Pius V

17 January 1504 - Pope 7 January 1565-1 May 1572

A brief biography.


Pope Pius V (Michele Ghislieri) was born at Bosco, near Alexandria, Lombardy, 17 Jan., 1504.  He was taken in by the Dominicans of Voghera, where he received a good education. He entered the order, was ordained in 1528, and taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years. In the meantime he was master of novices and was on several occasions elected prior.

In 1556 he was made Bishop of Sutri by Paul IV. His zeal against heresy caused him to be selected as inquisitor of the faith in Milano and Lombardy, and in 1557 Paul II made him a Cardinal and named him inquisitor General for all Christendom.

On the death of Pius IV, he was elected Pope 7 January 1566. Popes before him wore red clothes as Cardinals, but Pius V continued to wear white, the colour of his Dominican habit. Popes since him wear also white clothing, with the exception of the some red Cardinal  accessories, as the papal shoes, camauro, mozzetta, and cappello Romeno.


Pius V began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, In his charity he visited the hospitals, and sat by the bedside of the sick, consoling them and preparing them to die. He washed the feet of the poor, and embraced the lepers.


He banished luxury from his court, raised the standard of morality, laboured with his intimate friend, Saint Charles Borromeo,  to reform the clergy, obliged his Bishops to reside in their dioceses, and the Cardinals to lead lives of simplicity and piety. He enforced the observance of the discipline of the Council of Trent, reformed the Cistercians, and supported the missions of the New World. In the Bull "In Coena Domini" he proclaimed the traditional principles of the Romen Church and the supremacy of the Holy See over the civil power.

But the great thought and the constant preoccupation of his pontificate seems to have been the struggle against the Protestants and the Turks.
In Germany he supported the Catholics oppressed by the heretical princes.
In France he encouraged the League by his counsels and with pecuniary aid. I
n the Low Countries he supported Spain. In England, finally, he excommunicated Elizabeth, embraced the cause of Mary Stuart, and wrote to console her in prison. In the ardour of his faith
he give a new impulse to the activity of the Inquisition.


In his struggle against the he worked incessantly to unite the Christian princes against the hereditary enemy, the Turks.

He supported the Knights of Malta, sent money for the fortification of the free towns of Italy, furnished monthly contributions to the Christians of Hungary, and endeavoured especially to bring Maximilian, Philip II, and Charles I together for the defence of Christendom. In 1567 for the same purpose he collected from all priories one-tenth of their revenues.

In 1570 when Solyman II attacked Cyprus, threatening all Christianity in the West, he never rested till he united the forces of Venezia, Spain, and the Holy See. He sent his blessing to Don John of Austria, the commander-in-chief of the expedition, recommending him to leave behind all soldiers of evil life, and promising him the victory if he did so.


On the day of the Battle of Lepanto, 7 Oct., 1571, he was working with the Cardinals, when, suddenly, interrupting his work opening the window and looking at the sky, he cried out, "A truce to business; our great task at present is to thank God  for the victory which He has just given the Christian army". In memory of this triumph he instituted for the first Sunday of October the feast of the Rosary, and added to the Litany of Loreto the supplication "Help of Christians".


He died on 1 May 1572.  His tomb is in the Capilla Sistine of the Maria Maggiore at Rome.

He was beatified by Clement X on 10.5.1672, and canonized by Clement XI on 22.5.1712.


Pope Pius V has a medallion in the church Maria Rotunda of the priory in Wien, Austria.
Pius V approbated the University San Marcos in Lima, Peru, on 25th July 1571, and beatified and canonized many Dominicans among others: Raymond of Penafort.



The portrait of Pius V.


Postmark honouring the inauguration of Polo Didattico
of the university of S.Pius V in Padula (SA). The head of Pius V.


Italy 2004. Postmark Padula (SA), 06.05.2004.









The portrait of Pius V, honouring
the 5th centenary of his birth.

Italy 2004. Postmark Bosco Marengo (AL) .




Pope Pius V, patron of the
Instituto di Studi Politici San Pio V in Rome.


Italy 2007, Mi 3197, Sc -- .


Pope Pius V.


Panama 1966, Mi 491.

Pope-stamps of Panama are not listed by Scott.




Grazio Cossoli


This stamp, dedicated to the 500th birthday of Pope Pius V, is inspired by the altarpiece by Grazio Cossoli (1597), which is placed in the Chapel of the Rosary, located in the church of Santa Croce di Bosco Marengo in de Province of Alessandria, Italy.


