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Clement

(c. 1360—1446)


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(antipope 10 June 1423–26 July 1429: d. 28 Dec. 1446)

Before his death Benedict XIII, last of the Avignon popes in the Great Schism (1378–1417), made his four cardinals swear to elect a successor, and on 10 June 1423, at Peñiscola on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, the three who were available chose Gil Sanchez Muñoz y Carbón. Born at Teruel c.1360, he had an uncle of the same name who had played a notable role in the events leading to the success in the west of the schism resulting from the double election of Urban VI and Clement VII in 1378. His nephew shared the same ideas and, on his uncle's death in 1389, replaced him in the entourage of Cardinal Pedro de Luna, becoming a close associate after his election as Benedict XIII. At the time of Benedict's death he was provost of Valencia as well as archpriest of Teruel. He took the style Clement VIII out of respect for Robert of Geneva (Antipope Clement VII).

Although censured by Queen Maria of Aragón (acting as regent for Alfonso V (1416–58), absent in Italy) and for a while blockaded by royal forces in the impregnable promontory of Peñiscola, Clement presided over a papal court in miniature, creating two cardinals and surrounding himself with an appropriate circle of dignitaries. Among other acts he excommunicated Jean Carrier, the cardinal who had been absent during his election and who, judging it invalid because of simony, had nominated on his own another antipope, Benedict XIV; he also stripped him of his cardinalate. At Rome Martin V, hearing of Clement's election, instructed the archbishop of Tarragona and the bishops of Tortosa and Barcelona to acquit the misguided prelates involved provided they returned to their senses. But the comedy of Peñiscola could not last. Alfonso V of Aragón, although never regarding Clement as true pope, certainly found him useful for putting pressure on Martin V, and in Aug. 1423 suspended the measures taken by Queen Maria against him. When he eventually settled his outstanding difficulties with the pope, he sent a delegation headed by his private secretary Alfonso de Borgia (later Callistus III) to Peñiscola to counsel the antipope and his curia to abdicate voluntarily. Clement complied with good grace, and at a dignified ceremony on 26 July 1429 revoked the condemnations passed by him and his predecessors on the lawful pope, renounced his rank and removed his pontifical dress, and in conclave with his cardinals went through the motions of electing ‘Oddo Colonna’ (Martin V) as pope. Three weeks later (14 Aug.) the papal legate formally reconciled him, and he took an oath of allegiance to the pope. Martin V bore him no rancour, and on 26 Aug 1429 nominated him bishop of Majorca. He held this office until his death on 28 Dec. 1446; his splendid tomb is in the chapter house of the cathedral at Palma.

Further Reading

M. de Alpartills, Chronica actitatorum temporibus domini Benedicti XIII, ed. F. Ehrle (Paderborn, 1906)Mansi xxiii. 1117–24S. Puig y Puig, Pedro de Luna (Barcelona, 1920), 363–453, 606–17M. Garcia Miralles, La personalidad de Gil Sanchez Muñoz y la solución del cisma de Occidente (Teruel, 1954)EC x. 1749 f. (A. Amore)DHGE xii. 1245–9 (R. Mols)EThC 26 (G. Schwaiger)NCE iii. 785–6 (P. Savage)

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Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) — Christianity.


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