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Constance

council, benedict, xiii, john, church and styled

CONSTANCE, General Council of, the 16th ecumenical council of the Church, was held at Constance in Switzerland; it was presided over by Pope John XXIII, in its opening ses sion 5 Nov. 1414, and was dissolved in its 45th session 1418. It was called at the suggestion of the Emperor Sigismund for the purpose of dealing with the Hussite heresy; of considering measures for the general reform of the Church, and of restoring peace to the Church, which was troubled with schisms owing to the rivalry of three claimants of the papal throne. There was Balthasar Cossa, styled John XXIII: his title seemed to be sound in point of law, but the man was eminently unfit for the office; then there was Petrus de Luna, styled Benedict XIII: he was a Spaniard, but was chosen by the French cardinals: his style, Benedict XIII, was formally disallowed when the Pope, Vin cenzo Marco Orsini, who at first assumed the style of Benedict XIV (1724), afterward changed that to Benedict XIII; and there was Angelo Corario, styled Gregory XII: both of these had been condemned as perjured men, heretics and schismatics, by the Council of Pisa, which Council deposed') them; but they still claimed papal honors. Besides the healing of these schisms, the Council was called to take measures for repression of Wiclifism in Eng land and analogous heresies in Bohemia and elsewhere. Also the Council was to consider the ways and means of effecting a ((reformation of the Church in head and members." In the Council were some of the eminent divines of the time, among them Pierre d'Aillv and Ger son, chancellor of the University of Paris, both sturdy advocates of reform; and also bishops representing the churches of England and Ire land. It is said that more than 18,000 priests, together with their retinues and many mer chants and artisans, formed the brilliant crowd that collected in the city. John Huss, chancellor

of the University of Prague, summoned to plead in the Council to the charge of maintain mg the Wiclifite heresies, attended, having come under a safe-conduct of the Emperor Sigismund. The Council condemned the doc trines of Huss and ordered him to be given up to the civil power, to be dealt with according to the laws: he perished at the stake. Jerome of Prague met with the same fate. Memorable among the acts of this Council is its decision of a question submitted to the fathers regard ing the succession to the sovereignty of the margraviate of Brandenburg. The Council recognized the superior validity of the claim of Conrad of Hohenzollern; from him is sprung the royal line of Prussia. The Council in the 12th session 29 May 1415 published a decree deposing John XXIII, who after a while form ally resigned. In the 14th session Gregory XII (Corario) gave in his resignation. Petrus de Luna (Benedict XIII) refused to resign : but being no longer sustained by the king of Spain, he was simply ignored, and Cardinal Otto Colonna was elected Pope 11 Nov. 1417 under the style of Martin V. The schisms caused by the rival popes were ended. After a few re formatory measures, quite inadequate for the needs of the situation, were enacted, the Council was dissolved 22 April 141& Consult Richten thal, (Kronik des Konziliums in Konstanz' (Augsburg 1553; Tiibingen 1882) Creighton,