Pope Alexander III

Pope Alexander IIIAlso known as

  • Orlando Bandinelli
  • Rolandus Bandinelli


Canonist, studying law under Gratian. Taught at Bologna, Italy. Created cardinal by Pope Eugene III. Advisor and papal chancellor to Pope Adrian IV. Elected pope; the vote was almost unanimous.

Alexander’s papal election led some cardinals to elect an anti-pope, Victor IV who was supported by Germany and some Lombards. The schism continued through anti-popes Paschal III and Calixtus III until 1178.

In 1162, Alexander was forced into exile in France by Emperor Frederick I. In his long struggle with the emperor, the pope was aided by the Lombard League, which named the town of Alessandria for him. In 1174, he received the penance of King Henry II of England for the murder of Saint Thomas Becket. Following the Battle of Legnano in 1176, Frederick was finally forced to submit to papal authority.

Alexander convened the Third Lateran Council. He issued many decretals, established the procedure for canonizing saints, inaugurated the two-thirds rule for papal elections, protected universities, and was one of the most distinguished champions of ecclesiastical independence in the Middle Ages.


Papal Ascension


MLA Citation

  • “Pope Alexander III“. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 October 2018. Web. 28 January 2022. <>