Angelo Correr (Gregory XII) elected Pope
Pope Gregory XII (c. 1326 - 18 October 1417), born Angelo Correr or Corraro, Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII (1404–06) on 30 November 1406.
He was chosen at Rome by a conclave consisting of only fifteen cardinals under the express condition that, should antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423), 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 Western Schism (1378–1417) 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 Ladislaus of Naples (1399–1414), the supporter of Gregory XII 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 4 May 1408, Gregory XII convened his cardinals at Lucca and ordered them not to leave the city under any pretext. He tried to supplement his following by creating four of his Correr nephews cardinals - including the future Pope Eugene IV, 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 XIII 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 XII stayed with his loyal and powerful protector, Carlo I 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 (1409–10) later that month. Gregory XII, who had meanwhile created ten more cardinals, had convoked a rival council at Cividale del Friuli, near Aquileia; but only a few bishops appeared. Gregory XII's cardinals pronounced Benedict XIII and Alexander V schismatics, perjurers, and devastators of the Church; but their pronouncement went unheeded.
The Council of Constance finally resolved the situation. Gregory XII appointed Carlo Malatesta and Cardinal Giovanni 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 on 4 July 1415, Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of the Pope, which the cardinals accepted. According to prior agreement, they agreed to retain all the cardinals that had been created by Gregory XII, thus satisfying the Correr clan, and appointed Gregory XII Bishop of Frascati, dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and perpetual legate at Ancona. The Council then set aside antipope John XXIII (1410–15), the successor of Alexander V. After the former follower of Benedict XIII appeared, the council declared him deposed; and the Great Schism was ended. A new Roman pontiff, Pope Martin V, was not elected before Gregory's death.
The rest of Gregory XII's life was spent in peaceful obscurity in Ancona.
Legal pope during the Western Schism; born at Venice, of a noble family, about 1327; died at Recanati, 18 October, 1417.
He became Bishop of Castello in 1380 and titular Patriarch of Constantinople in 1390. Under Pope Innocent VII he was made Apostolic secretary, the Legate of Ancona, and finally, in 1405, Cardinal-Priest of San Mareo. It was due to his great piety and his earnest desire for the end of the schism that after the death of Innocent VII the cardinals at Rome unanimously elected him pope on 30 Nov., 1406. He took the name of Gregory XII. Before the papal election each cardinal swore that in order to end the schism he would abdicate the papacy if he should be elected, provided his rival at Avignon (Benedict XIII) would do the same. Gregory XII repeated his oath after his election and to all appearances had the intention to keep it. On 12 Dec., 1406, he notified Benedict XIII of his election and the stipulation under which it took place, at the same time reiterating his willingness to lay down the tiara if Benedict would do the same. Benedict apparently agreed to the proposals of Gregory XII and expressed his desire to have a conference with him. After long negotiations the two pontiffs agreed to meet at Savona. The meeting, however, never took place. Benedict, though openly protesting his desire to meet Gregory XII, gave various indications that he had not the least intention to renounce his claims to the papacy; and Gregory XII, though sincere in the beginning, also soon began to waver. The relatives of Gregory XII, to whom he was always inordinately attached, and King Ladislaus of Naples, for political reasons used all their efforts to prevent the meeting of the pontiffs. The reason, pretended or real, put forth by Gregory XII for refusing to meet his rival, was his fear that Benedict had hostile designs upon him and would use their conference only as a ruse to capture him. The cardinals of Gregory XII openly showed their dissatisfaction at his procedure and gave signs of their intention to forsake him. On 4 May, 1408, Gregory XII convened his cardinals at Lucca, ordered them not to leave the city under any pretext, and created four of his 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. They summoned the council to Pisa and invited both pontiffs to be present. Neither Gregory XII nor Benedict XIII appeared. At the fifteenth session (5 June, 1409), the council deposed the two pontiffs, and elected Alexander V on 26 June, 1409. 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 effect an understanding between Gregory XII and the cardinals of both obediences. All his efforts were useless. Gregory XII, who had meanwhile created ten other cardinals, convoked a council at Cividale del Friuli, near Aquileia, for 6 June, 1409. At this council, though only a few bishops had appeared, Benedict XIII and Alexander V were pronounced schismatics, perjurers, and devastators of the Church.
Though forsaken by most of his cardinals, Gregory XII was still the true pope and was recognized as such by Rupert, King of the Romans, King Ladislaus of Naples, and some Italian princes. The Council of Constance finally put an end to the intolerable situation of the Church. At the fourteenth session (4 July, 1415) a Bull of Gregory XII was read which appointed Malatesta and Cardinal Dominici of Ragusa as his proxies at the council. The cardinal then read a mandatory of Gregory XII which convoked the council and authorized its succeeding acts. Hereupon Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of the papacy by Gregory XII and handed a written copy of the resignation to the assembly. The cardinals accepted the resignation, retained all the cardinals that had been created by him, and appointed him Bishop of Porto and perpetual legate at Ancona. Two years later, before the election of the new pope, Martin V, Gregory XII died in the odour of sanctity.
Gregory, born Angelo Coriaro (or Correr), Roman Catholic Pope from the 30th of November 1406, to the 4th of July 1415, was born of a noble family at Venice about 1326. Successively bishop of Castello, Latin patriarch of Constantinople, cardinal-priest of San Marco, and papal secretary, he was elected to succeed Pope Innocent VII, after an interregnum of twenty-four days, under the express condition that, should the antipope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) at Avignon renounce all claim to the papacy, he also would renounce his, so that the long schism might be terminated. As Pope, he concluded a treaty with his rival at Marseilles, by which a general council was to be held at Savona in September, 1408, but King Ladislaus of Naples, who opposed the plan from policy, seized Rome and brought the negotiations to nought. Gregory had promised not to create any more cardinals, and when he did so, in 1408, his former cardinals deserted him and, together with the Avignon cardinals, convoked the council of Pisa, which, despite its irregularity, proclaimed in June 1409 the deposition of both popes and the election of Alexander V. Gregory, still supported by Naples, Hungary, Bavaria, and by Rupert, King of the Romans, found protection with Ladislaus, and in a synod at Cividale del Friuli banned Benedict and Alexander as schismatical, perjured and scandalous. John XXIII, having succeeded to the claims of Alexander in 1410, concluded a treaty with Ladislaus, by which Gregory was banished from Naples on the 31st of October 1411. The pope then took refuge with Carlo Malatesta, lord of Rimini, through whom he presented his resignation to the council of Constance on the 4th of July 1415. A weak and easily-influenced old man, his resignation was the noblest act of his pontificate. The rest of his life was spent in peaceful obscurity as cardinal-bishop of Porto and legate of the mark of Ancona. He died at Recanati on the 18th of October 1417. Some writers reckon Alexander V and John XXIII as popes rather than as antipopes, and accordingly count Gregory's pontificate from 1406 to 1409. Roman Catholic authorities, however, incline to the other reckoning.