The First General Council of Lyons was presided over by Innocent IV; the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, and Aquileia (Venice), 140 bishops, Baldwin II, Emperor of the East, and St. Louis, King of France, assisted. It excommunicated and deposed Emperor Frederick II and directed a new crusade, under the command of St. Louis, against the Saracens and Mongols.Preview This Lesson
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When most of the Prelates had gathered in Lyons, the Pope asked them to gather in the refectory of the monastery of St. Just. There were cardinals, the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch, Baldwin II of Constantinople, nobles and 140 archbishops and bishops. This preliminary meeting on June 26, 1245, foretold the drama that lay ahead of the Council. Emperor Frederick II had not come to the Council himself but Thaddeus of Sessa, one of his chief ministers, ably defended him. Thaddeus told the assembled Prelates that Frederick II greatly desired peace with the Pope — indeed he would unite the Eastern Greek Church with the Roman Church and fight the Tartars and the Saracens to prove it. The Kings of France and England could make sure he kept these promises. The Pope remained unconvinced. Frederick had not kept his previous promises and making the two Kings his bondsmen could potentially cause problems between the Pope and these two faithful kingdoms if they had to be forced to fight Frederick on behalf of the Church. This preliminary meeting discouraged those who had hoped for a quick solution to the many problems that faced Europe and the Church.
The first official session occurred on June 28, 1245, in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. After Mass, Veni Creator Spiritus was sung and Pope Innocent IV began his opening remarks. Drawing his inspiration from the five wounds of Christ, Innocent spoke of five wounds that were harming the Church. These wounds were the sins of the clergy and heresy (especially in Lombardy), the Saracens attacks against Jerusalem, the Greek schism and their offensive against the Latin Church, the Tartars, and the Emperor Frederick II and his persecution of the Church.
The Exultation of the Cross
The Pope’s talk deeply affected his hearers as his speech was often interrupted by cries of grief as he enumerated the many sorrows of the Church. Thaddeus of Sessa rose and once again tried to defend the Emperor. He requested more time be granted so that the Emperor could arrive himself and answer the serious accusation of heresy.
The second session on July 5th, opened with the Spanish Bishops attacking Frederick. Supposedly an impartial group — they had been the only Prelates not captured by Frederick’s galleons — the Spanish requested that the Pope take proceedings against Frederick and offered to protect Innocent IV if he did so. Thaddeus of Sessa spoke for the Emperor and pleaded that the last session b... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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