Great Western Schism

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Great Western Schism


a period in the history of the papacy from 1378 to 1417, when two or three popes, struggling among themselves, simultaneously held the papal throne. The causes of the Great Western Schism were a weakening in the importance of the papacy as the international center of the feudal system (as centralized governments formed in Western Europe) and a struggle among the Western European rulers to subjugate the papal throne.

The Great Western Schism began after the Avignon Captivity of the popes. After the death of Pope Gregory XI (1370-78), who had returned from Avignon to Rome, Urban VI was elected pope (1378-89). Urban VI was supported by the states of northern and central Italy, the Scandinavian states, the German states, and England. The clergy, oriented toward France, Spain, Scotland, and Naples, elected Clement VII (1378-94) at Avignon in counterposition to Urban VI. Two papal curias were created. The popes anathematized each other. The successor to Clement VII was Benedict XIII (from 1394); the successors to Urban VI were Boniface IX (1389-1404), Innocent VII (1404-06), and Gregory XII (from 1406).

A church council in Pisa (1409) removed both Benedict XIII and Gregory XII and elected Alexander V as pope (1409-10). But as the dethroned popes did not accept the decision of the council, there were three popes on the papal throne. The schism contributed to the development of heretical movements that threatened the feudal system as a whole. This in turn alarmed the secular feudal authorities, who called for the reestablishment of church unity. The Council of Constance (1414-18) put an end to the schism by removing the three popes, John XXIII (successor to Alexander V), Gregory XII, and Benedict XIII, and electing Martin V as the new pope (1417-31). The Great Western Schism greatly undermined the authority of the papacy and the Catholic church as a whole.


References in periodicals archive ?
Chapters 1 and 2 explain the complex relationship between popes and councils from the period of the Western Schism through the arrival of Martin Luther, illustrating why popes were loath to call councils at all.
During the Western Schism of the early 1400s, John XXIII was one of three men who claimed the papacy at the same time, though he later renounced it.
An age of "Compromises, Crusades, Councils and Concordats" is bookended in the next section with the Western Schism and the age of three popes at one and the same time.
At the time of the Western Schism (1378-1417), the Council of Constance (1414-18) deposed both John XXIII as an anti-pope and Gregory XII, who as the supposedly legitimate pope was allowed to present it as an abdication.
Pope Gregory XII quit in 1415 to end the Western Schism, which saw three claimants vying for the papacy.
The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415 as part of a deal to end the Great Western schism among competing papal claimants.
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.
Ochs reads Protestant postliberalism as "another reformation"--this one to repair the great Western schism.
Then, Pope Gregory XII stepped down to end what was known as the Great Western Schism between competing papal claimants.
A companion to the great western schism (1378-1417).
The Avignon Papacy and the Great Western Schism and the disputes and problems of Pisa, Constance, and Basel only sharpened the divergence.
The history of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417), the period that witnessed a dual and later tricephalic papacy divided between an Avignonese, a Roman, and later a Pisan obedience, has usually found its niche in legal and theological writing.

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