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This article is about the Antipope Clement III; see here for Pope Clement III.

Guibert or Wibert of Ravenna (c. 1029 – 8 September 1100) was a cleric made Antipope in 1080 due to perceived abuses of Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy, a title that lasted unto his death. He was born in Parmamarker and had family connections to the Margraves of Canossamarker.

Early life

A cleric, he was appointed to the Imperial chancellorship for Italymarker by the Empress Agnes in 1057, which position he held until 1063. In 1058 he participated in the election of Pope Nicholas II but on his death in 1061, he combined with the Imperial and Transpadine Anti-Reform party to creat Cadalous of Parma as Antipope Honorius II against Pope Alexander II. However, owing to the campaigns of Godfrey III, Duke of Lower Lorraine, Archbishop Anno of Cologne, and St. Peter Damian, the Church by-and-large rejected Honorius II and acknowledged Alexander II; probably as a result of these activities, the Empress Agnes dismissed him from the Imperial Chancellorship of Italy.

Guibert laid low for the next nine years, but apparently continued to cultivate his contacts within the German court, for in 1072, Emperor Henry IV named him Archbishop of the vacant see of Ravennamarker. And, although Pope Alexander II was reluctant to confirm this appointment, he was prevailed by Hildebrand to do so, perhaps as a compromise for peace. Guibert then took an oath of allegiance to the Holy Father and his successors and was installed at Ravenna in 1073.

Quarrels with Pope Gregory

Shortly after Pope Alexander II died Hildebrand was elected the next pope, being installed as Pope Gregory VII on April 29, 1073. Guibert attended the first Lenten Synods of Pope Gregory in March 1074 in Rome at which important laws were passed against simony and the incontinence of the clergy, but soon emerged as one of the most visible leaders of opposition to the Gregorian reforms.

Having attended Gregory's first Lenten Synods, Guibert refused to attend the next, the Lenten Synod of 1075, although he was bound by oath to obey the summons to attend it. By his absence he made manifest his opposition to Gregory VII, who now suspended him for his refusal to attend the synod.

The main cause of the quarrel was Pope Gregory's insistence of ending clerical concubinage and simony and of ejecting from the ministry refractory bishops and priests who continued to keep their concubines.

It was in this same year that Emperor Henry IV began his open war on Gregory. At the synod of Worms in January, 1076, a resolution was adopted deposing Gregory, and in this decision the simoniacal bishops of Transpadine Italy joined. Among these must have been Guibert, for he shared in the sentence of excommunication and interdiction which Gregory VII pronounced against the guilty Transpadine bishops at the Lenten Synod of 1076.

Shortly after, in April 1076, bishops and abbots of the Transpadine anti-reform party convened at Paviamarker under the presidency of Guibert and proclaimed the excommunication of Gregory VII; a messenger, bearing a most offensive personal letter from Henry, was dispatched with the Pavian reply to the pope. In response, Gregory was compelled to resort to still stronger measures with regard to Guibert; he excommunicated Guibert by name at the Lenten Synod of February, 1078, and with him his main accomplice Archbishop Tebaldo of Milanmarker.

On account of the action of Henry's 1076 Synod of Worms against Gregory, the latter was compelled to lay Henry IV under excommunication.

Reign as Antipope

During the next four years, the emperor and the pope reconciled but then quarreled again, and, facing a rebellion among the German nobles, Emperor Henry threatened to depose Pope Gregory. Carrying out his threats, Henry summoned his German and Transpadine partisans to a Synod at Brixenmarker in June, 1080, which drew up a new decree purporting to depose Pope Gregory VII, and which Henry himself also signed, and then proceeded to elect Guibert, the excommunicated simoniacal Archbishop of Ravenna, as antipope in opposition to Pope Gregory; Guibert took the name Clement III. Henry at once recognized Guibert as pope, swearing that he would lead him to Rome, and there receive from his hands the imperial crown.

The antipope failed to secure recognition outside of Henry's dominions and was widely understood as being merely his puppet and quite devoid of personal initiative.

