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Pisa, Council of

Pisa, Council of, 1409, unrecognized council of the Roman Catholic Church. It was summoned to end the Great Schism (see Schism, Great ) by members of the colleges of cardinals of the two rivals, Gregory XII (in Rome) and Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna , in Avignon). The plan was to depose both men claiming to be pope and elect a new one. The council had a wide international attendance. It declared both popes to be heretical and schismatic and therefore not popes; the cardinals proceeded to elect Pietro Cardinal Philarghi as Alexander V. This move served to complicate the schism with a third claimant rather than to dissolve it. The council first gave quasi-official expression to the conciliar theory, i.e., that councils are supreme in the church, a notion that became prominent again at Constance and at Basel (see Constance, Council of ; Basel, Council of ). The lack of recognition toward the council rests on several features; e.g., most of the cardinals involved owed their creation to popes whom they declared to be holding office illegally.

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