Feast Day : June 22
Also known as: Peter of Tarentaise
Innocent was born around 1225 in the Tarentaise region of Burgundy, France, probably in the town of Champagny. He was barely 10 when he was admitted to the Dominican order, took the religious name Peter and was sent to Paris to study. In 1259 he graduated from the University of Paris with a master’s degree in sacred theology and began teaching at the university, where he became known as Doctor famosissimus, “the most famous doctor.” He wrote a number of commentaries on Scripture and a Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard and worked with Thomas Aquinas on a plan of study that is still the basis of Dominican teaching. Peter was made provincial of the Dominicans in France and traveled on foot to visit all the houses under his care. In 1272 he became archbishop of Lyons and in 1273 was created cardinal-bishop of Ostia (Italy) as well. In these capacities, he played a prominent role in the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons in 1274, where he and Franciscan friar St. Bonaventure devoted much attention to ongoing clerical reforms and to healing the schism with the Greek Church. Bonaventure died before the council was over, and Peter pronounced his funeral oration. Peter became an adviser to Bl. Pope Gregory X (r. 1271–76) and was with him in Arezzo (Rezzo) when he died in January 1276. The College of Cardinals subsequently met in Arezzo to decide on a successor, and on January 21 elected Peter, who received every vote save his own. The first Dominican pope, he assumed the name Innocent V. Peter restored the custom of personally assisting at choral functions with the canons of the Lateran and initiated other reforms in the matter of religious observance. He also instigated a new crusade against the Muslim Saracens—as mandated by the Council of Lyons—and succeeded in settling many of the issues involved with the schism between the Greek and Roman churches and actually brought about a temporary truce. However, his unexpected death on July 22, 1276—after a reign of only six months—cut short his efforts.