Election of Alexander III as Pope Hot

Election of Alexander III as Pope

Pope Alexander III

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Alexander III is elected pope. Born Rolando (or Orlando) of Siena in Siena, Italy, his papacy will be marred by the fact that a large minority of cardinals at his election actually prefer Cardinal Octavian, who adopts the papal name Victor IV.

This will create a new line of antipopes. Succeeding Victor will be Paschal III (1164-1168) and Calixtus III (1168-1178). These antipopes will have the support of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, a ruler whom Alexander had actively opposed while he was a cardinal and who came into conflict with Alexander's predecessor, Adrian IV.

It will not be until the Peace of Venice in 1177 that Frederick finally accepts Alexander III as pope, allowing him to return to Rome. In 1179, he convenes the Third Lateran Council, which he intends to use to enact a number of important reforms. Among its decisions will be that no pope can be elected without receiving at least two-thirds of the cardinals' ballots, thus preventing the same discord that troubles his reign.

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