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Paschal III, Antipope


Pontificate: April 22, 1164 to Sept. 20, 1168. Born into a noble family, Guido of Crema was a prominent member of the papal curia as cardinal priest of St. Callisto, and was arguably the strongest supporter of antipope Victor IV (115964) among the curia. Guido was elected successor to Victor after the latter died suddenly at Lucca. His election (April 22, 1164) was highly irregular because only two schismatic cardinals, two bishops, and the prefect of Rome participated. Nonetheless, Paschal was consecrated at Lucca by the bishop of Liège on April 26, 1164. His election and consecration were instigated by one of Frederick I Barbarossa's (115290) most trusted advisors: Rainald of Dassel, the emperor's chancellor for Italy and the archbishop of Cologne (115967). For this reason Frederick soon ratified Paschal's election, even though it was done without his advice.

At this time Frederick was losing support among the German clergy. Archbishop Eberhard of Salzburg had long opposed imperial policy toward the papacy, but upon the death of Victor IV the archbishops of Mainz, Trèves, and Magdeburg also came out against Frederick. These were influential prelates who believed that an important opportunity to end the schism had been quashed by the emperor's support of Paschal. Yet the emperor managed to turn this opposition to his advantage. He took an oath at the diet of Würzburg (May 22, 1165) never to recognize Alexander III (115981) and then demanded that all German clergy do the same. Those clergy who were present followed Frederick in his oath; other clergy who continued to recognize Alexander had their lands confiscated by the emperor and given to laymen. Thus by the end of 1167, Frederick had replaced in his territories (i.e., most of Germany, northern Italy, and Burgundy) virtually every churchman who had sided with Alexander with supporters of Paschal.

For his part, Paschal was forced to reside in Viterbo, since he could not remain in Rome because of local pressure from the communes and others who opposed imperial control of the papacy. He appears to have approved Frederick's request for the canonization of Charlemagne, who was elevated to sainthood by Rainald of Dassel on Jan. 8, 1166. In July 1167, after a difficult campaign through Lombardy, Frederick entered Rome and marched on St. Peter's with Paschal at his side. Pope Alexander was forced to flee for another part of Rome, and eventually to Benevento. On July 22 Paschal was formally enthroned in St. Peter's and actively assumed his role as pope. On July 30 he consecrated over a dozen bishops and patriarchs, and on August 1 solemnly crowned Frederick and Beatrice as emperor and empress. Yet, Paschal's usefulness to the emperor had passed and Frederick was already discussing the possibility of both pope and antipope stepping aside in favor of a new election.

But a few weeks later when an outbreak of malaria in Rome decimated Frederick's army, he was forced to break camp and march north to the German frontier. Rainald of Dassel, Frederick's trusted advisor and Paschal's great supporter, was among the two thousand who perished. Paschal was forced to go north with Frederick and did not return to Italy until early 1168. At that time the Romans only accepted him grudgingly, probably because the city was negotiating for the release of many citizens held captive by the emperor. Furthermore, the Lombards were challenging the imperial presence more effectively than ever before. He died on Sept. 20, 1168, a few weeks after retiring to a secure part of the city because of fear of a future Roman senate election that might favor Pope Alexander. Although the force of the schism had largely been spent, Frederick still found an imperial antipope useful in dealing with Alexander and so allowed Callistus III (116878) to be named Paschal's successor.

Bibliography: l. duchesne, ed. Liber Pontificalis (Paris 188692; repr. 195557) 2.41020. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum Romanorum (Leipzig 188588; repr. Graz 1956) 2.42629. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts (Munich 195459) 24858, 27378, 608ff. m. baldwin, Alexander III and the Twelfth Century (Glen Rock, NJ 1968). w. ullmann, A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages (London 1972). t. reuter, The Papal Schism, the Empire and the West, 115969 (Diss. Exeter 1975). j. n. d. kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 17879. c. morris, The Papal Monarchy: The Western Church from 10501250 (Oxford 1989). i. s. robinson, The Papacy 10731198: Continuity and Innovation (Cambridge 1990). g. schwaiger, Lexikon des Mittelalters (Munich 1993) 6.1753-4.

[p. m. savage]

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