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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

1417-1455 A.D.

Martinus V : 1417-1431 A.D.

206. Born in Rome. Elected November 21, 1417 - died February 20, 1431.

He was a patron of the arts at the beginning of the Renaissance period.

He celebrated the 5th Holy Year (1423) and for the first time a "Holy Door" was opened in the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano.

He also succeeded in re-obtaining all the territories of the church, fighting against brigandage.

Martinus condemned again the heresy of Wycliff and Huss and did anything possible in order to save Joan of Arc from the Stake.

The Apostolic Secretariat was set up in the period of Martinus V (Secretariat of the Holy See after 1929 concordat), which was reformed definitively by Paul VI on August 15th 1967.

He promulgated seven decrees among which the obligation for churchmen to wear a cassock which went to the heel.

He was buried in San Giovanni in Laterano.His pontificate lasted 13 years and 3 months.

Eugene IV : 1431-1447 A.D.

207. Born in Venice. Elected March 11, 1431 - died February 23,1447.

He called the 17th Ecumenical Council in Basil, but later transferred to Ferrara and finally to Florence.

Since he underscored the supremacy of the Pope over tbe Council, those who were opposed him elected the anti-pope Felix V; this was the last in history.

Filarete produced the bronze central door of St. Peter's portico.

Through the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, the supremacy of the Council over the Pope was reaffirmed.

Eugene received an Ethiopian delegation sent by King David, who asked for the reunion of Copts and Catholics; in order to celebrate this event, Eugene donated St. Stephen's church to the Ethiopians, the building of which was ordered by St. Leo I (440-461) and called the church of the Abyssians.

He was buried in the church of San Salvatore in Lauro. His pontificate lasted about 16 years.

Nicholas V : 1447-1455 A.D.

208. Born in Sarzana. Elected March 19, 1447 - died March 24,1455.

After the election he did not choose a coat of arms and always used the crossed apostolic keys of St. Peter for his insignia.

He signed a treaty with Frederick III of Austria to regulate the rights and the privileges of the Church and the Empire and in 1453 he crowned the Emperor in Rome.

This was the last king to be crowned in St. Peter's.

He politically reorganised France and England.

He helped Spain to definitively expel the Saracens.

He furthermore ordered the building of the current Basilica of St. Peter, in a position which is slightly different from that of the ancient Basilica of Constantine.

Nicholas transferred all the ecclesiastic offices to the Vatican palaces and two Lateran libraries which were used to set up the Vatican Library.

He celebrated the 6th Holy Year.

He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted 8 years.

Format Copyright 2002 by The M+G+R Foundation. All rights reserved.

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