Sede Vacante 1378

Letters about the Election of Urban VI


Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium Volume 1 (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693) column 1226:

[ Excerpt from the deposition of Raynulphus, Cardinal Sistaricensis, elevated by Urban VI on September 18, 1378: ]

Item, cum pervenissem ad unam dictam ad locum qui dicitur de S. Canate, audivi quod Dominus Chistus et P(etrus) de Murlis inde erant transituri euntes ad Ducem Andegavensem [Louis, Duc d' Anjou] et ad Regem Franciae [King Charles V] portantesque nova de creatione Domini nostri. Quos cum expectassem et ibidem applicuissent, traxi ad partem Dominum P. de Murlis ultramontanum et in verbis vel similibus fui allocutus: "Petre, non sine cause hic expectavi et per tres dies. Dominus [Petrus de Monteruc,Cardinalis Pampilonensis, Vice-Chancellor S. R. E., uncle of Raynulph] enim mihi injunxit quod si occurrerem tibi in via, informarem me tecum de electione Domini nostri, de quo aliqui obloquuntur. Ego rogo te ut per conscientiam tuam dicas mihi si ipse est Papa vel non, et illud quod scis in facto isto. Nam secretarius Ducis Bituricensis, qui praecedit te, statim dixit mihi quod iste Papa est unus fatuus et quicquid factum est de eo totum est fictivum. Quod si scirem ita esse, non me exponerem tantis periculis, imo reverterer inde." Tunc dixit mihi, "Domine, certe ego non deciperem vos, et sciatis quod ipse est verus Papa et pro tali reputatur a Cardinalibus: nec credo quod ipsi mitterent me ad Regem cum tali ambaxiata, si non esset Papa."

Likewise, when I had arrived at a certain place which is called S. Canate, I heard that Lord Chistus and Pierre de Murlis [brother of Georgio de Marlio, Chamberlain of the Duc d' Anjou] were about to depart from there on their way to the Duc d' Anjou and the King of France, carrying news about the election of Urban VI. When I had awaited them and they arrived, I spoke privately with de Murlis, an ultramontane, and said to him in words like these, "Pierre, I have waited for you for three days, and not without a purpose, that I could get information from you about the election of Urban, which some people are criticizing. I ask you that you tell me, in your conscience, if he is pope or not, and what you know about that event. For the secretary of the Duc de Bourges, who arrived here before you, told me immediately that this pope is a fool, and that whatever has been done concerning him is complete fiction. If I knew that was true, I would not expose myself to such great perils; in fact I would go back home." Then he said to me, "My lord, I will certainly not mislead you, and you may know that he is the real pope and he is so regarded by the Cardinals. Nor do I believe that they would be sending me to the King with such a mission if he were not the Pope."


Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium Volume 1 (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693) column 1226:

[ Pierre de Cros, Archbishop of Arles and Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, deposed: ]

Item, quod post coronationem, quadam die, cum scriberetur et notificaretur ubique coronatio ipsius Barensis, prefatus D. olim Camerarius scripsit propria manu Regi Franciae, presente D. cardinale S. Eustachii [Pierre Flandrin], per litteram credentie portatam per de Mirolis: quod caveret sibi, nec crederet que sibi scribebantur, quia factum non sic se habebat.

"Likewise, that, after the coronation [April 18, 1378], on a certain day, when the Coronation of Barensis was being written about and notified to all parts, the Chamberlain wrote in his own hand to the King of France, in the presence of Cardinal Pierre Flandrin, by way of a letter of credence carried by (Pierre) de Murlis, that [the King] should beware, nor should he believe what was being written to him, because it did not contain the truth."


Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium Volume 1 (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693) column 1456:

[ Testimony of Marcus Fernandi, abbot of la Vanza in the Diocese of Palencia: ]

Tamen dixit quod Cardinalis de Aragonia [Pedro de Luna] existens Anagnia dixit sibi quod dictus electus [Urbanus] mandaverat sibi Roma scribere Regibus Hispaniae de creatione sua, et dictus Cardinalis dixit sibi quod jam fecerat, ut sibi videbatur. Et post ivit dictus Cardinalis ad palatium, et electus dixit sibi, "Scripsistis litteras pro Regibus Hispaniae, ut vobis mandavi?" Et ille respondit quod sic. Et tunc dixit sibi dictus electus quod mitteret pro eis. Et ille respondit sibi, "Non possunt haberi donec ego vadam ad domum, quia sunt in studio meo." Et mandavit sibi quod iret statim pro eis. Et ivit tunc Cardinalis ad hospitium suum, et quod fecerat illa nocte dictas litteras aliter quam ante fecisset eas. Et alter die de mane apportavit eas ad ostendendum eas dicto electo."

