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When Eugene IV and Filippo Visconti turned against Sforza, Trevisan was the organizer of the campaign to recapture the March of Ancona to which he was named legate on September 13, for the papacy. Trevisan was the only cardinal in the papal conclave, that did not subscribe to the conclave capitulation , which among other things, bound the pope to continue the Crusading war against the Ottoman Turks.

Trevisan died during the first year of the pontificate of Pope Paul II , with whom Trevisan was not on good terms, at 3 a. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.

Papal rings' unique history of craftsmanship

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Although the various popes often pledged themselves to work for the reunification of the church, nothing came of this pledge. Finally, a group of cardinals from both obediences determined to put an end to a situation generally recognized to be intolerable. They called a general council to meet at Pisa in and summoned the rival popes to appear and have the validity of their claims adjudged.

There was a legal difficulty about the Council of Pisa from the outset, because it was not summoned by the pope. The two popes ignored the summons, and the council solemnly pronounced them contumacious and issued formal sentences of deposition against them. It then proceeded to elect a new pope, who took the name of Alexander V.

The problem of the divided papacy remained unsolved. If anything, it grew worse, because now there were three claimants to the papal throne. The Council of Constance was able to end the schism because rulers and peoples everywhere were willing to abandon their obedience to whichever pope they supported in order to restore unity, and because of the diligent efforts of the Holy Roman emperor Sigismund to this end.

With the emperor's backing, the council deposed one pope and succeeded in getting one to abdicate his claims. The third, who never gave up, was abandoned by all the states that had supported him, and spent the rest of his life still claiming to be pope though virtually nobody paid any attention.


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In the council chose as pope a member of the great Roman family of Colonna, who took the name of Martin V. Before choosing him, the fathers at Constance were faced with a crucial decision: Should they inaugurate the much needed reforms in the church before electing a pope, or should they elect a pope first and trust him to carry out the reforms "in head and members"? In the end, it was the latter road that they decided to follow, and with fateful results.

As pope, Martin evinced little enthusiasm for reform, and lost what was perhaps the last best chance to reform the church from within before the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation. The Council of Constance signifies the high-water mark in the conciliar movement. Its decree Frequens was called by J. Figgis, a famous student of the history of political theory, "The most important constitutional document of the fifteenth century. The decree Sacrosancta officially declared the general council of the church to be superior to the pope.

There was another area in which the council was active: that of heresy. More will be said about these matters shortly. In accordance with the decree Frequens , other councils met during the next few years at the specified intervals, the most important of them being the Council of Basel, which opened in From the first it was involved in a power struggle with Pope Eugenius IV, who, like other popes, was not prepared to abdicate supreme headship of the church.

Although the council lasted for many years in one form or another it went on until and even chose an antipope in its struggle against Eugenius, in the long run it was the papacy that won out. By the middle of the fifteenth century the conciliar movement, as a means of changing the governmental system of the church, was dead.

Thus the monarchical principal was retained, though the doctrine of conciliar supremacy was a most convenient weapon in the hands of such monarchs as the kings of France in their recurrent battles with the papacy. If we seek the causes of the failure of the councils, one factor that stands out is the rising spirit of nationalism in Europe. Success of the conciliar movement depended on the ability of representatives from many different nations to work together in regulating the affairs of the international church. This was no longer possible, because national feeling had begun to throw up walls of distrust and rivalry between the different countries.

Two of the most important, France and England, were at war throughout the entire conciliar period, for the Hundred Years' War did not end until Each of the states preferred to seek separately the best bargain it could make with the church, and for this purpose, had to determine whether it could get a better one from the pope or the council. Normally it was the pope who was chosen, and this, in time, strengthened papal authority and weakened that of the council.

One such arrangement was the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, an agreement between the pope and the French king reached in during the period of the Council of Basel. In return for recognition of the supremacy of the pope over the council, the French church was released from the payment of certain dues to the pope, and gained a great deal of authority in the selection of its own officers, particularly the bishops.

The pope also gained strength when he persuaded representatives of the Greek church to meet with him instead of with the Council of Basel.

