§ 12. Sources and Literature.


For §§ 13, 14. The Papal Schism.—Orig. documents in Raynaldus: Annal. Eccles.—C.E. Bulaeus, d. 1678: Hist. univer. Parisiensis, 6 vols., Paris, 1665–1673, vol. IV. —Van der Hardt, see § 15.—H. Denifle and A. Chatelain: Chartul. universitatis Paris., 4 vols., Paris, 1889–1897, vols. III., IV., especially the part headed de schismate, III. 552–639.—Theoderich of Nieheim (Niem): de Schismate inter papas et antipapas, Basel, 1566, ed. by Geo. Erler, Leipzig, 1890. Nieheim, b. near Paderborn, d. 1417, had exceptional opportunities for observing the progress of events. He was papal secretary—notarius sacri palatii — at Avignon, went with Gregory XI. to Rome, was there at the breaking out of the schism, and held official positions under three of the popes of the Roman line. In 1408 he joined the Livorno cardinals, and supported Alexander V. and John XXIII.—See H. V. Sauerland: D. Leben d. Dietrich von Nieheim nebst einer Uebersicht über dessen Schriften, Göttingen, 1876, and G. Erler: Dietr. von Nieheim, sein Leben u. s. Schriften, Leipzig, 1887. Adam of Usk: Chronicon, 1377–1421, 2d ed. by E. M. Thompson, with Engl. trans., London, 1904.—Martin de Alpartils: Chronica actitatorum temporibus Domini Benedicti XIII. ed. Fr. Ehrle, S. J., vol. I., Paderborn, 1906.—Wyclif’s writings, Lives of Boniface IX. and Innocent VII. in Muratori, III. 2, pp. 830 sqq., 968 sq.—P. Dupuy: Hist. du schisme 1378–1420, Paris, 1654.—P. L. Maimbourg (Jesuit): Hist. du grand schisme d’ Occident, Paris, 1678.—Ehrle: Neue Materialien zur Gesch. Peters von Luna (Benedict XIII.), in Archiv für Lit. und Kirchengesch., VI. 139 sqq., VII. 1 sqq.—L. Gayet: Le Grand schisme d’Occident, 2 vols., Florence and Berlin, 1889.—C. Locke: Age of the Great Western Schism, New York, 1896.—Paul Van Dyke: Age of the Renascence an Outline of the Hist. of the Papacy, 1377–1527, New York, 1897.—L. Salembier: Le grand schisme d’ Occident, Paris, 1900, 3d ed., 1907. Engl. trans., London, 1907.—N. Valois: La France et le grand schisme d’Occident, 4 vols., Paris, 1896–1901.—E. Goeller: König Sigismund’s Kirchenpolitik vom Tode Bonifaz IX. bis zur Berufung d. Konstanzer Concils, Freiburg, 1902.—M. Jansen: Papst Bonifatius IX. u. s. Beziehungen zur deutschen Kirche, Freiburg, 1904.—H. Bruce: The Age of Schism, New York, 1907.—E. J. Kitts: In the Days of the Councils. A Sketch of the Life and Times of Baldassare Cossa, John XXIII., London, 1908.—Hefele-Knöpfler: Conciliengesch., VI. 727–936.—Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 807–833.—Gregorovius, VI. 494–611.—Pastor, I. 115–175.—Creighton, I. 66–200.

For §§ 15, 16. The Councils of Pisa and Constance.—Mansi: Concilia, XXVI., XXVII.—Labbaeus: Concilia, XI., XII. 1–259.—Hermann van der Hardt, Prof. of Hebrew and librarian at Helmstädt, d. 1746: Magnum oecumenicum Constantiense Concilium de universali ecclesiae reformatione, unione et fide, 6 vols., Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1696–1700. A monumental work, noted alike as a mine of historical materials and for its total lack of order in their arrangement. In addition to the acts and history of the Council of Constance, it gives many valuable contemporary documents, e.g. the De corrupto statu eccles., also entitled De ruina eccles., of Nicolas Of Clamanges; the De modis uniendi et reformandi eceles. in concilio universali; De difficultate reformationis;and Monita de necessitate reformationis Eccles. in capite et membris,—all probably by Nieheim; and a Hist. of the Council, by Dietrich Vrie, an Augustinian, finished at Constance, 1417. These are all in vol. I. Vol. II. contains Henry of Langenstein’s Consilium pacis: De unione ac reformatione ecclesiae, pp. 1–60; a Hist. of the c. of Pisa, pp. 61–156; Niehelm’s Invectiva in di, ffugientem Johannem XXIII. and de vita Johan. XXIII. usque ad fugam et carcerem ejus, pp. 296–459, etc. The vols. are enriched with valuable illustrations. Volume V. contains a stately array of pictures of the seals and escutcheons of the princes and prelates attending the council in person or by proxy, and the fourteen universities represented. The work also contains biogg. of D’Ailly, Gerson, Zarabella, etc.—Langenstein’s Consilium pacis is also given in Du Pin’s ed. of Gerson’s Works, ed. 1728, vol. II. 809–839. The tracts De difficultate reformationis and Monita de necessitate, etc., are also found in Da Pin, II. 867–875, 885–902, and ascribed to Peter D’Ailly. The tracts De reformatione and De eccles., concil. generalis, romani pontificis et cardinalium auctoritate, also ascribed to D’Ailly in Du Pin, II. 903–915, 925–960.—Ulrich von Richental: Das Concilium so ze Costenz gehalten worden, ed. by M. R. Buck, Tübingen, 1882.—Also Marmion: Gesch. d. Conc. von Konstanz nach Ul. von Richental, Constance, 1860. Richental, a resident of Constance, wrote from his own personal observation a quaint and highly interesting narrative. First publ., Augsburg, 1483. The MS. may still be seen in Constance.—*H. Finke: Forschungen u. Quellen zur Gesch. des Konst. Konzils, Paderborn, 1889. Contains the valuable diary of Card. Fillastre, etc.—*Finke: Actae conc. Constanciensis, 1410–1414, Münster, 1906.—J. L’enfant (Huguenot refugee in Berlin, d. 1728): Hist. du conc. de Constance, Amsterdam, 1714; also Hist. du conc. de Pisa, Amsterdam, 1724, Engl. trans., 2 vols., London, 1780.—B. Hübler Die Konstanzer Reformation u. d. Konkordate von 1418, Leipzig, 1867.—U. Lenz: Drei Traktate aus d. Schriftencyclus d. Konst. Konzils, Marburg, 1876. Discusses the authorship of the tracts De modis, De necessitate, and De difficultate, ascribing them to Nieheim.—B. Bess: Studien zur Gesch. d. Konst. Konzils, Marburg, 1891.—J. H. Wylie: The Counc. of Const. to the Death of J. Hus, London, 1900.—*J. B. Schwab: J. Gerson, Würzburg, 1868.—*P. Tschackert: Peter von Ailli, Gotha, 1877.—Döllinger-Friedrick: D. Papstthum, new ed., Munich, 1892, pp. 154-l64. F. X. Funk: Martin V. und d. Konzil von Konstanz in Abhandlungen u.Untersuchungen, 2 vols., Paderborn, 1897, I. 489–498. The works cited in § 1, especially, Creighton, I. 200–420, Hefele, VI. 992–1043, VII. 1–375, Pastor, I. 188–279, Valois, IV., Salembier, 250 sqq.; Eine Invektive gegen Gregor xii., Nov. 1, 1408, in Ztschr. f. Kirchengesch., 1907, p. 188 sq.

For § 17. The Council Of Basel.—Lives of Martin V. and Eugenius IV. in Mansi: XXVIII. 975 sqq., 1171 sqq.; in Muratori: Ital. Scripp., and Platina: Hist. of the Popes, Engl. trans., II. 200–235.—Mansi, XXIX.-XXXI.; Labbaeus, XII. 454—XIII. 1280. For C. of Siena, MANSI: XXVIII. 1058–1082.—Monum. concil. general. saec. XV., ed. by Palacky, 3 vols., Vienna, 1857–1896. Contains an account of C. of Siena by John Stojkoric of Ragusa, a delegate from the Univ. of Paris. John de Segovia: Hist. gest. gener. Basil. conc., new ed., Vienna, 1873. Segovia, a spaniard, was a prominent figure in the Basel Council and one of Felix V.’s cardinals. For his writings, see Haller’s Introd. Concil. Basiliense. Studien und Quellen zur Gesch. d. Concils von Basel, with Introd. ed. by T. Haller, 4 vols., Basel, 1896–1903. Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini: Commentarii de gestis concil. Basil., written 1440 to justify Felix’s election, ed. by Fea, Rome, 1823; also Hist. Frederici III., trans. by T. Ilgen, 2 vols., Leipzig. No date. Aeneas, afterward Pius II., "did not say and think the same thing at all times," says Haller, Introd., p. 12.—See Voigt: Enea Sylvio de’ Piccolomini, etc., 3 vols., Berlin, 1856–1863.—Infessura: Diario della cittá di Roma, Rome, 1890, PP. 22–42.—F. P. Abert: Eugenius IV., Mainz, 1884.—Wattenbach: Röm Papstthum, pp. 271–284.—Hefele-Knöpfler, VII. 375–849. Döllinger-Friedrich: Papstthum, 160 sqq.—Creighton, II. 3–273.—Pastor, I. 209—306.—Gregorovius, VI.-VII.—M. G. Perouse: Louis Aleman et la fin du grand schisme, Paris, 1805. A detailed account of the C. of Basel.

For § 18. The Ferrara-Florence Council.—Abram Of Crete: Historia, in Latin trans., Rome, 1521; the Greek original by order of Gregory XIII., Rome, 1577; new Latin trans., Rome, 1612.—Sylv. Syropulos: Vera Hist. unionis non verae inter Graecos et Latinos, ed. by Creyghton, Haag, 1660.—Mansi, XXXI., contains the documents collected by Mansi himself, and also the Acts published by Horatius Justinian, XXXI. 1355–1711, from a Vatican MS., 1638. The Greek and Latin texts are printed side by side. —Labbaeus and Harduin also give Justinian’s Acts and their own collections. —T. Frommann: Krit. Beiträge zur Gesch. d. florentinischen Kircheneinigung, Hale, 1872.—Knöpfler, art. Ferrara-Florenz, in Wetzer-Welte: IV. 1363–1380. Tschackert, art. Ferrara-Florenz, in Herzog, VI. 46 48.—Döllinger-Friedrich: Papstthum, pp. 166–171.


 § 13. The Schism Begun. 1378.


The death of Gregory XI. was followed by the schism of Western Christendom, which lasted forty years, and proved to be a greater misfortune for the Church than the Avignon captivity. Anti-popes the Church had had, enough of them since the days of Gregory VII., from Wibert of Ravenna chosen by the will of Henry IV. to the feeble Peter of Corbara, elected under Lewis the Bavarian. Now, two lines of popes, each elected by a college of cardinals, reigned, the one at Rome, the other in Avignon, and both claiming to be in the legitimate succession from St. Peter.

Gregory XI. foresaw the confusion that was likely to follow at his death, and sought to provide against the catastrophe of a disputed election, and probably also to insure the choice of a French pope, by pronouncing in advance an election valid, no matter where the conclave might be held. The rule that the conclave should convene in the locality where the pontiff died, was thus set aside. Gregory knew well the passionate feeling in Rome against the return of the papacy to the banks of the Rhone. A clash was almost inevitable. While the pope lay a-dying, the cardinals at several sittings attempted to agree upon his successor, but failed.

On April 7, 1378, ten days after Gregory’s death, the conclave met in the Vatican, and the next day elected the Neapolitan, Bartholomew Prignano, archbishop of Bari. Of the sixteen cardinals present, four were Italians, eleven Frenchmen, and one Spaniard, Peter de Luna, who later became famous as Benedict XIII. The French party was weakened by the absence of the six cardinals, left behind at Avignon, and still another was absent. Of the Italians, two were Romans, Tebaldeschi, an old man, and Giacomo Orsini, the youngest member of the college. The election of an Italian not a member of the curia was due to factions which divided the French and to the compulsive attitude of the Roman populace, which insisted upon an Italian for pope.

The French cardinals were unable to agree upon a candidate from their own number. One of the two parties into which they were split, the Limousin party, to which Gregory XI. and his predecessors had belonged, numbered six cardinals. The Italian mob outside the Vatican was as much a factor in the situation as the divisions in the conclave itself. A scene of wild and unrestrained turbulence prevailed in the square of St. Peter’s. The crowd pressed its way into the very spaces of the Vatican, and with difficulty a clearing was made for the entrance of all the cardinals. To prevent the exit of the cardinals, the Banderisi, or captains of the thirteen districts into which Rome was divided, had taken possession of the city and closed the gates. The mob, determined to keep the papacy on the Tiber, filled the air with angry shouts and threats. "We will have a Roman for pope or at least an ltalian."—Romano, romano, lo volemo, o almanco Italiano was the cry. On the first night soldiers clashed their spears in the room underneath the chamber where the conclave was met, and even thrust them through the ceiling. A fire of combustibles was lighted under the window. The next morning, as their excellencies were saying the mass of the Holy Spirit and engaged in other devotions, the noises became louder and more menacing. One cardinal, d’Aigrefeuille, whispered to Orsini, "better elect the devil than die."

It was under such circumstances that the archbishop of Bari was chosen. After the choice had been made, and while they were waiting to get the archbishop’s consent, six of the cardinals dined together and seemed to be in good spirits. But the mob’s impatience to know what had been done would brook no delay, and Orsini, appearing at the window, cried out "go to St. Peter."  This was mistaken for an announcement that old Tebaldeschi, cardinal of St. Peter’s, had been chosen, and a rush was made for the cardinal’s palace to loot it, as the custom was when a cardinal was elected pope. The crowd surged through the Vatican and into the room where the cardinals had been meeting and, as Valois puts it, "the pillage of the conclave had begun."  To pacify the mob, two of the cardinals, half beside themselves with fright, pointed to Tebaldeschi, set him up on a chair, placed a white mitre on his head, and threw a red cloak over his shoulders. The old man tried to indicate that he was not the right person. But the throngs continued to bend down before him in obeisance for several hours, till it became known that the successful candidate was Prignano.

In the meantime the rest of the cardinals forsook the building and sought refuge, some within the walls of St. Angelo, and four by flight beyond the walls of the city. The real pope was waiting for recognition while the members of the electing college were fled. But by the next day the cardinals had sufficiently regained their self-possession to assemble again,—all except the four who had put the city walls behind them,—and Cardinal Peter de Vergne, using the customary formula, proclaimed to the crowd through the window:  "I announce to you a great joy. You have a pope, and he calls himself Urban VI."  The new pontiff was crowned on April 18, in front of St. Peter’s, by Cardinal Orsini.

The archbishop had enjoyed the confidence of Gregory XI. He enjoyed a reputation for austere morals and strict conformity to the rules of fasting and other observances enjoined by the Church. He wore a hair shirt, and was accustomed to retire with the Bible in his hand. At the moment of his election no doubt was expressed as to its validity. Nieheim, who was in the city at the time, declared that Urban was canonical pope-elect. "This is the truth," he wrote, "and no one can honestly deny it."249  All the cardinals in Rome yielded Urban submission, and in a letter dated May 8 they announced to the emperor and all Christians the election and coronation. The cardinals at Avignon wrote acknowledging him, and ordered the keys to the castle of St. Angelo placed in his hands. It is probable that no one would have thought of denying Urban’s rights if the pope had removed to Avignon, or otherwise yielded to the demands of the French members of the curia. His failure to go to France, Urban declared to be the cause of the opposition to him.

Seldom has so fine an opportunity been offered to do a worthy thing and to win a great name as was offered to Urban VI. It was the opportunity to put an end to the disturbance in the Church by maintaining the residence of the papacy in its ancient seat, and restoring to it the dignity which it had lost by its long exile. Urban, however, was not equal to the occasion, and made an utter failure. He violated all the laws of common prudence and tact. His head seemed to be completely turned. He estranged and insulted his cardinals. He might have made provision for a body of warm supporters by the prompt appointment of new members to the college, but even this measure he failed to take till it was too late. The French king, it is true, was bent upon having the papacy return to French soil, and controlled the French cardinals. But a pope of ordinary shrewdness was in position to foil the king. This quality Urban VI. lacked, and the sacred college, stung by his insults, came to regard him as an intruder in St. Peter’s chair.

In his concern for right living, Urban early took occasion in a public allocution to reprimand the cardinals for their worldliness and for living away from their sees. He forbade their holding more than a single appointment and accepting gifts from princes. To their demand that Avignon continue to be the seat of the papacy, Urban brusquely told them that Rome and the papacy were joined together, and he would not separate them. As the papacy belonged not to France but to the whole world, he would distribute the promotions to the sacred college among the nations.

