Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

The Second Council of Lyon 1274

It was on this day in 1274 that Pope Gregory X opened the Second Council of Lyon. According to Western numbering it is the fourteenth Ecumenical Council.

Wikipedia has a useful introduction to the Council at Second Council of Lyon

Some of its achievements were short lived, notably the attempt to heal the Schism of 1054 between East and West. The Couuncil of Florence thought it too had achieved Union in 1439 but it again proved short lived. For all the discussion of recent decades it appears no closer now.

War in eastern Europe and the Middle East was not resolved, and we know today how endemic such conflicts spread to be.

Purgatory was well defined at Lyon, but it is a doctrine still rejected by many Protestants.

Nonetheless much was achieved or presrnted as achievements. However, with the benefits of hindsight we can see that an era in the Catholic Church and the Papal Monarchy was closing. The pontificate of Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) was to see the achievements of the past two and a half centuries challenged and shaken. As the Wikipedia article points out at Lyon II national delegations were emerging within the Universal Church.

The lead-up to Lyon II and the Council witnessed the deaths of St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure. It also saw in its latter stages the confirmation of the election of a relatively unkown if ambitious Swiss-German noble as the first of his family to be King of the Romans. King Riudolf I of Habsburg and his successors acquitted themselves well in their newly acquired responsibilities.

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