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Pope Alexander V

AKA Peter Philargès

Born: c. 1339
Birthplace: Crete
Died: 4-May-1410
Location of death: Bologna, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Roman Catholic Pope, 1409-10

Alexander V, given name Peter Philargès, Roman Catholic Pope (or Antipope) from 1409-10, was born in Crete of unknown parents and entered the Order of St. Francis, for which, as the other mendicant orders, he later manifested his affection in a striking manner. He was a member in turn of the universities of Oxford and Paris, and finally settled in Lombardy, where, thanks to the favor of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, he became bishop, first of Piacenza, then of Vincenza, then of Novara, and afterwards Archbishop of Milan. On being created cardinal by Pope Innocent VII he devoted all of his energies from 1408 onwards to the realization of the union of the church, in spite of the two rival popes. He was one of the promoters of the council of Pisa, and after that assembly had declared Gregory XII and Benedict XIII deposed, the cardinals assembled in conclave thought they could not do better than crown with the tiara this cosmopolitan prelate, who had an equal mastery of Latin and the Greek languages, and was renowned not only for his learning in theology but for his affability (June 26, 1409). As a matter of fact, the only effect of this election was to aggravate the schism by adding a third to the number of rival pontiffs. During his short reign of ten months Alexander V's aim was to extend his obedience with the assistance of France, and notably, of the duke Louis II of Anjou, upon whom he conferred the investiture of the Kingdom of Sicily, together with the title of gonfalonier of the church. He proclaimed and promised rather than effected a certain number of reforms: the abandonment of the "spoils" and "procurations", the re-establishment of the system of canonical election in the cathedral churches and principal monasteries, etc. But death came upon him almost without warning in Bologna, in the night of the 3rd-4th May 1410. A rumor went about that he had been poisoned by the cardinal Baldassare Cossa, impatient to be his successor, who succeeded him under the name of John XXIII. The crime has, however, never been proved, though a Milanese physician, who performed the task of dissecting the corpse of Peter Philargès, seems to have thought he found traces of poison. The Roman Catholic Church regards Alexander V as an Antipope.

    Roman Catholic Pope 26-Jun-1409 to 4-May-1410

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