Paschal III

(b. 1164)

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Alexander III (d. 1181)

Innocent II (1130—1143)


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(antipope 22 Apr. 1164–20Sept. 1168)

On the death of Victor IV, the first antipope set up against Alexander III by the pro-imperial party, at Lucca on 20 Apr. 1164, Rainald of Dassel, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa's (1152–90) chancellor and vicar for Italy, on his own initiative had Guido of Crema, cardinal priest of S. Callisto, elected as his successor. The election was glaringly uncanonical, being carried out by two schismatic cardinals, two German bishops, and the prefect of Rome. Guido was consecrated as Paschal III at Lucca by the bishop of Liège on 26 Apr. Of aristocratic lineage, he had been in the service of the holy see since the time of Innocent II, and at the divided election of 7 Sept. 1159 was the most prominent of the cardinals supporting Cardinal Ottaviano (Antipope Victor IV).

The emperor had no hand in the election, but he soon ratified it. In Italy and Burgundy, however, the bishops declined to accept Paschal; in Germany the opposition to Alexander III began to crumble after Victor's death, and several leading prelates switched to him. To stem the tide Frederick took a solemn oath at the diet of Würzburg (22 May 1165) never to acknowledge Alexander but only Paschal. He was followed by all the prelates and princes present, including the ambassadors of Henry II of England (1154–89), and the same oath was demanded, under threat of dire penalties, of all clerical and lay persons. On 8 Jan. 1166, presumably with Paschal's approval, Frederick had Charlemagne (c. 742–814), his ‘admired exemplar’, canonized at Aachen by Rainald of Dassel in his capacity as archbishop of Cologne (1159–67). He was now actively insisting on loyalty to Paschal in Burgundy and Italy, and in many places bishops favouring Alexander III were replaced by men prepared to conform. In July 1167 Paschal had the satisfaction of accompanying Frederick to Rome, where Alexander III had to go into hiding, while on 22 July he was himself at last enthroned in St Peter's, on 30 July consecrated some fifteen patriarchs and bishops, and on 1 Aug. crowned the emperor (his second coronation) and his consort Beatrix.

This was his last triumph; Frederick was already proposing that both Paschal and Alexander III should abdicate and leave the way clear for a fresh election. At this point, however, an epidemic of malaria in Rome decimated the imperial army. Frederick, himself seriously ill, returned to Germany with what was left of his forces, taking Paschal with him. Paschal did not return to Rome until the beginning of 1168, when he was escorted by Archbishop Christian of Mainz. Even then the Romans tolerated his presence only because they had to be on their best behaviour until those of their fellow-citizens who had been captured by the emperor's troops had been set free. There were rumours that the new senate to be elected on 1 Nov. would come out in favour of Alexander III, and Paschal shut himself for safety in the stronghold adjacent to St Peter's; but he was dead before the elections took place.


Subjects: Christianity.

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