Incensed at the attack made upon their habits and perquisites, and upon their national sympathies, the French cardinals, giving the heat of the city as the pretext, removed one by one to Anagni, while Urban took up his summer residence at Tivoli. His Italian colleagues followed him, but they also went over to the French. No pope had ever been left more alone. Forming a compact body, the French members of the curia demanded the pope’s resignation. The Italians, who at first proposed the calling of a council, acquiesced. The French seceders then issued a declaration, dated Aug. 2, in which Urban was denounced as an apostate, and his election declared void in view of the duress under which it was accomplished.250  It asserted that the cardinals at the time were in mortal terror from the Romans. Now that he would not resign, they anathematized him. Urban replied in a document called the Factum, insisting upon the validity of his election. Retiring to Fondi, in Neapolitan territory, the French cardinals proceeded to a new eIection, Sept. 20, 1378, the choice falling upon one of their number, Robert of Geneva, the son of Amadeus, count of Geneva. He was one of those who, four months before, had pointed out Tebaldeschi to the Roman mob. The three Italian cardinals, though they did not actively participate in the election, offered no resistance. Urban is said to have received the news with tears, and to have expressed regret for his untactful and self-willed course. Perhaps he recalled the fate of his fellow-Neapolitan, Peter of Murrhone, whose lack of worldly wisdom a hundred years before had lost him the papal crown. To establish himself on the papal throne, he appointed 29 cardinals. But it was too late to prevent the schism which Gregory XI. had feared and a wise ruler would have averted.

Robert of Geneva, at the time of his election 36 years old, came to the papal honor with his hands red from the bloody massacre of Cesena. He had the reputation of being a politician and a fast liver. He was consecrated Oct. 31 under the name of Clement VII. It was a foregone conclusion that he would remove the papal seat back to Avignon. He first attempted to overthrow Urban on his own soil, but the attempt failed. Rome resisted, and the castle of St. Angelo, which was in the hands of his supporters, he lost, but not until its venerable walls were demolished, so that at a later time the very goats clambered over the stones. He secured the support of Joanna, and Louis of Anjou whom she had chosen as the heir of her kingdom, but the war which broke out between Urban and Naples fell out to Urban’s advantage. The duke of Anjou was deposed, and Charles of Durazzo, of the royal house of Hungary, Joanna’s natural heir, appointed as his successor. Joanna herself fell into Charles’ hands and was executed, 1882, on the charge of having murdered her first husband. The duke of Brunswick was her fourth marital attempt. Clement VII. bestowed upon the duke of Anjou parts of the State of the Church and the high-sounding but empty title of duke of Adria. A portion of Urban’s reward for crowning Charles, 1881, was the lordship over Capria, Amalfi, Fondi, and other localities, which he bestowed upon his unprincipled and worthless nephew, Francis Prignano. In the war over Naples, the pope had made free use of the treasure of the Roman churches.

Clement’s cause in Italy was lost, and there was nothing for him to do but to fall back upon his supporter, Charles V. He returned to France by way of the sea and Marseilles.

Thus the schism was completed, and Western Europe had the spectacle of two popes elected by the same college of cardinals without a dissenting voice, and each making full claims to the prerogative of the supreme pontiff of the Christian world. Each pope fulminated the severest judgments of heaven against the other. The nations of Europe and its universities were divided in their allegiance or, as it was called, their "obedience."  The University of Paris, at first neutral, declared in favor of Robert of Geneva,251 as did Savoy, the kingdoms of Spain, Scotland, and parts of Germany. England, Sweden, and the larger part of Italy supported Urban. The German emperor, Charles IV., was about to take the same side when he died, Nov. 29, 1378. Urban also had the vigorous support of Catherine of Siena. Hearing of the election which had taken place at Fondi she wrote to Urban: "I have heard that those devils in human form have resorted to an election. They have chosen not a vicar of Christ, but an anti-Christ. Never will I cease, dear father, to look upon you as Christ’s true vicar on earth."

The papal schism which Pastor has called "the greatest misfortune that could be thought of for the Church"252 soon began to call forth indignant protests from the best men of the time. Western Christendom had never known such a scandal. The seamless coat of Christ was rent in twain, and Solomon’s words could no longer be applied, "My dove is but One."253  The divine claims of the papacy itself began to be matter of doubt. Writers like Wyclif made demands upon the pope to return to Apostolic simplicity of manners in sharp language such as no one had ever dared to use before. Many sees had two incumbents; abbeys, two abbots; parishes, two priests. The maintenance of two popes involved an increased financial burden, and both papal courts added to the old practices new inventions to extract revenue. Clement VII.’s agents went everywhere, striving to win support for his obedience, and the nations, taking advantage of the situation, magnified their authority to the detriment of the papal power.

The following is a list of the popes of the Roman and Avignon lines, and the Pisan line whose legitimacy has now no advocates in the Roman communion.


Roman Line

Urban VI., 1378–1389.

Boniface IX., 1389–1404.

Innocent VII., 1404–1406.

Gregory XII., 1406–1415.

 Deposed at Pisa, 1409. d. 1424  Resigned

 at Constance, 1415, d. 1417.


Avignon Line

Clement VII., 1378–1394.

Benedict XIII., 1394–1409.

 Deposed at Pisa, 1409, and at

 Constance, 1417,.


Pisan Line

Alexander V., 1409–1410.

John XXIII., 1410–1415.

Martin V., 1417–1431.

 Acknowledged by the whole Latin Church.


The question of the legitimacy of Urban VI.’s pontificate is still a matter of warm dispute. As neither pope nor council has given a decision on the question, Catholic scholars feel no constraint in discussing it. French writers have been inclined to leave the matter open. This was the case with Bossuet, Mansi, Martene, as it is with modern French writers. Valois hesitatingly, Salembier positively, decides for Urban. Historians, not moved by French sympathies, pronounce strongly in favor of the Roman line, as do Hefele, Funk, Hergenröther-Kirsch, Denifle, and Pastor. The formal recognition of Urban by all the cardinals and their official announcement of his election to the princes would seem to put the validity of his election beyond doubt. On the other hand, the declaratio sent forth by the cardinals nearly four months after Urban’s election affirms that the cardinals were in fear of their lives when they voted; and according to the theory of the canon law, constraint invalidates an election as constraint invalidated Pascal II.’s concession to Henry V. It was the intention of the cardinals, as they affirm, to elect one of their number, till the tumult became so violent and threatening that to protect themselves they precipitately elected Prignano. They state that the people had even filled the air with the cry, "Let them be killed," moriantur. A panic prevailed. When the tumult abated, the cardinals sat down to dine, and after dinner were about to proceed to a re-election, as they say, when the tumult again became threatening, and the doors of the room where they were sitting were broken open, so that they were forced to flee for their lives.

To this testimony were added the depositions of individual cardinals later. Had Prignano proved complaisant to the wishes of the French party, there is no reason to suspect that the validity of his election would ever have been disputed. Up to the time when the vote was cast for Urban, the cardinals seem not to have been under duress from fear, but to have acted freely. After the vote had been cast, they felt their lives were in danger.254  If the cardinals had proceeded to a second vote, as Valois has said, Urban might have been elected. The constant communications which passed between Charles V. and the French party at Anagni show him to have been a leading factor in the proceedings which followed and the reconvening of the conclave which elected Robert of Geneva.255

On the other hand, the same body of cardinals which elected Urban deposed him, and, in their capacity as princes of the Church, unanimously chose Robert as his successor. The question of the authority of the sacred college to exercise this prerogative is still a matter of doubt. It received the abdication of Coelestine V. and elected a successor to him while he was still living. In that case, however, the papal throne became vacant by the supreme act of the pope himself.


 § 14. Further Progress of the Schism. 1378–1409.


The territory of Naples remained the chief theatre of the conflict between the papal rivals, Louis of Anjou, who had the support of Clement VII., continuing to assert his claim to the throne. In 1383 Urban secretly left Rome for Naples, but was there held in virtual confinement till he had granted Charles of Durazzo’s demands. He then retired to Nocera, which belonged to his nephew. The measures taken by the cardinals at Anagni had taught him no lesson. His insane severity and self-will continued, and brought him into the danger of losing the papal crown. Six of his cardinals entered into a conspiracy to dethrone him, or at least to make him subservient to the curia. The plot was discovered, and Urban launched the interdict against Naples, whose king was supposed to have been a party to it. The offending cardinals were imprisoned in an old cistern, and afterwards subjected to the torture.256  Forced to give up the town and to take refuge in the fortress, the relentless pontiff is said to have gone three or four times daily to the window, and, with candles burning and to the sound of a bell, to have solemnly pronounced the formula of excommunication against the besieging troops. Allowed to depart, and proceeding with the members of his household across the country, Urban reached Trani and embarked on a Genoese ship which finally landed him at Genoa, 1386. On the way, the crew threatened to carry him to Avignon, and had to be bought off by the unfortunate pontiff. Was ever a ruler in a worse predicament, beating about on the Mediterranean, than Urban!  Five of the cardinals who had been dragged along in chains now met with a cruel end. Adam Aston, the English cardinal, Urban had released at the request of the English king. But towards the rest of the alleged conspirators he showed the heartless relentlessness of a tyrant. The chronicler Nieheim, who was with the pope at Naples and Nocera, declares that his heart was harder than granite. Different rumors were afloat concerning the death the prelates were subjected to, one stating they had been thrown into the sea, another that they had their heads cut off with an axe; another report ran that their bodies were buried in a stable after being covered with lime and then burnt.

In the meantime, two of the prelates upon whom Urban had conferred the red hat, both Italians, went over to Clement VII. and were graciously received.

Breaking away from Genoa, Urban went by way of Lucca to Perugia, and then with another army started off for Naples. Charles of Durazzo, who had been called to the throne of Hungary and murdered in 1386, was succeeded by his young son Ladislaus (1386~1414), but his claim was contested by the heir of Louis of Anjou (d. 1384). The pontiff got no farther than Ferentino, and turning back was carried in a carriage to Rome, where he again entered the Vatican, a few months before his death, Oct. 15, 1389.

Bartholomew Prignano had disappointed every expectation. He was his own worst enemy. He was wholly lacking in common prudence and the spirit of conciliation. It is to his credit that, as Nieheim urges, he never made ecclesiastical preferment the object of sale. Whatever were his virtues before he received the tiara, he had as pope shown himself in every instance utterly unfit for the responsibilities of a ruler.

Clement VII., who arrived in Avignon in June, 1379, stooped before the kings of France, Charles V. (d. 1380) and Charles VI. He was diplomatic and versatile where his rival was impolitic and intractable. He knew how to entertain at his table with elegance.257  The distinguished preacher, Vincent Ferrer, gave him his support. Among the new cardinals he appointed was the young prince of Luxemburg, who enjoyed a great reputation for saintliness. At the prince’s death, in 1387, miracles were said to be performed at his tomb, a circumstance which seemed to favor the claims of the Avignon pope.

Clement’s embassy to Bohemia for a while had hopes of securing a favorable declaration from the Bohemian king, Wenzil, but was disappointed.258  The national pride of the French was Clement’s chief dependence, and for the king’s support he was obliged to pay a humiliating price by granting the royal demands to bestow ecclesiastical offices and tax Church property. As a means of healing the schism, Clement proposed a general council, promising, in case it decided in his favor, to recognize Urban as leading cardinal. The first schismatic pope died suddenly of apoplexy, Sept. 16, 1394, having outlived Urban VI. five years.

Boniface IX., who succeeded Urban VI., was, like him, a Neapolitan, and only thirty-five at the time of his election. He was a man of fine presence, and understood the art of ruling, but lacked the culture of the schools, and could not even write, and was poor at saying the services.259  He had the satisfaction of seeing the kingdom of Naples yield to the Roman obedience. He also secured from the city of Rome full submission, and the document, by which it surrendered to him its republican liberties, remained for centuries the foundation of the relations of the municipality to the Apostolic See.260  Bologna, Perugia, Viterbo, and other towns of Italy which had acknowledged Clement, were brought into submission to him, so that before his death the entire peninsula was under his obedience except Genoa, which Charles VI. had reduced. All men’s eyes began again to turn to Rome.

In 1390, the Jubilee Year which Urban VI. had appointed attracted streams of pilgrims to Rome from Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, and England and other lands, as did also the Jubilee of 1400, commemorating the close of one and the beginning of another century. If Rome profited by these celebrations, Boniface also made in other ways the most of his opportunity, and his agents throughout Christendom returned with the large sums which they had realized from the sale of dispensations and indulgences. Boniface left behind him a reputation for avarice and freedom in the sale of ecclesiastical concessions.261  He was also notorious for his nepotism, enriching his brothers Andrew and John and other relatives with offices and wealth. Such offences, however, the Romans could easily overlook in view of the growing regard throughout Europe for the Roman line of popes and the waning influence of the Avignon line.

The preponderant influence of Ladislaus secured the election of still another Neapolitan, Cardinal Cosimo dei Migliorati, who took the name of Innocent VII. He also was only thirty-five years old at the time of his elevation to the papal chair, a doctor of both laws and expert in the management of affairs. The members of the conclave, before proceeding to an election, signed a document whereby each bound himself, if elected pope, to do all in his power to put an end to the schism. The English chronicler, Adam of Usk, who was present at the coronation, concludes the graphic description he gives of the ceremonies262 with a lament over the desolate condition of the Roman city. How much is Rome to be pitied! he exclaims, "for, once thronged with princes and their palaces, she is now a place of hovels, thieves, wolves, worms, full of desert spots and laid waste by her own citizens who rend each other in pieces. Once her empire devoured the world with the sword, and now her priesthood devours it with mummery. Hence the lines —


" ’The Roman bites at all, and those he cannot bite, he hates.

Of rich he hears the call, but ’gainst the poor he shuts his gates.’ "


Following the example of his two predecessors, Innocent excommunicated the Avignon anti-pope and his cardinals, putting them into the same list with heretics, pirates, and brigands. In revenge for his nephew’s cold-blooded slaughter of eleven of the chief men of the city, whose bodies he threw out of a window, he was driven from Rome, and after great hardships he reached Viterbo. But the Romans soon found Innocent’s rule preferable to the rule of Ladislaus, king of Naples and papal protector, and he was recalled, the nephew whose hands were reeking with blood making public entry into the Vatican with his uncle.

The last pope of the Roman line was Gregory XII. Angelo Correr, cardinal of St. Marks, Venice, elected 1406, was surpassed in tenacity as well as ability by the last of the Avignon popes, elected 1394, and better known as Peter de Luna of Aragon, one of the cardinals who joined in the revolt against Urban VI. and in the election of Clement VII. at Fondi.

Under these two pontiffs the controversy over the schism grew more and more acute and the scandal more and more intolerable. The nations of Western Europe were weary of the open and flagitious traffic in benefices and other ecclesiastical privileges, the fulminations of one pope against the other, and the division of sees and parishes between rival claimants. The University of Paris took the leading part in agitating remedial measures, and in the end the matter was taken wholly out of the hands of the two popes. The cardinals stepped into the foreground and, in the face of all canonical precedent, took the course which ultimately resulted in the reunion of the Church under one head.

Before Gregory’s election, the Roman cardinals, numbering fourteen, again entered into a compact stipulating that the successful candidate should by all means put an end to the schism, even, if necessary, by the abdication of his office. Gregory was fourscore at the time, and the chief consideration which weighed in his choice was that in men arrived at his age ambition usually runs low, and that Gregory would be more ready to deny himself for the good of the Church than a younger man.

Peter de Luna, one of the most vigorous personalities who have ever claimed the papal dignity, had the spirit and much of the ability of Hildebrand and his namesake, Gregory IX. But it was his bad star to be elected in the Avignon and not in the Roman succession. Had he been in the Roman line, he would probably have made his mark among the great ruling pontiffs. His nationality also was against him. The French had little heart in supporting a Spaniard and, at Clement’s death, the relations between the French king and the Avignon pope at once lost their cordiality. Peter was energetic of mind and in action, a shrewd observer, magnified his office, and never yielded an inch in the matter of papal prerogative. Through the administrations of three Roman pontiffs, he held on firmly to his office, outlived the two Reformatory councils of Pisa and Constance, and yielded not up this mortal flesh till the close of the first quarter of the fifteenth century, and was still asserting his claims and maintaining the dignity of pope at the time of his death. Before his election, he likewise entered into a solemn compact with his cardinals, promising to bend every effort to heal the unholy schism, even if the price were his own abdication.

The professions of both popes were in the right direction. They were all that could be desired, and all that remained was for either of them or for both of them to resign and make free room for a new candidate. The problem would thus have been easily settled, and succeeding generations might have canonized both pontiffs for their voluntary self-abnegation. But it took ten years to bring Gregory to this state of mind, and then almost the last vestige of power had been taken from him. Peter de Luna never yielded.

Undoubtedly, at the time of the election of Gregory XII., the papacy was passing through one of the grave crises in its history. There were not wanting men who said, like Langenstein, vice-chancellor of the University of Paris, that perhaps it was God’s purpose that there should be two popes indefinitely, even as David’s kingdom was divided under two sovereigns.263  Yea, and there were men who argued publicly that it made little difference how many there were, two or three, or ten or twelve, or as many as there were nations.264

At his first consistory Gregory made a good beginning, when he asserted that, for the sake of the good cause of securing a united Christendom, he was willing to travel by land or by sea, by land, if necessary, with a pilgrim’s staff, by sea in a fishing smack, in order to come to an agreement with Benedict. He wrote to his rival on the Rhone, declaring that, like the woman who was ready to renounce her child rather than see it cut asunder, so each of them should be willing to cede his authority rather than be responsible for the continuance of the schism. He laid his hand on the New Testament and quoted the words that "he who exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."  He promised to abdicate, if Benedict would do the same, that the cardinals of both lines might unite together in a new election; and he further promised not to add to the number of his cardinals, except to keep the number equal to the number of the Avignon college.

