory XIII. made him a cardinal, 1583; and in 1590 he was elected pope by the Spanish faction, but died twelve days later, on the 27th of September 1S90, and was succeeded by Gregory XIV.

See Ciaconius, Vitae et res gestae summorum Pontif f. Rom. (Rome, 1601-2); Cicarella, continuator of Platina, De vitis Pontiff. Rom. (both contemporary; the latter prolix and tedious); Arrigho, Vita Urbani VII. (Bologna, 1614); and Ranke, Popes (Eng. trans., Austin), ii. 227.

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