The Council of Basle met first in that town, Eugene IV being pope, and Sigismund Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Its object was the religious pacification of Bohemia. Quarrels with the pope having arisen, the council was transferred first to Ferrara (1438), then to Florence (1439), where a short-lived union with the Greek Church was effected, the Greeks accepting the council's definition of controverted points. The Council of Basle is only ecumenical till the end of the twenty-fifth session, and of its decrees Eugene IV approved only such as dealt with the extirpation of heresy, the peace of Christendom, and the reform of the Church, and which at the same time did not derogate from the rights of the Holy See.Preview This Lesson
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The Emperor of Constantinople and the Patriarch arrived in Ferrara in March 1438. Emperor John VIII Palaiologos wished to give the Western princes time to come to Ferrara so he could ask for their military aid. Constantinople was besieged by the Ottomans Turks and the Emperor hoped that one or more of the Western powers would come to help his city. In fact, the Emperor had stipulated that no theological discussions could take place for four months. Of course, this was very irksome to the delegates — both from the East and the West — who were anxious to debate the important issues that divided them. After some discussion, it was agreed in May that a committee, with ten on each side, could discuss the dogma of Purgatory. These talks went on to the middle of July but without agreement.
The summer of 1438 brought the plague to many of the towns in Northern Italy. The Emperor went to a monastery six miles away but the Patriarch, Pope and many of the Latin and Greek clergy remained in Ferrara. By September, the Greeks were anxious to get on with the discussions and return home. There were several reasons for this besides the plague. The Pope, following the Council of Basel’s promise, was paying for the Greek’s upkeep but the payments were often late, causing hardship. The Pope’s income had diminished due to the loss of the Papal States’ revenue and the actions of the Council of Basel while his expenses had increased greatly due to the Greek presence and the length of the Council. The Greeks were also growing homesick and were beginning to realize that the debates might be longer than anticipated. The Emperor and Patriarch agreed that the debates should begin, and on October 8, 1438, the delegates discussed the addition of “From the Son” (Filoque) to the Nicene Creed by the Roman Catholic Church. This was discussed in fourteen public sessions until December 13, 1438. Mark Eugenicus, the Metropolitan of Ephesus, claimed that the addition of the Filioque clause to the Nicene Creed had been against the Council of Ephesus in 431. While Mark Eugenicus was the main speaker for the Greeks, the Western Church answered through several speakers. The sessions were lively but the Latin speakers were unable to change Mark’s position.
The Council then changed location to Florence, due to both the plague and the danger of invasion by the Pope’s enemies. The new location inspired a new way to achieve union. Perhaps the theo... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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