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Antipope Alexander V

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Alexander V
Antipope Alexander V (1409-1410)
Antipope Alexander V (1409-1410)
Papacy began June 26, 1409
Papacy ended May 3, 1410
Predecessor Benedict XIII (Avignon claimant) Gregory XII (Roman claimant)
Successor Antipope John XXIII
Opposed to Benedict XIII (Avignon claimant) Gregory XII (Roman claimant)
Personal details
Birth name Petros Philargos
Born 1339
Neapoli, Crete, Republic of Venice
Died May 3, 1410
Bologna, Papal States
Nationality Greek
Denomination Roman Catholic
Other Popes and Antipopes named Alexander
Papal styles of
Antipope Alexander V
C o a Alexandre V (Pisa)
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Unknown

Alexander V (also Peter of Candia or Peter Phillarges, ca. 1339 – May 3, 1410) was antipope during the Western Schism (1378–1417). He reigned from June 26, 1409, to his death in 1410 and is officially regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as an antipope.


Alexander V was born in Crete in 1339 of Greek descent.[1][2] He was originally named Petros Philargos, but is often know by the Italian version of this name, Pietro Philarges.[3] He soon entered the Franciscan order, and his abilities were such that he was sent to study at the universities of Oxford and Paris. While he was in Paris the Western Schism occurred; Philarges supported Pope Urban VI (1378–89). He settled in Lombardy, where, thanks to the favour of Giangaleazzo Visconti, the Duke of Milan, he became bishop, first of Piacenza (1386), then of Vicenza (1387), then of Novara (1389), and finally Archbishop of Milan (1402).

On being created cardinal by Pope Innocent VII (1404–06) in 1405, he devoted all his energies to the reunion of the Church, in spite of the two rival popes. He was one of the promoters of the Council of Pisa and his politicking incurred the displeasure of Pope Gregory XII (1406–15), who ordered Philarges deprived of both his archbishopric and his cardinalatial dignity.

At the Council of Pisa (from March 25, 1409), the assembled cardinals chose Philarges as the new prelate for a chair they presumed was vacant. He was crowned on June 26, 1409, as Alexander V, making him in reality the third rival pontiff.


During his ten-month reign, Alexander V's aim was to extend his obedience with the assistance of France, and, notably, of Duke Louis II of Anjou, upon whom he conferred the investiture of the Kingdom of Sicily, having removed it from Ladislas of Naples. He proclaimed and promised rather than effected a certain number of reforms: the abandonment of the rights of "spoils" and "procurations," and the re-establishment of the system of canonical election in the cathedral churches and principal monasteries. He also gave out papal favours with a lavish hand, from which the mendicant orders benefitted especially.


Death came upon Alexander V suddenly while he was with Cardinal Baldassare Cossa at Bologna, on the night of 3 May – 4 May 1410. His remains were placed in the church of St. Francis at Bologna. A rumour spread that he had been poisoned by Cossa, who did succeed him as Antipope John XXIII (1410–15). Whether Alexander V was a pope or an antipope is still a matter of debate, although he is not listed by the Vatican as a pope.


  1. Hughes, Philip (1947). A History of the Church: The Revolt Against the Church: Aquinas to Luther Volume 3. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 533. ISBN 0722079834. "Alexander V was Greek (Cretan)" 
  2. Holton, David (1991). Literature and society in Renaissance Crete. Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 052132579X. "After studying at Oxford and Padua (1357) he taught as a professor in the University of Paris, and at the end of his end of his career was elected pope as Alexander V (1409—10), the only Greek to ascend the papal throne since early medieval times" 
  3. "Alexander (V).". Retrieved 2009-09-27. "Alexander (V) antipope e byname Peter Of Candia, Italian Pietro Di Candia, original Greek name Petros Philargos born c. 1339, Candia, Crete died May 3, 1410, Bologna, Papal States antipope from 1409 to 1410." 

External links

Popes of the Western Schism
Antipope John XXIIIAntipope John XXIIIPope Alexander VPope Gregory XIIPope Innocent VIIPope Innocent VIIBoniface IXUrban VIAvignon Pope Benedict XIIIAvignon Pope Clement VIIPope Martin VPope Gregory XI

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the publicАляксандр V, антыпапа ca:Alexandre Veo:Aleksandro la 5-a (kontraŭpapo)gl:Alexandre V, antipapa hr:Aleksandar V., protupapala:Alexander V (antipapa) hu:V. Sándor (ellenpápa)ja:アレクサンデル5世 (対立教皇)pt:Antipapa Alexandre V ru:Александр V (антипапа) sv:Alexander V uk:Олександр V (антипапа) zh:歷山五世

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