Clement VII (antipope)

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Bust of Clement VII in the Musée de Petit Palais in Avignon
Coat of arms of Clement VII.

. Against Pope Clement VII (* 1342 in Annecy as Robert Count of Geneva , son of Amadeus III. , Count of Geneva; † 16th September 1394 in Avignon ) was on September 20, 1378 Fondi by the French and several Italian cardinals to the anti-pope elected and was the adversary of Pope Urban VI.

Clerical career

First canon in Paris, Robert Count of Geneva was apostolic protonotary in 1359 , bishop of Thérouanne in 1361 , bishop of Cambrai in 1368 and on May 30, 1371 by Pope Gregory XI. elevated to cardinal with the titular church Santi XII Apostoli . From 1376-1378 he also made him a legate in Northern Italy in order to quell the local pope and anti-French uprisings. Here he was characterized by extraordinary brutality, which finally - together with the bloodbath of Cesena ordered by Gregory  - forced Gregory, who had only returned to Rome from Avignon in 1377, to flee to Anagni . After the massacre of about 4,000 citizens of the city of Cesena , Robert of Geneva was only called the "executioner of Cesena".

Pontificate: antipope and schism

After the election of Urban VI. had come about under "worrying" circumstances - during the conclave Romans invaded the Vatican and demanded a Roman as Pope - the cardinals present initially elected Bartolomeo Prignano as Pope. Urban VI, as he called himself afterwards, disappointed the cardinals' expectations. First, he categorically refused to return to Avignon and publicly reprimanded the cardinals for this request. Second, he appointed twenty-nine new cardinals, only three of whom were French. He broke the French dominance in the college of cardinals. Thirteen cardinals - the French, several Italians and Cardinal Robert of Geneva - left Rome furiously and traveled to Fondi. In the summer of 1378 the Aragonese Cardinal Pedro de Luna came to Fondi. De Luna should after the death of Pope Clement as Benedict XIII. become his successor. In Fondi, the now fourteen cardinals, supported by Charles V, of France and protected by French mercenaries, elected Robert of Geneva as Pope on September 28, 1378. From then on he called himself Clement VII. In addition, the cardinals wrote a declaration in which it was said that they had been compelled to elect Pope Urban at the time. But even then this explanation was completely unbelievable. The fourteen cardinals then traveled to Avignon, where they began anew to lead their luxurious lives at the expense of the French population, squeezed by ruthless taxes.

This led to the great occidental schism that lasted until the Council of Constance in 1417. After the Castel Sant'Angelo fell to Urban on April 28, 1379, Clemens had to flee from Italy to the safe Avignon. Clement was initially mainly recognized by France, but this was not because the Pope was in France. At that time the city was legally part of the Holy Roman Empire and was subject to the Counts of Provence, who were vassals of the Roman-German emperor and not of the French king. However, when Clemens VI bought the county of Avignon from Johanna, Countess of Provence , who was Queen of Naples as Johanna I. on June 12, 1348, the German king and later emperor Karl IV , renounced all rights as liege lord.

The French crown had other reasons for supporting Clement VII and not Urban. Since 1305 "French" have always been elected Pope, and since 1309 the Popes have stayed in Avignon, which was geopolitically much more interesting for France than distant Rome. On the other side of the Rhône had been the city of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon since 1293 , which was then part of the Kingdom of France. The famous bridge of Avignon, Pont St. Bénézet , connected the Holy Roman Empire with the Kingdom of France. Villeneuf soon became an important center for gifts from the high clergy. The popes soon had their own summer palace built there, and numerous cardinals diligently donated monasteries, chapels and chapters and built their own palaces. The king then endowed the place with many privileges, and the papacy on the Rhône became a huge economic factor. The French crown also had better control of the Pope in Avignon.

Urban VI. stood for a return of the Curia to Rome and this was in several respects undesirable for King Charles V of France.

No sooner was Clemens VII back in Avignon than the advertising drum for Geneva was raised in Paris and numerous special ambassadors were sent to the various European courts. The example of Scotland shows how much the papal cause became a political issue: France supported Clemens, so England “had” to support Urban, even if both the king and Clemens sent envoys to the English king. The King of Scotland now saw himself in a position, together with France, to take the English king into geopolitical pincers and immediately sided with Clement. Scotland had also been a French ally in the Auld Alliance since October 23, 1295 .

In the course of his pontificate , in addition to France and Scotland , Portugal , Aragon , Castile , Navarra , Sicily , Cyprus , the county of Savoy and parts of Germany became part of the Clementine following. Joan I of Naples was a weak ruler and shuttled between pope and antipope. She was finally murdered at the instigation of Pope Urban by his nephew Karl von Durazzo , who became her successor and became King of Naples Charles III. called. But when Charles met Pope Urban VI. After the king had refused to cede to the Pope some of the most beautiful provinces of the Kingdom of Naples to the Papal States - probably in return for the support of Pope Urban in the murder of Queen Joanna - Karl was then by the Pope in his capital, Naples attacked. Karl was able to repel the attack. He then became a supporter of Pope Clement VII.

One of his prominent supporters was Vinzenz Ferrer , while Catherine of Siena was on the side of Urban VI. was standing.

After the death of his brother, Clement VII inherited the county of Geneva in 1392 .

Turin Shroud

When the so-called Turin Shroud was first exhibited in the collegiate church of Lirey near Troyes in France, the then responsible Bishop Pierre II d'Arcis of Troyes turned to the antipope Clement VII in 1389 and asked for a word of power: “The matter, saint Father, act like that. The dean of Lirey, consumed by greed, bought a shroud painted with cunning, deliberately falsely declaring and pretending that this is the true and genuine shroud of our Savior Jesus Christ. Theologians have credibly assured that the cloth could not be authentic, because such an imprint is not mentioned in the Gospels. The cloth is the work of man and not a miracle. So I would like to ask you, Most Holy Father, to take measures to put an end to this scandal, superstition and madness. ” Thereupon Clement VII declared that it was not a relic , but that the cloth could still be displayed as long as it is not presented as the shroud of Christ.

See also


Web links

Commons : Clement VII (Antipope)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Gilles II. Aycelin de Montaigut Bishop of Thérouanne
Gérard II./III. de Dainville
Pierre IV. De André Bishop of Cambrai
Gérard II./III. de Dainville
Urban VI.
Benedict XIII.
Peter of Geneva Count of Geneva
Humbert by Thoire and Villars