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Encyclopedia > Council of Constance
Council of Constance
Date 1414-1418
Accepted by Catholicism
Previous council Council of Vienne
Next council Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence (the Council of Siena is generally not considered ecumenical by Catholics)
Convoked by Antipope John XXIII, confirmed by Pope Gregory XII
Presided by Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Attendance 600
Topics of discussion Western Schism
Documents and statements Antipope John XXIII deposed, resignation of Pope Gregory XII accepted, Avignon Pope Benedict XIII deposed, condemnation of Jan Hus, election of Pope Martin V
Chronological list of Ecumenical councils

The Council of Constance was an ecumenical council considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church. The council was called by the Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, the pope recently elected at Pisa. The council was held from November 16, 1414 to April 22, 1418 in Constance. Its main purpose was to end the Papal schism which had resulted from the Avignon Papacy. The Council of Constance marked the high point of the Conciliar movement to reform the Church. // Events Council of Constance begins. ... Events May 19 - Capture of Paris by John, Duke of Burgundy September - Beginning of English Siege of Rouen Mircea the Old, ruler of Wallachia dies and is succeeded by Vlad I Uzurpatorul. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      As a Christian ecclesiastical... Above all else, the Roman Catholic Council of Vienne was the Ecumenical Council that withdrew papal support for the Knights Templar, confirming the destruction of the rich Order by the bureaucrats of Philip IV of France. ... The Council of Basel was a council of bishops and other ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic Church that was held at Basel, Switzerland. ... In the Roman Catholic Church, the Council of Siena (1423 - 1424) marked a somewhat inconclusive stage in the Conciliar movement that was attempting reforms in the church. ... Antipope John XXIII Baldassare Cossa, (about 1370 – November 22, 1419), also known as John XXIII,was Pope or antipope during the Western Schism (1410–1415) and is now officially regarded by the Catholic Church as an antipope. ... Gregory XII, né Angelo Correr or Corraro (died October 18, 1417), Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII (1404–06) on November 30, 1406, having been chosen at Rome by a conclave consisting of only fifteen cardinals, under the express condition that, should antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423... Sigismund, aged approximately 50, depicted by unknown artist in the 1420s — the only contemporary portrait. ... Historical map of the Western Schism. ... Antipope John XXIII Baldassare Cossa, (about 1370 – November 22, 1419), also known as John XXIII,was Pope or antipope during the Western Schism (1410–1415) and is now officially regarded by the Catholic Church as an antipope. ... Papal abdication occurs in the Roman Catholic Church when the Pope resigns his office. ... Gregory XII, né Angelo Correr or Corraro (died October 18, 1417), Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII (1404–06) on November 30, 1406, having been chosen at Rome by a conclave consisting of only fifteen cardinals, under the express condition that, should antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423... Benedict XIII, born Pedro Martínez de Luna, (b. ... Jan Hus ( ) (IPA: , alternative spellings John Hus, Jan Huss, John Huss) (c. ... Martin V, né Oddone Colonna or Odo Colonna (1368 – February 20, 1431), Pope from 1417 to 1431, was elected on St. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      An Ecumenical Council (also sometimes Oecumenical... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      An Ecumenical Council (also sometimes Oecumenical... “Catholic Church” redirects here. ... Sigismund, aged approximately 50, depicted by unknown artist in the 1420s — the only contemporary portrait. ... Antipope John XXIII Baldassare Cossa, (about 1370 – November 22, 1419), also known as John XXIII,was Pope or antipope during the Western Schism (1410–1415) and is now officially regarded by the Catholic Church as an antipope. ... is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... // Events Council of Constance begins. ... is the 112th day of the year (113th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events May 19 - Capture of Paris by John, Duke of Burgundy September - Beginning of English Siege of Rouen Mircea the Old, ruler of Wallachia dies and is succeeded by Vlad I Uzurpatorul. ... Konstanz in 1925 seen from the lake Schnetztor, a section of the former city wall Another gate from city wall Shops in Konstanz The Konzilgebäude in Konstanz Konstanz (in English formerly known as Constance) is a university town of around 80,000 inhabitants at the western end of Lake... Historical map of the Western Schism. ... The Papal palace in Avignon In the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1377 during which seven popes, all French, resided in Avignon: Pope Clement V: 1305–1314 Pope John XXII: 1316–1334 Pope Benedict XII: 1334–1342 Pope Clement VI... In the history of Christianity, the Conciliar movement or Conciliarism was a reform movement in the 14th and 15th century Roman Catholic Church which held that final authority in spiritual matters resided with the Roman Church as corporation of Christians, embodied by a general church council, not with the pope. ...


