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When There Had been Three Popes at As soon as: An Animated Video Drawn within the Fashion of Medieval Illuminated Manuscript


Pope Francis, who’s been head of the Catholic Church for a decade now, is formally Pontiff quantity 266. However should you scroll by means of Wikipedia’s checklist of popes, you’ll see fairly a number of entries with out numbers, their rows forged in a disreputable-looking darker shade of grey. The presence of a number of such unofficial Popes often signifies significantly attention-grabbing occasions within the historical past of the Church, and thus the historical past of Western civilization itself. The brand new TED-Ed video above, written by medieval historical past professor Joëlle Rollo-Koster, tells of the one interval through which three popes vied concurrently for legitimacy. This was The Western Schism — or the Papal Schism, or the Nice Occidental Schism, or the Schism of 1378.

Nevertheless one labels it, “the origins of this papal predicament started in 1296, when France’s King Philip IV determined to lift taxes on the church.” So begins the narrator of the video, which animates the historic scenes he describes within the model of a medieval illuminated manuscript. (It contains many amusing particulars, although I haven’t managed to identify any aggressive rabbits or snails, to say nothing of butt trumpets.) Pope Boniface VIII, the Church’s chief on the time, responded with the Unam Sanctam, “a radical decree asserting the pope’s whole supremacy over earthly rulers.” The conflict between the 2 resulted within the dying of Boniface, who was finally changed in 1305 by Clement V.

As “a French diplomat in search of peace within the warfare between England and his homeland,” Clement strategically moved the seat of the papacy to Avignon. Seven popes later, the papacy moved again to Italy — not lengthy earlier than the dying of Gregory XI, the Pontiff who moved it. Out of the chaotic course of of choosing his successor got here Pope City VI, who turned out to be “a reformer who sought to restrict the cardinals’ funds.” These cardinals then “denounced City as a usurper” and elected Pope Clement VII to interchange him. However City refused to relinquish his place, and actually “entrenched himself in Rome whereas Clement and his supporters returned to Avignon.”

This started the schism, splitting Western Christendom between the capitals of Avignon and Rome. Every capital stored its line going, changing popes who die and perpetuating the scenario through which “European rulers had been pressured to decide on sides as each popes vied for religious and political supremacy.” Solely in 1409 did a gaggle of cardinals try to put an finish to it, electing a brand new pope themselves — who went unrecognized, after all, by the prevailing popes in Rome and Avignon. The schism went on for practically 40 years, underscoring the alliterative reality that “even those that are speculated to be pious are susceptible to petty energy struggles.” Most popes, like all figures of energy, should really feel lonely on the high — however that’s absolutely higher than when it’s too crowded there.

Associated content material:

Hearken to a Temporary Historical past of Papal Abdication

A Temporary Animated Historical past of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses & the Reformation — Which Modified Europe and Later the World

The Vatican Library Goes On-line and Digitizes Tens of Hundreds of Manuscripts, Books, Cash, and Extra

Watch the Bayeux Tapestry Come to Life in a Quick Animated Movie

Animated: Stephen Fry & Ann Widdecombe Debate the Catholic Church

Pope John Paul II Takes Batting Observe in California, 1987

Based mostly in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His initiatives embody the Substack publication Books on Cities, the e-book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by means of Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Fb.

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