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Conciliar Ideas in the Works of Johannes Bachenstein, Canon of Zagreb and Participant in the Council of Basel

Tomislav Matić orcid id ; Hrvatsko katoličko sveučilište, Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 424 Kb

str. 175-189

preuzimanja: 386



Johannes Bachenstein, who belonged to a prominent Swabian aristocratic family, became a canon of the Zagreb Chapter and the archdeacon of Komarnica while he was still a student of canon law at the University of Vienna, where he obtained the title of doctor in 1432. In the same year he was incorporated into the Council of Basel. He joined the Council as representative of Bishop of Zagreb, Johannes Albeni and of Bishop of Pécs, Henricus Albeni. After the death of Johannes Albeni in 1433 and the short personal sojourn of Henricus Albeni in Basel, in 1434, Bachenstein was incorporated into the council a second time, now representing only Henricus Albeni. In the council, he was a member of the deputation for general affairs, and took part in numerous conciliar missions. During these missions, he delivered orations before some of the leading rulers of his time.
In this paper, a comparison is made between Bachenstein’s oration delivered before Pope Eugene IV and his Epistula Jeremialis, produced some thirty years later. Such a comparison permits an analysis of Bachenstein’s views before and after the dissolution of the Council of Basel in 1449, when the prevailing view in the Roman Catholic Church represented a monarchical papacy, according to which the pope was the supreme authority of the Church Although Epistula Jeremialis is a work of a legal nature, the purpose of which is to find a solution in the dispute about the archbishopric of Mainz, which broke out in the early 1460s, in it Bachenstein put forward a number of points reminiscent of the Basel Council. In the 1435 speech he made use of markedly conciliar arguments and quoted canon law in such a manner as to demonstrate incontestably that the supreme authority of the Church was not the pope but the council. Although in Epistula Jeremialis he repeated almost the whole of this speech, he nevertheless omitted the conciliar arguments mentioned, from which we may conclude that he no longer considered it prudent openly to represent conciliarism. Indeed, in the latter text he was to employ canon law exactly in order to represent a monarchical concept of the papacy, along the lines of the authorities of the time in such issues, like the pro-papal theologian Juan de Torquemada, whose views he frequently quoted.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that Bachenstein abandoned conciliar viewpoints. If we delve more deeply below the surface we will find a number of references to the supreme authority of the council, which in Epistula Jeremialis Bachenstein never disputes. Quite to the contrary, he defends the correctness of concilar decrees, even those directed against the pope, but in a circumspect and covert manner. Expressing great indignation because of the failure of the conciliar decrees to be implemented, he was particularly critical of the prelates of Germany who allowed the council to collapse.
It is obvious that not even thirty years after his oration before Eugene IV had Bachenstein abandoned the views that he had put forward in it, except that now, in the new circumstances, he no longer dared to represent them frankly. Accordingly he fudged them and endeavoured to disguise them in a vociferous defence of monarchical papacy, never, however, denying them. It can then be concluded that even after the dissolution of the Council of Basel and after the papal bull Execrabilis of Pius II, which forbade the invocation of conciliar decisions, Bachenstein remained true to conciliarism, without having, however, the energy, or the necessary illusions, to do battle for the authority of the council.

Ključne riječi

Johannes Bachenstein, conciliarism, Council of Basel, Eugene IV, Pius II, canon law, ecclesiology

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