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Medieval Sourcebook:
Decree of the Council of Pisa, 1409
On the Powers of the Council

This holy and general council, representing the universal church, decrees and declares that the united college of cardinals was empowered to call the council, and that the power to call such a council belongs of right to the aforesaid holy college of cardinals, especially now that there is a detestable schism. The council further declared that this holy council, representing the universal church, caused both claimants of the papal throne to be cited in the gates and doors of the churches of Pisa to come and hear the final decision [in the matter of the schism] pronounced, or to gove a good and sufficient reason why such sentence should not be rendered.

We, each and all, bishops, priests, and deacons of the holy Roman church, congregated in the city of Pia for the purpose of ending the schism and of restoring the unity of the church, on our word of honor promise God, the holy Roman church, and this holy council now collected here for the aforesaid purpose, that, if any one of us is elected pope, he shall continue the present council and not dissolve it, nor, so far as is in his power, permit it to be dissolved until, through it and with its advice, a proper, reasonable, and sufficient reformation of the universal church in its head and in its members shall have been accomplished.


from the Chronicle of Raynaldus, sub anno 1409, as it appears in Thatcher and McNeal, A Source Book for Medieval History (New York, 1905), pp. 327-328.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, July 1998