Lyons, Councils Of
LYONS, COUNCILS OF. The first Council of Lyons (the thirteenth general council) met at the summons of Pope Innocent IV. in June and July of 1245, to deliberate on the conflict between Church and emperor, on the assistance to be granted to the Holy Land and the Eastern empire, on measures of protection against the Tatars, and on the suppression of heresy. Among the tasks of the council mentioned in the writs of convocation, the most important, in the eyes of the pope, was that it should lend him effectual aid in his labours to overthrow the emperor Frederick II.; and, with this object in view, he had described the synod as a general council. Since its numbers were not far in excess of 150 bishops and archbishops, and the great majority of these came from France, Italy and Spain; while the schismatic Greeks and the other countries especially Germany, whose interests were so deeply involved were but weakly represented; the ambassador of Frederick, Thaddaeus of Suessa, contested its oecumenicity in the assembly itself. The condemnation of the emperor was a foregone conclusion. The articles of indictment described him as the " prince of tyranny, the destroyer of ecclesiastical dogma, the annihilator of the faith, the master of cruelty," and so forth; while the grossest calumnies were treated as approved facts. The objections of the ambassador, that the accused had not been regularly cited, that the pope was plaintiff and judge in one, and that therefore the whole process was anomalous, achieved as little success as his appeal to the future pontiff and to a truly oecumenical council. The representatives of the kings of England and France were equally unfortunate in their claim for a prorogation of the decision. On the 1yth of July the verdict was pronounced by Innocent IV., excommunicating Frederick and dethroning him on the grounds of perjury, sacrilege, heresy and felony. All oaths of fealty sworn to him were pronounced null and void, and the German princes were commanded to proceed with the election of a new sovereign. In addition the council enacted decrees against the growing irregularities in the Church, and passed resolutions designed to support the Crusaders and revive the struggle for the Holy Land.
See Mansi, Cottectio concttiorum, torn, xxiii.; Huillard-Breholles, Historia diplomatica Frederici II., 6 torn. (Paris, 1852-1861); Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, ed. 2, vol. v. (1886), pp. 1105-1126; Fr. W. Schirrmacher, Kaiser Friederich der Zweite (4 vols., Gottingen, 1859- 1865); H. Schulz, in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopadie, ed. 3, vol. ix. (1901), p. 122 sqq., s.v. " Innocenz IV. ; A. Folz, Kaiser Friedrich II. u. Papst Innocenz IV. (Strassburg, 1905).
The second Council of Lyons (the fourteenth general council) met from the ;th of May to the 17th of July 1274, under the presidency of Pope Gregory X., and was designed to resolve three problems: to terminate the Greek schism, to decree a new Crusade, and to counteract the moral corruption among clerics and laity. The council entered on its third task at a very late period, with the result that the requisite time for an adequate deliberation was not available. Nevertheless, on the 1st of November, Gregory was enabled to publish thirty-one constitutions, which may be taken to represent the fruits of the synod and its labours. The most important of the enactments passed is that regulating the papal election. It prescribed that the new election conducted by the college of cardinals should be held in conclave (?..), and its duration abridged by progressive simplification of the cardinal's diet. The motive for this decision, which has maintained its ground in ecclesiastical law, was given by the circumstances which followed the death of Clement IV. (1268). The pope felt a peculiar interest in the Holy Land, from which he was recalled by his elevation to the pontifical throne. He succeeded in bringing influential interests to work in the cause; but his scheme of a great enterprise backed by the whole force of the West came to nothing, for the day of the Crusades was past. His projected Crusade was interwoven with his endeavours to end the schism; and the political straits of the emperor Michael Palaeologus in Constantinople came to the aid of these aspirations. To ensure his safety against the attacks of King Charles of Sicily, who had pledged himself to assist the ex-emperor Baldwin in his reconquest of the Latin empire, Michael was required to own the supremacy of the pope in the spiritual domain; while Gregory, in return, would restrain the Sicilian monarch from his bellicose policy with regard to the Eastern empire. The ambassadors of the emperor appeared at the council with letters acknowledging the Roman pontiff and the confession of faith previously dispatched from the eternal city, and submitted similarly-worded declarations from the heads of the Byzantine Church. One member of the embassy, the Logothete Georgius Acropolites, was authorized by the emperor to take an oath in his name, renouncing the schism. In short, the subjection of the East to the Roman see was completed in the most binding forms, and the long-desired union seemed at last assured. Gregory himself did not live to discover its illusory character. The Council of Lyons was, moreover, of importance for the German dynastic struggle: for Gregory took the first public step in favour of Count Rudolph of Habsburg, the king-elect, by receiving his deputy and denying an audience to the delegate of the rival claimant, King Alphonso of Castile.
See Mansi, Cottectio conciliorum, torn. xxiv. ; Hefele, Conciiiengeschichte, vol. vi. ed. 2 (1890), p. 1 19 sqq. Also C. Mirbt, in HerzogHauck, Realencyklop. f. protestantische Theologie, vol. vii. (1899), p. 122, s.v. " Gregor X." (C. M.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)