Pius VI, Pope 1775-1799
Muntoni 4; Berman 2935, PCGS graded MS-64
Rome. FLORET IN DOMO DOMINI, lily plant; 1787 in exergue. Reverse: APOSTOLOR PRINCEPS, St. Peter seated facing on cloud, raising hand in benection and holding keys.
Giovanni Angelo Braschi was elected as Pope Pius VI on February 15, 1775. He enjoyed the fourth longest reign in papal history, but it was made increasingly difficult by the violent winds of social and political change blowing over France and eventually all of Europe. Considering the traditional social hierarchy to have been ordained by God, Pope Pius VI condemned the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy proposed by the French Revolutionaries in 1791 and came close to canonizing King Louis XVI as a martyr following his execution in 1793. Three years later, French Republican troops occupied Rome and deposed Pope Pius VI after he refused to renounce his temporal authority. The pope was carried off into captivity in Valence, where he died in 1799.