Benedict’s reply was shrewd, if not equally demonstrative. He, too, lamented the schism, which he pronounced detestable, wretched, and dreadful,265 but gently setting aside Gregory’s blunt proposal, suggested as the best resort the via discussionis, or the path of discussion, and that the cardinals of both lines should meet together, talk the matter over, and see what should be done, and then, if necessary, one or both popes might abdicate. Both popes in their communications called themselves "servant of the servants of God."  Gregory addressed Benedict as "Peter de Luna, whom some peoples in this wretched—miserabili — schism call Benedict XIII."; and Benedict addressed the pope on the Tiber as "Angelus Correr, whom some, adhering to him in this most destructive—pernicioso — schism, call Gregory XII."  "We are both old men," wrote Benedict. "Time is short; hasten, and do not delay in this good cause. Let us both embrace the ways of salvation and peace."

Nothing could have been finer, but it was quickly felt that while both popes expressed themselves as ready to abdicate, positive as the professions of both were, each wanted to have the advantage when the time came for the election of the new pontiff to rule over the reunited Church.

As early as 1381, the University of Paris appealed to the king of France to insist upon the calling of a general council as the way to terminate the schism. But the duke of Anjou had the spokesman of the university, Jean Ronce, imprisoned, and the university was commanded to keep silence on the subject.

Prior to this appeal, two individuals had suggested the same idea, Konrad of Gelnhausen, and Henry of Langenstein, otherwise known as Henry of Hassia. Konrad, who wrote in 1380,266 and whose views led straight on to the theory of the supreme authority of councils,267 affirmed that there were two heads of the Church, and that Christ never fails it, even though the earthly head may fail by death or error. The Church is not the pope and the cardinals, but the body of the faithful, and this body gets its inner life directly from Christ, and is so far infallible. In this way he answers those who were forever declaring that in the absence of the pope’s call there would be no council, even if all the prelates were assembled, but only a conventicle.

In more emphatic terms, Henry of Langenstein, in 1381, justified the calling of a council without the pope’s intervention.268  The institution of the papacy by Christ, he declared, did not involve the idea that the action of the pope was always necessary, either in originating or consenting to legislation. The Church might have instituted the papacy, even had Christ not appointed it. If the cardinals should elect a pontiff not agreeable to the Church, the Church might set their choice aside. The validity of a council did not depend upon the summons or the ratification of a pope. Secular princes might call such a synod. A general council, as the representative of the entire Church, is above the cardinals, yea, above the pope himself. Such a council cannot err, but the cardinals and the pope may err.

The views of Langenstein, vice-chancellor of the University of Paris, represented the views of the faculties of that institution. They were afterwards advocated by John Gerson, one of the most influential men of his century, and one of the most honored of all the centuries. Among those who took the opposite view was the English Dominican and confessor of Benedict XIII., John Hayton. The University of Paris he called "a daughter of Satan, mother of error, sower of sedition, and the pope’s defamer, "and declared the pope was to be forced by no human tribunal, but to follow God and his own conscience.

In 1394, the University of Paris proposed three methods of healing the schism269 which became the platform over which the issue was afterwards discussed, namely, the via cessionis, or the abdication of both popes, the via compromissi, an adjudication of the claims of both by a commission, and the via synodi, or the convention of a general council to which the settlement of the whole matter should be left. No act in the whole history of this famous literary institution has given it wider fame than this proposal, coupled with the activity it displayed to bring the schism to a close. The method preferred by its faculties was the first, the abdication of both popes, which it regarded as the simplest remedy. It was suggested that the new election, after the popes had abdicated, should be consummated by the cardinals in office at the time of Gregory XI.’s decease, 1378, and still surviving, or by a union of the cardinals of both obediences.

The last method, settlement by a general council, which the university regarded as offering the most difficulty, it justified on the ground that the pope is subject to the Church as Christ was subject to his mother and Joseph. The authority of such a council lay in its constitution according to Christ’s words, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."  Its membership should consist of doctors of theology and the laws taken from the older universities, and deputies of the orders, as well as bishops, many of whom were uneducated,—illiterati.270

Clement VII. showed his displeasure with the university by forbidding its further intermeddling, and by condemning his cardinals who, without his permission, had met and recommended him to adopt one of the three ways. At Clement’s death the king of France called upon the Avignon college to postpone the election of a successor, but, surmising the contents of the letter, they prudently left it unopened until they had chosen Benedict XIII. Benedict at once manifested the warmest zeal in the healing of the schism, and elaborated his plan for meeting with Boniface IX., and coming to some agreement with him. These friendly propositions were offset by a summons from the king’s delegates, calling upon the two pontiffs to abdicate, and all but two of the Avignon cardinals favored the measure. But Benedict declared that such a course would seem to imply constraint, and issued a bull against it.

The two parties continued to express deep concern for the healing of the schism, but neither would yield. Benedict gained the support of the University of Toulouse, and strengthened himself by the promotion of Peter d’Ailly, chancellor of the University of Paris, to the episcopate. The famous inquisitor, Nicolas Eymericus, also one of his cardinals, was a firm advocate of Benedict’s divine claims. The difficulties were increased by the wavering course of Charles VI., 1380–1412, a man of feeble mind, and twice afflicted with insanity, whose brothers and uncles divided the rule of the kingdom amongst themselves. French councils attempted to decide upon a course for the nation to pursue, and a third council, meeting in Paris, 1398, and consisting of 11 archbishops and 60 bishops, all theretofore supporters of the Avignon pope, decided upon the so-called subtraction of obedience from Benedict. In spite of these discouragements, Benedict continued loyal to himself. He was forsaken by his cardinals and besieged by French troops in his palace and wounded. The spectacle of his isolation touched the heart and conscience of the French people, and the decree ordering the subtraction of obedience was annulled by the national parliament of 1403, which professed allegiance anew, and received from him full absolution.

When Gregory XII. was elected in 1406, the controversy over the schism was at white heat. England, Castile, and the German king, Wenzil, had agreed to unite with France in bringing it to an end. Pushed by the universal clamor, by the agitation of the University of Paris, and especially by the feeling which prevailed in France, Gregory and Benedict saw that the situation was in danger of being controlled by other hands than their own, and agreed to meet at Savona on the Gulf of Genoa to discuss their differences. In October, 1407, Benedict, attended by a military guard, went as far as Porto Venere and Savona. Gregory got as far as Lucca, when he declined to go farther, on the plea that Savona was in territory controlled by the French and on other pretexts. Nieheim represents the Roman pontiff as dissimulating during the whole course of the proceedings and as completely under the influence of his nephews and other favorites, who imposed upon the weakness of the old man, and by his doting generosity were enabled to live in luxury. At Lucca they spent their time in dancing and merry-making. This writer goes on to say that Gregory put every obstacle in the way of union.271  He is represented by another writer as having spent more in bonbons than his predecessors did for their wardrobes and tables, and as being only a shadow with bones and skin.272

Benedict’s support was much weakened by the death of the king’s brother, the duke of Orleans, who had been his constant supporter. France threatened neutrality, and Benedict, fearing seizure by the French commander at Genoa, beat a retreat to Perpignan, a fortress at the foot of the Pyrenees, six miles from the Mediterranean. In May of the same year France again decreed "subtraction," and a national French assembly in 1408 approved the calling of a council. The last stages of the contest were approaching.

Seven of Gregory’s cardinals broke away from him, and, leaving him at Lucca, went to Pisa, where they issued a manifesto appealing from a poorly informed pope to a better informed one, from Christ’s vicar to Christ himself, and to the decision of a general council. Two more followed. Gregory further injured his cause by breaking his solemn engagement and appointing four cardinals, May, 1408, two of them his nephews, and a few months later he added ten more. Cardinals of the Avignon obedience joined the Roman cardinals at Pisa and brought the number up to thirteen. Retiring to Livorno on the beautiful Italian lake of that name, and acting as if the popes were deposed, they as rulers of the Church appointed a general council to meet at Pisa, March 25, 1409.

As an offset, Gregory summoned a council of his own to meet in the territory either of Ravenna or Aquileja. Many of his closest followers had forsaken him, and even his native city of Venice withdrew from him its support. In the meantime Ladislaus had entered Rome and been hailed as king. It is, however, probable that this was with the consent of Gregory himself, who hoped thereby to gain sympathy for his cause. Benedict also exercised his sovereign power as pontiff and summoned a council to meet at Perpignan, Nov. 1, 1408.

The word "council," now that the bold initiative was taken, was hailed as pregnant with the promise of sure relief from the disgrace and confusion into which Western Christendom had been thrown and of a reunion of the Church.


 § 15. The Council of Pisa.


The three councils of Pisa, 1409, Constance, 1414, and Basel, 1431, of which the schism was the occasion, are known in history as the Reformatory councils. Of the tasks they set out to accomplish, the healing of the schism and the institution of disciplinary reforms in the Church, the first they accomplished, but with the second they made little progress. They represent the final authority of general councils in the affairs of the Church—a view, called the conciliary theory—in distinction from the supreme authority of the papacy.

The Pisan synod marks an epoch in the history of Western Christendom not so much on account of what it actually accomplished as because it was the first revolt in council against the theory of papal absolutism which had been accepted for centuries. It followed the ideas of Gerson and Langenstein, namely, that the Church is the Church even without the presence of a pope, and that an oecumenical council is legitimate which meets not only in the absence of his assent but in the face of his protest. Representing intellectually the weight of the Latin world and the larger part of its constituency, the assembly was a momentous event leading in the opposite direction from the path laid out by Hildebrand, Innocent III., and their successors. It was a mighty blow at the old system of Church government.

While Gregory XII. was tarrying at Rimini, as a refugee, under the protection of Charles Malatesta, and Benedict XIII. was confined to the seclusion of Perpignan, the synod was opened on the appointed day in the cathedral of Pisa. There was an imposing attendance of 14 cardinals,—the number being afterwards increased to 24,—4 patriarchs, 10 archbishops, 79 bishops and representatives of 116 other bishops, 128 abbots and priors and the representatives of 200 other abbots. To these prelates were added the generals of the Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite, and Augustinian orders, the grand-master of the Knights of St. John, who was accompanied by 6 commanders, the general of the Teutonic order, 300 doctors of theology and the canon law, 109 representatives of cathedral and collegiate chapters, and the deputies of many princes, including the king of the Romans, Wenzil, and the kings of England, France, Poland, and Cyprus. A new and significant feature was the representation of the universities of learning, including Paris,273 Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge, Montpellier, Toulouse, Angers, Vienna, Cracow, Prag, and Cologne. Among the most important personages was Peter d’Ailly, though there is no indication in the acts of the council that he took a prominent public part. John Gerson seems not to have been present.

The second day, the archbishop of Milan, Philargi, himself soon to be elected pope, preached from Judg. 20:7: "Behold, ye are all children of Israel. Give here your advice and counsel," and stated the reasons which had led to the summoning of the council. Guy de Maillesec, the only cardinal surviving from the days prior to the schism, presided over the first sessions. His place was then filled by the patriarch of Alexandria, till the new pope was chosen.

One of the first deliverances was a solemn profession of the Holy Trinity and the Catholic faith, and that every heretic and schismatic will share with the devil and his angels the burnings of eternal fire unless before the end of this life he make his peace with the Catholic Church.274

The business which took precedence of all other was the healing of the schism, the causa unionis, as, it was called, and disposition was first made of the rival popes. A formal trial was instituted, which was opened by two cardinals and two archbishops proceeding to the door of the cathedral and solemnly calling Gregory and Benedict by name and summoning them to appear and answer for themselves. The formality was gone through three times, on three successive days, and the offenders were given till April 15 to appear.

By a series of declarations the synod then justified its existence, and at the eighth session declared itself to be "a general council representing the whole universal Catholic Church and lawfully and reasonably called together."275  It thought along the lines marked out by D’Ailly and Gerson and the other writers who had pronounced the unity of the Church to consist in oneness with her divine Head and declared that the Church, by virtue of the power residing in herself, has the right, in response to a divine call, to summon a council. The primitive Church had called synods, and James, not Peter, had presided at Jerusalem.

D’Ailly, in making definite announcement of his views at a synod, meeting at Aix, Jan. 1, 1409, had said that the Church’s unity depends upon the unity of her head, Christ. Christ’s mystical body gets its authority from its divine head to meet in a general council through representatives, for it is written, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."  The words are not "in Peter’s name," or "in Paul’s name," but "in my name."  And when the faithful assemble to secure the welfare of the Church, there Christ is in their midst.

Gerson wrote his most famous tract bearing on the schism and the Church’s right to remove a pope—De auferibilitate papae ab ecclesia — while the council of Pisa was in session.276  In this elaborate treatment he said that, in the strict sense, Christ is the Church’s only bridegroom. The marriage between the pope and the Church may be dissolved, for such a spiritual marriage is not a sacrament. The pope may choose to separate himself from the Church and resign. The Church has a similar right to separate itself from the pope by removing him. All Church officers are appointed for the Church’s welfare and, when the pope impedes its welfare, it may remove him. It is bound to defend itself. This it may do through a general council, meeting by general consent and without papal appointment. Such a council depends immediately upon Christ for its authority. The pope may be deposed for heresy or schism. He might be deposed even where he had no personal guilt, as in case he should be taken prisoner by the Saracens, and witnesses should testify he was dead. Another pope would then be chosen and, if the reports of the death of the former pope were proved false, and he be released from captivity, he or the other pope would have to be removed, for the Church cannot have more than one pontiff.

Immediately after Easter, Charles Malatesta appeared in the council to advocate Gregory’s cause. A commission, appointed by the cardinals, presented forty reasons to show that an agreement between the synod and the Roman pontiff was out of the question. Gregory must either appear at Pisa in person and abdicate, or present his resignation to a commission which the synod would appoint and send to Rimini.

Gregory’s case was also represented by the rival king of the Romans, Ruprecht,277 through a special embassy made up of the archbishop of Riga, the bishops of Worms and Verden, and other commissioners. It presented twenty-four reasons for denying the council’s jurisdiction. The paper was read by the bishop of Verden at the close of a sermon preached to the assembled councillors on the admirable text, "Peace be unto you." The most catching of the reasons was that, if the cardinals questioned the legitimacy of Gregory’s pontificate, what ground had they for not questioning the validity of their own authority, appointed as they had been by Gregory or Benedict.

In a document of thirty-eight articles, read April 24, the council presented detailed specifications against the two popes, charging them both with having made and broken solemn promises to resign.

The argument was conducted by Peter de Anchorano, professor of both laws in Bologna, and by others. Peter argued that, by fostering the schism, Gregory and his rival had forfeited jurisdiction, and the duty of calling a representative council of Christendom devolved on the college of cardinals. In certain cases the cardinals are left no option whether they shall act or not, as when a pope is insane or falls into heresy or refuses to summon a council at a time when orthodox doctrine is at stake. The temporal power has the right to expel a pope who acts illegally.

In an address on Hosea 1:11, "and the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and shall appoint themselves one head," Peter Plaoul, of the University of Paris, clearly placed the council above the pope, an opinion which had the support of his own university as well as the support of the universities of Toulouse, Angers, and Orleans. The learned canonist, Zabarella, afterwards appointed cardinal, took the same ground.

The trial was carried on with all decorum and, at the end of two months, on June 5, sentence was pronounced, declaring both popes "notorious schismatics, promoters of schism, and notorious heretics, errant from the faith, and guilty of the notorious and enormous crimes of perjury and violated oaths."278

Deputies arriving from Perpignan a week later, June 14, were hooted by the council when the archbishop of Tarragona, one of their number, declared them to be "the representatives of the venerable pope, Benedict XIII."  Benedict had a short time before shown his defiance of the Pisan fathers by adding twelve members to his cabinet. When the deputies announced their intention of waiting upon Gregory, and asked for a letter of safe conduct, Balthazar Cossa, afterwards John XXIII., the master of Bologna, is said to have declared, "Whether they come with a letter or without it, he would burn them all if he could lay his hands upon them."

