Saturday, September 20, 2008

Time Capsule: September 20, 1378

September 20, 1378: 630 years ago today Antipope Clement VII was elected by French cardinals as opposition to the Roman-elected Pope Urban VI; these proceedings lead to what Bellairs lovingly called the Grand Central Schism in Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies [58-9].

The Grand Central Schism satirizes the details of the better-known Great Schism (1378-1417), where a pope who had been elected by the cardinals proved so unpopular that the College of Cardinals reconvened, declared his election invalid, and sought to try their hand at the election process again.

Antipopes were nothing new to the church at this point, but none before had been elected by the College of Cardinals. At any rate, both men claimed to be Pope – Urban VI ruling in Rome and Clement VII ruling from Avignon, France. Each had successors during the 40 or so years the schism lasted, and somewhere in the midst of all the confusion another counsel deposed both and elected a third pope (Alexander V, from Pisa, Italy). Eventually the Counsel of Constance deposed all claimants and elected a new pope, Martin V.

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