Popes, Cardinals and War: The Military Church in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe

The advance of the Ottoman Turks into eastern Europe, where they conquered the Balkan peninsula and threatened Constantinople itself, frightened the Byzantine emperor into seeking defensive help from the West. No such help would be forthcoming unless a religious agreement could be reached between the Eastern and Western churches, severed for centuries. Representatives of the Eastern Empire and church were ready to travel to the West to seek such an agreement, and received rival invitations to meet with pope and council. The pope's invitation was accepted, and in a council opened at Ferrara to work out a settlement between the two churches.

An outbreak of plague in Ferrara caused the meetings to be moved to Florence in Because of their desperate military situation, it was the Greeks who had to give in and agree to a reunion on what amounted to western terms. This agreement was regarded as a shameful submission to error when it became known in the empire, and was, therefore, repudiated. Constantinople was left to defend itself, and fell to the Turks in The problem of heresy, which concerned both the Councils of Constance and of Basel, had become by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries more serious than ever before.

One reason for this is, again, the rising tide of national sentiment. When heretics represented national resentment against the pope as a foreign power, the papacy was likely to be nearly helpless to do anything to check them. This was especially true of the two greatest heretics of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, John Wycliffe in England and John Hus in Bohemia.

Wycliffe c. In England, as elsewhere in the fourteenth century, national resentment against Rome was strong. This is clearly shown by the Statutes of Provisors and of Praemunire , enacted several times in the fourteenth century. The Statute of Provisors had the effect of denying the pope the right to make appointments within the English church.

The Statute of Praemunire forbade the reception of papal documents in England without express royal permission, and cut off appeals from English ecclesiastical courts to the pope. Neither act was consistently enforced, but both were used by kings of England as bargaining devices in their encounters with the papacy.

Nevertheless, they serve as an accurate expression of antipapal sentiment in fourteenth-century England. These laws followed a well-established tradition; struggles between kings and popes and antipapal measures by king and Parliament had a long history in England. In , all antipapal legislation was reenacted by Parliament. It must be remembered that at this time the English were involved in a war with the French and the popes were Frenchmen living in Avignon.

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In retaliation against this antipapal legislation, the pope demanded that England pay him the arrears in tribute that it owed him. Since the reign of John , the realm of England had recognized the pope as feudal overlord and was obligated to pay him a yearly tribute of one thousand marks a mark was two-thirds of a pound. The government had long ceased to make these payments, debts which the pope now tried to collect.

In this situation the government called on John Wycliffe to defend its refusal to pay the money.


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  • He was the appointed spokesman for the national resistance to the temporal power of Rome. His rejection of the papal claims to tribute from a secular state was in accordance with his idea of stewardship, which denied the concept of private property. The earth is the Lord's; those to whom is allotted the use of any part of it are stewards, who must justify their possession by the good use they make of it. On this basis the church can be deprived of any of its temporal possessions of which it is making improper use. Wycliffe did not believe that the church should own any property or have any temporal power.

    Like Marsilio of Padua, he conceived of the church as a purely spiritual body with no other function than that of imparting a knowledge of salvation. It could not inflict punishments, including excommunication. As time went on, and perhaps influenced by the Great Schism which began in , his views became more radical that is, they began to involve theological doctrines. To deny the right of the church to hold property or to wield secular power however distasteful such views were to the pope was not considered as subversive as the questioning of an established article of the faith.

    Thus, when Wycliffe began to deny the doctrine of transubstantiation, many persons were horrified who before had supported him. In denying transubstantiation, he was attempting to undermine the special sanctity the church attributed to the priest; he was saying that the bread and the wine in the Eucharist, even after the priestly consecration, remained bread and wine, and did not become the body and blood of Christ. He also held that popes could be deposed, and that there was no necessity for the offices of pope or cardinals.

    Attempts by the pope to have him tried and condemned failed because of the support he enjoyed in the highest levels of government. This support may have been to some extent withdrawn after his theological views became radical, but he was never molested. Wycliffe believed that the Scriptures should be made available in the vernacular language. An English version of the entire Bible appeared during his lifetime and seems to have been very widely distributed and read.

    It is not clear how much Wycliffe had to do with this Bible. It was long believed that he was the translator, but today it is held that he took little if any direct part in the translation and that his share was probably confined to stimulating others to do the actual work. The work of spreading the English Bible was undertaken by the so-called poor priests who traveled throughout the country; it is no longer considered certain that Wycliffe had very much to do with sending them out. His followers became numerous, at Oxford and elsewhere throughout the country.