The rival popes being disposed of, it remained for the council to proceed to a new election, and it was agreed to leave the matter to the cardinals, who met in the archiepiscopal palace of Pisa, June 26, and chose the archbishop of Milan, Philargi, who took the name of Alexander V. He was about seventy, a member of the Franciscan order, and had received the red hat from Innocent VII. I. He was a Cretan by birth, and the first Greek to wear the tiara since John VII., in 706. He had never known his father or mother and, rescued from poverty by the Minorites, he was taken to Italy to be educated, and later sent to Oxford. After his election as pope, he is reported to have said, "as a bishop I was rich, as a cardinal poor, and as pope I am a beggar again."279

In the meantime Gregory’s side council at Cividale, near Aquileja, was running its course. There was scarcely an attendant at the first session. Later, Ruprecht and king Ladislaus were represented by deputies. The assumption of the body was out of all proportion to its size. It pronounced the pontiffs of the Roman line the legitimate rulers of Christendom, and appointed nuncios to all the kingdoms. However, not unmindful of his former professions, Gregory anew expressed his readiness to resign if his rivals, Peter of Luna and Peter of Candia (Crete), would do the same. Venice had declared for Alexander, and Gregory, obliged to flee in the disguise of a merchant, found refuge in the ships of Ladislaus.

Benedict’s council met in Perpignan six months before, November, 1408. One hundred and twenty prelates were in attendance, most of them from Spain. The council adjourned March 26, 1409, after appointing a delegation of seven to proceed to Pisa and negotiate for the healing of the schism.

After Alexander’s election, the members lost interest in the synod and began to withdraw from Pisa, and it was found impossible to keep the promise made by the cardinals that there should be no adjournment till measures had been taken to reform the Church "in head and members."  Commissions were appointed to consider reforms, and Alexander prorogued the body, Aug. 7, 1409, after appointing another council for April 12, 1412.280

At the opening of the Pisan synod there were two popes; at its close, three. Scotland and Spain still held to Benedict, and Naples and parts of Central Europe continued to acknowledge the obedience of Gregory. The greater part of Christendom, however, was bound to the support of Alexander. This pontiff lacked the strength needed for the emergency, and he aroused the opposition of the University of Paris by extending the rights of the Mendicant orders to hear confessions.281  He died at Bologna, May 3, 1410, without having entered the papal city. Rumor went that Balthazar Cossa, who was about to be elected his successor, had poison administered to him.

As a rule, modern Catholic historians are inclined to belittle the Pisan synod, and there is an almost general agreement among them that it lacked oecumenical character. Without pronouncing a final decision on the question, Bellarmin regarded Alexander V. as legitimate pope. Gerson and other great contemporaries treated it as oecumenical, as did also Bossuet and other Gallican historians two centuries later. Modern Catholic historians treat the claims of Gregory XII. as not affected by a council which was itself illegitimate and a high-handed revolt against canon law.282

But whether the name oecumenical be given or be withheld matters little, in view of the general judgment which the summons and sitting of the council call forth. It was a desperate measure adopted to suit an emergency, but it was also the product of a new freedom of ecclesiastical thought, and so far a good omen of a better age. The Pisan synod demonstrated that the Church remained virtually a unit in spite of the double pontifical administration. It branded by their right names the specious manoevres of Gregory and Peter de Luna. It brought together the foremost thinkers and literary interests of Europe and furnished a platform of free discussion. Not its least service was in preparing the way for the imposing council which convened in Constance five years later.


 § 16. The Council of Constance. 1414–1418.


At Alexander’s death, seventeen cardinals met in Bologna and elected Balthazar Cossa, who took the name of John XXIII. He was of noble Neapolitan lineage, began his career as a soldier and perhaps as a corsair,283 was graduated in both laws at Bologna and was made cardinal by Boniface IX. He joined in the call of the council of Pisa. A man of ability, he was destitute of every moral virtue, and capable of every vice.

Leaning for support upon Louis of Anjou, John gained entrance to Rome. In the battle of Rocca Secca, May 14, 1411, Louis defeated the troops of Ladislaus. The captured battle-flags were sent to Rome, hung up in St. Peter’s, then torn down in the sight of the people, and dragged in the dust in the triumphant procession through the streets of the city, in which John participated. Ladislaus speedily recovered from his defeat, and John, with his usual faithlessness, made terms with Ladislaus, recognizing him as king, while Ladislaus, on his part, renounced his allegiance to Gregory XII. That pontiff was ordered to quit Neapolitan territory, and embarking in Venetian vessels at Gaeta, fled to Dalmatia, and finally took refuge with Charles Malatesta of Rimini, his last political ally.

The Council of Constance, the second of the Reformatory councils, was called together by the joint act of Pope John XXIII. and Sigismund, king of the Romans. It was not till he was reminded by the University of Paris that John paid heed to the action of the Council of Pisa and called a council to meet at Rome, April, 1412. Its sessions were scantily attended, and scarcely a trace of it is left.284  After ordering Wyclif’s writings burnt, it adjourned Feb. 10, 1413. John had strengthened the college of cardinals by adding fourteen to its number, among them men of the first rank, as D’Ailly, Zabarella of Florence, Robert Hallum, bishop of Salisbury, and Fillastre, dean of Rheims.

Ladislaus, weary of his treaty with John and ambitious to create a unified Latin kingdom, took Rome, 1413, giving the city over to sack. The king rode into the Lateran and looked down from his horse on the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul, which he ordered the canons to display. The very churches were robbed, and soldiers and their courtesans drank wine out of the sacred chalices. Ladislaus left Rome, struck with a vicious disease, rumored to be due to poison administered by an apothecary’s daughter of Perugia, and died at Naples, August, 1414. He had been one of the most prominent figures in Europe for a quarter of a century and the chief supporter of the Roman line of pontiffs.

Driven from Rome, John was thrown into the hands of Sigismund, who was then in Lombardy. This prince, the grandson of the blind king, John, who was killed at Crécy, had come to the throne of Hungary through marriage with its heiress. At Ruprecht’s death he was elected king of the Romans, 1411. Circumstances and his own energy made him the most prominent sovereign of his age and the chief political figure in the Council of Constance. He lacked high aims and moral purpose, but had some taste for books, and spoke several languages besides his own native German. Many sovereigns have placed themselves above national statutes, but Sigismund went farther and, according to the story, placed himself above the rules of grammar. In his first address at the Council of Constance, so it is said, he treated the Latin word schisma, schism, as if it were feminine.285  When Priscian and other learned grammarians were quoted to him to show it was neuter, he replied, "Yes; but I am emperor and above them, and can make a new grammar."  The fact that Sigismund was not yet emperor when the mistake is said to have been made—for he was not crowned till 1433—seems to prejudice the authenticity of the story, but it is quite likely that he made mistakes in Latin and that the bon-mot was humorously invented with reference to it.

Pressed by the growing troubles in Bohemia over John Huss, Sigismund easily became an active participant in the measures looking towards a new council. Men distrusted John XXIII. The only hope of healing the schism seemed to rest with the future emperor. In many documents, and by John himself, he was addressed as "advocate and defender of the Church"286 advocatus et defensor ecclesiae.287

Two of John’s cardinals met Sigismund at Como, Oct. 13, 1413, and discussed the time and place of the new synod. John preferred an Italian city, Sigismund the small Swabian town of Kempten; Strassburg, Basel, and other places were mentioned, but Constance, on German territory, was at last fixed upon. On Oct. 30 Sigismund announced the approaching council to all the prelates, princes, and doctors of Christendom, and on Dec. 9 John attached his seal to the call. Sigismund and John met at Lodi the last of November, 1413, and again at Cremona early in January, 1414, the pope being accompanied by thirteen cardinals. Thus the two great luminaries of this mundane sphere were again side by side.288  They ascended together the great Torazzo, close to the cathedral of Cremona, accompanied by the lord of the town, who afterwards regretted that he had not seized his opportunity and pitched them both down to the street. Not till the following August was a formal announcement of the impending council sent to the Kaufhaus

Gregory XII., who recognized Sigismund as king of the Romans.289  Gregory complained to Archbishop Andrew of Spalato, bearer of the notice, of the lateness of the invitation, and that he had not been consulted in regard to the council. Sigismund promised that, if Gregory should be deposed, he would see to it that he received a good life position.290

The council, which was appointed for Nov. 1, 1414, lasted nearly four years, and proved to be one of the most imposing gatherings which has ever convened in Western Europe. It was a veritable parliament of nations, a convention of the leading intellects of the age, who pressed together to give vent to the spirit of free discussion which the Avignon scandals and the schism had developed, and to debate the most urgent of questions, the reunion of Christendom under one undisputed head."291

Following the advice of his cardinals, John, who set his face reluctantly towards the North, reached Constance Oct. 28, 1414. The city then contained 5500 people, and the beauty of its location, its fields, and its vineyards, were praised by Nieheim and other contemporaries. They also spoke of the salubriousness of the air and the justice of the municipal laws for strangers. It seemed to be as a field which the Lord had blessed.292  As John approached Constance, coming by way of the Tirol, he is said to have exclaimed, "Ha, this is the place where foxes are trapped."  He entered the town in great style, accompanied by nine cardinals and sixteen hundred mounted horsemen. He rode a white horse, its back covered with a red rug. Its bridles were held by the count of Montferrat and an Orsini of Rome. The city council sent to the pope’s lodgings four large barrels of Elsass wine, eight of native wine, and other wines.293

The first day of November, John attended a solemn mass at the cathedral. The council met on the 5th, with fifteen cardinals present. The first public session was held Nov. 16. In all, forty-five public sessions were held, the usual hour of assembling being 7 in the morning. Gregory XII. was represented by two delegates, the titular patriarch of Constantinople and Cardinal John Dominici of Ragusa, a man of great sagacity and excellent spirit.

The convention did not get into full swing until the arrival of Sigismund on Christmas Eve, fresh from his coronation, which occurred at Aachen, Nov. 8, and accompanied by his queen, Barbara, and a brilliant suite. After warming themselves, the imperial party proceeded to the cathedral and, at cock-crowing Christmas morning, were received by the pope. Services were held lasting eight, or, according to another authority, eleven hours without interruption. Sigismund, wearing his crown and a dalmatic, exercised the functions of deacon and read the Gospel, and the pope conferred upon him a sword, bidding him use it to protect the Church.

Constance had become the most conspicuous locality in Europe. It attracted people of every rank, from the king to the beggar. A scene of the kind on so great a scale had never been witnessed in the West before. The reports of the number of strangers in the city vary from 50,000 to 100,000. Richental, the indefatigable Boswell of the council, himself a resident of Constance, gives an account of the arrival of every important personage, together with the number of his retainers. One-half of his Chronicle is a directory of names. He went from house to house, taking a census, and to the thousands he mentions by name, he adds 5000 who rode in and out of the town every day. He states that 80,000 witnessed the coronation of Martin V. The lodgings of the more distinguished personages were marked with their coats of arms. Bakers, beadles, grooms, scribes, goldsmiths, merchantmen of every sort, even to traffickers from the Orient, flocked together to serve the dukes and prelates and the learned university masters and doctors. There were in attendance on the council, 33 cardinals, 5 patriarchs, 47 archbishops, 145 bishops, 93 titular bishops, 217 doctors of theology, 361 doctors in both laws, 171 doctors of medicine, besides a great number of masters of arts from the 37 universities represented, 83 kings and princes represented by envoys, 38 dukes, 173 counts, 71 barons, more than 1500 knights, 142 writers of bulls, 1700 buglers, fiddlers, and players on other musical instruments. Seven hundred women of the street practised their trade openly or in rented houses, while the number of those who practised it secretly was a matter of conjecture.294  There were 36,000 beds for strangers. Five hundred are said to have been drowned in the lake during the progress of the council. Huss wrote, "This council is a scene of foulness, for it is a common saying among the Swiss that a generation will not suffice to cleanse Constance from the sins which the council has committed in this city."295

The English and Scotch delegation, which numbered less than a dozen persons, was accompanied by 700 or 800 mounted men, splendidly accoutred, and headed by fifers and other musicians, and made a great sensation by their entry into the city. The French delegation was marked by its university men and other men of learning.296

The streets and surroundings presented the spectacle of a merry fair. There were tournaments, dances, acrobatic shows, processions, musical displays. But in spite of the congestion, good order seems to have been maintained. By order of the city council, persons were forbidden to be out after curfew without a light. Chains were to be stretched across some of the streets, and all shouting at night was forbidden. It is said that during the council’s progress only two persons were punished for street brawls. A check was put upon extortionate rates by a strict tariff. The price of a white loaf was fixed at a penny, and a bed for two persons, with sheets and pillows, at a gulden and a half a month, the linen to be washed every two weeks. Fixed prices were put upon grains, meat, eggs, birds, and other articles of food.297  The bankers present were a great number, among them the young Cosimo de’ Medici of Florence.

Among the notables in attendance, the pope and Sigismund occupied the chief place. The most inordinate praise was heaped upon the king. He was compared to Daniel, who rescued Susanna, and to David. He was fond of pleasure, very popular with women, always in debt and calling for money, but a deadly foe of heretics, so that whenever he roared, it was said, the Wyclifites fled.298  There can be no doubt that to Sigismund were due the continuance and success of the council. His queen, Barbara, the daughter of a Styrian count, was tall and fair, but of questionable reputation, and her gallantries became the talk of the town.

The next most eminent persons were Cardinals D’Ailly, Zabarella, Fillastre, John of Ragusa, and Hallum, bishop of Salisbury, who died during the session of the council, and was buried in Constance, the bishop of Winchester, uncle to the English king, and John Gerson, the chief representative of the University of Paris. Zabarella was the most profound authority on civil and canon law in Europe, a professor at Bologna, and in 1410 made bishop of Florence. He died in the midst of the council’s proceedings, Sept. 26, 1417. Fillastre left behind him a valuable daily journal of the council’s proceedings. D’Ailly had been for some time one of the most prominent figures in Europe. Hallum is frequently mentioned in the proceedings of the council. Among the most powerful agencies at work in the assemblies were the tracts thrown off at the time, especially those of Diedrich of Nieheim, one of the most influential pamphleteers of the later Middle Ages.299

The subjects which the council was called together to discuss were the reunion of the Church under one pope, and Church reforms.300  The action against heresy, including the condemnation of John Huss and Jerome of Prag, is also conspicuous among the proceedings of the council, though not treated by contemporaries as a distinct subject. From the start, John lost support. A sensation was made by a tract, the work of an Italian, describing John’s vices both as man and pope. John of Ragusa and Fillastre recommended the resignation of all three papal claimants, and this idea became more and more popular, and was, after some delay, adopted by Sigismund, and was trenchantly advocated by Nieheim, in his tract on the Necessity of a Reformation in the Church.

From the very beginning great plainness of speech was used, so that John had good reason to be concerned for the tenure of his office. December 7, 1414, the cardinals passed propositions binding him to a faithful performance of his papal duties and abstinence from simony. D’Ailly wrote against the infallibility of councils, and thus furnished the ground for setting aside the papal election at Pisa.

From November to January, 1415, a general disposition was manifested to avoid taking the initiative—the noli me tangere policy, as it was called.301  The ferment of thought and discussion became more and more active, until the first notable principle was laid down early in February, 1415, namely, the rule requiring the vote to be by nations. The purpose was to overcome the vote of the eighty Italian bishops and doctors who were committed to John’s cause. The action was taken in the face of John’s opposition, and followed the precedent set by the University of Paris in the government of its affairs. By this rule, which no council before or since has followed, except the little Council of Siena, 1423, England, France, Italy, and Germany had each a single vote in the affairs of the council. In 1417, when Aragon, Castile, and Scotland gave in their submission to the council, a fifth vote was accorded to Spain. England had the smallest representation. In the German nation were included Scandinavia, Poland, and Hungary. The request of the cardinals to have accorded to them a distinct vote as a body was denied. They met with the several nations to which they belonged, and were limited to the same rights enjoyed by other individuals. This rule seems to have been pressed from the first with great energy by the English, led by Robert of Salisbury. Strange to say, there is no record that this mode of voting was adopted by any formal conciliar decree.302

The nations met each under its own president in separate places, the English and Germans sitting in different rooms in the convent of the Grey Friars. The vote of the majority of the nations carried in the public sessions of the council. The right to vote in the nations was extended so as to include the doctors of both kinds and princes. D’Ailly advocated this course, and Fillastre argued in favor of including rectors and even clergymen of the lowest rank. Why, reasoned D’Ailly, should a titular bishop have an equal voice with a bishop ruling over an extensive see, say the archbishopric of Mainz, and why should a doctor be denied all right to vote who has given up his time and thought to the questions under discussion?  And why, argued Fillastre, should an abbot, having control over only ten monks, have a vote, when a rector with a care of a thousand or ten thousand souls is excluded?  An ignorant king or prelate he called a "crowned ass."  Doctors were on hand for the very purpose of clearing up ignorance.

When the Italian tract appeared, which teemed with charges against John, matters were brought to a crisis. Then it became evident that the scheme calling for the removal of all three popes would go through, and John, to avoid a worse fate, agreed to resign, making the condition that Gregory XII. and Benedict should also resign. The formal announcement, which was read at the second session, March 2, 1415, ran: "I, John XXIII., pope, promise, agree, and obligate myself, vow and swear before God, the Church, and this holy council, of my own free will and spontaneously, to give peace to the Church by abdication, provided the pretenders, Benedict and Gregory, do the same."303  At the words "vow and swear," John rose from his seat and knelt down at the altar, remaining on his knees till he finished the reading. The reading being over, Sigismund removed his crown, bent before John, and kissed his feet. Five days after, John issued a bull confirming his oath.

