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Antipope.png An antipope is a rival claimant to the Papacy and to the bishopric of Rome.

Their title is simply "Pope" (not only because they claim to be the true pope; historically, it can be hard to distinguish between legitimate popes and antipopes). An antipope has two of the powers that popes have: excommunication and taxation.


Independent secular rulers can appoint a vassal bishop as an antipope, if:

  • the ruler pays 500 Prestige
  • the bishop is not subject to Papal Investiture crown law (free investiture instead)
  • the bishop likes the ruler more than the pope
  • the true pope is not the ruler's vassal
  • the religion does not have the "Deposed an Antipope" modifier to moral authority (Modifier is applied upon successful Depose Antipope war and last 50 years)

In order to appoint an antipope, you need to have a bishop who is a direct vassal, no matter the rank (barony, county, duchy, etc.). In the religion tab, just below each bishop's opinion of you is a round button containing a little hat. You push that button (if available) to create an antipope.


There are several benefits for the ruler:

  • Every bishop in the realm of the antipope controller will get the "Head of Religion" opinion bonus of +30 towards the antipope rather than the real pope.
  • Every bishop that prefers the antipope over the proper pope and their liege will pay their taxes to the antipope. (Where the pope gets 10% of taxes, an antipope's controller only gets 5%.)
  • Antipope controller can request excommunication of anyone in their realm
  • The pope cannot excommunicate the controller of the antipope or his/her vassals (conversely, the antipope cannot excommunicate those loyal to the pope, or to another antipope).
  • Allows emperors to vassalise the Papacy, by pressing the antipope's claim. Once successful, the emperor will be protected from hostile papal actions, as a vassal pope cannot carry out such actions against his liege.


  • Rulers who prefer the pope in Rome have a Depose Antipope casus belli against any controller of an antipope. (the Roman pope often joins any depose antipope wars on the side of the attacker)
  • A vassal can form an Antiking faction to take your primary title, institute Papal Investiture, and depose the antipope.
  • Each existing antipope reduces the Moral authority of the Catholic church by 30%.
  • The penalty on moral authority may favor the spread of heresies and make it harder to convert provinces.
  • Upon any antipope is deposed, another antipope can not be established for 50 years.

Pushing an antipope's claim[edit]

The appointer can press the antipope's claim upon the papacy through war. Since Patch 2.0, rulers loyal to the current Pope may join the war.

If successful:

  • the antipope becomes the new head of the Catholic church. The ex-pope will become an antipope with no successor, and the split in the church will be mended after his death.
  • new pope gets a +100 relations modifier towards the former appointer.
  • should the ruler pressing the claim be an emperor, the pope will become a king vassal. This means he will not be able to refuse any favor request (excommunication, claims, ...) which is extremely powerful.

Technically, being an antipope is equivalent to having a claim on the papacy. Bugs have been known in which children of popes have inherited claims and therefore appeared as antipopes.

Using your antipope[edit]

Your pope will accept most papal requests from you, leaving you with only the piety cost and the relations penalty. You can now request claims on counties and duchies, even outside your realm if you successfully press your pope's claim. You can also excommunicate someone you want to imprison, plot against, or steal courtiers from (using "invite to court").

An antipope can be a major asset if the current pope doesn't like you, and you have political enemies with high enough piety, and good enough graces with the pope, to get you excommunicated .

Note that while a vassal pope will always agree to your requests, they will still charge double piety and request investiture law change if you're using free investiture, and incur the normal opinion penalties if you overuse his services. Also, at negative opinion, a vassal pope will simply not pay taxes instead of a gradual reduction.

Maximizing taxation[edit]

To collect lots of taxes, even from outside of your realm, pick a pope who will be loved by bishops:

  • High piety (+1 opinion per 25 piety, up to +20 opinion at 500 piety)
    • zealous , celibate , chaste , humble , content .
  • High church opinion
    • zealous , celibate , chaste , temperate , charitable , crusader 
  • Positive "same trait" opinion
    • Most of the above, plus diligent , kind , brave , gregarious , and lifestyle traits.
  • High diplomacy
  • Lowborn, for a +5 "same dynasty" opinion from most bishops

You can increase the piety of your pope by granting him multiple bishoprics, making him a flank leader in battles against religious enemies, and appointing him as court chaplain.

If you give your pope prince-bishopric or higher, he can:

  • Have bishops as vassals, for additional piety
  • Have a chancellor, for improved state diplomacy
    • You can help him get a good one by matrilineally marrying a potential chancellor into his court, or giving him one as a vassal.
  • Choose the "Theology" focus, for +20 church opinion
    • Most likely to choose Theology if: zealous, mystic
    • More likely to choose (Theology or Scholarship) if: theology education (any level), patient, content, craven
  • Benefit from "Dynasty controls Catholic" and "Dynasty controls <holy order>" (+1 piety and +2 prestige per month, each)

You can also interfere with the effectiveness of your rival in the Vatican:

  • Murder an effective pope.
  • Murder an effective cardinal, especially a preferatus.
  • Fill the College of Cardinals with men who would be ineffective popes. Note that bishops in your realm cannot become cardinals once you have an antipope.
Unique concepts
Religion groups