Basel, Council of


Basel, Council of

(1431–49) Council of the Roman Catholic church held in Basel, Switz. It addressed the question of ultimate authority in the church and the problem of the Hussite heresy. Its members renewed the decree Sacrosancta (issued by the Council of Constance), which declared the council's authority to be greater than the pope's, and voted to receive most Hussites back into the church on terms opposed by the pope. In 1437 Pope Eugenius IV transferred the council to Ferrara to negotiate reunion with the Orthodox church more effectively, but several members remained in Basel as a rump council and declared Eugenius deposed. They then elected a new pope, Felix V, and the renewed schism cost the council its prestige and popular support. On the death of Eugenius, his successor, Nicholas V, obliged the antipope Felix to abdicate, ended the rump council, and brought the conciliar movement to a close.

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