Constance was wild with joy. The bells rang out the glad news. In the cathedral, joy expressed itself in tears. The spontaneity of John’s self-deposition may be questioned, in view of the feeling which prevailed among the councillors and the report that he had made an offer to cede the papacy for 30,000 gulden.304

A most annoying, though ridiculous, turn was now given to affairs by John’s flight from Constance, March 20. Rumors had been whispered about that he was contemplating such a move. He talked of transferring the council to Rizza, and complained of the unhealthiness of the air of Constance. He, however, made the solemn declaration that he would not leave the town before the dissolution of the council. To be on the safe side, Sigismund gave orders for the gates to be kept closed and the lake watched. But John had practised dark arts before, and, unmindful of his oath, escaped at high noon on a "little horse," in the disguise of a groom, wrapped in a gray cloak, wearing a gray cap, and having a crossbow tied to his saddle.305  The flight was made while the gay festivities of a tournament, instituted by Frederick, duke of Austria, were going on, and with two attendants. The pope continued his course without rest till he reached Schaffhausen. This place belonged to the duke, who was in the secret, and on whom John had conferred the office of commander of the papal troops, with a yearly grant of 6000 gulden. John’s act was an act of desperation. He wrote back to the council, giving as the reason of his flight that he had been in fear of Sigismund, and that his freedom of action had been restricted by the king.306

So great was the panic produced by the pope’s flight that the council would probably have been brought to a sudden close by a general scattering of its members, had it not been for Sigismund’s prompt action. Cardinals and envoys despatched by the king and council made haste to stop the fleeing pope, who continued on to Laufenburg, Freiburg, and Breisach. John wrote to Sigismund, expressing his regard for him, but with the same pen he was addressing communications to the University of Paris and the duke of Orleans, seeking to awaken sympathy for his cause by playing upon the national feelings of the French. He attempted to make it appear that the French delegation had been disparaged when the council proceeded to business before the arrival of the twenty-two deputies of the University. France and Italy, with two hundred prelates, had each only a single vote, while England, with only three prelates, had a vote. God, he affirmed, dealt with individuals and not with nations. He also raised the objection that married laymen had votes at the side of prelates, and John Huss had not been put on trial, though he had been condemned by the University of Paris.

To the envoys who found John at Breisach, April 23, he gave his promise to return with them to Constance the next morning; but with his usual duplicity, he attempted to escape during the night, and was let down from the castle by a ladder, disguised as a peasant. He was soon seized, and ultimately handed over by Sigismund to Louis III., of the Palatinate, for safe-keeping.

In the meantime the council forbade any of the delegates to leave Constance before the end of the proceedings, on pain of excommunication and the loss of dignities. Its fourth and fifth sessions, beginning April 6, 1415, mark an epoch in the history of ecclesiastical statement. The council declared that, being assembled legitimately in the Holy Spirit, it was an oecumenical council and representing the whole Church, had its authority immediately from Christ, and that to it the pope and persons of every grade owed obedience in things pertaining to the faith and to the reformation of the Church in head and members. It was superior to all other ecclesiastical tribunals.307  This declaration, stated with more precision than the one of Pisa, meant a vast departure from the papal theory of Innocent III. and Boniface VIII.

Gerson, urging this position in his sermon before the council, March 23, 1415, said308 the gates of hell had prevailed against popes, but not against the Church. Joseph was set to guard his master’s wife, not to debauch her, and when the pope turned aside from his duty, the Church had authority to punish him. A council has the right by reason of the vivifying power of the Holy Spirit to prolong itself, and may, under certain conditions, assemble without call of pope or his consent.

The conciliar declarations reaffirmed the principle laid down by Nieheim on the eve of the council in the tract entitled the Union of the Church and its Reformation, and by other writers.309  The Church, Nieheim affirmed, whose head is Christ, cannot err, but the Church as a commonwealth,—respublica,—controlled by pope and hierarchy, may err. And as a prince who does not seek the good of his subjects may be deposed, so may the pope, who is called to preside over the whole Church .... The pope is born of man, born in sin—clay of clay—limus de limo. A few days ago the son of a rustic, and now raised to the papal throne, he is not become an impeccable angel. It is not his office that makes him holy, but the grace of God. He is not infallible; and as Christ, who was without sin, was subject to a tribunal, 80 is the pope. It is absurd to say that a mere man has power in heaven and on earth to bind and loose from sin. For he may be a simoniac, a liar, a fornicator, proud, and worse than the devil—pejor quam diabolus. As for a council, the pope is under obligation to submit to it and, if necessary, to resign for the common good—utilitatem communem. A general council may be called by the prelates and temporal rulers, and is superior to the pope. It may elect, limit, and depose a pope—and from its decision there is no appeal—potest papam eligere, privare et deponere. A tali concilio nullus potest appellare. Its canons are immutable, except as they may be set aside by another oecumenical council.

These views were revolutionary, and show that Marsiglius of Padua, and other tractarians of the fourteenth century, had not spoken in vain.

Having affirmed its superiority over the pope, the council proceeded to try John XXIII. on seventy charges, which included almost every crime known to man. He had been unchaste from his youth, had been given to lying, was disobedient to his parents. He was guilty of simony, bought his way to the cardinalate, sold the same benefices over and over again, sold them to children, disposed of the head of John the Baptist, belonging to the nuns of St. Sylvester, Rome, to Florence, for 50,000 ducats, made merchandise of spurious bulls, committed adultery with his brother’s wife, violated nuns and other virgins, was guilty of sodomy and other nameless vices.310  As for doctrine, he had often denied the future life.

When John received the notice of his deposition, which was pronounced May 29, 1415, he removed the papal cross from his room and declared he regretted ever having been elected pope. He was taken to Gottlieben, a castle belonging to the bishop of Constance, and then removed to the castle at Heidelberg, where two chaplains and two nobles were assigned to serve him. From Heidelberg the count Palatine transferred him to Mannheim, and finally released him on the payment of 30,000 gulden. John submitted to his successor, Martin V., and in 1419 was appointed cardinal bishop of Tusculum, but survived the appointment only six months. John’s accomplice, Frederick of Austria, was deprived of his lands, and was known as Frederick of the empty purse—Friedrich mit der leeren Tasche. A splendid monument was erected to John in the baptistery in Florence by Cosimo de’ Medici, who had managed the pope’s money affairs.

While John’s case was being decided, the trial of John Huss was under way. The proceedings and the tragedy of Huss’ death are related in another place.

John XXIII. was out of the way. Two popes remained, Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII., who were facetiously called in tracts and addresses Errorius, a play on Gregory’s patronymic, Angelo Correr,311 and Maledictus. Gregory promptly resigned, thus respecting his promise made to the council to resign, provided John and Benedict should be set aside. He also had promised to recognize the council, provided the emperor should preside. The resignation was announced at the fourteenth session, July 4, 1415, by Charles Malatesta and John of Ragusa, representing the Roman pontiff. Gregory’s bull, dated May 15, 1414, which was publicly read, "convoked and authorized the general council so far as Balthazar Cossa, John XXIII., is not present and does not preside."  The words of resignation ran, "I resign, in the name of the Lord, the papacy, and all its rights and title and all the privileges conferred upon it by the Lord Jesus Christ in this sacred synod and universal council representing the holy Roman and universal Church."312  Gregory’s cardinals now took their seats, and Gregory himself was appointed cardinal-bishop of Porto and papal legate of Ancona. He died at Recanati, near Ancona, Oct. 18, 1417. Much condemnation as Angelo Correr deserves for having temporized about renouncing the papacy, posterity has not withheld from him respect for his honorable dealing at the close of his career. The high standing of his cardinal, John of Ragusa, did much to make men forget Gregory’s faults.

Peter de Luna was of a different mind. Every effort was made to bring him into accord with the mind of the councilmen in the Swiss city, but in vain. In order to bring all the influence possible to bear upon him, Sigismund, at the council’s instance, started on the journey to see the last of the Avignon popes face to face. The council, at its sixteenth session, July 11, 1415, appointed doctors to accompany the king, and eight days afterwards he broke away from Constance, accompanied by a troop of 4000 men on horse.

Sigismund and Benedict met at Narbonne, Aug. 15, and at Perpignan, the negotiations lasting till December. The decree of deposition pronounced at Pisa, and France’s withdrawal of allegiance, had not broken the spirit of the old man. His dogged tenacity was worthy of a better cause.313  Among the propositions the pope had the temerity to make was that he would resign provided that he, as the only surviving cardinal from the times before the schism, should have liberty to follow his abdication by himself electing the new pontiff. Who knows but that one who was 80 thoroughly assured of his own infallibility would have chosen himself. Benedict persisted in calling the Council of Constance the "congregation," or assembly. On Nov. 14 he fled to Peñiscola, a rocky promontory near Valencia, again condemned the Swiss synod, and summoned a legitimate one to meet in his isolated Spanish retreat. His own cardinals were weary of the conflict, and Dec. 13, 1415, declared him deposed. His long-time supporter, Vincent Ferrer, called him a perjurer. The following month the kingdom of Aragon, which had been Benedict’s chief support, withdrew from his obedience and was followed by Castile and Scotland.

Peter de Luna was now as thoroughly isolated as any mortal could well be. The council demanded his unconditional abdication, and was strengthened by the admission of his old supporters, the Spanish delegates. At the thirty-seventh session, 1417, he was deposed. By Sigismund’s command the decision was announced on the streets of Constance by trumpeters. But the indomitable Spaniard continued to defy the synod’s sentence till his death, nine years later, and from the lonely citadel of Peñiscola to sit as sovereign of Christendom. Cardinal Hergenröther concludes his description of these events by saying that Benedict "was a pope without a church and a shepherd without sheep. This very fact proves the emptiness of his claims."  Benedict died, 1423,314 leaving behind him four cardinals. Three of these elected the canon, Gil Sauduz de Munoz of Barcelona, who took the name of Clement VIII. Five years later Gil resigned, and was appointed by Martin V. bishop of Majorca, on which island he was a pope with insular jurisdiction.315  The fourth cardinal, Jean Carrier, elected himself pope, and took the name of Benedict XIV. He died in prison, 1433.

It remained for the council to terminate the schism of years by electing a new pontiff and to proceed to the discussions of Church reforms. At the fortieth session, Oct. 30, 1417, it was decided to postpone the second item until after the election of the new pope. In fixing this order of business, the cardinals had a large influence. There was a time in the history of the council when they were disparaged. Tracts were written against them, and the king at one time, so it was rumored, proposed to seize them all.316  But that time was past; they had kept united, and their influence had steadily grown.

The papal vacancy was filled, Nov. 11, 1417, by the election of Cardinal Oddo Colonna, who took the name of Martin V. The election was consummated in the Kaufhaus, the central commercial building of Constance, which is still standing. Fifty-three electors participated, 6 deputies from each of the 5 nations, and 23 cardinals. The building was walled up with boards and divided into cells for the electors. Entrance was had by a single door, and the three keys were given, one to the king, one to the chapter of Constance, and one to the council. When it became apparent that an election was likely to be greatly delayed, the Germans determined to join the Italians in voting for an Italian to avoid suspicion that advantage was taken of the synod’s location on German soil. The Germans then secured the co-operation of the English, and finally the French and Spaniards also yielded.317  The pope-elect was thus the creature of the council.

The Western Church was again unified under one head. But for the deep-seated conviction of centuries, the office of the universal papacy would scarcely have survived the strain of the schism.318  Oddo Colonna, the only member of his distinguished house who has worn the tiara, was a subdeacon at the time of his election. Even more hastily than Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, was he rushed through the ordination of deacon, Nov. 12, of priest, Nov. 13, and bishop, Nov. 14. He was consecrated pope a week later, Nov. 21, Sigismund kissing his toe. In the procession, the bridles of Martin’s horse were held by Sigismund and Frederick the Hohenzollern, lately created margrave of Brandenburg. The margrave had paid Sigismund 250,000 marks as the price of his elevation, a sum which the king used to defray the expenses of his visit to Benedict.

Martin at once assumed the presidency of the council which since John’s flight had been filled by Cardinal Viviers. Measures of reform were now the order of the day and some headway was made. The papal right of granting indulgences was curtailed. The college of cardinals was limited to 24, with the stipulation that the different parts of the church should have a proportionate representation, that no monastic order should have more than a single member in the college, and that no cardinal’s brother or nephew should be raised to the curia so long as the cardinal was living. Schedules and programmes enough were made, but the question of reform involved abuses of such long standing and so deeply intrenched that it was found impossible to reconcile the differences of opinion prevailing in the council and bring it to promptness of action. After sitting for more than three years, the delegates were impatient to get away.

As a substitute for further legislation, the so-called concordats were arranged. These agreements were intended to regulate the relations of the papacy and the nations one with the other. There were four of these distinct compacts, one with the French, and one with the German nations, each to be valid for five years, one with the English to be perpetual, dated July 21, 1418, and one with the Spanish nation, dated May 13, 1418.319  These concordats set forth rules for the appointment of the cardinals and the restriction of their number, limited the right of papal reservations and the collection of annates and direct taxes, determined what causes might be appealed to Rome, and took up other questions. They were the foundation of the system of secret or open treaties by which the papacy has since regulated its relations with the nations of Europe. Gregory VII. was the first pope to extend the system of papal legates, but he and his successors had dealt with nations on the arbitrary principle of papal supremacy and infallibility.

The action of the Council of Constance lifted the state to some measure of equality with the papacy in the administration of Church affairs. It remained for Louis XIV., 16431715, to assert more fully the Gallican theory of the authority of the state to manage the affairs of the Church within its territory, so far as matters of doctrine were not touched. The first decisive step in the assertion of Gallican liberties was the synodal action of 1407, when France withdrew from the obedience of Benedict XIII. By this action the chapters were to elect their own bishops, and the pope was restrained from levying taxes on their sees. Then followed the compact of the Council of Constance, the Pragmatic Sanction adopted at Bourges, 1438, and the concordat agreed upon between Francis I. and Leo X. at the time of the Reformation. In 1682 the French prelates adopted four propositions, restricting the pope’s authority to spirituals, a power which is limited by the decision of the Council of Constance, and by the precedents of the Gallican Church, and declaring that even in matters of faith the pope is not infallible. Although Louis, who gave his authority to these articles, afterwards revoked them, they remain a platform of Gallicanism as against the ultramontane theory of the infallibility and supreme authority of the pope, and may furnish in the future the basis of a settlement of the papal question in the Catholic communion.320

In the deliverance known as Frequens, passed Oct. 9, 1417, the council decreed that a general council should meet in five years, then in seven years, and thereafter perpetually every ten years.321  This action was prompted by Martin in the bull Frequens, Oct. 9, 1417. On completing its forty-fifth session it was adjourned by Martin, April 22, 1418. The Basel-Ferrara and the Tridentine councils sat a longer time, as did also the Protestant Westminster Assembly, 1643–1648. Before breaking away from Constance, the pope granted Sigismund a tenth for one year to reimburse him for the expense he had been to on account of the synod.

The Council of Constance was the most important synod of the Middle Ages, and more fairly represented the sentiments of Western Christendom than any other council which has ever sat. It furnished an arena of free debate upon interests whose importance was felt by all the nations of Western Europe, and which united them. It was not restricted by a programme prepared by a pope, as the Vatican council of 1870 was. It had freedom and exercised it. While the dogma of transubstantiation enacted by the 4th Lateran, 1215, and the dogma of papal infallibility passed by the Vatican council injected elements of permanent division into the Church, the Council of Constance unified Latin Christendom and ended the schism which had been a cause of scandal for forty years. The validity of its decree putting an oecumenical council above the pope, after being disputed for centuries, was officially set aside by the conciliar vote of 1870. For Protestants the decision at Constance is an onward step towards a right definition of the final seat of religious authority. It remained for Luther, forced to the wall by Eck at Leipzig, and on the ground of the error committed by the Council of Constance, in condemning the godly man, John Huss, to deny the infallibility of councils and to place the seat of infallible authority in the Scriptures, as interpreted by conscience.


Note on the Oecumenical Character of the Council of Constance.


Modern Roman Catholic historians deny the oecumenical character and authority of the Council of Constance, except its four last, 42d-45th sessions, which were presided over by Pope Martin V., or at least all of it till the moment of Gregory XII.’s bull giving to the council his approval, that is, after John had fled and ceased to preside. Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 862, says that before Gregory’s authorization the council was without a head, did not represent the Roman Church, and sat against the will of the cardinals, by whom he meant Gregory’s cardinals. Salembier, p. 317, says, Il n’est devenu oecuménique qu’après la trente-cinquième session, lorsque Grégoire III. eut donné sa démission, etc. Pastor, I. 198 sq., warmly advocates the same view, and declares that when the council in its 4th and 6th sessions announced its superiority over the pope, it was not yet an oecumenical gathering. This dogma, he says, was intended to set up a new principle which revolutionized the old Catholic doctrine of the Church. Philip Hergenröther, in Katholisches Kirchenrecht, p. 344 sq., expresses the same judgment. The council was not a legitimate council till after Gregory’s resignation.

