Gregory of Heimburg

Gregory Of Heimburg, one of the boldest opponents of papal encroachments in his time, was born at Würzburg in the early part of the 15th century. He studied in the University of Würzburg, and took the degree of LL LD. about 1430. We next find him at the Council of Basle in company with Aeneas Sylvius (afterwards pope Pius II), who, an appears from his letter to Heimeburg in Goldast's Monarchia S. Rom. Imperii (volume 2, page 1632 sq.), fully appreciated the character and talents of his colleague. AEneas took Gregory as his secretary, and the two opposed, very successfully the papal encroachments on the domain of the temporal power. Heimburg, however, soon retired to Nuemberg, where he was elected syndic, and acquired such reputation that all important questions in civil or ecclesiastical law were referred to his arbitration. His relations with Amneas Sylvius changed in proportion as the latter rose in the Church, and when he was finally raised to the see "of Rome, the friends found themselves in complete opposition to each other. When pope Eugene IV deposed Theodoric, archbishop of Cologne, and Jacob, archbishop of Treves, on account of the firmness with which they carried out the principles of the Council of Basie, the German electors sent Heimburg at the head of a deputation to the pope. He spoke courageously against the usurpations of the Roman see. Eugene answered that he would send an answer "worthy of himself." This, answer did not satisfy the deputation, and, on thereturn to Frankfort, they gave an unfavorable account of their mission, while Gregory, about the same time, wrote his most remarkable works against the papacy, entitled Admonitio de injustis usurpationibus Paparum Rom. ad Imperatores, reges et principes Christianos, sive Confutiatio Primatus Papae (in Godast, Monarchia S. Rom. Imperii. 1:557). In this work he censures the usurpations of the papacy in the strongest terms, substantiating his reproofs by Scripture and iistory. Gregory then entered the service of the grand duke Sigismund of Austria, and in this position continued to urge war against the papacy, soon after represented by Pius II. The latter, when ascending the papal chair, had formed the plan of engaging Germany. in a crusade, and in this view convoked a meeting of the German princes at Mantua. Heimburg appeared at it as representative of Sigismund, and successfully opposed the project of Pius, who never forgave him for it. He soon found an opportunity for revenge. Cardinal Nicholas, of Cusa, also a former friend of Heimburg, was appointed bishop of Brixen, against the wishes of Sigismund. Difficulties arose between them, and Sigismund took the bishop prisoner. Pius II immediately (June 1, 1460) excommunicated the grand duke, who appealed to a general council by the intermediation of Gregory, August 13, 460 (see Goldast,as above, 2:1576), and caused the appeal to be posted on the door of a number of churches throughout Italy. Gregory of Heimburg posted it himself on the doors of the church in Fiorence, and was immediately excommunicated also. Pius II even sent a brief to the magistrates of Nuremberg, October 18, 1460, demanding that Gregory should be secured at any cost. The latter appealed to a future council (see Goldast, as above, page 1592), showing how the pope abused his power, and strongly defending the proposition that a council is superior to the pope, and that therefore an appeal to a general council is legal. The apostolic refereidarry, Theodorus Lälius, bishop of Feltri, wrote a refutation of Gregory's appeal (Goldast, page 1595), but the latter answered him triumphantly in his Apologia contra detractationes et blasphemies Theod. Laelii (Goldast, page 1461). Against Nicholas of Cusa, whom he accused of having deserted his former principles, he wrote a vigorous attack in his Invective in. Rever. Patrem, Dom. Nicolaum de Cusa (Goldast, page 1626). In the meantime, Diether, archbishop of Mentz, had also been arbitrarily deposed by Pius II in 1461,when hardly installed in office; Gregory of Heimburg immediately took up his defense, but he soon found himself entirely unsupported. Sigismund made his peace With Pius by the mediation of the emperor Frederick, and obtained absolution in 1464; Diether submitted to the pope, and renounced his archbishopric. Gregory then retired to Bohemia, where he continued to make war against the pope under the protection of George Podiebrad, for whom he wrote several controversial essays (in Erschenlor, Gesch. von Breslau. pub. by Khunisch, Breslau, 1827). After the death of his protector he fixed his residence at Dresden, and, by the mediation of duke Albert, obtained absolution from pope Sixtus IV in 1472.. He soon afterwards died (Aug. 1472), and. was buried in the Church of Sophia, in Dresden. His collected works were published under the title Scripta nervosa justitieque plena, ex manuscriptis nunc primum eruta (Freft. 1608). See Hagen, in the Zeitschsrift Braga (Heidelberg, 1839, 2:414 sq.); Ullmann, Reformatoren vor d. Refirmation (Hamburg, 1841, 1:212 sq.). — Herzog, Real- Encyklospdie, 7:347; Brockhaus, Gregor vons Heimburg (Leipz. 1861).

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