The Catholic Church only regards as valid and ecumenical those sessions of the Council that were held after the confirmation of the Council by Pope Gregory XII. The previous sessions, held under the authority of Emperor Sigismund and Antipope John XXIII are not considered valid, and its decrees (including the famous decree Haec Sancta, on Conciliarism), are regarded by the Catholic Church as null and void. Gregory XII, né Angelo Correr or Corraro (died October 18, 1417), Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII (1404–06) on November 30, 1406, having been chosen at Rome by a conclave consisting of only fifteen cardinals, under the express condition that, should antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423...


At the time the council was called, there were three popes, all of whom claimed legitimacy. A few years earlier, in one of the first blows to the Conciliar movement, the bishops at the Council of Pisa had deposed both of the two claimant popes and elected a third pope, claiming that in such a situation, a council of bishops had greater authority than just one bishop, even if he were the bishop of Rome. This had only furthered the schism. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Pope (from Latin... This article incorporates text from the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia Preliminaries The Great Schism of the West had lasted thirty years (since 1378), and none of the means employed to bring it to an end had been successful. ...


An innovation at the Council was that instead of voting as individuals, the bishops voted in national blocs, explicitly confirming the national pressures that had fueled the schism since 1378.


The famous Haec sancta decree contradicting Vatican I on papal primacy and infallibility was promulgated in the sixth session, April 6, 1415. Its declaration that is the 96th day of the year (97th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events Friedrich I Hohenzollern (b. ...

legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the Catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that 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.

marks the high water mark of the Conciliar movement of reform [1]. This decree, however, is not considered valid by 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 an invalid and illicit assembly of Bishops, gathered under the authority of Emperor Sigismund and Antipope John XXIII.

Bishops debating with the pope at the Council of Constance
Bishops debating with the pope at the Council of Constance

Thus, what historians describe as "the Council of Constance" were, in fact, two different assemblies in the eyes of the Catholic Church and its canon law. The first part is regarded as an illicit assembly, incapable of issuing any valid decree. The second part is regarded as a true Ecumenical Council. The Bishops that were already assembled in Constance accepted to be re-summoned by the authority of Gregory XII since it was known that Gregory XII was willing to resign, so as to allow the election of another Pope, that could be accepted by the whole of Christendom. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 559 pixel Image in higher resolution (3590 × 2508 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 559 pixel Image in higher resolution (3590 × 2508 pixel, file size: 2. ...


With the support of Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, enthroned before the high altar of the cathedral of Constance, the Council of Constance recommended that all three popes abdicate, and that another be chosen. In part because of the constant presence of the emperor, other rulers demanded that they have a say in who would be pope. Much of the Council's time was therefore occupied with trying to placate secular rulers rather than in actual reform of the Church and its hierarchy. Sigismund, aged approximately 50, depicted by unknown artist in the 1420s — the only contemporary portrait. ...


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 Emperor Sigismund and by the assembled Bishops, and the Emperor yielded the presidency of the proceedings to the papal legates, Cardinal Dominici of Ragusa and Prince Charles of Malatesta. On 4 July, 1415 the Bull of Gregory XII which appointed Malatesta and Cardinal Dominici of Ragusa 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.


Former Pope Gregory XII was then created titular Cardinal Bishop of Porto and Santa Ruffina by the Council, with rank immediately below the Pope (which made him the highest ranking person in the Church, since, due to his abdication, the See of Peter was vacant). Gregory XII's cardinals were accepted as true cardinals by the Council, but the members of the council delayed electing a new pope for fear that a new pope would restrict further discussion of pressing issues in the Church. The Roman Catholic diocese of Porto and Santa-Rufina (Portuensis et Sanctae Rufinae) was formed from the union of two suburbicarian sees of Rome. ...