The wisdom of the council in securing the resignation of Gregory and deposing John and Benedict is not questioned. The validity of its act in electing Martin V., though the papal regulation limiting the right of voting to the cardinals was set aside, is also acknowledged on the ground that the council at the time of Martin’s election was sitting by Gregory’s sanction, and Gregory was true pope until he abdicated.

A serious objection to the view, setting aside this action of the 4th and 5th sessions, is offered by the formal statement made by Martin V. At the final meeting of the council and after its adjournment had been pronounced, a tumultuous discussion was precipitated over the tract concerning the affairs of Poland and Lithuania by the Dominican, Falkenberg, which was written in defence of the Teutonic Knights, and justified the killing of the Polish king and all his subjects. It had been the subject of discussion in the nations, and its heresies were declared to be so glaring that, if they remained uncondemned by the council, that body would go down to posterity as defective in its testimony for orthodoxy. It was during the tumultuous debate, and after Martin had adjourned the council, that he uttered the words which, on their face, sanction whatever was done in council in a conciliar way. Putting an end to the tumult, he announced he would maintain all the decrees passed by the council in matters of faith in a conciliar way—omnia et singula determinata et conclusa et decreta in materiis fidei per praesens sacrum concilium generale Constantiense conciliariter tenere et inviolabiliter observare volebat et nunquam contravenire quoquomodo.  Moreover, he announced that he sanctioned and ratified acts made in a "conciliar way and not made otherwise or in any other way."  Ipsaque sic conciliariter facta approbat papa et ratificat et non aliter nec alio modo. Funk, Martin V. und das Konzil zu Konstanz in Abhandlungen, I. 489 sqq., Hefele, Conciliengesch., I. 62, and Küpper, in Wetzer-Welte, VII. 1004 sqq., restrict the application of these words to the Falkenberg incident. Funk, however, by a narrow interpretation of the words "in matter of faith," excludes the acts of the 4th and 6th sessions from the pope’s approval. Döllinger (p. 464), contends that the expression conciliariter, "in a conciliar way," is opposed to nationaliter, "in the nations."  The expression is to be taken in its simple meaning, and refers to what was done by the council as a council.

The only other statement made by Martin bearing upon the question occurs in his bull Frequens, of Feb. 22, 1418, in which he recognized the council as oecumenical, and declared its decrees binding which pertained to faith and the salvation of souls—quod sacrum concilium Constant., universalem ecclesiam representans approbavit et approbat in favorem fidei et salutem animarum, quod hoc est ab universis Christi fidelibus approbandum et tenendum. Hefele and Funk show that this declaration was not meant to exclude matters which were not of faith, for Martin expressly approved other matters, such as those passed upon in the 39th session. There is no record that Martin at any time said anything to throw light upon his meaning in these two utterances.

In the latter part of the fifteenth century, as Raynaldus, an. 1418, shows, the view came to expression that Martin expressly intended to except the action of the 4th and 6th sessions from his papal approval.

Martin V.’s successor, Eugenius IV., in 1446, thirty years after the synod, asserted that its decrees were to be accepted so far as they did not prejudice the law, dignity, and pre-eminence of the Apostolic See — absque tamen praejudicio juris et dignitatis et praeeminentiae Apost. sedis. The papacy had at that time recovered its prestige, and the supreme pontiff felt himself strong enough to openly reassert the superiority of the Apostolic See over oecumenical councils. But before that time, in a bull issued Dec. 13, 1443, he formally accepted the acts of the Council of Basel, the most explicit of which was the reaffirmation of the acts of the Council of Constance in its 4th and 5th sessions.

It occurs to a Protestant that the Council of Constance would hardly have elected Oddo Colonna pope if he had been suspected of being opposed to the council’s action concerning its own superiority. The council would have stultified itself in appointing a man to undo what it had solemnly done. And for him to have denied its authority would have been, as Döllinger says (p. 159), like a son denying his parentage. The emphasis which recent Catholic historians lay upon Gregory’s authorization of the synod as giving it for the first time an oecumenical character is an easy way out of the difficulty, and this view forces the recognition of the Roman line of popes as the legitimate successors of St. Peter during the years of the schism.


 § 17. The council of Basel. 1431–1449.


Martin V. proved himself to be a capable and judicious ruler, with courage enough when the exigency arose. He left Constance May 16, 1418. Sigismund, who took his departure the following week, offered him as his papal residence Basel, Strassburg, or Frankfurt. France pressed the claims of Avignon, but a Colonna could think of no other city than Rome, and proceeding by the way of Bern, Geneva, Mantua, and Florence, he entered the Eternal city Sept. 28, 1420.322  The delay was due to the struggle being carried on for its possession by the forces of Joanna of Naples under Sforza, and the bold chieftain Braccio.323  Martin secured the withdrawal of Joanna’s claims by recognizing that princess as queen of Naples, and pacified by investing him with Assisi, Perugia, Jesi, and Todi.

Rome was in a desolate condition when Martin reached it, the prey of robbers, its streets filled with refuse and stagnant water, its bridges decayed, and many of its churches without roofs. Cattle and sheep were herded in the spaces of St. Paul’s. Wolves attacked the inhabitants within the walls.324  With Martin’s arrival a new era was opened. This pope rid the city of robbers, so that persons carrying gold might go with safety even beyond the walls. He restored the Lateran, and had it floored with a new pavement. He repaired the porch of St. Peter’s, and provided it with a new roof at a cost of 50,000 gold gulden. Revolutions within the city ceased. Martin deserves to be honored as one of Rome’s leading benefactors. His pontificate was an era of peace after years of constant strife and bloodshed due to factions within the walls and invaders from without. With him its mediaeval history closes, and an age of restoration and progress begins. The inscription on Martin’s tomb in the Lateran, "the Felicity of his Times,"—temporum suorum felicitas,—expresses the debt Rome owes to him.

Among the signs of Martin’s interest in religion was his order securing the transfer to Rome of some of the bones of Monica, the mother of Augustine, and his bull canonizing her. On their reception, Martin made a public address in which he said, "Since we possess St. Augustine, what do we care for the shrewdness of Aristotle, the eloquence of Plato, the reputation of Pythagoras?  These men we do not need. Augustine is enough. If we want to know the truth, learning, and religion, where shall we find one more wise, learned, and holy than St. Augustine?"

As for the promises of Church reforms made at Constance, Martin paid no attention to them, and the explanation made by Pastor, that his time was occupied with the government of Rome and the improvement of the city, is not sufficient to exculpate him. The old abuses in the disposition and sale of offices continued. The pope had no intention of yielding up the monarchical claims of the papal office. Nor did he forget his relatives. One brother, Giordano, was made duke of and another, Lorenzo, count of Alba. One of his nephews, Prospero, he invested with the purple, 1426. He also secured large tracts of territory for his house.325

The council, appointed by Martin at Constance to meet in Pavia, convened April, 1423, was sparsely attended, adjourned on account of the plague to Siena, and, after condemning the errors of Wyclif and Huss, was dissolved March 7, 1424. Martin and his successors feared councils, and it was their policy to prevent, if possible, their assembling, by all sorts of excuses and delays. Why should the pope place himself in a position to hear instructions and receive commands?  However, Martin could not be altogether deaf to the demands of Christendom, or unmindful of his pledge given at Constance. Placards were posted up in Rome threatening him if he summoned a council. Under constraint and not of free will, he appointed the second council, which was to meet in seven years at Basel, 1481, but he died the same year, before the time set for its assembling.

Eugenius IV., the next occupant of the papal throne, 1431–1447, a Venetian, had been made bishop of Siena by his maternal uncle, Gregory XII., at the age of twenty-four, and soon afterwards was elevated to the curia. His pontificate was chiefly occupied with the attempt to assert the supremacy of the papacy against the conciliar theory. It also witnessed the most notable effort ever made for the union of the Greeks with the Western Church.

By an agreement signed in the conclave which elevated Eugenius, the cardinals promised that the successful candidate should advance the interests of the impending general council, follow the decrees of the Council of Constance in appointing cardinals, consult the sacred college in matters of papal administration, and introduce Church reforms. Such a compact had been signed by the conclave which elected Innocent VI., 1352, and similar compacts by almost every conclave after Eugenius down to the Reformation, but all with no result, for, as soon as the election was consummated, the pope set the agreement aside and pursued his own course.

On the day set for the opening of the council in Basel, March 7, 1431, only a single prelate was present, the abbot of Vezelay. The formal opening occurred July 23, but Cardinal Cesarini, who had been appointed by Martin and Eugenius to preside, did not appear till Sept. 9. He was detained by his duties as papal legate to settle the Hussite insurrection in Bohemia. Sigismund sent Duke William of Bavaria as protector, and the attendance speedily grew. The number of doctors present was larger in comparison to the number of prelates than at Constance. A member of the council said that out of 500 members he scarcely saw 20 bishops. The rest belonged to the lower orders of the clergy, or were laymen. "Of old, bishops had settled the affairs of the Church, but now the common herd does it."326  The most interesting personage in the convention was Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who came to Basel as Cardinal Capranica’s secretary. He sat on some of its important commissions.

The tasks set before the council were the completion of the work of Constance in instituting reforms,327 and a peaceful settlement of the Bohemian heresy. Admirable as its effort was in both directions, it failed of papal favor, and the synod was turned into a constitutional battle over papal absolutism and conciliar supremacy. This battle was fought with the pen as well as in debate. Nicolas of Cusa, representing the scholastic element, advocated, in 1433, the supremacy of councils in his Concordantia catholica. The Dominican, John of Turrecremata, took the opposite view, and defended the doctrine of papal infallibility in his Summa de ecclesia et ejus auctoritate. For years the latter writing was the classical authority for the papal pretension.

The business was performed not by nations but by four committees, each composed of an equal number of representatives from the four nations and elected for a month. When they agreed on any subject, it was brought before the council in public session.

It soon became evident that the synod acknowledged no earthly authority above itself, and was in no mood to hear the contrary principle defended. On the other hand, Eugenius was not ready to tolerate free discussion and the synod’s self-assertion, and took the unfortunate step of proroguing the synod to Bologna, making the announcement at a meeting of the cardinals, Dec. 18, 1431. The bull was made public at Basel four weeks later, and made an intense sensation. The synod was quick to give its answer, and decided to continue its sittings. This was revolution, but the synod had the nations and public opinion back of it, as well as the decrees of the Council of Constance. It insisted upon the personal presence of Eugenius, and on Feb. 15, 1432, declared for its own sovereignty and that a general council might not be prorogued or transferred by a pope without its own consent.

In the meantime Sigismund had received the iron crown at Milan, Nov. 25, 1431. He was at this period a strong supporter of the council’s claims. A French synod, meeting at Bourges early in 1432, gave its sanction to them, and the University of Paris wrote that Eugenius’ decree transferring the council was a suggestion of the devil. Becoming more bold, the council, at its third session, April 29, 1432, called upon the pope to revoke his bull and be present in person. At its fourth session, June 20, it decreed that, in case the papal office became vacant, the election to fill the vacancy should be held in Basel and that, so long as Eugenius remained away from Basel, he should be denied the right to create any more cardinals. The council went still farther, proceeded to arraign the pope for contumacy, and on Dec. 18 gave him 60 days in which to appear, on pain of having formal proceedings instituted against him.

Sigismund, who was crowned emperor in Rome the following Spring, May 31, 1433, was not prepared for such drastic action. He was back again in Basel in October, but, with the emperor present or absent, the council continued on its course, and repeatedly reaffirmed its superior authority, quoting the declarations of the Council of Constance at its fourth and fifth sessions. The voice of Western Christendom was against Eugenius, as were the most of his cardinals. Under the stress of this opposition, and pressed by the revolution threatening his authority in Rome, the pope gave way, and in the decree of Dec. 13, 1433, revoked his three bulls, beginning with Dec. 18, 1431, which adjourned the synod. He asserted he had acted with the advice of the cardinals, but now pronounced and declared the "General Council of Bagel legitimate from the time of its opening."  Any utterance or act prejudicial to the holy synod or derogatory to its authority, which had proceeded from him, he revoked, annulled, and pronounced utterly void.328  At the same time the pope appointed legates to preside, and they were received by the synod. They swore in their own names to accept and defend its decrees.

No revocation of a former decree could have been made more explicit. The Latin vocabulary was strained for words. Catholic historians refrain from making an argument against the plain meaning of the bull, which is fatal to the dogma of papal inerrancy and acknowledges the superiority of general councils. At best they pass the decree with as little comment as possible, or content themselves with the assertion that Eugenius had no idea of confirming the synod’s reaffirmation of the famous decrees of Constance, or with the suggestion that the pope was under duress when he issued the document.329  Both assumptions are without warrant. The pope made no exception whatever when he confirmed the acts of the synod "from its opening."  As for the explanation that the decree was forced, it needs only to be said that the revolt made against the pope in Rome, May, 1434, in which the Colonna took a prominent part, had not yet broken out, and there was no compulsion except that which comes from the judgment that one’s case has failed. Cesarini, Nicolas of Cusa, Aeneas Sylvius, John, patriarch of Antioch, and the other prominent personages at Basel, favored the theory of the supreme authority of councils, and they and the synod would have resented the papal deliverance if they had surmised its utterances meant something different from what they expressly stated. Döllinger concludes his treatment of the subject by saying that Eugenius’ bull was the most positive and unequivocal recognition possible of the sovereignty of the council, and that the pope was subject to it.

Eugenius was the last pope, with the exception of Pius IX., who has had to flee from Rome. Twenty-five popes had been obliged to escape from the city before him. Disguised in the garb of a Benedictine monk, and carried part of the way on the shoulders of a sailor, he reached a boat on the Tiber, but was recognized and pelted with a shower of stones, from which he escaped by lying flat in the boat, covered with a shield. Reaching Ostia, he took a galley to Livorno. From there he went to Florence. He remained in exile from 1434 to 1443.

In its efforts to pacify the Hussites, the synod granted them the use of the cup, and made other concessions. The causes of their opposition to the Church had been expressed in the four articles of Prag. The synod introduced an altogether new method of dealing with heretics in guaranteeing to the Hussites and their representatives full rights of discussion. Having settled the question of its own authority, the synod took up measures to reform the Church "in head and members."  The number of the cardinals was restricted to 24, and proper qualifications insisted upon, a measure sufficiently needed, as Eugenius had given the red hat to two of his nephews. Annates, payments for the pallium, the sale of church dignities, and other taxes which the Apostolic See had developed, were abolished. The right of appeal to Rome was curtailed. Measures of another nature were the reaffirmation of the law of priestly celibacy,330 and the prohibition of theatricals and other entertainments in church buildings and churchyards. In 1439 the synod issued a decree on the immaculate conception, by which Mary was declared to have always been free from original and actual sin.331  The interference with the papal revenues affecting the entire papal household was, in a measure, atoned for by the promise to provide other sources. From the monarchical head of the Church, directly appointed by God, and responsible to no human tribunal, the supreme pontiff was reduced to an official of the council. Another class of measures sought to clear Basel of the offences attending a large and promiscuous gathering, such as gambling, dancing, and the arts of prostitutes, who were enjoined from showing themselves on the streets.

Eugenius did not sit idly by while his prerogatives were being tampered with and an utterly unpapal method of dealing with heretics was being pursued. He communicated with the princes of Europe, June 1, 1436, complaining of the highhanded measures, such as the withdrawal of the papal revenues, the suppression of the prayer for the pope in the liturgy, and the giving of a vote to the lower clergy in the synod. At that juncture the union with the Greeks, a question which had assumed a place of great prominence, afforded the pope the opportunity for reasserting his authority and breaking up the council in the Swiss city.

Overtures of union, starting with Constantinople, were made simultaneously through separate bodies of envoys sent to the pope and the council. The one met Eugenius at Bologna; the other appeared in Basel in the summer of 1434. In discussing a place for a joint meeting of the representatives of the two communions, the Greeks expressed a preference for some Italian city, or Vienna. This exactly suited Eugenius, who had even suggested Constantinople as a place of meeting, but the synod sharply informed him that the city on the Bosphorus was not to be considered. In urging Basel, Avignon, or a city in Savoy, the Basel councilmen were losing their opportunity. Two delegations, one from the council and one from the pope, appeared in Constantinople, 1437, proposing different places of meeting.

