- ANACLETUS II, PETER PIERLEONE°
- ANACLETUS II, PETER PIERLEONE° (c. 1090–1137), in the official church view an anti-pope, outside the apostolic succession. His great-grandfather Benedict (originally probably Baruch), adopted Christianity and married a Christian noblewoman of Roman lineage. The family eponym, "Pierleone," combines the names of Benedict's son Leo and his grandson Peter. Wealth and powerful connections made the Pierleone family highly influential in Rome. In the turbulent politics of the day they sided with the Reform party in the church. The family's personal ambitions were advanced when Peter (son of Peter) was created a cardinal around 1120. In 1123 he represented Pope Calixtus II as legate to France, where he presided over councils held at Chartres and Beauvais. On the death of Pope Honorius II in 1130 the cardinals, fearing an outbreak of the popular rioting which often accompanied the election of a new pope, decided to keep the death of the pope and the impending election secret for a few days, presumably until Neapolitan troops could arrive to maintain order. A number of them, however, were hostile to the possible election of Peter Pierleone, broke their promise of delay, and elected one of their own number, who assumed the name Innocent II. The other cardinals, more numerous than their rivals, thereupon elected Pierleone, who took the name Anacletus. The schism shook Christendom. bernard of clairvaux , the most influential churchman of his time, sided with Innocent II. Among his other objections to Anacletus, he expressed horror that a scion of Jews should occupy the Throne of St. Peter. Most of the monarchs and peoples of Europe heeded Bernard. Among the hostile rumors that circulated about Anacletus were charges of incest and of robbing churches with the aid of the Jews. The fickle Roman population eventually also turned against him, and he could maintain himself in Rome only with the help of Roger II, king of Naples. Anacletus remained in control of Rome until his death; only then did Innocent take possession of the city and gain universal recognition. Most church historians continue to write about Peter Pierleone with vehement contempt. In Jewish tradition he gave rise to a number of legends about a Jewish pope. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roth, Italy, 73 ff.; Vogelstein-Rieger, index; Baron, Social2, index. (Solomon Grayzel)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.