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. Martin V, né Oddone Colonna or Odo Colonna (1368 – February 20, 1431), Pope from 1417 to 1431, was elected on St. ...

Painting of Jan Hus in Council of Constance by Václav Brožík
Painting of Jan Hus in Council of Constance by Václav Brožík

A second goal of the council was to continue the reforms begun at the Council of Pisa. These reforms were largely directed against John Wycliff, mentioned in the opening session, and condemned in the eighth, May 4, 1415 and Jan Hus, and their followers. Jan Hus, summoned to Constance under a letter of indemnity, was condemned by council and burned at the stake notwithstanding on July 6, 1415. Image File history File links Jan_Hus-Council_of_Constance. ... Image File history File links Jan_Hus-Council_of_Constance. ... Jan Hus ( ) (IPA: , alternative spellings John Hus, Jan Huss, John Huss) (c. ... Václav Brožík (5 March 1851 – 15 April 1901) was the greatest Czech academic painter. ... Wycliffe may also refer to Wycliffe Bible Translators John Wyclif (or Wycliffe) (1328 - December 31, 1384) was an English theologian and early proponent of reform in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. ... is the 124th day of the year (125th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events Friedrich I Hohenzollern (b. ... Jan Hus ( ) (IPA: , alternative spellings John Hus, Jan Huss, John Huss) (c. ... Jan Hus ( ) (IPA: , alternative spellings John Hus, Jan Huss, John Huss) (c. ... Burning of two sodomites at the stake (execution of individuals by fire. ... is the 187th day of the year (188th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events Friedrich I Hohenzollern (b. ...


The council also attempted to direct ecclesiastical reforms. However, once two anti-popes, Baldassare Cossa (John XXIII), who fled from Constance on March 20, 1415, and Peter de Luna (Benedict XIII) had been eliminated, Gregory XII, the successor of the Roman line, was induced to resign. The council with 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, and the claim that a council might be superior to a single pope was set aside when it was later declared that a council of Bishops has no greater authority than the Pope. Antipope John XXIII, antipope of the Pisan party (1400_1415), (about 1370 - November 22, 1419), was born as Baldassare Cossa. ... Antipope Benedict XIII, born Pedro Martínez de Luna, (b. ... Gregory XII, né Angelo Coraria (Venice 1326 - October 18, 1417), pope from 1406 to 1409, succeeded Innocent VII on 30th November 1406, having been chosen at Rome by a conclave consisting of only fifteen cardinals, under the express condition that, should Benedict XIII, the rival pope at Avignon, renounce all... Martin V, né Oddone Colonna or Odo Colonna (1368 – February 20, 1431), Pope from 1417 to 1431, was elected on St. ...


During the council there were also political topics discussed, such as the accusation by the Teutonic Knights that Poland was defending pagans. Pawel Wlodkowic, rector of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, presented there the theory that all nations, including pagan ones, have the right to self-government and to live in peace and possess their land, which is one of the earliest ideas of international law: For the state, see Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights. ... Pagan and heathen redirect here. ... Paweł Włodkowic, Paulus Wladimiri (1370-1435) was a distinguished scholar, lawyer and the rector of the University of Cracow. ... The word rector (ruler, from the Latin regere) has a number of different meanings, but all of them indicate someone who is in charge of something. ... Jagiellonian University (Polish: Uniwersytet JagielloÅ„ski, often shortened to UJ) is located in Krakow, Poland, and has been ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement as the best Polish university. ... For other uses, see Krakow (disambiguation). ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

  • Communities have the right to determine to which nation they belong;
  • Peoples have the right to decide on their own future and to defend their nation;
  • Rulers are bound to respect the individual religious convictions of their subjects who cannot be denied their natural rights because of their belief;
  • Conversion through the use of force and coercion is invalid, sinful and deplorable;
  • Conversion can never be used as a pretext for war;
  • Maintenance of peace required an International Tribunal to judge contesting claims. No ruler, not even the Emperor or the Pope, should be able to declare war without submission to due process;
  • The principles of just war are always applicable and binding, regardless as to whether the state, nation or people against whom war is being declared is Christian or not;
  • Non-Christian and non-Catholic nations living at peace with their neighbors have the right to have their sovereignty and the integrity of their territories safeguarded;
  • Neither the Emperor nor the Pope could authorize anything that contradicts the principles of natural law;
  • Poland was bound to the Emperor only when he acted as Defender of the Faith;
  • The right of might erodes international relations like a cancer;
  • Exercising its right to self-defense, a Catholic state can also engage non-Christians or non-Catholics among its forces.

