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Gregory

(1118—1121)


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Paschal II (d. 1118)

Gelasius II (c. 1060—1119)

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(antipope 8 Mar. 1118–Apr. 1121: d. c.1140)

Born in southern France or perhaps Burgundy of modest parentage, a Cluniac at Limoges, Maurice Bourdin or Burdinus (possibly a nickname meaning ‘small ass’) was taken to Spain and educated there by Archbishop Bernard of Toledo, became archdeacon of Toledo, and by 1099 was promoted bishop of Coimbra. When his metropolitan Gerald of Braga visited Rome in summer 1103, he placed Maurice in charge of the see. Between autumn 1104 and spring 1108 he was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land, and in Jan. 1109 himself became archbishop of Braga, receiving the pallium in Rome from Paschal II. He was soon at loggerheads with Bernard of Toledo over the boundaries of their dioceses, but in Nov. 1114, after he had gone to Rome in person, Paschal settled the dispute decisively in his favour. After enjoying his triumph briefly at Braga, he was again at the papal court in autumn 1116, this time to protest against decisions favouring Santiago de Compostela to the detriment of Braga. Paschal, impressed perhaps by his eloquence and diplomatic skill, now dispatched him to Lombardy on a peace mission to Emperor Henry V (1106–25), who wanted a definitive clarification of his relation to the holy see. At this point Maurice defected to the emperor, and was in his entourage when he entered Rome in early 1117 (Paschal had moved to south Italy). At the Easter mass (25 Mar.), at which monarchs customarily donned crowns, it was Maurice who crowned Henry, notwithstanding the anathemas placed on him by several prelates. Paschal at once deposed and excommunicated him at a synod at Benevento, and instructed the Spanish authorities to elect a new archbishop of Braga.

When Gelasius II succeeded Paschal II (24 Jan. 1118), Henry at once came to Rome and requested the new pope, who had retreated to Gaeta (his home town), to return so that the long-standing dispute between church and empire over the control of church appointments could be amicably settled. When Gelasius refused, the exasperated emperor, advised by his jurists (notably Irnerius of Bologna: d. c.1130), had Maurice proclaimed pope on. 8 Mar. 1118. Taking the style Gregory VIII, he made peace between church and empire the theme of his early sermons, and when Henry returned to Germany in the summer remained in Rome, master of St. Peter's, Castel Sant' Angelo, and the parts of the city dominated by the towers of the Frangipani family. But Gelasius, who had excommunicated him with his master on 8 Apr., had also denounced him in letters sent throughout Europe, effectively destroying any hopes he might have had of being recognized. Henry, too, had no further use for him; on Gelasius' death (29 Jan. 1119) he soon made rapprochement with Callistus II his objective. In 1119 Gregory withdrew to the stronghold of Sutri, but in Apr. 1121 Callistus besieged the town and the citizens surrendered him. To ruin his credibility once for all the pope made him traverse Rome in mock triumph, mounted backwards on a camel and exposed to the jeers and peltings of the populace. He was then gaoled for the rest of his life—first in Rome, then at Passerone, then at La Cava near Salerno, then at Rocca lemolo near Monte Cassino, and in 1125 Castel Fumone near Alatri and Frosinone. In Aug. 1137 he was still alive, back at La Cava.

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Subjects: Christianity.


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