EUGENIUS IV, POPE OF ROME

(3rd March 1431 - 23rd February 1447)

 

Pope Eugenius IV was born Gabriele Condulmaro in Venice, around 1383 into a wealthy family. He joined the Augustinian order very young: in 1408, aged 25, he was appointed Cardinal- Priest by his uncle, Pope Gregory XII (1406-1415). He was elected Pope in 1431, succeeding the autocratic Pope Martin V (1417-1431). His position was very unstable due to:

(i) Conciliarism:  the theory of supremacy of Councils over the Popes, adopted in the Council of Constance (1414-1418), and confirmed in the Council of Basle (1431-1449) which was in session at his election. He at once ordered its dismissal, but two years later he was forced to recognize it as canonical, after mediation by the German King, Sigismund (1410-1437). In 1438 he transferred the Council to Ferrara and to Florence in the following year, 1439. But some in Basle refused to accept the transfer and continued to meet, electing an antipope. Also in France the Gallican inspired Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438) defended conciliarism.

(ii) Opposition in Rome: an insurrection fomented by the Colonna family in 1438 forced the Pope to flee to Florence. He returned to Rome only in 1443. The Union of the two Churches in1439 was an important boost to his political authority. (Kelly 1986, 241-243; Gill, 1961)

J.M.

(Image from Gill 1959)

 

 

 

 

 

The Translation is Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, IAA, University of Birmingham 2008

 

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Last updated 19 June 2008