URBAN IV, Pope (1261-1264) [i.e. Jacques or Hyacinthe Pantaléon (d.1264)]. Document WITH APPARENTLY AUTOGRAPH SIGNATURE OF THE POPE ('Ego Urbanus catholice eccl[es]ie ep[iscopu]s'), a charter of privilege to the abbot and monks of the monastery of Our Lady and St Michael at Gerode ['Gorrot'], Viterbo, 1 April 1262 [misdated 1261], also signed by nine cardinals, INCLUDING OTTOBUONO FIESCHI, THE FUTURE HADRIAN V ('Ego Ottobono s[an]c[t]i Adriani diacon[us] Cardin[alis]'), and two bishops, and by the scribe ('per manuum mag[istr]i Jordani sancte Roman[e] eccl[es]ie Notarii et Vicecancellarii'), in Latin in a fine papal documentary script, first line in compressed display script with extended ascenders and descenders, Urban's signature with roundel and elaborately extended initial 'E', 28 lines on vellum, 630 x 560mm, upper corners angled, turn up, three later annotations to verso (three vertical and three horizontal folds, some general light staining and soiling, a few small punctures at folds, with seal slit but lacking tag and bulla).
AN IMPOSING CHARTER CONFERRING PRIVILEGES, WITH THE SIGNATURES OF TWO POPES
Urban IV takes Gerode Abbey under his protection and grants a considerable charter of privileges, including the following: the abbey is to remain in the Benedictine order perpetually; all abbey lands to be retained perpetually [with a recital of the monastic estate, including 13 vills, lands in 20 others, and various granges and chapels together with patronage, tithes and other liberties]; freedom from paying tithes; right of sanctuary ('Liceat quoq[ue] vobis cl[er]icos v[e]l laicos liberos et absolutos eseculo fugientes ad conversionem recipere et eos absq[ue] contradictione aliqua retinere'); permission to celebrate divine service in the event of a general interdiction, but 'with closed doors, excluding the excommunicate and interdicted, without ringing of bells ... and in a muffled voice'; to receive crism, consecration of churches and ordination from the diocesan bishop; no man to dare to construct a chapel or oratory within abbey land without permission of the bishop; no new exactions to be imposed by any ecclesiastical or lay power; anyone who chooses may be buried at the abbey; free faculty to reclaim retained tithes; the recipient's successors as abbots not to be elected by stealth or against the will of the monks; no man to commit rapine, theft, arson, to spill blood, kidnap, kill anyone or commit violence within abbey property; all liberties and immunities are confirmed; all the abbey possessions to be kept whole and inviolate. The charter concludes with a warning of the penalties, including excommunication, to be suffered by anyone knowingly acting against its text, and a blessing on the monastery.
Urban IV was elected from a college of only eight cardinals at the height of the struggle between the papacy and the Hohenstaufen, and was to put in place the means for its successful conclusion. His invitation to Charles of Anjou (brother of St Louis) to intervene in Italian affairs (and become King of Sicily) against Manfred, and his creation within the first year of his pontificate of 14 cardinals, of whom half were French, was to give his native country a lasting influence in the affairs of Italy and the Papacy. The Benedictine Abbey of Gerode in the Harz mountains was founded in the 12th Century; Urban's generous granting of privileges may be seen in this context of its position within the Hohenstaufen sphere of influence. The abbey was destroyed in 1525, rebuilt around 1540 and suppressed after 1803.
Ottobuono Fieschi, one of the signatories, was a nephew of Innocent IV; he was elected on 12 July 1276, chose the name Hadrian V and died after a papacy of 39 days on 18 August, at Viterbo, having been neither consecrated bishop nor ordained priest.