Felix V - Encyclopedia




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FELIX V., the name taken by Amadeus (1383-1451), duke of Savoy, when he was elected pope in opposition to Eugenius IV. in 1 439. Amadeus was born at Chambery on the 4th of December 1383, and succeeded his father, Amadeus VII., as count of Savoy in 1391. Having added largely to his patrimonial possessions he became very powerful, and in 1416 the German king Sigismund erected Savoy into a duchy; after this elevation Amadeus added Piedmont to his dominions. Then suddenly, in 1434, the duke retired to a hermitage at Ripaille, near Thonon, resigning his duchy to his son Louis (d. 1465), although he seems to have taken some part in its subsequent administration. It is said, but some historians doubt the story, that, instead of leading a life of asceticism, he spent his revenues in furthering his own luxury and enjoyment. In 1439, when Pope Eugenius IV. was deposed by the council of Basel, Amadeus, although not in orders, was chosen as his successor, and was crowned in the following year as Felix V. In the stormy conflict between the rival popes which followed, the German king, Frederick IV., after some hesitation sided with Eugenius, and having steadily lost ground Felix renounced his claim to the pontificate in 1449 in favour of Nicholas V., who had been elected on the death of Eugenius. He induced Nicholas, however, to appoint him as apostolic vicar-general in Savoy, Piedmont and other parts of his own dominions, and to make him a cardinal. Amadeus died at Geneva on the 7th of January 1451.

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