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CENT.just about the time when the council was to meet.
,,He was immediately succeeded by GABRIEL Con
DOLMERUS, a native of Venice, and bishop of Sienna, who is known in the papal list by the title of EUGENIUS IV. This pontif approved of all the measures that had been entered into by his predecessor in relation to the assembling of the council of Basil, which was accordingly opened the 23d of July, 1431, under the superintendence of Cardinal JULIAN CESARINI, who performed the functions of president, in the place of EUGENIUS.
The two grand points that were proposed to the deliberation of this famous council, were, the union of the Greek and Latin churches, and the reformation of the church universal both in its head and in its members, according to the resolution that had been taken in the council of Constance. For that the Roman pontifs, who were considered as the head of the church, and the bishops, priests, and monks, who were looked upon as its members, were become excessively corrupt; and that, to use the expression of the prophet in a similar case, the whole bead was sick, and the whole heart faint, was a matter of fact too striking to escape the knowledge of the obscurest individual. On the other hand, as it appeared by the very form of the council [b], by its method of proceeding, and by the first decrees that were enacted by its authority, that the assembled fathers were in earnest, and firmly resolved to answer the end and
purpose B[b] By the form of the council, Dr MOSHEIM undoubtedly means the division of the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, abbots, d'c. into four equal classes, without any regard to the nation or province by which they were sent. This prudent arrangement prevented the cabals and intrigues of the Italians, . whose bishops were much more numerous than those of other sations, and who, by their number, might have had it in their power to retard or defeat the laudable purpose the council had in view, had things been otherwise ordered.
purpose of their meeting. EUGENIUS IV. was C E N T.
XV. much alarmed at the prospect of a reformation, pary: which he feared above all things, and beholding with terror the zeal and designs of these spiritual physicians, he attempted twice the dissolving of the council. These repeated attempts were vigorously and successfully opposed by the assembled fathers, who proved by the decrees of the council of Constance, and by other arguments equally conclusive, that the council was superior, in point of authority, to the Roman pontif. This controversy, which was the first that had arisen between the council and the pope, was terminated, in the month of November 1433, by the silence and concessions of the latter, who, the month following, wrote a letter from Rome, containing his approbation of the council, and his acknowledgment of its authority [i]. Eę 2 ..
XII. [i] The history of this grand and memorable council is yet wanting. The learned STEPHEN BALUZIUS (as we find in the Histoire de l'Academie des Inscriptions et des Belles Lettres, tom. vi. p. 544.), and after him Mr LENFANT, promised the world a history of this council ; but neither of these valuable writers performed their promise *. The acts of this famous assembly have been collected with incredible industry, in a great. number of volumes, from various archives and libraries, at the expence of RODOLPHUS AUGUSTUS, duke of Brunswick, by the very learned and laborious HERMAN van der HARDT. They are preserved, as we are informed, in the library at Hanover, and they certainly deserve to be drawn from their retreat, and published to the world. In the mean time, the curious may consult the abridgement of the Acts of this council, which were published in 8vo at Paris, in the year 1512, and which I have made use of in this history, as also the following authors: ÆNEÆ Sylvii Lib. duo de Concilio Basiliensi.-EDMUN. RICHERIUS, Histor. Concilior. General. lib.iii. cap. 1.--HENR. CANISII Lectiones Antiquæ, tom, iv. p. 447.
* Dr Mosheim has here been guilty of an oversight; for Len.' FANT did in reality perform his promise, and composed the History of the Council of Basil, which he blended with his history of the war of the Hussites, on account of the connexion that there was between these two subjects; and also because his advanced age prevented his indulging himself in the hope of being able to give a full and complete history of the council of Basil apart.
