Pope Adrian VI (Latin: Hadrianus VI), born Adriaan Florensz Boeyens, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 January 1522 until his death on 14 September 1523. The only Dutchman so far to become pope, he was the last non-Italian pope until John Paul II, 456 years later.
Born in the Episcopal principality of Utrecht, Adrian studied at the University of Leuven in the Low Countries, where he rose to the position of professor of theology, also serving as rector (the equivalent of vice-chancellor). In 1507, he became the tutor of the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who later trusted him as both his emissary and his regent.
In 1516, Adrian became bishop of Tortosa, Spain, and was soon appointed Grand Inquisitor of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. He was appointed cardinal by Pope Leo X in 1517 and elected pope in 1522 as a compromise candidate after Leo's death.
Adrian came to the papacy in the midst of one of its greatest crises, threatened not only by Lutheranism to the north but also by the advance of the Ottoman Turks to the east. He refused to compromise with Lutheranism theologically, demanding Luther's condemnation as a heretic. However, he is noted for having attempted to reform the Catholic Church administratively in response to the Protestant Reformation. His efforts at reform, however, proved fruitless, as they were resisted by most of his Renaissance ecclesiastical contemporaries, and he did not live long enough to see his efforts through to their conclusion. He was succeeded by the Italian Medici pope, Clement VII.
Adrian VI and his eventual successor Marcellus II are the only popes of the modern era to retain their baptismal names after their election.