Decree of the Council of Pisa, 1409
On the Powers of the Council
This holy and general council, representing the universal church, decrees
and declares that the united college of cardinals was empowered to call the council, and
that the power to call such a council belongs of right to the aforesaid holy college of
cardinals, especially now that there is a detestable schism. The council further declared
that this holy council, representing the universal church, caused both claimants of the
papal throne to be cited in the gates and doors of the churches of Pisa to come and hear
the final decision [in the matter of the schism] pronounced, or to gove a good and
sufficient reason why such sentence should not be rendered.
We, each and all, bishops, priests, and deacons of the holy Roman church,
congregated in the city of Pia for the purpose of ending the schism and of restoring the
unity of the church, on our word of honor promise God, the holy Roman church, and this
holy council now collected here for the aforesaid purpose, that, if any one of us is
elected pope, he shall continue the present council and not dissolve it, nor, so far as is
in his power, permit it to be dissolved until, through it and with its advice, a proper,
reasonable, and sufficient reformation of the universal church in its head and in its
members shall have been accomplished.
from the Chronicle of Raynaldus, sub anno 1409, as it appears in
Thatcher and McNeal, A Source Book for Medieval History (New York, 1905), pp.
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© Paul Halsall, July 1998