666 Christian Crimes

1400 - 1449


England's Parliament mandated the death penalty for heresy. [Kirsch, 242]


England passed De Hæretico Comburendo ("on the burning of heretics"). This act gave church bishops the power to arrest and imprison those suspected of heresy. Those condemned were to be burned. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Lollards"]

Different sources place this act in 1399, 1400, and 1401.


Anti-Jewish riots occurred in Poland. Jews were attacked in Cracow. [Cline, medieval6; Johnson, 1987, 231]


Cardinals of anti-Pope Benedict XIII met with some of Pope Gregory XII's cardinals. Together, they deposed and excommunicated both Benedict XIII and Gregory XII, then elected a new anti-pope, Alexander V. There were now one pope and two anti-popes. [Martin, 184]


All three claimants to the papacy held synods in March 1410, where each one condemned the other two. Alexander V died from poisoning on March 17 and was succeeded by anti-pope John XXIII (Baldassare Cossa). [Martin, 185, 192]


The Bishop of Verden wrote: "When the existence of the Church is threatened, she is released from the commandments of morality. ... The use of every means is sanctified, even cunning, treachery, violence, simony, prison, death." [Kirsch, 13]

This is the antinomian heresy. Laymen were killed for this, but it's OK for the church.


John Hus of Prague advocated that the Church should give up its wealth and halt the sale of indulgences, sinful priests should not administer the sacraments, any devout Christian had a right to preach, and the Bible was the only source of true doctrine. He was excommunicated by Pope Gregory XII. Gregory also put Prague under interdict while Hus was there: church services could not be held, nor could people receive a Christian burial. Three of his followers were burned. [Engh, 135-136; Haught, 1990, 86]


In Piedmont, Italy, several deceased Cathari were executed in effigy. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Cathari"]


Anti-Pope John XXIII was deposed by the Council of Constance in 1415. In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wrote, "The most serious charges were suppressed; the Vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest." [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Antipope John XXIII"; Haught, 1990, 82]


John Hus, a church reformer from Prague, went to the Council of Constance to explain his ideas against a charge of heresy. He had a letter of safe passage from the Holy Roman Emperor but was arrested, found guilty and burned at the stake anyway. [Haught, 1990, 86]

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Council of Constance"), the safe passage letter was good only against illegal actions, and the council's decision was considered legal. Therefore, Hus' punishment was legal.

In 1999 Pope John Paul II apologized for the "cruel" execution of Hus, 584 years earlier. [Bokenkotter, 484]


The Council of Constance (in Germany) decided that Urban VI and his successors were the true popes and that Clement VII and his successor anti-popes were not. The council deposed all three claimants to the papacy: Gregory XII (currently the "real" pope), Benedict XIII and John XXIII (the "anti-" popes). They then elected Italian Cardinal Oddo Colonna pope, and he took the name Martin V.

Baldassare Cossa (formerly John XXIII) was tried before the council. In addition to the charges of simony, adultery, fornication, perjury, sacrilege and gluttony, was the charge of murder. When Cossa was Cardinal, serving Pope Boniface XI, they said that he had seventeen Roman nobles beheaded in 1398 and thirty-one more in 1400. [Martin, 194-197]


The council of Constance ordered the remains of John Wycliffe (d. 1384) to be dug up and thrown away. That was not done until 1428. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "John Wyclif"]


"Jerome of Prague, a follower of [Jan] Hus, burned for heresy." [Grun, 202]


Pope Martin V started a crusade against the Hussites. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Crusades"; Cline, medieval6]

"Between 1420 and 1432 five separate crusades were launched against the Bohemian separatists." They were all defeated by the Bohemians. [Engh, 137]


Reformed Bohemian Christians, known as Taborites and led by John Zizka, executed some of his own followers for heresy, forced the conversion of others, and suppressed another Christian group known as Adamites. [Engh, 137]


Austrian Jews were imprisoned and exiled. Jews were killed in Linz, Styria, and Vienna. [Cline, medieval6; Johnson, 1987, 230]


"Jews were expelled from Cologne." [Johnson, 1987, 231]


"Jews were expelled from Berne, Switzerland." [Cline, medieval6]


Pope Martin V ordered the village of Magnalata leveled and all inhabitants killed. This was the village of the "Spiritual Franciscans" who had adopted the ideas about poverty of their founder St. Francis of Assisi. They were persecuted, excommunicated, and finally killed. [Lea, 1901, 176; Ellerbe, 81]


John Wycliffe, who died in 1384, was disinterred, his remains burned, and the ashes scattered. This was done by order of the Council of Constance (1415), which had found numerous "errors" in his writings. [Cross, 1480; Leedom, 279; Catholic Encyclopedia, "John Wyclif"]


Jews were expelled from Eger, Bohemia, and Speyer, Germany. [Cline, medieval6]


Joan of Arc was burned by the British for heresy. She had also been accused of witchcraft. [Cline, medieval6; Catholic Encyclopedia, "St. Joan of Arc."]


The Bohemian Taborites were defeated by a more moderate group of Hussites. The victors returned to the Catholic Church without giving up their principles. [Engh, 137]


Ethiopian emperor Zara Yakob, a Christian, persecuted Jews, Muslims and pagans, including members of his own family. His successor Baida Maryam continued the persecution during his reign. [Engh, 155]


"Forced conversion of Jews in Palma de Mallorca, Spain." [Wikipedia, "Timeline of Christian Missions"]


Jews were expelled from Augsburg. [Johnson, 1987, 231]


A papal aide, Lorenzo Valla, proved that the "Donation of Constantine" was a fraud. Valla's book was not published until 1517. "Though every independent scholar was won over by Valla's arguments, Rome did not concede; she went on asserting the Donation's authenticity for centuries." [De Rosa, 42]


Jews were expelled from Bavaria. [Johnson, 1987, 231]




© R. Paul Buchman 2011