Innocent II


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(14 Feb. 1130–24 Sept. 1143)

A Roman of patrician family, Gregorio (the family name, Papareschi, was derived from ‘papa’ and was a consequence of his election) was cardinal deacon of S. Angelo by 1116, in 1122 helped to negotiate the concordat of Worms, and next year was legate in France with his later rival Pietro Pierleoni. When Honorius II died in S. Gregorio monastery in the night of 13/14 Feb. 1130, the powerful chancellor Aimeric, with a minority of cardinals, mostly from north Italy and France, hastily buried the dead pope in a temporary grave and then clandestinely elected Gregorio as Innocent II, enthroning him at daybreak in the Lateran. When the news got abroad, the majority of cardinals, most of them from Rome and south Italy, refused to accept the coup and, meeting later in the morning in S. Marco, elected Cardinal Pietro Pierleoni as Anacletus II. Both elections were irregular, Innocent's glaringly so, but both popes were consecrated on 23 Feb., Innocent in Aimeric's titular church of Sta Maria Nuova by the bishop of Ostia. The result was an eight-year schism, with both claimants competing for recognition. Anacletus had an initial advantage through his mastery of Rome and his alliance with the Norman Roger II (1095–1154), to whom he granted the crown of Sicily, Apulia, and Calabria. Innocent had to flee to France, but very soon his title was acknowledged everywhere except in Scotland, Aquitaine, and south Italy. He owed this to the close ties which Aimeric and his other electors had with influential reform circles, notably the canons regular. His most effective advocates were Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), who won Louis VI of France (1108–37) and Henry I of England (1100–35) for him, and Archbishop Norbert of Magdeburg (1126–34), founder of the Premonstratensians, who swayed the German episcopate and King Lothair III (1125–37). By 1132 he felt secure enough to reject Anacletus' proposals for arbitration on the ground that Christendom had already pronounced in his favour.

In Mar. 1131 he met Lothair at Liège and induced him, with the promise of the imperial crown, to fight Anacletus and to escort him to Rome; Lothair in vain requested the restoration of the royal rights of investiture surrendered at Worms. After holding a synod at Reims at which he anathematized Anacletus and crowned the French king's heir, Innocent joined Lothair at Piacenza in Aug. 1132. Lothair marched on Rome in spring 1133, but as the Anacletans firmly held St Peter's and the Leonine city, the pope had to crown him on 3 June in the Lateran; Lothair renewed his demand for the restoration of the rights of investiture, but all Innocent would grant was an injunction that bishops and abbots in Germany should do homage before taking possession of the temporalities attaching to their offices. In addition he enfeoffed him with the vast estates of Countess Matilda of Tuscany (1046–1115), who in 1111 had appointed the emperor heir to her patrimonial possessions (originally intended for the holy see) while continuing to recognize the papal right to proprietorship. He could not maintain himself in Rome, however, when Lothair returned to Germany, and retreated to Pisa, where he held a synod which excommunicated Anacletus and Roger II. In 1136, after Bernard of Clairvaux had gained Milan for Innocent, Lothair again invaded Italy, but his campaign against Roger proved indecisive, he had differences with Innocent, and Rome could not be taken. He died on 4 Dec. 1137 on his way back to Germany, but Innocent and his supporters, including Bernard, had already entered into negotiations with Roger with the object of detaching him from Anacletus by demonstrating to him the superiority of Innocent's claims.


Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) — Christianity.

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