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Mannheim [Manheime]
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Mannheim [Manheime]

Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Coordinates: 49° 29' 20.4" N, 8° 28' 8.76" E

617 [593]

K. Henry. 5. The counsell of Constance. The Bohemians.

leue, not called, was present looking stedfastly vpon the bishop, whom he beholding to become agayne, was more ashamed then he was before (and iustly) saying he could no longer abide the sight of her, & commaūded that she should be driuen away with battes and shottinges: but she being afrayde neither with their noyse, neither of any thing els, would not away, vntill that with the strokes of the sticks, which were throwne at her, she fell downe dead before thē all. This I learned of a faythfull frend, who at the same time came to Rome, the which thing I scarsely crediting for the rarenes of the matter, he affirmed by his othe, that it was most certayn & true: adding moreouer that all there present were much offēded, & did greatly deride that Coūcell called for such a purpose, and by little and litle the Coūcel was dissolued, nothing done ther as he saith. Athough it hath not bene alwayes seene that such spirituall Doues haue bene present with Popes and their Councels, & gouerned thē: yet their euill doctrine declareth no lesse. Read gentle reader the booke of Clemangis, and thou shalt not thinke thy labor euill bestowed. For he hath both learnedly, truely, freely, and godly, bewayled the filthines of Antichrist, and his ministers, their wickednes, impiety and cruelty, and the miserable state and face of the Church. &c. And thus much for Pope Iohn.

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¶ The Councell of Constance. 
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Council of Constance

Foxe's account of the Council of Constance served two basic purposes. The first was to provide a background for the executions of Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague. Secondly the account allowed Foxe to provide more details of the Great Schism as well as of papal politics and scandals. One indication of Foxe's readiness to develop the latter theme was the inclusion, first in the 1563 edition, of a story of an owl appearing at a council in Rome and being regarded as an evil spirit by antipope John XXIII, who summoned this council and was to summon the Council of Constance. Foxe obtained this story from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum et fugiendarum [Cologne, 1535], fo. 201r. In the 1563 edition , the account of the Council of Constance itself was taken from Casper Hedio's continuation of the chronicle of Conrad of Lichtenau. (See Conrad of Lichtenau, Abbatis Uspergensis chronicum, ed. Conrad Hedio [Basel, 1569], pp. 373-4 and 379-81). The letter of the 54 Moravian nobles also came from Hedio (pp. 381-84). Also included in the 1563 edition was an account of Hus attending the Council on receipt of a safe-conduct from the Emperor Sigismund, the proceedings against Hus at the Council and Hus's condemnation. All of this material came from Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, ed Matthias Flacius, 2 vols. (Nuremburg, 1558), I, fos. 1v-27v. In the 1570 edition, Foxe deleted some documents from this material: two testimonials as to Hus's good character, presented at the Council and a document concerning an earlier hearing on Hus's heresies held by the Archbishop of Prague. But Foxe also added a rebuttal of Catholic arguments justifying the execution of Hus despite the safe conduct. The 1570 account of the Council of Constance and Hus's trial there was repeated without change in the 1576 edition. In the 1583 edition, this account was repeated but the two testimonials on behalf were re-inserted.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe councell of Cōstance.HEre by the way is to be noted and vnderstand, that during all this time of Pope Iohn, there were 3. Popes raigning together, neither was yet the schisme ceased, which so long time had continued, the space (as I sayde) of 29. yeares. By the reason wherof a generall Councel was ordeined & holden at Constance in the same yeare. an. 1414. being called by Sigismund the Emperor, and Pope Iohn the 23. for the pacifiyng of the foresayd schisme, which was then between three Popes, striuing for the Popedome. MarginaliaThree popes together striuing for the Popedome. The first whereof was Iohn, whom the Italians set vp. The second was Gregory, whom the Frenchmen set vp. The third was Benedict, whom the Spaniardes placed. In this schismaticall ambitious conflict, euery one defended his Pope, to the great disturbans of christian nations. MarginaliaThe prelats assembled in this councel were numbred together with their deputies. 1940. Philip and Cheyney. &c.This councell endured foure yeares long, wherin all their matters were decided most by foure natiōs, to say the English, Germaine, French, & Italian nation. Out of which foure nations were apoynted & chosen foure Presidentes to iudge and determine the matters of the Councell. The names of which Presidentes were these, Iohn the Patriarke of Antioche for Fraunce, Anthony Archbishop of Rigen for Italy, Nicholas Archbishoppe of Genesuensis for Germany, and Nicholas Bishop of Bathe for England by whom many great and profitable things to the glory of God, and publike profit, might haue bene concluded, if the rotten flesh of the churchmen could haue bidden the salt of the Gospell, and if they had loued the truth: but as Gregogorius Nazienzenus MarginaliaGregorius in Epistola quadam. writeth, there lightly come few generall Councels, but they end more with disturbance, then tranquility. So it happened in this councell, for wheras Iohn the 13. in the first Session exhorteth them by these wordes taken out of the 8. of Zachary. Viritatem diligite, that is to say: Loue the truth, further, monishing them, and specially the Deuines euery man to do his endeuour for the vnitye of the Church, and to speake their minde freely: but howe soone this his exhortation was forgottē, it appeared shortly after by the despising of the Prophetes, and persecuting of Christ in his mēbers, as by the grace of Christ shall appeare hereafter in the processe of this story. First this Iohn did resigne his Papacy, the Emperor geuing him thankes kissed his feet.

