Antipope Benedict XIV Biography, Life, Interesting Facts

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Antipope Benedict XIV

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Died c. 1429.

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There were two Antipope Benedict XIV during the fifteenth century A.D. A person named Bernard Garnier used the name Benedict XIV for the first time. He became Antipope in 1424 A.D. and held the post until his death in 1429. A man named Jean Carrier was his successor. He became Antipope in 1430 A.D. and remained in the office until 1437. He too used the name, Benedict XIV.

First Benedict XIV

Bernard Garnier was elected as Pope by a small faction of Cardinals opposed to the election of Martin V as the new Pope. Council of Constance elected Martin V as the new Pope deposing the incumbent Antipope Benedict XIII in 1417. With the election of Martin V as Pope, the Western Schism between Avignon and Rome came to an end. Deposed Antipope Benedict XIII tried his best to protect the Western Schism from his castle in Peñíscola in Valencia. He regenerated his court by appointing four new Cardinals before his death in 1423.

King Alfonso of Aragon was also in favor of protracting the Schism. The College of Cardinals loyal to King Alfonso thus elected Clement VIII as the new Antipope in 1423. He held the post until his abdication in 1429 A.D. One of Benedict XIII’s Cardinals, Jean Carrier did not attend the conference held to elect the Antipope as he was not invited.

He, along with other Cardinals, chose Bernard Garnier as the latest claimant to the papacy. Upon his election, Garnier became Benedict XIV, and as he had to counter an already serving antipope in the form of Clement VIII, he was also termed as Antipope.

Very few people within the church supported the candidature of Garnier as a claimant to the papacy. Thus, he tried to avoid public glare by conducting his office very secretively. He did not even disclose the location of his residence due to security reasons.

As such, he became known to the public as the ‘Hidden Pope.’ He did not have many followers. His reign ended with his death in 1429. Garnier was the Sacristan of Rodez, County of Rodez, near Toulouse before his elevation as Antipope.


Second Benedict XIV

Jean Carrier, the cardinal responsible for the election of Garnier as Antipope Benedict XIV, elected himself as the new Antipope upon the death of Garnier. He too became known as Antipope Benedict XIV. Antipope Clement VIII arrested Jean Carrier in 1433 and imprisoned him in the Castle of Foix, County of Foix, Gascony. Carrier died in captivity in that castle. He was formerly the Archdeacon of Rodez before becoming the second Benedict XIV.                              

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