The Pirate Pope - The Pope John XXIII (Baldassarre Cossa) - Historical Curiosities | Summary and Q&A

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January 20, 1970
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The Pirate Pope - The Pope John XXIII (Baldassarre Cossa) - Historical Curiosities

TL;DR

Pope John XXIII, also known as Baldassare Cosa, was a former pirate who rose to power during the Great Western Schism and became an anti-pope before being forced to abdicate.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Baldassare Cosa go from being a pirate to working for the Catholic Church?

After his family experienced financial problems, Cosa turned to piracy during the war. Afterward, he studied law and became involved in legal matters related to the church, eventually working for Pope Boniface II.

Q: What was the Great Western Schism?

The Great Western Schism was a religious crisis in the Catholic Church between 1378 and 1417, during which there were competing popes in Avignon and Rome. Cosa became the leader of a group of Cardinals trying to end the schism.

Q: What was the outcome of the Council of Constance?

During the Council of Constance, all three popes were forced to abdicate, including Cosa as the anti-pope John XXIII. He was captured, imprisoned, and later released after a ransom was paid by the Medici family.

Q: What happened to Cosa after his release from prison?

After his release, Cosa submitted to the new pope, Martin V, and became Cardinal Bishop of Frascati, ending his tumultuous journey as Pope John XXIII.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Baldassare Cosa, born on a Neapolitan island in 1370, experienced financial hardships and turned to piracy during the Angavan Neapolitan War.

  • After the war, he studied law and entered the religious world, eventually working for Pope Boniface II.

  • During the Great Western Schism, Cosa became the leader of a group of seven Cardinals, deposing Pope Gregory XII and the anti-pope Benedict XIII and becoming the anti-pope John XXIII.

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