2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
The only member of the influential Colonna family to have been pope, Martin was born Oddo Colonna in 1368. After studying law at Perugia, he became a protonotary under Urban VI and served Innocent VII as a cardinal deacon. Oddo attended the Council of Pisa, which attempted to end the schism between the pope in Rome and the antipope in Avignon, in 1409. The Council of Constance in 1417 elected Oddo pope on Novemer 11, so he took the name Martin in honor of Martin of Tours, whose feast is celebrated on that day.
Shortly after his election, he issued a bull calling for councils every five years, but he also said that he did not believe that popes are subordinate to councils.
Martin came to Rome in 1420, and he spent most of his reign dealing with political unrest, both in the papal states and in Europe. He hoped to end the 100 Years' War, but his mediation between France and England was not successful. He was unable to crusade against the Hussites.
Karen Rae Keck
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