A little history about the Avignon papacy

Avignon is a town where you LITERALLY feel like you have stepped back in time – oh and where women walk their cats on leashes….I am a horrible person and only have these two photos saved from my short time in Avignon and it’s just from my 21st birthday shenanigans…. 

Palais des Papes

  • One of the largest and most important gothic buildings in Europe.
  • Palais Vieux (old palace): instruction of Pope Benedict XII; by completion it occupied 2.6 acres; it was very expensive, took lots of the papacy’s income to build.
  • Palais Neuf (new palace): was expanded during popes Clement VI, Innocent VI, and Urban V; more towers were built and decorated with frescoes, tapestries, paintings, sculptures, and wooden ceilings. 
  • During the French Revolution (1789) it was seized and sacred by Revolutionary forces. It was taken over by the Napoleonic French state for use of a military barracks and prison. Lots of destruction until it became a national museum in 1906. Since then there has been restoration throughout. 

Avignon Papacy: from 1309-1378 seven (French) popes in Avignon caused conflicts between the papacy, Rome, and the French crown.

  • 1305: Clement V became pope and moved the court to a papal enclave at Avignon in 1309.
  • 1316-34: Pope John XXII
  • 1334-42: Pope Benedict XII
  • 1342-52: Pope Clement VI
  • 1352-62: Pope Innocent VI
  • 1362-70: Pope Urban V
  • 1370-78: Pope Gregory XI who returned to Rome
  • And then the Western Schism….
  • After 1378 there was a 2nd line of popes (anti-popes) through 1417

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