"Ne pestifera doctrina corrumpat gregem dominicum". Zur Konfrontation zwischen Wyclifismus und Konziliarismus im Umkreis der Universität Krakau in der ersten Hälfte des 15. Jahrhunderts

Thomas Wünsch


The criticism of the Church, uttered by the Wycliffites and their successors, the Hussites, was not completely a novelty in many of its parts but touched many central points of the medieval church's hierarchie way to see itself. The particular target of the Wycliffite attacks was the church's secular property, embodied in the Donation of Constantine. One result of this challenge to the church in authority were the Hussite Wars which, from the 1420's on, also affected Silesia and Poland. In some questions, e.g. the pope's position, the Wycliffites were close to other critics of the Church, the Conciliarists. They as well turned against the papai absolutism, but in addition supported the superiority of the Common Church Council in questions of faith and church government. It seems to be especially a partial correspondence between Conciliarism and (the already as heretic condemned) Wycliffism which caused the Conciliarists to fight so eagerly against the heretics.
This confrontation can be depicted in the course of events which had to do with the Cracow Master and Wycliffite Andreas Gałka of Dobszyno (ca. 1400-after 1449). Fundamental are the letters of the Cracow bishop Zbigniew Oleśnicki and of the Cracow professors dealing with Gałka to the Breslau bishop Peter Nowak and the Silesian princes, as well as three responding letters of Gałka from 1449, written at his place of refuge Oberglogau in Upper Silesia (the residence of Duke Bolko V of Oppeln) to the Cracow bishop, the Cracow university teachers, and to a polish magnate. The letters by Gałka convey fervent Wycliffism that does not lack of biting derision for the opponents in Cracow. The most active antagonist of Gałka was the canonist Johan Elgot, who himself was one of the main theoreticians of the Conciliarism in Poland. The University of Cracow was strongly involved in working for the Conciliarist movement around the Council of Basel (1431-1449). It defended the antipope Felix V up to the end, and finally as the only European Corporation. This meant that the Cracow professors themselves had to overcome serious ecclesiological arguments with the papacy, and saw themselves exposed to doubts about their own orthodoxy, just when the conflict with the Wycliffite Gałka was in full swing. It seems as if these Conciliarist circles wanted to distinguish themselves very strongly from similar movements such as the Wycliffism to avoid endangering their own concerns. This may also explain the style of the debatę. Polemics and unobjectiveness dominate the preserved documents; the interesting question of the competing ecclesiological models is not discussed. The Conciliarism presents itself in the dispute with Wycliffism from its 'conservative' side, the one obliged to the Church in authority.