Antipope Anacletus II
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Pietro was born to the powerful Roman family of the Pierleoni, the son of the Consul Pier Leoni. One of his great-great grandparents, Benedictus, maybe Baruch in Hebrew, was a Jew who converted into Christianity. As a second son with ambitions, Pietro was destined for an ecclesiastical career. He studied in Paris and entered the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny. Later he went to Rome and occupied several important positions.
In 1130, Pope Honorius II lay dying and the cardinals decided that they would entrust the election to a commission of eight men, led by papal chancellor Haimeric, who had his candidate Cardinal Gregory Papareschi hastily elected as Pope Innocent II. He was consecrated on February 14, the day after Honorius' death. On the same day, the other cardinals announced that Innocent had not been canonically elected and chose Cardinal Pietro Pierleoni, a Roman whose family were the enemy of Haimeric's supporters the Frangipani. Anacletus' supporters were a mixture of anyone opposed to Haimeric making him powerful enough to take control of Rome while Innocent was forced to flee north of the Alps.
However, north of the Alps, Innocent gained the crucial support of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter the Venerable, and other prominent reformers who personally helped him to gain recognition from European rulers such as Emperor Lothar III, leaving Anacletus with few patrons. Anacletus had been a relatively acceptable candidate for the Papacy, being well-respected, so rumors centering on his descent from a Jewish convert were spread to blacken his reputation. Among Anacletus' supporters were duke William X of Aquitaine, who decided for Anacletus against the will of his own bishops, and the powerful Roger II of Sicily, whose title of "King of Sicily" Anacletus had approved by papal bull after his accession.
By 1135 Anacletus' position was weak despite their aid, but the schism only ended with his death in 1138, after which Gregorio Conti as elected as Victor IV but submitted to Innocent within a month. Innocent returned to Rome and ruled without opposition. Innocent II quickly convened the Second Lateran Council in 1139 and reinforced the Church's teachings against usury, clerical marriage, and other problems.
Though the Pierleoni family mostly submitted to Innocent and his successors, Anacletus' brother Giordano, who was then leader of the Commune of Rome, actively opposed Innocent's successors in the following decade.
- George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendants of the Popes, (McFarland & Company, Inc., 1998), 24.
- Marjorie Chibnall, The Normans, (Wiley & Sons, 2006), 86.
- Stroll, Mary (1987). The Jewish Pope: Ideology and Politics in the Papal Schism of 1130. New York: E. J. Brill. ISBN 9004085904.