This Day In Crime History

August 25, 1330: Anti-Pope Nicholas V Overthrows Himself

There have been an estimated 30 to 40 Antipopes throughout the 2000-year history of the papacy.

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On August 25, 1330 Anti-Pope Nicholas V overthrew himself. An Anti-Pope is a person who makes a claim that they are the Pope. They are not the elected Pope and they are established as pope in opposition to the one held by others to be canonically chosen. This particular Anti-Pope joined the Franciscan order after separating from his wife in 1310. He soon after became a famous preacher.

Nicholas V was elected Pope by an assembly of priests and laymen. Their decision was influenced by the excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor, Louis the Bavarian. Nicolas was consecrated at Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in 1328 by the bishop of Venice.

In 1329 Nicholas V presided at a bizarre ceremony in Pisa: He formally condemned and degraded a straw puppet dressed in pontifical robes that was supposed to represent the real pope, Pope John XXII. In the ritual he simulated an execution of the Pope.

Nicholas V was excommunicated by John XXII in 1329. On August 25, 1330, he presented a confession of his sins to John XXII. He absolved him. The Anti-Pope was then sent to an “honourable imprisonment” in the papal palace. He remained imprisoned until he died three years later.

There have been an estimated 30 to 40 Antipopes throughout the 2000-year history of the papacy.

 

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