XV. PART 1
CENT. XII. These preliminary measures being finish.
u ed, the council proceeded with zeal and activity Imam to the accomplishment of the important purposes The de
for which it was assembled. The pope's legates crces and acts of te were admitted as members of the council, but coul of not before they had declared, upon oath, that they Basil:
would submit to the decrees that should be enacted in it, and more particularly that they would adhere to the laws that had been made in the council of Constance, in relation to the supremacy of general councils, and the subordination of the pontifs to their authority and jurisdiction, Nay, these very laws, which the popes beheld with such aversion and horror, were solemnly renewed by the council the 26th of June, in the year 1434, and, on the oth of the same month in the following year, the Annates, as they were called, were publicly abolished, notwithstanding the opposition that was made to this measure by the legates, of the Roman see. On the 25th of March 1436, a confession of faith was read, which every pontif was to subscribe on the day of his election, the number of cardinals was reduced to twenty-four, and the papal impositions, called Expectatives, Reservations, and Provisions, were entirely annulled. These measures, with others of a like nature, provoked EUGENIUS to the highest degree, and made him form a design, either for removing this troublesome and enterprizing council into Italy, cr of setting up a new council in opposition to it, which might fix bounds to its zeal for the reformation of the church. Accordingly, on the 9th of May, in the year 1437, the assembled fathers having, on account of the Greeks, come to a resolution of holding the council at Basil, Avignon, or some city in the duchy of Savoy, the intractable pontif opposed this motion, and maintained that it should be transferred into Italy. Each of the contending parties persevered, with
the the utmost obstinacy, in the resolution they had C ENT. taken, and this occasioned a warm and violent, .xv..
1 PART II. contest between the pope and the council. They latter summoned EUGENIUS to appear before them at Basil the 26th day of July 1437, in order to give an account of his conduct; but the pontif, instead of complying with this summons, issued out a decree, by which he pretended to dissolve the council, and to assemble another at Ferrara, This decree, indeed, was treated with the utmost contempt by the council, which, with the consent of the emperor, the king of France, and several other princes, continued its deliberations at Basil, and, on the 28th of September, in this same year, pronounced a sentence of contumacy against the rebellious pontif, for having refused to obey their order.
Xlll. In the year 1438, EUGENIUS in person The coun. opened the council, which he had summoned to call meet at Ferrara, and at the second session thun- by Euge. dered out an excommunication against the fa- nius; thers assembled at Basil. The principal business that was now to be transacted in the pontif's council, was the proposed reconciliation between the Greek and Latin churches; and, in order to bring this salutary, and important design to a happy issue, the emperor JOHN PALÆOLOGUS, the Grecian patriarch, JOSEPHUS, with the most eminent bishops and doctors among the Greeks, arrived in Italy, and appeared in person at Ferrara. What animated, in a particular manner, the zeal of the Greeks in this negotiation, was the extremity to which they were reduced by the Turks, and the pleasing hope, that their reconciliation with the Roman pontif would contribute to engage the Latins in their cause. Be that as it may, there was little done at Ferrara, where matters were carried on too slowly to afford any prospect of an end of their dissentions : but the Ee4
CENT. negotiations were more successful at Florence, Dey whiiher EUGENIUS removed the council about ar the beginning of the year 1439, on account of
the plague that broke out at Ferrara. On the other hand, the council of Basil, exasperated by the imperious proceedings of EUGENIUS, deposed him from the papacy on the 25th of June, in the year 1439 ; which vigorous measure was not approved of by the European kings and princes. It may be easily conceived what an impression this step made upon the affronted pontif; he lost all patience; and devoted for the second time, to hell and damnation the members of the council of Basil by a solemn and most severe edict, in which also he declared all their acts null, and all their proceedings unlawful. This new peal of papal thunder was held in derision by the council of Basil, who, persisting in their purpose, elected another pontif, and raised to that high dignity AMADEUS, duke of Savoy, who then lived in the most profound solitude at a delicious retreat, called Ripaille, upon the borders of the, Leman Lake, and who is known in the papal list by the
name of Felix V. The church XIV. This election was the occassion of the afflicted revival of that deplorable schism, which had forschism.
merly rent the church, and which had been terminated with so much difficulty, and after so many vain and fruitless efforts, at the council of Constance. Nay, the new breach was still more lamentable than the former one, as the flame was kindled not only between two rival pontifs, but also between the two contending councils of Basil and Florence. The greatest part of the church submitted to the jurisdiction, and adopted the cause of EUGENIUS; while FELIX was acknowledged, as lawful pontif, by a great number of academies, and, among others, by the famous university of Paris, as also in several kingdoms