- Antipope John XXIII
Baldassarre Cossa (c. 1370 – November 22, 1419), also known as John XXIII, was
popeor antipopeduring the Western Schism(1410–1415) and is now officially regarded by the Catholic Church as an antipope.
Baldassarre Cardinal Cossa was born in
Procida(according to other sources, Ischia).
He was one of the seven cardinals who, in May 1408, deserted
Pope Gregory XII, and, with those belonging to the obedience of Antipope Benedict XIII, convened the Council of Pisa, of which Cossa became the leader. They elected Pope Alexander Vin 1409. Cossa succeeded him a year later. Edward Gibbonasserts in " The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" that John XXIII was charged with piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest, with the more serious charges being suppressed. [Citation
last = Gibbon
first = Edward
authorlink = Edward Gibbon
title = The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Henry George Bohn
year = 1866
location = London
pages = 428
volume = VII
url = http://books.google.com/books?id=BGIOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA428
accessdate= 2008-01-04.] Of course, this must be viewed in the light of the political situation of the time, as the charges were likely trumped up; note the similarity to the charges against the
Knights Templar. [ “ … the heinous crimes of which his opponents in the council accused him were certainly gravely exaggerated.” Citation
last = Kirsch
first = J.P.
title = John XXIII
The Catholic Encyclopedia
publisher = Robert Appleton Company
year = 1910
location = New York
volume = VIII
url = http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08434a.htm
He should not be confused with
Pope John XXIIIof the twentieth century. The fact that there were a number of Popes named John during the first 1400 years of the Church and then no more for over 500 years is probably due to the controversial figure this Antipope represented. When Angelo Cardinal Roncalli was elected and became Pope John, there was some confusion as to whether he would be "John XXIII" or "John XXIV"; he then declared that he was John XXIII to put this question to rest. The decision of the twentieth century Pope John XXIII not to be named John XXIV as might be expected serves as a confirmation of the antipope status of this first John XXIII. It should be noted, however, that the numbering of the Popes called John is debatable (as there was no John XX); for example, Gibbon refers to the Antipope John as John XXII.
With the aid of the
Emperor Sigismund, Pope John convened the Council of Constancein 1415. During the third session rival Pope Gregory XIIauthorized the council as well, and soon both Popes abdicated in favor of Pope Martin V. Cossa, as he was again, was briefly imprisoned in Germany before being freed by Martin V in 1418.
He died in Florence, as
cardinal bishopof Tusculum, in 1419. He is buried in a tomb in the Battistero di San Giovanniin Florence.
Tomb of Antipope John XXIII
Notes and references
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08434a.htm Antipope John XXIII] at [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/index.html The Catholic Encyclopedia]
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