Second Council of Lyons

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Second Council of Lyons
Date 1274
Accepted by Catholicism
Previous CouncilFirst Council of Lyons
Next Council Council of Vienne
Convoked byPope Gregory X
Presided byPope Gregory X
Attendance560 (bishops and abbots)
Topics of discussionConquest of the Holy Land, Great Schism, filioque, conclaves
Documents and statementsApproval of Dominicans and Franciscans, apparent resolution of schism, tithe for the crusade, internal reforms
chronological list of Ecumenical councils

The Second Council of Lyon was a Roman Catholic council convened in Lyon in 1274. Pope Gregory X presided over the council, which was attended by some five hundred bishops, sixty abbots and more than a thousand prelates or procurators. The first session opened on 7 May 1274, with five additional sessions opening on 18 May, 7 June, 6 July, 16 July and 17 July. Among others who attended the council were James I of Aragon, the ambassador of the Emperor Michael Palaeologus with members of the Greek clergy and the ambassadors of the Khan of the Tatars. The main topics discussed at the council were the conquest of the Holy Land and the union of the Churches. St Thomas Aquinas had been summoned to the council, but died en route at Frosinone. St Bonaventure was present at the first four sessions, but died at Lyons on 15 July.


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Conquest of the Holy Land

The council debated financial aspects of the crusade. It was decided that for six years a tithe of all the benefices of Christendom should benefit the crusade. James I of Aragon wished to organize the expedition at once, but this was opposed by the Knights Templar, and no decision was made. Ambassadors of the Khan of the Tatars negotiated with the Pope, who wished them to leave Christians in peace during the war against Islam.

Union of the Churches

Wishing to end the schism between Rome and Constantinople, Gregory X had sent an embassy to Michael Palaeologus and asked Latin rulers in the East to curb their ambitions. Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople and other Eastern dignitaries arrived at Lyons on 24 June, presenting a letter from the Emperor. On 29 June, Gregory X celebrated a Mass in St John's church, where both sides took place. The Greeks read the Nicene Creed, with the controversial Western addition of filioque sung three times. The council was seemingly a success, but did not provide a lasting solution to the schism.

Other topics debated

The council dealt with the reform of the Church. Several bishops and abbots were deposed for unworthiness, and some mendicant orders were suppressed. On the other hand, the two new orders of Dominicans and Franciscans were approved.

As there had been several lenghthy vacancies of the Holy See, the council decided that the cardinals should not leave the conclave until they had successfully elected a pope. This decision was suspended in 1276 by Pope Adrian V, and then revoked by Pope John XXI. It has since been re-established, and is the basis of present legislation on papal elections.

Finally the council dealt with the Imperial throne, which James I of Aragon claimed. He was removed by the Pope, and Rudolph I was proclaimed King of the Romans and future emperor on 6 June.

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