Antipope Benedict XIV

Antipope Benedict XIV

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Benedict XIV was the name used by two closely related minor antipope
Antipope
An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

s of the 15th century. The first, Bernard Garnier became antipope
Antipope
An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

 in 1424 and died ca. 1429. The second, Jean Carrier, became antipope ca. 1430 and apparently left office, whether by death or resignation, by 1437.

Neither of these claimants was supported by more than a very small faction within the Church. They claimed to be the successors to Benedict XIII
Antipope Benedict XIII
Benedict XIII, born Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor , known as in Spanish, was an Aragonese nobleman, who is officially considered by the Catholic Church to be an antipope....

, one of the parties to the great Papal Schism. In 1417, the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

 resolved the Schism, proclaiming Martin V the new Pope and demanding that Benedict XIII renounce his claim. Benedict XIII, however, remained at a castle in Peñíscola
Peñíscola
Peníscola or Peñíscola is a municipality in the province of Castellón, Valencian Community, Spain. The town is located on the Costa del Azahar, north of the Serra d'Irta along the Mediterranean coast...

 (kingdom of Valencia
Kingdom of Valencia
The Kingdom of Valencia , located in the eastern shore of the Iberian Peninsula, was one of the component realms of the Crown of Aragon. When the Crown of Aragon merged by dynastic union with the Crown of Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Valencia became a component realm of the...

) and continued to maintain supporters. He died in 1423, but, the day before his death, he created four cardinals loyal to him, in order to ensure his succession. Three of these cardinals met and elected Antipope Clement VIII
Antipope Clement VIII
Clement VIII was one of the antipopes of the Avignon line, reigning from 10 June 1423 to 26 July 1429. He was born between 1369–1370, as Gil Sanchez Muñoz y Carbón, and died on 28 December 1446....

. However, one of Benedict XIII's cardinals, Jean Carrier, disputed the validity of this election. Carrier, acting as the College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals
The College of Cardinals is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church.A function of the college is to advise the pope about church matters when he summons them to an ordinary consistory. It also convenes on the death or abdication of a pope as a papal conclave to elect a successor...

 by himself, elected Bernard Garnier, who took the name Pope Benedict XIV, instead. Carrier was the archdeacon of Rodez
Rodez
Rodez is a town and commune in southern France, in the Aveyron department, of which it is the capital. Its inhabitants are called Ruthénois.-History:Existing from at least the 5th century BC, Rodez was founded by the Celts...

, near Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

, and Garnier had been the sacristan
Sacristan
A sacristan is an officer who is charged with the care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents.In ancient times many duties of the sacristan were performed by the doorkeepers , later by the treasurers and mansionarii...

 of Rodez.

Garnier conducted his office secretly and was known as the "hidden pope": a letter from the Count of Armagnac
Count of Armagnac
The following is a list of rulers of the county of Armagnac:-House of Armagnac:*William Count of Fézensac and Armagnac ?– 960*Bernard the Suspicious, First count privative of Armagnac 960– ?*Gerald I Trancaléon ? –1020*Bernard I Tumapaler 1020–1061...

 to Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...

 indicates that only Carrier knew Benedict XIV's location. Garnier's reign as Benedict XIV ended at his death in 1429 or 1430, although he named four of his own cardinals, one of whom was named Jean Farald. Garnier's cardinals chose Jean Carrier as their new pope. Carrier, however, had been captured and imprisoned by Antipope Clement VIII. Carrier reigned in captivity and also styled himself Pope Benedict XIV.

Some imagine that cardinals loyal to him elected a series of increasingly marginal antipopes in 1437 and 1470. These popes never existed.