1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gregory (Popes)/Gregory XII

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Gregory XII. (Angelo Coriaro, or Correr), pope from the 30th of November 1406, to the 4th of July 1415, was born of a noble family at Venice about 1326. Successively bishop of Castello, Latin patriarch of Constantinople, cardinal-priest of San Marco, and papal secretary, he was elected to succeed Innocent VII., after an interregnum of twenty-four days, under the express condition that, should the antipope Benedict XIII. at Avignon renounce all claim to the papacy, he also would renounce his, so that the long schism might be terminated. As pope, he concluded a treaty with his rival at Marseilles, by which a general council was to be held at Savona in September, 1408, but King Ladislaus of Naples, who opposed the plan from policy, seized Rome and brought the negotiations to nought. Gregory had promised not to create any more cardinals, and when he did so, in 1408, his former cardinals deserted him and, together with the Avignon cardinals, convoked the council of Pisa, which, despite its irregularity, proclaimed in June 1409 the deposition of both popes and the election of Alexander V. Gregory, still supported by Naples, Hungary, Bavaria, and by Rupert, king of the Romans, found protection with Ladislaus, and in a synod at Cividale del Friuli banned Benedict and Alexander as schismatical, perjured and scandalous. John XXIII., having succeeded to the claims of Alexander in 1410, concluded a treaty with Ladislaus, by which Gregory was banished from Naples on the 31st of October 1411. The pope then took refuge with Carlo Malatesta, lord of Rimini, through whom he presented his resignation to the council of Constance on the 4th of July 1415. A weak and easily-influenced old man, resignation was the noblest act of his pontificate. The rest of his life was spent in peaceful obscurity as cardinal-bishop of Porto and legate of the mark of Ancona. He died at Recanati on the 18th of October 1417. Some writers reckon Alexander V. and John XXIII. as popes rather than as antipopes, and accordingly count Gregory’s pontificate from 1406 to 1409. Roman Catholic authorities, however, incline to the other reckoning.

See L. Pastor, History of the Popes, vol. i., trans, by F. I. Antrobus (London, 1899); M. Creighton, History of the Papacy, vol. I (London, 1899); N. Valois, La France et le grand schisme d’ occident (Paris, 1896–1902); Louis Gayet, Le Grand Schisme d’occident (Paris, 1898); J. von Haller, Papsttum u. Kirchenreform (Berlin, 1903) J. Loserth, Geschichte des späteren Mittclalters (1903); Theoderici de Nyem de schismate libri tres, ed. by G. Erler (Leipzig, 1890). There is an excellent article by J. N. Brischar in the Kirchenlexikon 2nd ed., vol. 5. (C. H. HA.)