    They were called "Lollards," an old word meaning "mumblers," which had been used for previous English heretics. The political situation in England soon brought about their suppression. Among the forces that had worked for the accession of the Lancastrians was the church. As a repayment for this support and a guarantee of further assistance, the new line of monarchs had to agree to the demands of the church for the prosecution of heresy.

    One of the results of this collaboration was the law De haeretico comburendo On the burning of heretics of Under this law, very few heretics were actually burned. After an abortive uprising in , led by Sir John Oldcastle, Lollardy went underground. Currents of Wycliffite sentiment remained active, particularly among humble artisans, surfacing occasionally through court records when suspected heretics were brought to trial. Meanwhile, the ideas of Wycliffe had gotten to Bohemia. There were good opportunities for the transmission of ideas between the two countries.

    Although the ideas of Wycliffe helped to mold the Bohemian, or Czech, heretical movement, it is likely that the movement would have occurred anyway. The movement in Bohemia was a revolt against the Roman church and an expression of Czech nationalism, directed particularly against the influence of Germans. All this is made clear in the career of its leader John Hus As a preacher in the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, he gave sermons in the vernacular, in which he called for reforms in the church, including the lives of the higher clergy.

    As a professor in the University of Prague, Hus was prominent in a conflict between the Bohemian members of the university and the Germans who had dominated it. The outcome of the struggle was a Czech victory; henceforth, the Bohemian party was supreme in the university. A great exodus of Germans took place, one result of which was the foundation of the University of Leipzig. Hus did not deny transubstantiation, but he was accused of doing so. He and his followers did, however, ask that both bread and wine be given to the laity in communion, instead of just the bread as was customary.

    Those who made this demand were known as Calixtines from the Latin word for chalice or cup or Utraquists from the Latin word for both, meaning both bread and wine.

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    Hus's following among his fellow countrymen became so great that the archbishop of Prague asked him to leave the city for the sake of preserving public order. Hus complied with this request, going into the countryside where he continued to preach and work. From there he was summoned to the Council of Constance, with the promise of a safe-conduct from the Emperor Sigismund, which should have ensured good treatment at the council and enabled him to return home in safety. When Hus appeared at the council, the emperor's promise was disregarded, and he was thrown into prison under conditions so bad that his health was undermined.

    Although Sigismund made some attempt at protest, he did not insist, fearing to antagonize the council, which he felt he needed. Hus, therefore, remained a prisoner until eventually he was put on trial before the council, convicted of heresy, and condemned to death. He was burned at the stake on July 6, To justify this act in the face of the emperor's promise of a safe-conduct although the safe-conduct was never issued , the council issued an official statement that is it not necessary to keep faith with heretics.

    The death of John Hus did not end the movement that he had led, but intensified it. Revolt broke out in Bohemia when the fate of the great leader became known, a revolt against both the Roman church and the emperor Sigismund, who was also king of Bohemia. The troops sent by the church and the emperor to crush the revolt were repelled, Sigismund ceased to rule in Bohemia, and the rebels even went on the offensive and invaded Germany.

    Since it proved impossible to subdue the Bohemians, it finally became necessary to treat them somewhat more respectfully. They were invited to send representatives to the Council of Basel to discuss the theological points at issue. The result was a compromise that gave the Bohemian church a special status. The most significant concession was the granting of the cup to the laity in the communion service. It is likely the Bohemian revolutionaries would have received even more concessions from Rome had they not split among themselves into an extreme party and a more moderate one.

    Peace was restored, and the government of Sigismund was once more established. Thus the church came through the fifteenth century with its traditional government, doctrine, and abuses more or less intact. That it had been weakened in the process seems evident from its inability to cope successfully with the greater crises of the sixteenth century.

    T he late Middle Ages was an age of turmoil and conflict in secular and ecclesiastical affairs. International and civil wars characterized the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the most serious was the Hundred Years' War. England and France were the chief antagonists in this struggle, which lasted from to The underlying cause was the existence of these English possessions on French territory. The war exemplified the incipient growth of nation-states and the accompanying spirit of nationalism or patriotism.