During the proceedings of the Council, Ioannes Falkenberg accused Poles of being: “guilty of the abominable crime of using Pagan allies in their war against the German Order.” He proposed that “the Poles must be exterminated.” 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 too should be killed for allying themselves with the infidels and resisting Christian Knights. 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 his Papal Bull of January 10, 1424, Pope Martin V “wanting to obviate the evils that may come to Poland from the errors and opinions advocated by Falkenberg…Imposed the penalty of excommunication ipso facto on all Christians whoever they might be…who might dare to propagate, defend, assert, etc. the condemned errors.” Martin V, né Oddone Colonna or Odo Colonna (1368 – February 20, 1431), Pope from 1417 to 1431, was elected on St. ...


The creation of a book on how to die was ordered by the council, and thus written in 1415 called Ars moriendi. Pride of the spirit is one of the five temptations of the dying man, according to Ars moriendi. ...


The upshot was that reforms were stymied by sheer inertia of the establishment, conflicting national interests and the full assertion of papal supremacy once more. The acts of the Council were not made public until 1442, at the behest of the Council of Basel; they were printed in 1500. Referring to the doctrine of Papal Supremacy the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes in paragraph 882, “the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he... The Council of Basel was a council of bishops and other ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic Church that was held at Basel, Switzerland. ...


Sources

  • Cantor, Norman F. 1993. Civilization of the Middle Ages pp 498ff.
  • Tanner, Norman P., editor, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: Council of Constance 1414-18, excerpts of the sessions (in English)
  • Dr. Joseph Cassar: The Rights of Nations

External links

Coordinates: 47°39′48″N, 9°10′37″E Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      An Ecumenical Council (also sometimes Oecumenical... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The term Oriental Orthodoxy refers to... The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first ecumenical[1] conference of bishops of the early Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene... The First Council of Constantinople (second ecumenical council) was called by Theodosius I in 381 to confirm the Nicene Creed and deal with other matters of the Arian controversy . ... Cyril of Alexandria The Council of Ephesus was held in the Church of Mary in Ephesus, Asia Minor in 431 under Emperor Theodosius II, grandson of Theodosius the Great; Ephesus was the city of Artemis, see also Acts 19:28. ... The Second Council of Ephesus (called the Robber Council of Ephesus, Robber Synod or Latrocinium by its opponents) was a church council at Ephesus. ... 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The Fourth Council of Constantinople as an ecumenical council is a name given to one of two meetings in Constantinople: the first in 869-870; the second in 879-880. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Coptic Orthodox Pope · Roman Catholic Pope Archbishop of Canterbury · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Faith... Both the Fifth Ecumenical Council and the Sixth Ecumenical Council failed to produce disciplinary norms, for which reason the emperor Justinian II convoked an assembly in 692 to meet in Constantinople in the same domed hall where the Sixth Council had been held, called in Trullo (= under the dome). ... 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Above all else, the Roman Catholic Council of Vienne was the Ecumenical Council that withdrew papal support for the Knights Templar, confirming the destruction of the rich Order by the bureaucrats of Philip IV of France. ... A decree of the Council of Constance (9 October 1417), sanctioned by Pope Martin V obliged the papacy to summon general councils periodically. ... When elected pope, Julius II promised under oath that he would soon convoke a general council. ... The Council of Trent is the Nineteenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. ... The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Medieval Church.org.uk: Council of Constance (1414-1418) (841 words)
CONSTANCE, The Council of, sat from Nov. 5, 1414, to April 22, 1418, and was the second of those three councils, which, during the fifteenth century, were convened for the purpose of reforming the Church, head and members; that of Pisa being the first, that of Basel the last.
He now endeavored to urge upon the assembly the view that the Council of Constance was nothing but a simple continuation of that of Pisa, which had formally condemned his two rivals, and, indirectly at least, legitimized his own election.
Phillip H. Stump, The Reforms of the Council of Constance (1414-1418).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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