Rudolph of Swabia, leader of the rebellious nobles, having fallen mortally wounded at the Battle of Mersburgmarker in 1080, Henry could concentrate all his forces against Gregory. In 1081 he marched on Rome, but failed to force his way into the city, which he finally accomplished only in 1084.

Gregory thereupon retired into the citadel of Sant' Angelo, and refused to entertain Henry's overtures, although the latter promised to hand over Guibert as a prisoner, if the Pope would only consent to crown him emperor.

Gregory, however, insisted as a necessary preliminary that Henry should appear before a council and do penance. The emperor, while pretending to submit to these terms, tried hard to prevent the meeting of the bishops. A small number however assembled, and, in accordance with their wishes, Gregory again excommunicated Henry.

The latter on receipt of this news again entered Rome on March 21, 1084, and succeeded in gaining possession of the greater part of the city and besieged the Pope in the Castle of Sant' Angelo, while, on March 24, Guibert was enthroned as pope in the church of St. John Lateranmarker as Clement III, and on March 31 Guibert crowned Henry IV emperor at St. Peter's.

However, when the news was brought that Gregory's Norman ally, Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria, was hastening to his aid, Henry fled Rome with Guibert and, in revenge for Matilda's staunch support for Gregory and the reform party, ravaged her possessions in Tuscany.

The Pope was liberated, but, the people becoming incensed by the excesses of his Norman allies, he was compelled to leave Rome. Disappointed and sorrowing he withdrew to Monte Cassinomarker, and later to the castle of Salernomarker by the sea, in 1084, where he died in the following year, May 25, 1085.

Three days before his death he withdrew all the censures of excommunication that he had pronounced, except those against the two chief offenders Henry and Guibert. His last words were:

"I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

The German episcopate stood divided. While anti-simonical bishops held a Synod in Quedlinburgmarker, at which they denounced and condemned Guibert, partisans of Henry held a rival Synod at Mainzmarker in 1085, where they approved the deposition of Gregory and the elevation of Guibert.

This conflict continued even after the death of Gregory, during the entire reigns of whose successors, Pope Victor III, Pope Urban II, and Pope Paschal II, Guibert figured as the antipope of Henry and his party.

Victor III, who was elected after a prolonged vacancy caused by the critical position of the Church in Rome, was compelled, eight days after his coronation in St. Peter's on May 3, 1087, to fly from Rome before the partisans of Guibert. The latter were in turn assailed by the troops of Countess Matilda, and entrenched themselves in the Pantheon.

The succeeding pope, Urban II (1088-1099), was at one time master of Rome, but he was afterwards driven from the city by the adherents of Guibert, and sought refuge in Lower Italy and in France.

In June, 1089, at a Synod held in Rome, the antipope declared invalid the decree of excommunication launched against Henry, and various charges were made against the supporters of the legitimate pope.

Still, the years which followed brought to Urban ever-increasing prestige, while Henry IV's power and influence were more and more on the wane.

The greater part of the city of Rome was captured by an army of crusaders under Count Hugh of Vermandois, brother of the King of France. The party of Guibert retained only the Castle of Sant' Angelo, and even this in 1098 fell into the hands of Vermandois.

Guibert's influence, after Henry IV's withdrawal from Italy, was virtually confined to Ravenna and a few other districts of Northern Italy.

In 1099, he repaired to Albano after the accession of Paschal II (1099-1118), hoping again to become master of Rome, but he was compelled to withdraw. He reached Cività Castellana, where he died September 8, 1100. His followers, it is true, elected a successor to Guibert, the Antipope Theodoric, who, however, was not a serious threat to the true popes.

The elevation of Guibert has to be seen in the wider context of the time: there had been several antipopes in the recent past, there were political struggles within the empire, and the Investiture Crisis also had an effect.

Clement was notoriously regarded as the champion of the simoniacal and anti-celibacy and pro-clerical concubinage party, although he went through the notions of legislating against these abuses, and, through the leeway he granted the cardinals supporting him, contributed to the development of the College of Cardinals.

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