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Antipope Victor IV (1138)

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Victor IV
Papacy beganMarch 1138
Papacy ended29 May 1138
PredecessorRoman claimant:
Innocent II
Antipapal claimant:
Anacletus II
SuccessorRoman claimant:
Innocent II
Antipapal claimant:
Victor IV (1159–1164)
Opposed toPope Innocent II
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santi Apostoli
Personal details
Gregorio dei Conti

Victor IV (died after April 1139) was an antipope for a short time, from March to 29 May 1138.[1]


Possibly he was born in Ceccano,[2] as Gregorio dei Conti di Ceccano.

Pope Paschal II created him cardinal-priest of SS. XII Apostoli, at the latest in 1102.[3] He was with the pope at Bèze on 18 February 1107.

Investiture controversy[edit]

In February 1111, King Henry V came to Rome to demand his imperial coronation. On 12 February the ceremony took place at St. Peter's Basilica, and during the welcome at the door, the pope read out a decree, in which he repudiated lay investiture, and ordered all bishops to surrender their imperial fiefs to the emperor immediately and permanently. The king and the indignant bishops retired to discuss the shocking demand, and, as evening approached, the pope refused the coronation. After Mass, he and the cardinals were taken into custody by Henry's armed troops, and on 16 February, after a battle with the Romans in the Borgo, Henry and his captive prelates departed the city. The pope and sixteen cardinals, including Gregory of SS. XII Apostoli, were held captive for sixty-one days, while Henry pressed the pope to agree to his solution to the investiture controversy.[4] On 18 April, at Ponte Mammolo on the Anio River, Gregory was one of the cardinals who were compelled to sign the papal promise to observe the agreement which Henry had drawn up.[5]

In 1111, Pope Paschal delegated Cardinal Gregory to hold a synod in Veroli, to complete business which had begun in the papal court, concerning the crimes of the Archdeacon Grimaldi.[6]

After Paschal's meeting with the emperor, criticism of him grew louder and louder, particularly from among the Gregorians, who saw the "Privilegium"[7] as a betrayal of everything they had been doing to free the Church from the State. Paschal retreated from the scorn and the disdain to Terracina, where he was confronted on 5 July by the cardinals, led by Giovanni of Tusculum and Leo of Ostia. Pascal promised he would fix his error, but instead retreated farther, to the island of Ponza.[8]

Pressure mounted on the pope until he was prevailed upon to summon a synod to deal with the "Privilege". The synod met on 18—23 March 1112, with more than 100 bishops in attendance. The leaders in the movement, who presented the documentary evidence to the Lateran synod, were: the papal legate in Aquitaine, Archbishop Gerard of Angoulême; the bishops Leo of Ostia and Galo of St. Pol-de-Leon; and the cardinals Robert of S. Eusebio and Gregory of SS. XII Apostolorum. It is said that they were responsible for drawing up the final statement, "Privilegium illud."[9] The council emphatically condemned the "privilege" granted by Pope Paschal. In 1112 Paschal deposed him from his title because he had severely criticised (together with cardinal Robert of Sant'Eusebio, also subsequently deposed) Paschal's policy towards the emperor Henry V.[10]

Cardinalate restored[edit]

In February 1119, shortly after the election of Calixtus II was announced in Rome, he and Cardinal Robert, along with numerous other schismatics, wrote to the new pope, congratulating that his election was neither simoniac nor motivated by "the tumour of ambition", and begging his pardon and absolution.[11] Gregory and Robert both knew Archbishop Guy de Bourgogne of Vienne, when he attended the Roman synod of March 1112. They may also have known of Archbishop Guy's synod, held in October 1112, in which the council called Pope Paschal a simpleton (quod rex extorsit a vestra simplicitate) and excommunicated Henry V.[12] Calixtus restored Gregory to his cardinalate, though his earliest subscription of a papal document is dated 6 April 1123; his signature in second place seems to indicate that he was restored without loss of seniority.[13] He continued to subscribe to papal documents until the summer before the death of Pope Calixtus on 13 December 1124.[14]

Cardinal Gregory also regularly subscribed documents for the new pope, Honorius II (Cardinal Lamberto, Bishop of Ostia). He was at the Lateran in 1125, 1126, 1127, 1128, and 1129.[15]

On 11 April 1126, after a year-long contest of wills, Pope Honorius II excommunicated the abbot of Montecassino, Oderisio II (1123—1126), and all the monks in his faction.[16] When the other faction attempted to conduct an election for his successor, as they claimed was their canonical right, civil war broke out in the Montecassino community between the supporters of Oderisio and the supporters of abbot Nicola (1126—1127). In the crisis, intending to exert papal control over a monastery which was far too independent, Pope Honorius sent Cardinal Gregory of SS. XII Apostolorum to Montecassino, with orders to sort out the situation and have elected the pope's candidate, Senioretto, the Provost of the monastery at Capua.[17] This merely fired up Oderisius to hire troops and destroy the Rocca di Bantra, which was held by supporters of abbot Nicola. The election was not successfully managed by Cardinal Gregorio, and, in 1127, Honorius appointed Cardinal Conrad of S. Pudenziana to get Senioretto elected abbot, and then Cardinal Matteo, Bishop of Albano. After the surrender of Oderisio to the pope and the expulsion of Nicola for depleting the church treasury, a proper canonical election, achieved by papal intrusion, finally took place in July 1127.[18]


In the papal election of 14 February 1130, he joined the obedience of Anacletus II (1130–1138). In February 1130, Gregory was one of the twenty-eight cardinals who wrote to Lothair, King of the Romans, explaining the events surrounding the papal election of 1130, and blaming Cardinal Aimeric for having attempted to carry out a coup-d'état.[19] On 27 March 1130, Cardinal Gregory, along with thirteen other cardinals, subscribed a bull of Pope Anacletus confirming the privileges and property of the monastery of S. Paul outside-the-walls in Rome.[20]

After the death of Pope Anacletus on 25 January 1138, his cardinals were in some uncertainty as to how to proceed. They, therefore, took counsel, first with the family of the Pierleoni, their most important supporters among the Roman aristocracy, and then with King Roger II of Sicily, their most important political ally in Italy. Robert advised them to hold the election. It was to his advantage to have another pope to oppose Innocent and Lothair.[21] The cardinals, therefore, assembled for the election.

Cardinal Gregory was chosen as Anacletus' successor in mid-March 1138, taking the name Victor IV.[22] However, through the negotiation skills of Bernard of Clairvaux, over a period of eight weeks, he was induced to make his submission to Pope Innocent II on 29 May 1138. Innocent had also bribed the brothers Pierleoni to change sides.[23] Innocent initially restored him as cardinal of SS. Apostoli, but in the Second Lateran Council in April 1139 all the former adherents of Anacletus II were condemned and deposed,[24] despite explicit promises given by Innocent.[25] Then Gregory retired to the priorate of S. Eusebio in Fontanella.[citation needed] The date of his death is not recorded. A successor in the title of SS. Apostoli, Hildebrand, appears for the first time on January 4, 1157.[26]


  1. ^ Johannes Matthias Brixius, Die Mitglieder des Kardinalkollegiums von 1130—1181 (Berlin: R. Trenkel 1912), p. 33.
  2. ^ Hüls, p. 150, with note 1: "Möglicherweise stammt er aus Ceccano." See: Pasquale Cayro (1802), Discorso storico sulla città d'Anagni metropoli un tempo degl'Ernici (Naples: Antonio Pagi), p. 89, who assigns the attribution to Ciaconius (Alfonso Chacón).
  3. ^ Hüls, p. 150.
  4. ^ Gregorovius IV, part 2, pp. 338-347.
  5. ^ Hüls, p. 150. Gregorovius, pp. 349-350. Georg Pertz (ed.), Monumenta Germaniae historica. Legum. Tomus I (Hannover: Hahn 1835), pp. 142-146, no. 93.
  6. ^ Hüls, p. 150. Jean Mabillon & Michel Germain (1687), Museum Italicum seu Collectio veterum scriptorum ex bibliothecis Italicis (Paris: Edmundi Martin, Johannem Boudot, & Stephanum Martin), Tomus I, pp. 242-243.
  7. ^ The "privilege" granted the emperor the right to invest a newly elected bishop with the ring and the staff of office before he was consecrated by the appropriate church officials. Pertz, Monumenta Germaniae historica. Legum. Tomus I, pp. 144-145, no. 96.
  8. ^ Gregorovius, pp. 354-355.
  9. ^ Charles Joseph Hefele, Histoire des conciles, second edition, Tome V (Paris: Letouzey 1912), pp. 532-535. J. D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, editio novissima, Tomus XXI (in Latin) (Venice: A. Zatta 1776), p. 52.
  10. ^ Hüls, p. 150.
  11. ^ Edmundus Martène et Ursinus Durand, Veterum Scriptorum et monumentorum amplissima collectio Tomus I (Parisiis 1724), pp. 649-650.
  12. ^ Gregorovius, p. 359 with note 1.
  13. ^ Bullarum Diplomatum et Privilegiorum Sanctorum Romanorum Pontificium editio Taurensis Tomus II (Turin: S. Franco 1865), p. 335.
  14. ^ Hüls, p. 152, notes 3—7.
  15. ^ Hüls, p. 152, notes 8-11; 14-17. The latest of these is dated 19 April 1129.
  16. ^ "Chronicon Casiniense" Book IV, ch. 88, in: Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptorum Tomus VIII (Hannover: Hahn 1846), p. 806. Luigi Tosti, Storia della Badia di Monte-Cassino Tomo II (Napoli: F. Cirelli 1842), pp. 45-48.
  17. ^ "Chronicon Casiniense", p. 807, quoting the speech made by Cardinal Gregory to the monks assembled in Chapter.
  18. ^ "Chronicon Casiniense", ch. 94, p. 809-810.
  19. ^ Johann M. Watterich (editor), Pontificum Romanorum qui fuerunt inde ab exeunte saeculo IX usque ad finem saeculi XIII vitae ab aequalibus conscriptae Tomus II (Lipsiae Veit 1862) pp. 185-187.
  20. ^ Jaffé, p. 913, no. 8373. J.P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae Latinae Tomus CLXXIX (Paris 1899), p. 695.
  21. ^ Falco of Benevento, the "Beneventan Chronicle", in: Watterich II, p. 247-248: "Cum praedictus Anacletus mortuus esset, cardinales sui, consilio accepto a fratribus ipsius Anacleti, ad regem misit Rogerium ipsius Anacleti mortem significantes, ut si ei placeret, papam constituerent. Rex itaque ut domini papae Innocentii partem impediret, voluntati eorum assensit, et papam eligendi potestatem dedit."
  22. ^ Jaffé, p. 919.
  23. ^ Petrus Diaconus, "Chronica Montis Cassinensis", in: Watterich II, p. 178: "Innocentius autem immensa in filios Petri Leonis et in his qui eis adhaerebant pecunia profligata, illos ad suam partem attraxit;" and MGH Scriptorum VII, p. 844. Gregorovius IV, p. 440-441.
  24. ^ Hefele, Histoire des conciles V, part 1, pp. 723-724.
  25. ^ "Petrus Diaconus, p. 844: "...sacramento a parte illius prius accepto, ne illos officio privaret, ne(c) bonis diminuerit." Watterich II, p. 248.
  26. ^ Brixius, Die Mitglieder, p. 136. Cardinal Hildebrand had previously been Deacon of S. Eustachio, Brixius, p. 142.


  • Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1896), History of Rome in the Middle Ages. Volume IV. part 2, second edition (London: George Bell, 1896).
  • Hüls, Rudolf (1977). Kardinal, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049–1130, Tübingen: Max Niemeyer 1977. (in German)
  • Jaffé, Philippus (1885). Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita Ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII (in Latin). Vol. Tomus primus (second ed.). Leipzig: Veit.
  • Klewitz, Hans Walter (1957). Reformpapsttum und Kardinalkolleg (in German). Darmstadt.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

External links[edit]

  • Falconieri, Tommaso di Carpegna (2020). "Vittore IV, antipapa." Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Volume 99 (Trecani 2020) (in Italian)