The altarpiece, painted to commemorate the victory in the Battle of Lepanto (07.10.1571) shows Our Lady of the Rosary between Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena, venerated by Cardinal Bonelli and Pope Saint Pius V, as well as by Philip II and doge Mocenigo.


Vatican City 2004, Mi 1482-1483; Sc 1258-1259.  FDC.
Postmark 18.03.2004 with Pius V, detail from the panel by Grazio Cossoli (1597) in the chapel

of the Lady of the Rosary, located in the church of Santa Croce di Bosco Marengo.




Statues and relieves of Pius V.


On one of the four pillars in the church of  Santa Maria Rotunda
of  the Dominican’s priory at Wien a medallion with the figure
of the Dominican Pius V
(17.1.1504 - Pope 07.01.1566-15.01.


Austria 1966, Mi 1202, Sc 757.



Haut-relief 1654, by un unknown artist, on the front of the Capilla
del Rosario, Bogotá, with
the Madonna del Rosario, Saint Dominic,
Thomas Aquinas
, Catherine of Siena and Cristóbal of Torres, O.P.
or Pius V, O.P.


Colombia 1938, Mi 390, Sc 458.






  <<, Sc 632.


                  Colombia 1959, Mi 847, Sc C317.>>


Front of the church of San Paolo fuori le mura at Rome.

In this church a series of medallions with a picture of the Popes.
them the Dominican Popes: Innocent V, Pope 21.01.1276-22.06.1276: Benedict XI, Pope 22.10.1303-07.07.1304; Pius V, Pope 07.01.1566-01.05.1572; Benedict XIII, Pope 29.05.1724-21.02.1730.


Vatican City 2000, Mi 1326, Sc 1140.




Chapels and Churches named or dedicated Pius V.


Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie of the Dominican priory
at Milano. At the left the chapel of the Dominican
Pope Pius V.


Italian Republic 1944-1945, Mi 661, Sc R31.









Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, with at the right the

tomb of the Dominican Pope Pius V (17.01.1504 - Pope 07.01.
01.05.1572) in the Cappella Sistina, by Domenico Fontana, 1586.


On this tomb some iconographical items about Pius V:


  1. Pius V with papal garments with a silver mask.
  2. A bas-relief of Pierre Legros, the Younger, 1698.
  3. A statue of white marble by Leonardo Sarzano, 1585.
  4. Five bas-reliefs by Egidius of Vlaanderen and Nicolo Pinni of Arras with

a/ Pius V’s coronation as Pope; b/ the battle of Lepanto;

c/ the victory over the Huguenots; d/ the transfer of the standard to Marcus Antonius Colonia; e/ the transfer of the standard to Count Sforza.

  1. On the tomb a statue of Saint Dominic, by Giovanni Battista della Porta (1590).x

Jaime, Rodriguez Lebrato, O.P. in International Dominican Information (IDI) nr 368, December 1998, p. 291-294.
Vatican City 1993, Mi 1082, Sc 919.
The same basilica:
Italy 1924, Mi 206, Sc B20.

 The battle of Lepanto


The Battle of Lepanto (Ναύπακτος in Greek, İnebahtı in Turkish) took place on 7 October 1571 when a galley fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Venezia, the Papacy (under Pope Pius V), Spain (including Napoli, Sicily and Sardinia), Republic of Genoa, Duchy of Savoy, the Knights of Malta and others, defeated a force of Ottoman galleys. The 5-hour battle was fought at the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece, where the Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina, in the morning of Sunday 7 October. This was the last major naval battle to be fought solely between rowing vessels.    
 Italy 1971.Gaeta postmark 7 October 1971.>>

Liberia 2000, Mi 2883, sc -.  On order.

Pius V financed the fortification
of Valetta
on Malta.

Malta 1966, Mi 338, Sc 349.





                                                                         Christ of Lepanto.


                                                      Spain 1960, Mi 1177, Sc 931.





Don Juan of Austria  (1547-1578), Fleet Commander.

Painting by Sánchez Coello.


Spain 1971, Mi 1950, Sc `1690.




The naval battle of Lepanto on 07.10.1571.

 Painting by Lucas Valdés, detail.


Spain 1971, Mi `1951, Sc 1691.









The Holy League Banner in cathedral. Spain 1971, Mi 1052, Sc 1692. >>>






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