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Afterward the sayd Iohn repenting him that he had so done, sought meanes to flee, whereunto Fredericke Duke of Austrich did assist him, for he chaunging his garments, fled by night with a small cōpany. And when he was now come vnto Schaffehouse to goe into Italy, the Emperour pursuing, tooke him, and proclaymed Fredericke traytour, MarginaliaDuke Fredericke of Austrich proclamed traytor. & for that cause tooke away certayne Cittyes from him. At the last the matter was appeased vnder this cōdition, that Fredericke should require grace of the Emperour, and resigne all his possessions vnto him. Wherupō the Emperor receiued him againe into fauor, & restored him to his dukedome. This pope being thus deposed, was committed vnto the County Pallatine, and by him caried to the Castle of Manheime, MarginaliaPope Iohn taken and cast in prisonwhere he was kept prisoner by the space of 3. yeares. Afterward he was agayne by Pope Martine, admitted to the number of Cardinals.

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MarginaliaMarke the good qualities of pope Iohn.This Pope Iohn was deposed by the decree of þe coūcell, more then 40. most greuous and haynous crimes being obiected and proued agaynst him: as that he had hyredMarcilus Permensis a Phssition, to poyson Alexander his predecessour. Further, that he was an hereticke, a simoniake, a lyer, an hipocrite, a murderer, an inchaūter, a diceplayer, an adulterer, and a sodomite, & finally what crime is it, that he was not infected withall?

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And now to returne vnto the councell, first we wil declare the order of their Sessions, with things therin concluded, in generall: then we will (Christ willing) adioyne the speciall tractation of such matters, as perteyne to the story of the Bohemians, and Iohn Hus, and Hierome of Prage, who in the same vngodlye councell were condemned and burned.

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This councell therfore of Constance, which was summoned by the Emperour Sigismund, and Pope Iohn 23. about the natiuity of our Lord Iesus, an. 1414. began the same yeare to be assembled about the latter end of the yere. Which first beginning as the maner is, with a Masse of the holy Ghost, as they were singing according to their custōe the Himne, Veni sancte spiritus, MarginaliaA writing set vp how the holy Ghost had no leysure to come to the councell of Constance.there was at the same time a certayne Bill set vp in the Church by some well disposed man, as it seemed, wherein was conteyned these wordes folowing: Alijs rebus occupati nunc adesse vobis nō possumus. That is to say. We are otherwise occupyed at this tyme, we can not intend to come to you. Here is also to be remēbred the worthye saying of the Emperour Sigismund, when talke was ministred as touching the reformation of the spiritualtye, and some sayde quod oporteat in cipere a minoritis, that is, that reformation ought first to beginne at the Minorites. The Emperour aunswering againe: MarginaliaThe wothy answere of the Emperour touching the order of reformation.Non a minoritis, sed a maioritis, that is, not with the Minorites sayth he, but with the Maiorites. Meaning the reformation ought first to begin with the Pope, Cardinals, & Byshops and other superior states of the church, and so to discend after to the inferiors. This much by the way, & now to the purpose and order of the Sessions as we promised. The which counsell continued as is aforesayd by the space of iiij. yeares, and had in it 45. Sessions, wherein many things were concluded, the which altogether were to long to be recited in this place: as the deposition of three seueral Popes, whiche were before spoken of, the hearing of certaine Legates. Yet I minde to make some briefe recapitulation of the most principall matters there done in the sessions orderly ensuing.

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Marginalia1.In the first Session chiefly was cōcluded, first that this Councell was lawfully congregate.


Note by this example, the authoritie of councels preferred before the pope.


2. Item, that the going away of the pope should be no let or stay, but the Councell might proceed.

¶ Wherein note (gentle Reader) that the authority of the generall Councell is aboue the Pope, contrary to their owne doctrine.

Marginalia.33. Item, this Councell should not be dissolued before the Church were reformed, as well in the superiours, as inferiours.

Marginalia4.In the 4. Session amongest other things, this was first concluded: That a Synode congregate in the holy Ghost, making a generall councel, representing the whole Catholicke Church here militant, hath power of Christ immediately, to the which power euery person, of what state or dignity so euer he be: yea being the pope himselfe, ought to be obedient in all such things as concerne the generall reformation of the Church, aswell in the heades, as in the subiectes. MarginaliaAnno. 1415.

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Item, the sayd Pope should not translate the Court of Rome, and the officers of the same from the Citty of Constance. And that all his censures, doinges and workinges after the time of his departure, whatsoeuer he shoulde enterprise to do to the preiudice of this Councell, should be of no effect.

Marginalia5.In the 5. Session the same Articles were repeated and concluded agayne.

Marginalia6.In the 6. Session procuration and citation was sent out agaynst the Pope.

MarginaliaCommissioners appointed to heare I. Hus.Item, commissioners were appointed out of the foure nations for the hearing of Iohn Hus, which shalbe hereafter mentioned in his story folowing.

Item, the memory of Iohn Wickliffe was condemned and the sentence geuen in the Councel holden at Rome vpon the condemnation and burningn of Wickliffes bookes, was there confirmed.

MarginaliaCitation graūted against Ierome of Prage.Item, in the same Session, Citation was sent out agaynst Ierome of Prage. The tenor whereof foloweth after in the story of the sayd Ierome.

Item, in this Session, was decreed agaynst libelles of infamy.

Marginalia7.In the 7. Session nothing was handled, but that the tenour of the citation agaynst Pope Iohn was recited.

Marginalia8.In the 8. Session, the sentence and condemnation of

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