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In 1309 Clement V moved to Avignon in SE France and so began the “Babylonian Captivity”* of the papacy. Considerations of security led the popes to prefer Avignon to Rome until 1377. Avignon was in a local political pressure area removed from the tensions of Italian politics and was geographically much more convenient than Rome. Its position made it suitable as a center of judicial affairs, and it became the base of a great bureaucratic organization efficient at raising funds for papal purposes. When the papal court returned to Rome, Avignon continued to be the seat, until 1408, of two antipopes, Clement VII and Benedict XIII. By the end of the eleventh century the nearby Abbey of St. Ruf had become famous as a pioneering community living under the rule of Augustine.

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