When the matter came up for final decision, the council, by a vote of 355 to 244, decided to continue the meeting at Basel, or, if that was not agreeable to the Greeks, then at Avignon. The minority, acting upon the pope’s preference, decided in favor of Florence or Udine. In a bull dated Sept. 18, 1437, and signed by eight cardinals, Eugenius condemned the synod for negotiating with the Greeks, pronounced it prorogued, and, at the request of the Greeks, as it alleged, transferred the council to Ferrara.332

The synod was checkmated, though it did not appreciate its situation. The reunion of Christendom was a measure of overshadowing importance, and took precedence in men’s minds of the reform of Church abuses. The Greeks all went to Ferrara. The prelates, who had been at Basel, gradually retired across the Alps, including Cardinals Cesarini and Nicolas of Cusa. The only cardinal left at Basel was d’Aleman, archbishop of Arles. It was now an open fight between the pope and council, and it meant either a schism of the Western Church or the complete triumph of the papacy. The discussions at Basel were characterized by such vehemence that armed citizens had to intervene to prevent violence. The conciliar theory was struggling for life. At its 28th session, October, 1437, the council declared the papal bull null and void, and summoned Eugenius within sixty days to appear before it in person or by deputy. Four months later, Jan. 24, 1488, it declared Eugenius suspended, and, June 25, 1439, at its 34th session, "removed, deposed, deprived, and cast him down," as a disturber of the peace of the Church, a simoniac and perjurer, incorrigible, and errant from the faith, a schismatic, and a pertinacious heretic.333  Previous to this, at its 33d session, it had again solemnly declared for the supreme jurisdiction of councils, and denied the pope the right to adjourn or transfer a general council. The holding of contrary views, it pronounced heresy.

In the meantime the council at Ferrara had been opened, Jan. 8, 1438, and was daily gaining adherents. Charles VII. took the side of Eugenius, although the French people, at the synod of Bourges in the summer of 1438, accepted, substantially, the reforms proposed by the council of Basel.334  This action, known as the Pragmatic Sanction, decided for the superiority of councils, and that they should be held every ten years, abolished annates and first-fruits, ordered the large benefices filled by elections, and limited the number of cardinals to twenty-four. These important declarations, which went back to the decrees of the Council of Constance, were the foundations of the Gallican liberties.

The attitude of the German princes and ecclesiastics was one of neutrality or of open support of the council at Basel. Sigismund died at the close of the year 1437, and, before the election of his son-in-law, Albrecht II., as his successor, the electors at Frankfurt decided upon a course of neutrality. Albrecht survived his election as king of the Romans less than two years, and his uncle, Frederick III., was chosen to take his place. Frederick, after observing neutrality for several years, gave his adhesion to Eugenius.

Unwilling to be ignored and put out of life, the council at Basel, through a commission of thirty-two, at whose head stood d’Aleman, elected, 1439, Amadeus, duke of Savoy, as pope.335  After the loss of his wife, 1435, Amadeus formed the order of St. Mauritius, and lived with several companions in a retreat at Ripaille, on the Lake of Geneva. He was a man of large wealth and influential family connections. He assumed the name of Felix V., and appointed four cardinals. A year after his election, and accompanied by his two sons, he entered Basel, and was crowned by Cardinal d’Aleman. The tiara is said to have cost 30,000 crowns. Thus Western Christendom again witnessed a schism. Felix had the support of Savoy and some of the German princes, of Alfonso of Aragon, and the universities of Paris, Vienna, Cologne, Erfurt, and Cracow. Frederick III. kept aloof from Basel and declined the offer of marriage to Margaret, daughter of Felix and widow of Louis of Anjou, with a dowry of 200,000 ducats.

The papal achievement in winning Frederick III., king of the Romans, was largely due to the corruption of Frederick’s chief minister, Caspar Schlick, and the treachery of Aeneas Sylvius, who deserted one cause and master after another as it suited his advantage. From being a vigorous advocate of the council, he turned to the side of Eugenius, to whom he made a most fulsome confession, and, after passing from the service of Felix, he became secretary to Frederick, and proved himself Eugenius’ most shrewd and pliable agent. He was an adept in diplomacy and trimmed his sails to the wind.

The archbishops of Treves and Cologne, who openly supported the Basel assembly, were deposed by Eugenius, 1446. The same year six of the electors offered Eugenius their obedience, provided he would recognize the superiority of an oecumenical council, and within thirteen months call a new council to meet on German soil. Following the advice of Aeneas Sylvius, the pope concluded it wise to show a conciliatory attitude. Papal delegates appeared at the diet, meeting September, 1446, and Aeneas was successful in winning over the margrave of Brandenburg and other influential princes. The following January he and other envoys appeared in Rome as representatives of the archbishop of Mainz, Frederick III., and other princes. The result of the negotiations was a concordat,—the so-called princes’ concordat,—Fürsten Konkordat,—by which the pope restored the two deposed archbishops, recognized the superiority of general councils, and gave to Frederick the right during his lifetime to nominate the incumbents of the six bishoprics of Trent, Brixen, Chur, Gurk, Trieste, and Pilsen, and to him and his successors the right to fill, subject to the pope’s approval, 100 Austrian benefices. These concessions Eugenius ratified in four bulls, Feb. 5–7, 1447, one of them, the bull Salvatoria, declaring that the pope in the previous three bulls had not meant to disparage the authority of the Apostolic See, and if his successors found his concessions out of accord with the doctrine of the fathers, they were to be regarded as void. The agreement was celebrated in Rome with the ringing of bells, and was confirmed by Nicolas V. in the so-called Vienna Concordat, Feb. 17, 1448.336

Eugenius died Feb. 23, 1447, and was laid at the side of Eugenius III. in St. Peter’s. He had done nothing to introduce reforms into the Church. Like Martin V., he was fond of art, a taste he cultivated during his exile in Florence. He succeeded in perpetuating the mediaeval view of the papacy, and in delaying the reformation of the Church which, when it came, involved the schism in Western Christendom which continues to this day.

The Basel council continued to drag on a tedious and uneventful existence. It was no longer in the stream of noticeable events. It stultified itself by granting Felix a tenth. In June, 1448, it adjourned to Lausanne. Reduced to a handful of adherents, and weary of being a synonym for innocuous failure, it voted to accept Nicolas V., Eugenius’ successor, as legitimate pope, and then quietly breathed its last, April 25, 1449. After courteously revoking his bulls anathematizing Eugenius and Nicolas, Felix abdicated. He was not allowed to suffer, much less obliged to do penance, for his presumption in exercising papal functions. He was made cardinal-bishop of Sabina, and Apostolic vicar in Savoy and other regions which had recognized his "obedience."  Three of his cardinals were admitted to the curia, and d’Aleman forgiven. Felix died in Geneva, 1451.337

The Roman Church has not since had an anti-pope. The Council of Basel concluded the series of the three councils, which had for their chief aims the healing of the papal schism and the reformation of Church abuses. They opened with great promise at Pisa, where a freedom of discussion prevailed unheard of before, and where the universities and their learned representatives appeared as a new element in the deliberations of the Church. The healing of the schism was accomplished, but the abuses in the Church went on, and under the last popes of the fifteenth century became more infamous than they had been at any time before. And yet even in this respect these councils were not in vain, for they afforded a warning to the Protestant reformers not to put their trust even in ecclesiastical assemblies. As for the theory of the supremacy of general councils which they had maintained with such dignity, it was proudly set aside by later popes in their practice and declared fallacious by the Fifth Lateran in 1516,338 and by the dogma of papal infallibility announced at the Council of the Vatican, 1870.


 § 18. The Council of Ferrara-Florence. 1438–1445.


The council of Ferrara witnessed the submission of the Greeks to the Roman see. It did not attempt to go into the subject of ecclesiastical reforms, and thus vie with the synod at Basel. After sixteen sessions held at Ferrara, Eugenius transferred the council, February, 1439, to Florence. The reason given was the unhealthy conditions in Ferrara, but the real grounds were the offer of the Florentines to aid Eugenius in the support of his guests from the East and, by getting away from the seaside, to lessen the chances of the Greeks going home before the conclusion of the union. In 1442 the council was transferred to Rome, where it held two sessions in the Lateran. The sessions at Ferrara, Florence, and Rome are listed with the first twenty-five sessions of the council of Basel, and together they are counted as the seventeenth oecumenical council.339

The schism between the East and the West, dating from the middle of the ninth century, while Nicolas I. and Photius were patriarchs respectively of Rome and Constantinople, was widened by the crusades and the conquest of Constantinople, 1204. The interest in a reunion of the two branches of the Church was shown by the discussion at Bari, 1098, when Anselm was appointed to set forth the differences with Greeks, and by the treatments of Thomas Aquinas and other theologians. The only notable attempt at reunion was made at the second council of Lyons, 1274, when a deputation from the East accepted articles of agreement which, however, were rejected by the Eastern churches. In 1369, the emperor John visited Rome and abjured the schism, but his action met with unfavorable response in Constantinople. Delegates appeared at Constance, 1418, sent by Manuel Palaeologus and the patriarch of Constantinople,340 and, in 1422, Martin V. despatched the Franciscan, Anthony Massanus, to the Bosphorus, with nine articles as a basis of union. These articles led on to the negotiations conducted at Ferrara.

Neither Eugenius nor the Greeks deserve any credit for the part they took in the conference. The Greeks were actuated wholly by a desire to get the assistance of the West against the advance of the Turks, and not by religious zeal. So far as the Latins are concerned, they had to pay all the expenses of the Greeks on their way to Italy, in Italy, and on their way back as the price of the conference. Catholic historians have little enthusiasm in describing the empty achievements of Eugenius.341

The Greek delegation was large and inspiring, and included the emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople. In Venetian vessels rented by the pope, the emperor John VI., Palaeologus reached Venice in February, 1438.342  He was accorded a brilliant reception, but it is fair to suppose that the pleasure he may have felt in the festivities was not unmixed with feelings of resentment, when he recalled the sack and pillage of his capital, in 1204, by the ancestors of his entertainers. John reached Ferrara March 6. The Greek delegation comprised 700 persons. Eugenius had arrived Jan. 27. In his bull, read in the synod, he called the emperor his most beloved son, and the patriarch his most pious brother.343  In a public address delivered by Cardinal Cesarini, the differences dividing the two communions were announced as four,—the mode of the procession of the Holy Spirit, the use of unleavened bread in the eucharist, the doctrine of purgatory, and the papal primacy. The discussions exhibit a mortifying spectacle of theological clipping and patchwork. They betray no pure zeal for the religious interests of mankind. The Greeks interposed all manner of dilatory tactics while they lived upon the hospitality of their hosts. The Latins were bent upon asserting the supremacy of the Roman bishop. The Orientals, moved by considerations of worldly policy, thought only of the protection of their enfeebled empire.

Among the more prominent Greeks present were Bessarion, bishop of Nice, Isidore, archbishop of Russian Kief, and Mark Eugenicus, archbishop of Ephesus. Bessarion and Isidore remained in the West after the adjournment of the council, and were rewarded by Eugenius with the red hat. The archbishop of Ephesus has our admiration for refusing to bow servilely to the pope and join his colleagues in accepting the articles of union. The leaders among the Latins were Cardinals Cesarini and Albergati, and the Spaniard Turrecremata, who was also given the red hat after the council adjourned.

The first negotiations concerned matters of etiquette. Eugenius gave a private audience to the patriarch, but waived the ceremony of having his foot kissed. An important question was the proper seating of the delegates, and the Greek emperor saw to it that accurate measurements were taken of the seats set apart for the Greeks, lest they should have positions of less honor than the Latins.344  The pope’s promise to support his guests was arranged by a monthly grant of thirty florins to the emperor, twenty-five to the patriarch, four each to the prelates, and three to the other visitors. What possible respect could the more high-minded Latins have for ecclesiastics, and an emperor, who, while engaged on the mission of Church reunion, were willing to be the pope’s pensioners, and live upon his dole!

The first common session was not held till Oct. 8, 1438. Most of it was taken up with a long address by Bessarion, as was the time of the second session by a still longer address by another Greek. The emperor did his share in promoting delay by spending most of his time hunting. At the start the Greeks insisted there could be no addition to the original creed. Again and again they were on the point of withdrawing, but were deterred from doing so by dread of the Turks and empty purses.345  A commission of twenty, ten Greeks and ten Latins, was appointed to conduct the preliminary discussion on the questions of difference.

The Greeks accepted the addition made to the Constantinopolitan creed by the synod of Toledo, 589, declaring that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, but with the stipulation that they were not to be required to introduce the filioque clause when they used the creed. They justified their course on the ground that they had understood the Latins as holding to the procession from the Father and the Son as from two principles. The article of agreement ran: "The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son eternally and substantially as it were from one source and cause."346

In the matter of purgatory, it was decided that immediately at death the blessed pass to the beatific vision, a view the Greeks had rejected. Souls in purgatory are purified by pain and may be aided by the suffrages of the living. At the insistence of the Greeks, material fire as an element of purification was left out.

The use of leavened bread was conceded to the Greeks.

In the matter of the eucharist, the Greeks, who, after the words, "this is my body," make a petition that the Spirit may turn the bread into Christ’s body, agreed to the view that transubstantiation occurs at the use of the priestly words, but stipulated that the confession be not incorporated in the written articles.

The primacy of the Roman bishop offered the most serious difficulty. The article of union acknowledged him as "having a primacy over the whole world, he himself being the successor of Peter, and the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church, the father and teacher of all Christians, to whom, in Peter, Christ gave authority to feed, govern and rule the universal Church."347  This remarkable concession was modified by a clause in the original document, running, "according as it is defined by the acts of the oecumenical councils and by the sacred canons."348  The Latins afterwards changed the clause so as to read, "even as it is defined by the oecumenical councils and the holy canons." The Latin falsification made the early oecumencial councils a witness to the primacy of the Roman pontiff.

The articles of union were incorporated in a decree349 beginning Laetentur coeli et exultat terra, "Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad."  It declared that the middle wall of partition between the Occidental and Oriental churches has been taken down by him who is the cornerstone, Christ. The black darkness of the long schism had passed away before the ray of concord. Mother Church rejoiced to see her divided children reunited in the bonds of peace and love. The union was due to the grace of the Holy Ghost. The articles were signed July 5 by 115 Latins and 33 Greeks, of whom 18 were metropolitans. Archbishop Mark of Ephesus was the only one of the Orientals who refused to sign. The patriarch of Constantinople had died a month before, but wrote approving the union. His body lies buried in S. Maria Novella, Florence. His remains and the original manuscript of the articles, which is preserved in the Laurentian library at Florence, are the only relics left of the union.

On July 6, 1439, the articles were publicly read in the cathedral of Florence, the Greek text by Bessarion, and the Latin by Cesarini. The pope was present and celebrated the mass. The Latins sang hymns in Latin, and the Greeks followed them with hymns of their own. Eugenius promised for the defence of Constantinople a garrison of three hundred and two galleys and, if necessary, the armed help of Western Christendom. After tarrying for a month to receive the five months of arrearages of his stipend, the emperor returned by way of Venice to his capital, from which he had been absent two years.

The Ferrara agreement proved to be a shell of paper, and all the parade and rejoicing at the conclusion of the proceedings were made ridiculous by the utter rejection of its articles in Constantinople.

On their return, the delegates were hooted as Azymites, the name given in contempt to the Latins for using unleavened bread in the eucharist. Isidore, after making announcement of the union at Of en, was seized and put into a convent, from which he escaped two years later to Rome. The patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria issued a letter from Jerusalem, 1443, denouncing the council of Florence as a synod of robbers and Metrophanes, the Byzantine patriarch as a matricide and heretic.

It is true the articles were published in St. Sophia, Dec. 14, 1452, by a Latin cardinal, but six months later, Constantinople was in the hands of the Mohammedans. A Greek council, meeting in Constantinople, 1472, formally rejected the union.

On the other hand, the success of the Roman policy was announced through Western Europe. Eugenius’ position was strengthened by the empty triumph, and in the same proportion the influence of the Basel synod lessened. If cordial relations between churches of the East and the West were not promoted at Ferrara and Florence, a beneficent influence flowed from the council in another direction by the diffusion of Greek scholarship and letters in the West.

Delegations also from the Armenians and Jacobites appeared at Florence respectively in 1439 and 1442. The Copts and Ethiopians also sent delegations, and it seemed as if the time had arrived for the reunion of all the distracted parts of Christendom.350  A union with the Armenians, announced Nov. 22, 1439, declared that the Eastern delegates had accepted the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son and the Chalcedon Council giving Christ two natures and by implication two wills. The uniate Armenians have proved true to the union. The Armenian catholicos, Gregory IX., who attempted to enforce the union, was deposed, and the Turks, in 1461, set up an Armenian patriarch, with seat at Constantinople. The union of the Jacobites, proclaimed in 1442, was universally disowned in the East. The attempts to conciliate the Copts and Ethiopians were futile. Eugenius sent envoys to the East to apprise the Maronites and the Nestorians of the efforts at reunion. The Nestorians on the island of Cyprus submitted to Rome, and a century later, during the sessions of the Fifth Lateran, 1516, the Maronites were received into the Roman communion.

On Aug. 7, 1445, Eugenius adjourned the long council which had begun its sittings at Basel, continued them at Ferrara and Florence, and concluded them in the Lateran.



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

249  Erler’s ed., p. 16.

250  The document is given by Hefele, VI. 730-734.

251  The full documentary accounts are given in the Chartularium, III. 561-575. Valois gives a very detailed treatment of the allegiance rendered to the two popes, especially in vol. II. Even in Sweden and Ireland Clement had some support, but England, in part owing to her wars with France, gave undivided submission to Urban.

252  Pastor, p. 143 sqq., quotes a German poem which strikingly sets forth the evils of the schism, and Pastor himself says that nothing did so much as the schism to prepare the way for the defection from the papacy in the sixteenth century.

