Hadrian VI, Pope 1522-1523

Muntoni 2; Berman 797, PCGS graded MS-63

Rome. ADRIANVS VI PON MAX, arms of Pope Hadrian VI. Reverse: + S PETRVS ALMA ROMA, St. Peter fishing from a boat.

On January 9, 1522, Adriaan Florensz Boeyens was elected as Pope Adrian VI—the first and only Dutchman ever to be chosen for the office—and immediately found himself trapped between the great crises posed by the development of Lutheranism in the north and the westward advance of the Ottoman Empire in the East. He strongly opposed Martin Luther’s theological arguments and condemned him as a heretic, but took his criticism of abuses within the Church to heart and attempted administrative reform. Unfortunately, he was resisted by the bishops and cardinals who had much to lose. Pope Adrian VI did not get much of a chance to implement his reform program with force since he died after a little more than a year on the Throne of St. Peter. His death was celebrated both by the Romans, who considered him to be a foreign barbarian, and by the ecclesiastical elite, whose wealth might have been curtailed by his reforms.