Francesco Zabarella

Francesco Zabarella

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Francesco Zabarella was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 and canonist.

Appointment as bishop

Born in Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

, he studied jurisprudence at Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 and at Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, where he graduated in 1385. He taught Canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

 at Florence until 1390 and at Padua until 1410. Having taken minor orders
Minor orders
The minor orders are the lowest ranks in the Christian clergy. The most recognized minor orders are porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte. In the Latin rite Catholic Church, the minor orders were in most cases replaced by "instituted" ministries of lector and acolyte, though communities that use...

 in 1385, he became vicar of bishop Acciajuoli of Florence and pastor at the Church of Santa Maria in Pruncta near Florence. In 1398 he was made archpriest of the cathedral at Padua. The Paduan Government repeatedly employed him on diplomatic missions, and towards the end of 1404, he was one of two ambassadors sent to King Charles VI
Charles VI of France
Charles VI , called the Beloved and the Mad , was the King of France from 1380 to 1422, as a member of the House of Valois. His bouts with madness, which seem to have begun in 1392, led to quarrels among the French royal family, which were exploited by the neighbouring powers of England and Burgundy...

 of France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 to obtain the latter's assistance against Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, which was preparing to annex Padua. When Padua had become part of the Venetian Republic in 1406, Zabarella became a loyal supporter of Venice. In 1409 he took part in the Council of Pisa
Council of Pisa
The Council of Pisa was an unrecognized ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in 1409 that attempted to end the Western Schism by deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII...

 as councilor of the Venetian legate. On 18 July 1410, Pope John XXIII
Antipope John XXIII
Baldassarre Cossa was Pope John XXIII during the Western Schism. The Catholic Church regards him as an antipope.-Biography:...

 appointed him bishop of Florence and papal referendary, and on 6 June 1411, he made him the Cardinal Deacon of the Titular church of Santi Cosma e Damiano
Santi Cosma e Damiano
The basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano is a church in Rome, Italy, located in the Roman Forum. It is one of the ancient churches called tituli, of which cardinals are patrons as deacons: the Cardinal Deacon of the Titulus Ss. Cosmae et Damiani is Giovanni Cheli...


Other ventures

His most important literary production is an ecclesiastic-political treatise, De schismate (Strasburg, 1515). It consists of independent portions, written at different intervals from 1403 to 1408, and contains various suggestions for ending the schism.

Zabarella's chief writings in canon law are (with examples of editions):
  • Lectura super Clementinis (Naples, 1471)
  • Commentarius in libros Decretalium (Venice, 1502)
  • Consilia (Venice, 1581)

Also attributed to him but in need of verification:
  • De felicitate libri III (Padua, 1655)
  • De arte metrica
  • De natura rerum diversarum
  • De corpore Christi

A large number of his letters are in the √Ėsterreichische Nationalbibliothek of Vienna, Cod. Lat. 5513. In some, Zabarella is referred to by the nickname Cardinalis

In music history, Zabarella is famous for being the patron of the composer Johannes Ciconia
Johannes Ciconia
Johannes Ciconia was a late medieval composer and music theorist who worked most of his adult life in Italy, particularly in the service of the Papal Chapels and at the cathedral of Padua....

. Ciconia immortalized Zabarella in song by composing a three-voice isorhythm
Isorhythm is a musical technique that arranges a fixed pattern of pitches with a repeating rhythmic pattern.-Detail:...

ic motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

 in his honor, Doctorum Principem/Melodia Suavissima/Vir Mitis, surviving in the manuscript Bologna Q15.


Though he never received major orders, he was one of the most active and influential cardinals of John XXIII, whose interests he supported at the Council of Rome
Council of Rome
The Council of Rome was a meeting of Christian Church officials and theologians which took place in 382 under the authority of the bishop of Rome, Damasus I. The previous year, the Emperor Theodosius I had appointed the "dark horse" candidate Nectarius Archbishop of Constantinople...

 (1412-13). When this council failed to end the lamentable schism, John XXIII sent the cardinals Zabarella and De Challant as legates to King Sigismund at Como in October, 1413, with full powers to come to an understanding with the latter concerning the place and time for holding a new council. It was arranged to open the new council at Konstanz, 1 November 1414, where Zabarella was one of the chief supporters of John XXIII. When the latter fled from Konstanz 20 March 1415, in order to thwart the election of a new pope, Zabarella remained as his representative. It was chiefly through his influence that John XXIII finally resigned the papacy unconditionally in April, 1415. Nevertheless the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

 continued its proceedings against John, and commissioned Zabarella with four other cardinals to inform him of his suspension, and, later, of his formal deposition by the council. In the proceedings against the Avignonese Pope Benedict XIII
Pope Benedict XIII

, Zabarella proposed, at the session held 28 November 1416, that Benedict be cited before the council. He also took part in the proceedings of the council against Huss, Jerome of Prague
Jerome of Prague
Jerome of Prague was one of the chief followers and most devoted friends of John Hus.-Biography:...

, and Jean Petit
Jean Petit (theologian)
Jean Petit was a French theologian and professor in the University of Paris...

. His attempts to induce the two former to sign a softened form of retraction proved useless. From April till the end of July he sought to regain health and strength at a neighbouring watering place. On 28 July he was again at Constance, and up to the time of his death exerted all his influence to hasten the election of a new pope. He is buried in the cathedral at Padua.

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