How did church leaders deal with the challenges in the 14th century?
Christian leaders in the 14th century faced a number of challenges, including the Western Schism, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Hesychast Controversy. The Western Schism refers to a conflict within the Catholic church over who the next Pope would be; in response, two factions developed and elected two different popes, one residing traditionally in Rome and the other in Avignon, France. This was not resolved until the 15th century, when the Council of Constance asked all those claiming the papacy to resign so that a new election could be held. Martin V was declared Pope in 1417, ending the schism. Additionally, the Spanish Inquisition began in the 14th century, but was not addressed by church leadership until its height in the 15th century; Pope Sixtus IV condemned the inquisition in 1482, and was the first major Catholic leader to do so. Finally, another theological scism developed over Heychasm, a tradition based in mysticism that promoted prayer as a personal experience with God. Some church leaders found this heretical and condemned the practice, especially a monk named Barlaam, who wrote and lectured against it. This created conflict between theological scholars, and Barlaam was condemned by the Roman Empire. The conflict was resolved when, in 1351, Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus declared that Hesychast doctrine would become the official doctrine of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Barlaam was named bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.