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Pope Gregory XII

Gregory XII, Angelo Coraria or Corraro, now Correr, (Venice ca 1326 - October 18, 1417), pope from 1406 to 1409, succeeded Innocent VII on 30th November 1406, having been chosen at Rome by a conclave consisting of only fifteen cardinals, under the express condition that, should Benedict XIII, the rival pope at Avignon, renounce all claim to the Papacy, he also would renounce his, so that a fresh election might be made and the Great Schism could be ended.

The two pontiffs opened wary negotiations to meet on neutral turf at Savona in Liguria, but soon began to waver in their resolve. The Correr relatives of Gregory XII and Ladislas of Naples, the supporter of Gregory and his predecessor for political reasons. used all their influence to prevent the meeting, and each pope was fearful of being captured by the party of the rival pope.

The cardinals of Gregory XII openly showed their dissatisfaction at his procedure and gave signs of their intention to abandon him. On May 4, 1408, Gregory XII convened his cardinals at Lucca, ordered them not to leave the city under any pretext, and supplemented his following by creating four of his Correr nephews cardinals, despite his promise in the conclave that he would create no new cardinals. Seven of the cardinals secretly left Lucca and negotiated with the cardinals of Benedict concerning the convocation of a general council by them, at which both pontiffs should be deposed and a new one elected. Consequently they summoned the council to Pisa and invited both pontiffs to be present. Neither Gregory XII nor Benedict XIII appeared. Meanwhile Gregory stayed with his loyal and powerful protector, Prince Charles of Malatesta, who had come to Pisa in person during the process of the council, in order to support Gregory XII with both sets of cardinals. At the fifteenth session, 5 June, 1409, the Council of Pisa deposed the two pontiffs as schismatical, heretical, perjured, and scandalous; they elected Alexander V later that month. Gregory XII, who had meanwhile created ten more cardinals, had convoked a rival council at Cividale del Friuli, near Aquileia; though only a few bishops had appeared, Gregory's cardinals pronounced Benedict XIII and Alexander V schismatics, perjurers, and devastators of the Church.

The Council of Constance finally resolved the situation. Gregory appointed Charles of Malatesta and Cardinal Dominici of Ragusa as his proxies. The cardinal then convoked the council and authorized its succeeding acts, thus preserving the formulas of Papal supremacy. Thereupon Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of Gregory XII, which the cardinals accepted, but according to prior agreement, they agreed to retain all the cardinals that had been created by Gregory, thus satisfying the Correr clan, and appointed Gregory Bishop of Porto and perpetual legate at Ancona. The Council then set aside John XXIII (1415) and the Great Schism was ended.

The rest of Gregory's life was spent in peaceful obscurity in Ancona.

Partly from the Catholic Encyclopedia 1908.

Preceded by:
Pope Innocent VII
List of popes Succeeded by:
Pope Martin V