Zabarella (or De Zabarellis)
Zabarella (or De Zabarellis)
archbishop of Florence and cardinal, the most notable man among the Italians present at the Council of Constance, was born at Padua in 1339. He studied canon law at Bologna, and taught at Padua. During the siege of the city by the Venetians he was deputed to invoke the assistance of France, and, after Padua had surrendered, he was the orator of the fourteen deputies who, in St. Mark's Place in Venice, handed over the Paduani flag. He subsequently migrated to Florence, and engaged in teaching canon law. After a time the town authorities elected him archbishop, but it was found that the pope had already given the place to another. Boniface IX called him to Rome to submit an opinion respecting the best methods for healing the schism in the Church, on which question he wrote the book De Schismatibus Auctoritate Temperatoris Tollendis (Basle, 1565; Strasburg, 1609, 1618), which, together with the preface by Schardius, was placed in the index. He was appointed archipresbyter to the cathedral on his return to Padua, and held a wealthy abbacy for a time, and until the dissolute John XXIII, who favored learned men, called him to Rome and made him archbishop of Florence and cardinal-deacon, with the title of St. Cosmasand Damianus (1411). He had previously earned a scholarly reputation by the numerous books which emanated from his pen.
When arrangements were made for the Council of Constance, Zabarella was one of the papal envoys to the court of emperor Sigismund. In the council itself he, as the youngest cardinal, announced the time of the first session and read the bull of John XXIII, intended to regulate the drift of its business. He joined other cardinals in submitting a memorial relating to a reform in the administration of the papal court, and read the offer by which the pope volunteered to abdicate if the antipopes would renounce their pretensions to his office. When John fled from Constance, Zabarella supported the resolutions affirming the superiority of a general council to a pope; but he nevertheless incurred the censure of the council by an unfairness committed in the interest of the pope, in connection with the reading of resolutions which had been agreed upon, affirming the divine right of the council to require the submission of all people, including the pope, in all matters concerning the faith, the removal of the existing schism, and the reformation of the Church in head and members, the italicized clause having been omitted by him from the reading. He was eventually sent with a delegation of cardinals to negotiate with John, and obtained from him the unconditional surrender of his pontificate.
Zabarella participated also in the negotiations with Huss, and suggested the drawing up of an exceedingly mild formula of retraction, which the reformer, however, refused to sign. In connection with the schism he delivered a strong argument against pope Benedict, in which he charged the miserable state of the Church upon the obstinacy of its leaders; and when a new pope was to be chosen, he delivered another speech in support of the cardinals' view that the election ought to precede any movement looking towards a reformation of the Church, which was so violent that he predicted it would be the occasion of his death. He soon became dangerously sick, and died September 26, 1417 (others say November 5). It is probable that he would have been chosen pope, instead of Martin V, but for his early death.
Zabarella wrote numerous works of limited extent, e.g. Comment. in Libros Decretal, et Clementinas (Venice, 1602): — Comment. in Clementinas (ibid. 1481, 1487): — Consilia Juris (ibid. 1581): — Variar. Legum Repetitiones (ibid. 1587): — De Schisnatibus (sulpra), etc. See Von d. Hardt, Aktenz d. Conast. Concils, tom. 1; Lenfant, Hist. du. Concil. de Constance, passim; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.