253  Adam of Usk, p. 218, and other writers.

254  This is the judgment of Pastor, I. 119.

255  Valois, I. 144, devotes much space to the part Charles took in preparing the way for the schism, and declares he was responsible for the part France took in it and in rejecting Urban VI. Hergenröther says all the good he can of the Roman line and all the evil he can of the Avignon line. Clement he pronounces a man of elastic conscience, and Benedict XIII., his successor, as always ready in words for the greatest sacrifices, and farthest from them when it came to deeds.

256  Nieheim, p. 91. See also pp. 103 sq., 110, for the further treatment of the cardinals, which was worthy of Pharaoh.

257  Nieheim, p. 124.

258  Valois, II. 282, 299 sqq.

259  Nesciens scribere etiam male cantabat, Nieheim, p. 130.

260  Gregorovius, VI. 647 sqq.; Valois, II. 162, 166 sqq.

261  Erat insatiabilis vorago et in avaricia nullus similis ei, Nieheim, p. 119. Nieheim, to be sure, was disappointed in not receiving office under Boniface, but other contemporaries say the same thing. Adam of Usk, p. 269, states that, "though gorged with simony, Boniface to his dying day was never filled."

262  Chronicle, p. 262 sqq. This is one of the most full and interesting accounts extant of the coronation of a mediaeval pope. Usk describes the conclave as well as the coronation, and he mentions expressly how, on his way from St. Peter’s to the Lateran, Innocent purposely turned aside from St. Clement’s, near which stood the bust of Pope Joan and her son.

263  Du Pin, II. 821.

264  Letter of the Univ. of Paris to Clement VII., dated July 17, 1394. Chartul. III. 633, nihil omnino curandum quot papae sint, et non modo duos aut tres, sed decem aut duodecim immo et singulis regnis singulos prefici posse, etc.

265  Haec execranda et detestanda, diraque divisio, Nieheim, pp. 209-213, gives both letters entire.

266  Gelnhausen’s tract, De congregando concilio in tempore schismatis, in Martène-Durand, Thesaurus nov. anecd., II. 1200-1226.

267  So Pastor, I. 186. See also, Schwab, Gerson, p. 124 sqq.

268  Consilium pacis de unione et reformatione ecclesiae in concilio universali quaerenda, Van der Hardt, II. 3-60, and Du Pin, Opp. Gerson, II. 810

269  Chartul III. p. 608 sqq.

270  Chartul., I. 620.

271  Nieheim, pp. 237, 242, 274, etc., manifeste impedire modis omnibus conabantur.

272  Vita, Muratori, III., II., 838, solum spiritus cum ossibus et pelle.

273  Schwab, p. 223 sq. The address which Gerson is said to have delivered and which Mansi includes in the acts of the council was a rhetorical composition and never delivered at Pisa. Schwab, p. 243.

274  Mansi, XXVII. 358.

275  Mansi, XXVII. 366.

276  See Schwab, p. 250 sqq.

277  The electors deposed Wenzil in 1400 for incompetency, and elected Ruprecht of the Palatinate.

278  Eorum utrumque fuisse et esse notorios schismaticos et antiqui schimatis nutritores ... necnon notorios haereticos et a fide devios, notoriisque criminibus enormibus perjuriis et violantionis voti irretitos, etc., Mansi, XXVI. 1147, 1225 sq. Hefele, VI. 1025 sq., also gives the judgment in full.

279  Nieheim, p. 320 sqq., gives an account of Alexander’s early life.

280  Creighton is unduly severe upon Alexander and the council for adjourning, without carrying out the promise of reform. Hefele, VI. 1042, treats the matter with fairness, and shows the difficulty involved in a disciplinary reform where the evils were of such long standing.

281  The number of ecclesiastical gifts made by Alexander in his brief pontificate was large, and Nieheim pithily says that when the waters are confused, then is the time to fish.

282  Pastor, I. 192, speaks of the unholy Pisan synod—segenslose Pisaner Synode. All ultramontane historians disparage it, and Hergenröther-Kirsch uses a tone of irony in describing its call and proceedings. They do not exonerate Gregory from having broken his solemn promise, but they treat the council as wholly illegitimate, either because it was not called by a pope or because it had not the universal support of the Catholic nations. Hefele, I. 67 sqq., denies to it the character of an oecumenical synod, but places it in a category by itself. Pastor opens his treatment with a discourse on the primacy of the papacy, dating from Peter, and the sole right of the pope to call a council. The cardinals who called it usurped an authority which did not belong to them.

283  Nieheim, in Life of John, in Van der Hardt, II. 339.

284  Finke: Forschungen, p. 2; Acta conc., p. 108 sqq.

285  Date operam, the king said, ut ista, nefanda schisma eradicetur. See Wylie, p. 18

286  See Finke, Forschungen, p. 28. Sigismund gives himself the same title. See his letter to Gregory, Mansi, XXVIII. 3.

287  Same as fn. above.

288  Sigismund, in his letter to Charles VI of France, announcing the council, had used the mediaeval figure of the two lights, duo luminaria super terram, majus videlicet minus ut in ipsis universalis ecclesiae consistere firmamentum in quibus pontificalis auctoritas et regalis potentia designantur, unaquae spiritualia et altera qua corporalia regerentur. Mansi, XXVIII. 4.

289  There is some evidence that a report was abroad in Italy that Sigismund intended to have all three popes put on trial at Constance, but that a gift of 60,000 gulden from John at Lodi induced him to support that pontiff. Finke: Acta, p. 177 sq.

290  Sigismund’s letters are given by Hardt, VI. 5, 6; Mansi, XXVIII. 2-4. See Finke, Forschungen, p. 23.

291  Funk, Kirchengesch., p. 470, calls it eine der grossartigsten Kirchenversammlungen welche die Geschichte kennt, gewissermassen ein Kongress des ganzen Abenlandes.

292  Hardt, II. 308.

293  Richental, Chronik, pp. 25-28, gives a graphic description of John’s entry into the city. This writer, who was a citizen of Constance, the office he filled being unknown, had unusual opportunities for observing what was going on and getting the official documents. He gives copies of several of John’s bulls, and the most detailed accounts of some of the proceedings at which he was present. See p. 129.

294  Offene Huren in den Hurenhäusern und solche, die selber Häuser gemiethet hatten und in den Ställen lagen und wo sie mochten, doren waren über 700 und die heimlichen, die lass ich belibnen. Richental, p. 215. The numbers above are taken from Richental, whose account, from p. 154 to 215, is taken up with the lists of names. See also Van der Hardt, V. 50-53, who gives 18,000 prelates and priests and 80,000 laymen. A later hand has attached to Richental’s narrative the figures 72,460.

295  Workman: Letters of Huss, p. 263.

296  Usk, p. 304; Rymer, Foeder., IX. 167; Richental, p. 34, speaks of the French as die Schulpfaffen und die gelehrten Leute aus Frankreich.

297  Richental, p. 39 sqq., gives an elaborate list of these regulations.

298  So de Vrie, the poet-historian of the council, Hardt, I. 193. The following description is from the accomplished pen of Aeneas Sylvius, afterwards Pius II: "He was tall, with bright eyes, broad forehead, pleasantly rosy cheeks, and a long, thick beard. He was witty in conversation, given to wine and women, and thousands of love intrigues are laid to his charge. He had a large mind and formed many plans, but was changeable. He was prone to anger, but ready to forgive. He could not keep his money, but spent lavishly. He made more promises than he kept, and often deceived."

299  Finke, p. 133, calls him the "greatest journalist of the later Middle Ages." The tracts De modisuniendi, De difficultate reformationis, De necessitate reformationis are now all ascribed to Nieheim by Finke, p. 133, who follows Lenz, and with whom Pastor concurs as against Erler.

300  In hoc generali concilio agendum fait de pace et unione perfecta ecclesiae secundo de reformatione illius, Fillastre’s Journal, in Finke, p. 164. Haec synodus ... pro exstirpatione praesentis schismatis et unione ac reformatione ecclesiae Dei in capite et membris is the councils own declaration, Mansi, XXVII. 585

301  Apud aliquos erat morbus "noli me tangere," Fillastre’s Journal, p. 164.

302  See Finke, Forschungen, p. 31. Richental, pp. 50-53, gives a quaint account of the territorial possessions of the five nations.

303  Hardt, II. 240, also IV. 44; Mansi, XXVII. 568. Also Richental, p. 56.

304  According to a MS. found at Vienna by Finke, Forschungen, p. 148.

305  Richental, pp. 62-72, gives a vivid account of John’s flight and seizure.

306  Fillastre; Finke, Forschungen, p. 169, papa dicebat quod pro timore regis Romanorum recesserat.

307  Hardt, IV. 89 sq., and Mansi, XXVII. 585-590. The deliverance runs: haec sancta synodus Constantiensis primo declarat ut ipsa synodus in S. Spiritu legitime congregata, generale concilium faciens, Eccles. catholicam militantem representans, potestatem a Christo immediate habeat, cui quilibet cujusmodi status vel dignitatis, etiamsi papalis existat, obedire tenetur in his quae pertinent ad fidem et exstirpationem praesentis schismatis et reformationem eccles. in capite et membris.

308  Hardt, II. 265-273; Du Pin, II. 201 sqq.

309  Hardt, vol. I., where it occupies 175 pp. Du Pin, II., 162-201. This tract, formerly ascribed to Gerson, Lenz and Finke give reason for regarding as the work of Nieheim.

310  Hardt, IV. 196-208; Mansi, XXVIII. 662-673, 715. Adam of Usk, p. 306, says, Our pope, John XXIII., false to his promises of union, and otherwise guilty of perjuries and murders, adulteries, simonies, heresy, and other excesses, and for that he twice fled in secret, and cowardly, in vile raiment, by way of disguise, was delivered to perpetual imprisonment by the council.

311  This name is given to Gregory constantly by Nieheim in his De schismate.

312  The document is given in Hardt, IV. 380. See, for the various documents, Hardt, IV. 192 sq., 346-381; Mansi, XXVII. 733-745.

313  Pastor, Hefele, and Hergenröther call it stubbornness, Hartnäckigkeit. Döllinger is more favorable, and does not withhold his admiration from Peter.

314  Valois, IV. 450 454, gives strong reasons for this date as against 1424.

315  Mansi, XXVIII. 1117 sqq., gives Clement’s letter of abdication. For an account of Benedict’s two successors and their election, see Valois, IV. 455-478.

316  Fillastre’s Journal, p. 224. For the tracts hostile to the cardinals, see Finke, Forschungen, p. 81 sq.

317  Richental, p. 116 sqq., gives a detailed account of the walling up of the Kaufhaus and the election, and of the ceremonies attending Martin’s coronation. He also, p. 123, tells the pretty story that, before the electors met, ravens, jackdaws, and other birds of the sort gathered in great numbers on the roof of the Kaufhaus, but that as soon as Martin was elected, thousands of greenfinches and other little birds took their places and chattered and sang and hopped about as if approving what had been done.

318  Catholic historians regard the survival of the papacy as a proof of its divine origin. Salembier, p. 395, says, "The history of the great Schism would have dealt a mortal blow to the papacy if Christ’s promises had not made it immortal."

319  See Mirbt, art. Konkordat, in Herzog, X. 705 sqq. Hardt gives the concordats with Germany and England, I. 1056-1083, and France, IV. 155 sqq. Mansi, XXVII. 1189 sqq., 1193 sqq.

320  See art. Gallikanismus, in Herzog, and Der Ursprung der gallikan. Freiheiten, in Hist. Zeitschrift, 1903, pp. 194-215.

321  Creighton, I. 393, after giving the proper citation from Hardt, IV. 1432, makes the mistake of saying that the next council was appointed for seven years, and the succeeding councils every five years thereafter.

322  Richental, pp. 149 sqq.

323  Infessura, p. 21.

324  Five large wolves were killed in the Vatican gardens, Jan. 23, 1411. Gregorovius, VI. 618

325  Pastor, I. 227, Martin’s warm admirer, passes lightly over the pope’s nepotism with the remark that in this regard he overstepped the line of propriety—er hat das Mass des Erlaubten überschritten.

326  Traversari, as quoted by Creighton, I. 128.

327  Ob reformationem Eccles. Dei in capite et membris specialiter congregatur, Mansi, XXIX. 165, etc.

328  Decernimus et declaramus generale concil. Basileense a tempore inchoationis suae legitime continuatum fuisse et esse ... quidquid per nos aut nostro nomine in prejudicium et derogationem sacri concil. Basileensis seu contra ejus auctoritatem factum et attentatum seu assertum est, cassamus, revocamus, irritamus et annullamus, nullas, irritas fuisse et esse declaramus, Mansi, XXIX. 78.

329  So Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 919, Pastor, I. 288, etc. Funk, Kirchengesch., p. 874, with his, usual fairness, says that Eugenius in his bull gave unconditional assent to the council. So verstand er sich endlich zur unbedingten Annahme der Synode.

330  De concubinariis, Mansi, XXIX. 101 sq.

331  Immunem semper fuisse ab omni originali et actuali culpa, etc., Mansi, XXIX. 183.

332  "Transfer" is the word used by the pope—transferendo hoc sacrum concilium in civitatem Ferrarensium, Mansi, XXIX. 166. Reasons for the transfer to an Italian city and an interesting statement of the discussion over the place of meeting are given in Haller, Conc. Bas., I. 141-159.

333  Eugenium fuisse et esse notorium et manifestum contumacem, violatorem assiduum atque contemptorem sacrorum canonum synodalium, pacis et unitatis Eccles. Dei perturbatorem notorium ... simoniacum, perjurum, incorrigibilem, schismaticum, a fide devium, pertinacem haereticum, dilapidatorem jurium et bonorum ecclesiae, inutilem et damnosum ad administrationem romani pontificii, etc., Mansi, XXIX. 180.

334  Mirbt gives it in part, Quellen, p. 160.

335  H. Manger, D. Wahl Amadeos v. Savoyen zum Papste, Marburg, 1901, p. 94. Sigismund, in 1416, raised the counts of Savoy to the dignity of dukes.

336  Given in Mirbt, p. 165 sqq.

337  In his bull Ut pacis, 1449, recognizing the Lausanne act in his favor, Nicolas V. called Amadeus "his venerable and most beloved brother," and spoke of the Basel-Lausanne synod as being held under the name of an oecumenical council, sub nomine generalis concilii, Labbaeus, XII. 663, 665.

338  Sess. XI. romanum pontificem tanquam super omnia conciliaauctoritatem habentem, conciliorum indicendorum transferendorum «e dissolvendorum plenum jus et potestatem habere. This council at the same time pronounced the Council of Basel a "little council," conciliabulum, "or rather a conventicle," conventicula. Mansi, XXXII. 967.

339  Hefele-Knöpfler, Kirchengesch., p. 477.

340  Richental, Chronik, p. 113, has a notice of their arrival.

341  So Hefele-Knöpfler, Kirchengesch., p. 476; Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 949; Funk, Kirchengesch., p. 377. Pastor, II. 307, says, "Die politische Nothlage brachte endlich die Griechen zum Nachgeben."

342  An account of the emperor’s arrival and entertainment at Venice is given in Mansi, XXXI. 463 sqq.

343  Dilectissimus filius noster Romaeorum imperator Cum piissimmo fratre nostro, Josepho Const. patriarcha, Mansi, XXXI. 481.

344  So Syrophulos. See Hefele Conciliengesch., VII. 672.

345  Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 949, lays stress upon the Greek readiness to accept alms.

346  Aeternaliter et substantialiter tanquam ab uno principio et causa. The statement ex patre et filio and ex patre per filium were declared to be identical in meaning.

347  Diffinimus sanctam apostol. sedem et Romanam pontificem in universum orbem tenere primatum et ipsum pontificem Romanum successorem esse B. Petri principis apostolorum, et verum Christi vicarium, totiusque ecclesiae caput, et omnium Christianorum patrem et doctorem existere, etc. Mansi, XXXI. 1697.

348  Quemadmodum et in gestis oecumenicorum conciliorum et in sacris canonibus continetur. The change placed an etiam in the place of the first et, so that the clause ran quemadmodum etiam in gestis, etc. See Döllinger-Friedrich, D. Papstthum, pp. 170, 470 sq. Döllinger says that in the Roman ed. of 1626 the Ferrara council was called the 8th oecumenical.

349  The document, together with the signatures, is given in Mansi, pp. 1028-1036, 1695-1701. Hefele-Knöpfler, Conciliengesch., VII. 742-753, has regarded it of such importance as to give the Greek and Latin originals in full, and also a German translation.

350  See Mansi, XXXI. 1047 sqq.; Hefele-Knöpfler, VII. 788 sqq. The only meeting since between Greeks and Western ecclesiastics of public note was at the Bonn Conference, 1875, in which Döllinger and the Old-Catholics took the most prominent part. Dr. Philip Schaff and several Anglican divines also participated. See Creeds of Christendom, I. 545-554, and Life of Philip Schaff, pp. 277-280.