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Victor IV

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Two antipopes of this name.

I. Cardinal Gregory Conti, elected in opposition to Innocent II in the middle of March, 1138, by the partisans of the Pierleoni family, as successor to Anacletus II. At the end of two months, however, Gregory submitted on 29 May to Innocent and renounced his office.

II. Octavius, Cardinal of St. Cecilia, d. at Lucca, 20 April, 1164. He was elected 7 Sept., 1159, by a small minority of the cardinals (four or five), the clergy of St. Peter's, and the Roman populace, while at the same time the majority of the college of cardinals elected the chancellor Rolando who assumed the title of Alexander III. Octavian belonged to one of the most powerful Roman families (Counts of Tusculum), had been cardinal since 1138, and was very popular on account of his liberality, accessibility, and splendour of living. He was considered a great friend of the Germans, and rested his hopes on the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Yet it is not to be assumed that the emperor had desired his election; Rolando was certainly not agreeable to him, yet neither was it to his interest to have an antipope. As a matter of fact the emperor was at first neutral and called upon the bishops not to take sides; the decision, the emperor said, should be reserved for the action of the Church. As the chief protector of the Church, therefore, he convoked a synod at Pavia (February, 1160). It decided, as was to be expected, for Victor, and pronounced an anathema upon Alexander, while Alexander on his side excommunicated the emperor. The attempt to secure Victor's recognition was never completely successful in Germany, where Bishop Eberhard of Salzburg was his principal opponent. France and England sided with Alexander; Spain, Hungary, Ireland, and Norway followed their example. King Louis VII of France wavered, indeed, once more in 1162, but the disastrous meeting with the emperor at Saint-Jean-de- Losne had as its result that the king held firmly to the obedience of Alexander. During the years 1162-65 Alexander lived in France, and from 1163 the pope exerted himself to gain more of Germany for his cause. All uncertainty came to and end at the death of Victor IV. His successor was Paschal III.


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