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SOME TREATISES AGAINST THE FRATICELLI IN THE VATICAN LIBRARY The Fraticelli In June 1466 a group of Fraticelli were rounded up at Assisi at the time of the Portiuncula Indulgence by the papal commissioner, Berthold de Gallexio, a priest of the diocese of Città di Castello. It was the custom of members of the sect to meet at Assisi, where owing to the crowds detection was unlikely. The sixteen prisoners, whose names have survived, were brought to Rome and lodged in the Castel Sant'Angelo. They were tried there and at the Porta di San Marrochio in the late summer and early autumn (August 11 to October 29). The judges at the first session were Stefano Nardini, archbishop of Milan; Roderigo Sanchez de Arevalo, bishop of Zamora and castellan of Sant'Angelo; Nicholas, bishop of Lésina; and Fr. Jacobus Egidius , master of the Sacred Palace,1 the procurator fiscal being Antonio di Gubbio. These were joined at the October session by Nicholas Palmieri, bishop of Orte, and Peter Ferriz, bishop of Tarazona. The proceedings connected with the trial contained in a fifteenth century manuscript in the Vatican library have been twice published, first by Dressel in 1843 and gain in 1888 in a more scholarly edition by Cardinal Ehrle.2 These give a clear picture of the diffusion, organization , and beliefs of the Fraticelli. In spite of the vigorous campaign of St. John Capistrano and of his collaborator, blessed James of the March and its burnings of thirty-six settlements and innumerable individuals, the sect still survived there and in the Sabine re1 For Fr. Jacobus Egidius, cf. Quetif-Echard, Scriptores Fratrum Praedicatorum , I, 831. * Cod. Vat. Lat. 4, 012. A. Dressel, Vier Documente aus romischen Archiv: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Protestantismus vor während und nach der Reformation (Berlin, 1972, 2nd edition), pp. 3-48; F. Ehrle, Archiv für Litteratur und Kirchengeschichte , IV, 110-38. Dressel gives the report of the judges to Paul II half way through the proceedings and one or two other details not included by Ehrle in his edition. References will be made to Dressel's edition. Treatises against the Fraticelliii gion near Rome, though its activities had been driven underground. Its chief centres were Poli and Maiolati, though the prisoners came from various other places.3 The most valuable evidence was given by the first to be examined, Bernard of Bergamo, a priest and friar of the sect. He was twenty-fire, had become a member six years previously , and had been professed and received minor orders at the monastery of Sta. Maria at Athens. There were three other monasteries there, that of St. Francis at Thebes, and others at Nalta in the diocese of Athens and at "Surraminis." Like Geneva for the Calvinists, Greece seems to have been a centre from which missionaries were sent to Italy. On arrival there Bernard was told by his superiors to wear lay costume. He had been ordained at Poli in the house of a widow, Maria Stallione, by a bishop of the sect, Fr. Michael of Florence, who had died two years ago and been buried at night in the church of St. Stephen with the connivance of the parish priest. He himself had often celebrated mass at Maria's house which had been left by her husband to the Fraticelli as a centre for worship to a congregation of from twenty to thirty persons. The lord of PoU, Count Stephen di Conti, knew of their meetings but did not attend them, although Bernard had visited the castle secretly to hear his confession and had received food from his wife, who had made her confession to his companion, Fr. Giles of Tortona, now a bishop in Greece. He had also gone to Palestina to act as confessor to Sueva Orsini, mother of count Stephen Colonna and her daughter, Donna Francesca. Both Stephen di Conti and Sueva were subsequently imprisoned for their connection with the Fraticelli, and the former was despoiled of his estates in favour of his son. Bernardo also mentioned two secret adherents at Rome, Paolo Taubone, who had confessed to him in the cellar of a palace in a street leading...


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