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Zabarella, Francesco

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
F. L. CrossF. L. Cross, E. A. LivingstoneE. A. Livingstone

Zabarella, Francesco (1360–1417), Italian canonist. 

Having studied jurisprudence at Bologna, he taught canon law at Florence from 1385 to 1390 and at Padua from 1390 to 1410, being at the same time employed in both the Paduan and the Venetian diplomatic services. Called to Rome by Boniface IX to tender advice in the matter of the Great Schism, he took part in the Council of Pisa in 1409. Though not in major orders, in 1410 he received the bishopric of Florence, which he resigned on being created cardinal by John XXIII in 1411. After supporting John at the Council of Rome in 1412–13, he conducted the negotiations with the Emp. Sigismund for the Council of Constance. His courageous conduct at the Council, which he continued to attend after John XXIII had fled (1415), contributed largely to the final healing of the schism. Though a supporter of John, he advised the Pope to abdicate, and until his death made continuous efforts to bring about the election of a new Pope. His collection of proposals for ending the schism entitled ‘De schismate’ (1402–8) was first printed in 1545. It was placed on the Index, however, because it asserted the supremacy of the General Council over the Pope. His writings on canon law, the ‘Lectura super Clementinis’ and the ‘Commentaria in libros Decretalium’, long remained standard works.


G. Vedova, Memorie intorno alla vita ed alle opere del cardinale F. Zabarella (Padua, 1829).Find this resource:

    G. Zonta, Francesco Zabarella (ibid., 1915).Find this resource:

      W. Ullmann, The Origins of the Great Schism: A Study in Fourteenth-century Ecclesiastical History (1948), 191–231;Find this resource:

        B. Tierney, Foundations of the Conciliar Theory: The Contribution of the Medieval Canonists from Gratian to the Great Schism (Cambridge, 1955), esp. 220–37;Find this resource:

          T. E. Morrissey, ‘Franciscus Zabarella (1360–1417): Papacy, Community, and Limitations upon Authority’, in G. F. Lytle (ed.), Reform and Authority in the Medieval and Reformation Church (Washington, DC [1981]), 37–54. See also works cited under Constance, Council of.Find this resource: