noun \ˈan-ti-ˌpōp\

Definition of ANTIPOPE

:  one elected or claiming to be pope in opposition to the pope canonically chosen

Origin of ANTIPOPE

Middle English antepope, from Middle French antipape, from Medieval Latin antipapa, from anti- + papa pope
First Known Use: 15th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In Roman Catholicism, a person who tries to take the place of the legitimately elected pope. Some antipopes were elected by factions in doctrinal disagreements, and others were chosen in double elections arbitrated by secular authorities or picked as third candidates in an effort to resolve such disputes. The earliest of the antipopes appeared in the 3rd century. During the Investiture Controversy, Henry IV appointed an antipope, and several more antipopes claimed the papal office over the next 200 years as a result of disputed elections or further struggles with secular rulers. The principal age of the antipope came after the papal court was moved from Rome to Avignon in the 14th century (see Avignon papacy), an event that led to the Western Schism of 1378–1417. During this era, the popes now considered canonical were elected in Rome, and the antipopes were elected in Avignon.


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