    It was also a stimulus to the further development of these nations and of the national spirit. The war was fought on French soil, and for much of the time the advantage lay with the English invaders. The battles of Crcy and Poitiers were great English victories, won against superior numbers by an army that was more cohesive, better-trained, and equipped with more modern weapons than the rather undisciplined body of feudal knights that fought for France.

    At Poitiers the French king, John the Good , was captured, and spent most of the rest of his life in England. France was further weakened by the reign of Charles VI , who was subject to intermittent bouts of insanity. Most of all, France suffered from internal conflict, combined with the rise of the powerful duchy of Burgundy. When John the Good named his son Philip duke of Burgundy, he unwittingly gave rise to a grave threat to French power. Philip, known as Philip the Bold, and his three successors followed a policy of expansion by means of marriage, purchase, and conquest that created a powerful state situated between France and Germany, the most important component of which was the Netherlands.

    Burgundy under its four great dukes became a center of wealth and culture. The Order of the Golden Fleece, founded in by Philip the Good 67 , was one of the most distinguished of all knightly orders. Cities noted for their trade and industry made the area one of the richest in Europe. Among these cities the most important included Bruges, Ghent, and Lige, with Brussels and Antwerp developing a little later. A great school of artists flourished, which will be more fully dealt with in Chapter The dukes had a sincere interest in art and literature, encouraging and supporting them.

    The successful policy of territorial aggrandizement, combined with economic prosperity, made Burgundy a factor to be reckoned with in European affairs. During much of the Hundred Years' War, the Burgundians were allied with the English against France, an alliance which, if continued, might have crushed the French ability to resist. The seriousness of the situation was not lost on the French government, which strove for a reconciliation with Burgundy and finally achieved it in It was the desire of the dukes of Burgundy to free themselves from their feudal relationship of vassalage to the king of France and to set up a fully independent state.

    This dream came to an end with the premature death in battle of Charles the Bold or more accurately the Rash in In this way the bulk of the Burgundian domain became part of the Hapsburg inheritance, while part of it, including the original duchy of Burgundy, fell to the French.

    The reconciliation of France with Burgundy in did not mark an immediate recovery by France in the war against England. English successes over the next few years culminated in the Treaty of Troyes in , which secured to England a large block of French territory. The treaty was sealed by the marriage of Henry and the French princess Catherine. Their son was to be recognized as king of both France and England. This treaty, if carried out, would have disinherited the dauphin Charles, son of Charles VI.

    The infant Henry VI, son of Henry V and Catherine, was recognized by one party as king of both England and France, while the hapless dauphin held only a part of southern France and was rather contemptuously referred to as the "king of Bourges. Jeanne was a peasant girl from Domrmy in Lorraine who, though far from the scenes of battle, was deeply concerned about the fate of France. She became convinced that saints appeared to her while she was in the fields and announced to her that her destiny was to go to the aid of her country and, in particular, the dauphin Charles.

    She managed to make her way to Charles's court, where she succeeded in being given command of a body of French soldiers. With these troops she played an important part in lifting the siege of Orlans, a great victory for the French and an important factor in reviving their morale.

    After this, Jeanne's career was marked by continuing success for a while, until she had accomplished her great purpose, the coronation of Charles as Charles VII in the traditional ceremony at Reims. In she was captured by the Burgundians, who turned her over to the English. She was put on trial before an ecclesiastical court at Rouen, charged with heresy, witchcraft, and other offenses. Though the trial was ostensibly on religious grounds, it was in reality political. Her judges knew that she would have to be condemned; in the psychological atmosphere of the time, an acquittal would have convinced many that she did in reality have a divine mission and that God favored the French.

    The records of her questioning show that she was remarkably clever in meeting the arguments of her accusers, men of great learning and experience, in spite of her youth and lack of education. Nevertheless, the outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion. Condemned to die at the stake as a heretic, for a time she lost faith in her mission and recanted.

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    But she soon recovered her nerve and reasserted her conviction that the saints had indeed sent her. She was, therefore, condemned again, this time as a relapsed heretic, and burned at the stake on May 30, In a new trial was held in which her name was formally cleared of the charges for which she had been condemned. In she was canonized. The figure of St. Joan has proved to be a source of endless fascination and wonder. She appears not only in historical works but in drama and in opera as well.

    One reason for the perennial interest in her career is the mystery that surrounds it. How are we to explain her extraordinary successes and accomplishments? Was she really a saint, divinely inspired?