The COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE is the 15th-century ecumenical council
recognized by the Roman
The council also condemned
Jan Hus as a heretic and facilitated his
execution by the civil authority. It also ruled on issues of national
sovereignty, the rights of pagans, and just war in response to a
conflict between the Kingdom of Poland and the Order of the Teutonic
Knights . The council is important for its relationship to ecclesial
* 7 References
* 7.1 Notes * 7.2 Bibliography
* 8 External links
ORIGIN AND BACKGROUND
The council's main purpose was to end the Papal schism which had
resulted from the confusion following the
Avignon Papacy . Pope
Gregory XI 's return to
Therefore, many voices, including Sigismund, King of the Romans and of Hungary (and later Holy Roman Emperor), pressed for another council to resolve the issue. That council was called by John XXIII and was held from 16 November 1414 to 22 April 1418 in Constance , Germany. According to Joseph McCabe , the council was attended by roughly 29 cardinals , 100 "learned doctors of law and divinity", 134 abbots , and 183 bishops and archbishops .
Sigismund arrived on Christmas Eve 1414 and exercised a profound and continuous influence on the course of the council in his capacity of imperial protector of the church. An innovation at the council was that instead of voting as individuals, the bishops voted in national blocs. The vote by nations was in great measure the initiative of the English, German, and French members. The legality of this measure, in imitation of the "nations" of the universities, was more than questionable, but during February 1415 it carried and thenceforth was accepted in practice, though never authorized by any formal decree of the council. The four "nations" consisted of England, France, Italy, and Germany, with Poles, Hungarians, Danes, and Scandinavians counted with the Germans. While the Italian representatives made up half of those in attendance, they were equal in influence to the English who sent twenty deputies and three bishops.
DECREES AND DOCTRINAL STATUS
Bishops debating with the pope at the
Council of Constance
Many members of the new assembly (comparatively few bishops, but many doctors of theology and of canon and civil law, procurators of bishops, deputies of universities, cathedral chapters, provosts, etc., agents and representatives of princes, etc.) strongly favored the voluntary abdication of all three popes, as did King Sigismund.
Although the Italian bishops who had accompanied John XXIII in large numbers supported his legitimacy, he grew increasingly more suspicious of the council. Partly in response to a fierce anonymous attack on his character from an Italian source, on 2 March 1415 he promised to resign. However, on 20 March he secretly fled the city and took refuge at Schaffhausen in territory of his friend Frederick, Duke of Austria-Tyrol.
The famous decree Haec Sancta Synodus, which gave primacy to the authority of the council and thus became a source for ecclesial conciliarism , was promulgated in the fifth session, 6 April 1415:
Legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the Catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism, and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.
Haec Sancta Synodus marks the high-water mark of the Conciliar
movement of reform. This decree, however, is not considered valid by
the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, since it was never approved by
Pope Gregory XII or his successors, and was passed by the council in a
session before his confirmation. The church declared the first
sessions of the
Council of Constance
The acts of the council were not made public until 1442, at the
behest of the
Council of Basel
ENDING THE WESTERN SCHISM
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Imperia , a 1993-erected statue commemorating the council
With the support of King Sigismund , enthroned before the high altar
of the cathedral of Constance, the
Council of Constance
Gregory XII then sent representatives to Constance, whom he granted full powers to summon, open, and preside over an Ecumenical Council; he also empowered them to present his resignation to the Papacy. This would pave the way for the end of the Western Schism.
The legates were received by King Sigismund and by the assembled Bishops, and the King yielded the presidency of the proceedings to the papal legates, Cardinal Giovanni Dominici of Ragusa and Prince Carlo Malatesta . On 4 July 1415 the Bull of Gregory XII which appointed Dominici and Malatesta as his proxies at the council was formally read before the assembled Bishops. The cardinal then read a decree of Gregory XII which convoked the council and authorized its succeeding acts. Thereupon, the Bishops voted to accept the summons. Prince Malatesta immediately informed the council that he was empowered by a commission from Pope Gregory XII to resign the Papal Throne on the Pontiff's behalf. He asked the council whether they would prefer to receive the abdication at that point or at a later date. The Bishops voted to receive the Papal abdication immediately. Thereupon the commission by Gregory XII authorizing his proxy to resign the Papacy on his behalf was read and Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of the papacy by Gregory XII and handed a written copy of the resignation to the assembly.
Pope Gregory XII was then created titular Cardinal Bishop of
Porto and Santa Ruffina by the council, with rank immediately below
By the time the anti-popes were all deposed and the new Pope, Martin V , was elected, two years had passed since Gregory XII's abdication, and Gregory was already dead. The council took great care to protect the legitimacy of the succession, ratified all his acts, and a new pontiff was chosen. The new pope, Martin V , elected November 1417, soon asserted the absolute authority of the papal office.
CONDEMNATION OF JAN HUS
A second goal of the council was to continue the reforms begun at the
Council of Pisa
Jerome of Prague , a supporter of Jan Hus, came to Constance to offer assistance. But he was similarly arrested, judged, found guilty of heresy and turned over to the same secular court, with the same outcome as Hus. Poggio Bracciolini attended the council and related the unfairness of the process against Jerome.
In 1411, the First Peace of Thorn ended the
Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War , in which the Teutonic Knights
fought the Kingdom of Poland and
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Polish position was defended by
Paulus Vladimiri , rector of the
The Dominican theologian
John of Falkenberg proved to be the fiercest
opponent of the Poles. In his Liber de doctrina, Falkenberg argued
that "the Emperor has the right to slay even peaceful infidels simply
because they are pagans." The Poles deserve death for defending
infidels, and should be exterminated even more than the infidels; they
should be deprived of their sovereignty and reduced to slavery." In
Satira, he attacked Polish King
The council did not make any political decisions. It established the
* ^ Frenken, Ansgar. "Vom Schisma zur 'verfluchten Dreiheit'" .
* ^ A B C Shahan, Thomas. "Council of Constance." The Catholic
Encyclopedia Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 30
* ^ For good, brief discussions of the politics of conciliarism at
and after Constance, see Black, Anthony. 1998, "Popes and Councils" in
The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume VII c. 11415–c. 1500,
edited by Christopher Allmand, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
pp. 67-76; and Watts, John. 2009, The Making of Polities, Europe
1300-1500, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 291-301.
* ^ Councils, Hungary: Piar, archived from the original on
* ^ Stober, Karin (2014). "Sigismunds Meisterstück" . Damals. No.
2. pp. 24–31.
* ^ William Shepherd, The Life of Poggio Bracciolini, 1837, Ch. II,
p. 68-81. Google Play Book
* ^ A B C D E F Christiansen, Eric (1997). The Northern Crusades
(2nd ed.). Penguin Books. pp. 231–241. ISBN 0-14-026653-4 .
* ^ doctor John Cassar The Rights of Nations: Reflections on the
* Cantor, Norman F. 1993. Civilization of the Middle Ages pp 498ff.
Damals (in German). 46 (2). 2014.
* Stump, Philip. The Reforms of the Council of Constance
(1414–1418). Brill, 1994.
* Tanner, Norman P., editor, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils:
Council of Constance