Nevertheless he said that the Cardinal of Aragon, who was staying in Anagni, said to him [Marcus Fernandi] that. back in Rome, Urban had ordered him to write to the kings of Spain about his election, and the Cardinal said to Marcus that he had already done so, as seemed appropriate to him. And later the Cardinal went to the palace and Urban said to him, "Have you written letters to the kings of Spain, as I instructed you?" And the Cardinal replied in the affirmative. Then Urban said to him that he should send for them. The Cardinal replied to Urban, "They can't be had until I go home, because they are in my study." And Urban ordered him to go and get them. Then the Cardinal went to his residence, and that night he made the letters which he had written different from what they had been. And the next day in the morning he carried them to show them to Urban.


Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium Volume 1 (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693) column 1106:

[ Extract from an address of Cardinal Guy de Malsec—Pictavensis— to a Synod which he held at Cambrai: ]

Ad primam oppositionem seu objectionem de litteris respondeo quod B. illas litteras petiit ab omnibus nobis. Responsum fuit ei quod nunquam de more Sacrum Collegium notificat per suas litteras electionem Romani Pontificis Principibus vel aliis, et sic se habet veritas.... Ipse tamen hoc non obstante cum omni instantia eae habere voluit: ad quem finem, bene potes cogitare. ... Imo etiam cum secundam stilum curiae, quando Collegium scribit, litterae sigillantur solum sigillis trium Priorem trium Ordinum, cum tunc actu duo Priores essent Italici, videlicet Dominus Florentinus et de Ursinis, suspicans quod propter nationem de qua etiam erant ipsorum testimonia reputarentur suspecta, petiit quod alii duo loco illorum sigillarent. Sed resistentibus Dominis Italicis non potuit hoc obtinere, licet contristatus fuerit contra unum de Dominis. Satis propter ad evitandum omnem suspicionem et scandalum quod posset inde suscitari litteras Domini concesserunt.

To the first opposition or objection about the letters, I reply: that Bartholomeus asked for those letters from all of us. The reply was made to him that. according to custom, the Sacred College never gave notice about the election of a Roman Pontiff by means of its own letters to Princes or others, and that is a true statement. ... Nevertheless, he wanted to have them, any objection notwithstanding, to what purpose you may well imagine .... Even further, in accordance with the rules of the Curia, when the College writes, the letter is sealed only with the seals of the three heads of the Orders [senior Cardinal Bishop, senior Cardinal Priest, senior Cardinal Deacon]; but since on that occasion two of the senior cardinals were Italians, namely Corsini and Orsini [the third was Guillaume d'Aigrefeuille, OSB], Urban, suspecting that on account of their national origin their testimony would be reckoned as suspect, he asked that two others provide their seals in place of them. But he was not able to get this, because the two Italian cardinals resisted, and it must be granted that he was ill-disposed against one of the Cardinals. For the sake of avoiding every suspicion and scandal that might arise therefrom, the Cardinals yielded the letters.


Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium Volume 1 (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693) column 1106-1107:

[ Extract from the Responses of Angelo of Spoleto, Minister General of the Friars Minor, to Questions 85 and 86: ]

dicit quod audivit dici a pluribus et est communis fama quod Domini Cardinales qui fuerunt in urbe pro illo tempore scripserunt multis Principibus mundi et aliis Dominis quod elegerunt Dominum Barensem in verum Papam; et audivit consequenter quod hoc fecerunt timore potius quam amore, requisiti per dictum Urbanum et Officiales populi Romani. Et specialiter recordatur de Domino Gebennensi, qui nunc est Papa Clemens, quod scripserit, ut audivit, Domino Galeato, et audivit id de Domino de Luna, tamen nescit cui. Et addit quod Dominus de Santo Eustachio dixit isti qui loquitur: 'Bene scio de me ipso quod nunquam scripsi Domino nec nemini ipsum esse Papam.' Et hoc audivit anno elapso proxumo in Avinione de mense Augusti vel Septembris.

He says that he heard it said by several people, and it is common gossip, that the Cardinals who were in the City at that time wrote to many Princes of the world and other lords that they had elected the Archbishop of Bari as true Pope. And he heard subsequently that they did this out of fear rather than love, instructed by Urban and the Officials of the Roman government. And it is particularly recorded about Cardinal Robert of Geneva, who is now Pope Clement VII, that he wrote, as the witness heard, to Lord Galeazzo {Visconti, of Milan], and he heard the same about Cardinal de Luna, but he does not know to whom he wrote. And he adds that Cardinal Pierre Flandrin [nephew of Pope Gregory XI] said to the witness who was speaking with him, "I know perfectly well as to myself that I have never written to a Lord or to anybody else that he is Pope." And he heard this during the last year [1379?], in Avignon, in August or September.


November 14, 2013 1:41 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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