GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: Kaplan

The city of Avignon in southeastern France possesses a unique spot in European history, as home to le Palais des Papes (the Palace of the Popes), the center of the Avignon Papacy during the fourteenth century. As a result of the conflict between his predecessor Boniface VIII and Philip IV of France, Clement V (a Frenchman himself) did not relocate to Rome upon his election as pope, but rather stayed in France, settling finally upon Avignon in 1309 as his papal residency. As the first significant departure of the papacy from Rome, this began a controversial chapter in the history of the papacy, highlighting the power of the French throne over the pope, and culminated in the Papal Schism. During the schism, two men simultaneously claimed the papacy, Gregory XI who returned to Rome in 1377 and Urban VI who remained in Avignon, and various nations chose one papacy or the other. This schism, which lasted from 1378 until 1417, represented the increasing influence of secular politics on the hierarchy of the church, and in many ways foreshadowed the discontent that led to Luther's Reformation one hundred years later.

Question List: 1 2 3

What is the primary purpose of this passage?

  • A to summarize the origins of the Avignon papacy
  • B to describe the significance of the Avignon papacy
  • C to defend the influence of Philip IV over the papacy
  • D to debate the effects of the Papal Schism
  • E to recount the medieval history of Avignon

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