Our Pope Urban II was Pope from 12 March 1088 until his death on 29 July 1099. He was born from a knightly family, who named him Otho.
He was a student at Reims where he later became archdeacon. He was one of the most prominent and active supporters of the Gregorian Reforms.
In the year 1078 he became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and the chief advisor and helper of Pope Gregory VII. Being sent as legate to France and Germany he managed to fill many of the vacant sees with people who were faithful to Pope Gregory VII.
Otho became Pope after the death of Victor III. His election was suggested by both Gregory and Victor. He was unanimously elected Pope on March 12th, 1088.
He took the title of Urban II. After his election he had to confront a difficult task, not being able to enter Rome. By that time the whole city was in the hands of the antipope Guibert of Ravena. Urban II had to fly to the Island of St. Bartholomew.
He is best known for starting the First Crusade, which lasted from 1096 to 1099. He organized a council in the month of October of the year 1098 in Bari, during which time thousands of nobles and knights met together.
Pope Urban II requested them to fight the enemies of the Christian Faith. He granted a plenary indulgence to all those who decided to fight for Jerusalem. He did not allow people to partake if they were unfitted for the job.
After the Pope spoke to the thousands of volunteers gathered together, they marched to free Jerusalem and the Churches of Asia from the Saracens. The Pope chose the Bishop of Le Puy to lead the Crusade.
Pope Urban travelled from city to city preaching the Crusade, encouraging people to take the cross and fight for Christ.
It's a pity that our Pope did not live to hear the good news of the victory of the crusaders on July 15th, 1099.
This pope was very successful in freeing the people of Sicily from the Muslim domination that was going on for ages. To achieve this he made an agreement with Roger I, who was the ruler in the Sicilian Borderlands.
He gave extraordinary prerogatives to Roger, like the following:
Pope Urban II also set up the modern-day Roman Curia.
He died in the year 1099 and was beatified in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.
His feast day is July 29th.