Pedro de Luna

[Pedro de Luna]
Also known as

  • Benedict XIII


Anti-pope from 1394 to 1417. A cardinaldeacon, he assisted at the election of Pope Urban VI, but later joined the French cardinals when they elected the anti-pope Robert of Geneva (Clement VII), falsely claiming that Urban‘s election had been secured under pressure from the Roman people. The anti-pope sent Pedro as legate to the kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, Navarre, and Portugal, and later to France, Scotland, Belgium, England, and Ireland, in order to gain favour for the Avignon party. When Robert died, Pedro de Luna became a priest, was consecrated bishop, and elected pope by the Avignon faction in 1394. In 1407, he and Pope Gregory XII decided to meet at Savona, Italy and settle the schism, but the latter failed to put in an appearance. The kingdoms now began to turn against the anti-pope, who, backed by Scotland, Aragon, Castile, and Sicily, refused to accept the sentence of deposition from the Council of Pisa in 1409, insisting that a council was not superior to a pope. The council made matters worse by electing another anti-pope, Pietro Philarghi (Alexander V), on whose death in the following year they elected Baldassare Cossa (John XXIII). The latter, forced by Sigismund, King of the Romans, convened the Council of Constance. The council met, received the submission of Cossa and the abdication by proxy of Gregory XII, but Pedro de Luna fled to Spain, still asserting his claim to the see. His action proved him a schismatic, and the Council deposed him in 1417, but he died unsubmissive. At the time of the schism, half of Europe believed Pedro de Luna to be the legitimate pontiff, and his claims were vigorously supported by Saint Vincent Ferrer.