The Prologue of the 1499 and 1518 Constitutions of the Observant Franciscans in Hungary Cover Image

A magyarországi obszerváns ferencesek 1499. és 1518. évi konstitúcióinak prológusa
The Prologue of the 1499 and 1518 Constitutions of the Observant Franciscans in Hungary

Author(s): Balázs Kertész
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, Geography, Regional studies, Constitutional Law, 15th Century, 16th Century
Published by: Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont Történettudományi Intézet
Keywords: Franciscans; Hungary; 1499-1518; Constitutions;

Summary/Abstract: The Hungarian Observant Franciscan vicary, established in 1448, underwent a thoroughgoing reorganization at the end of the 15th century. The chapter (capitulum vicariale) held in 1499 at the monastery of Atya (today Šarengrad, Croatia), accepted constitutions which determined in detail the organisational structure and functioning of the vicary. These, in fact, are the earliest known decisions of the vicary. The author of the regulation was Osvát Laskai, much better known as a writer of sermons, who was three times elected for the two year vicarial office (1497–1499, 1499–1501, 1507–1509). The long work consists of two parts: while the first defines the offices of the superiors, that is, of the vicar, the custodes, the guardians and the visitors (visitatores), the second regulates the everyday life of the friars through an explanation of the Franciscan rule. The constitutions of Atya are not available in a modern critical edition, its only edition of 1827 being based on one single manuscript. That important milestone in the history of the Franciscan Order, the Roman capitulum generalissimum of 1517, and Pope Leo X’s Bull of Ite vos in vineam meam, naturally effected considerable changes in the life of the Hungarian vicary as well. For instance, the Hungarian vicar also became a minister, and the area under his supervision was consequently called a province. In reaction to the changes, the friars of the new province gathered in 1518 for an extraordinary chapter, under the leadership of provincial minister Albert Dereszlényi, at the tomb of Giovanni da Capestrano at Újlak (Ilok, Croatia). The importance of the constitutions of Atya is reflected by the fact that in 1518 the regulation of 1499 was merely updated in accordance with the new conditions. Among others, the necessary terminological modifications were carried out: vicary was changed to province, vicar to minister, and capitulum vicariale to capitulum provinciale. The text of the constitutions of Újlak has never appeared in print. The two sets of constitutions are thus closely connected to each other. The present study offers the description and edition of their respective prologues, a preliminary to the forthcoming critical edition of the two regulations.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 643-656
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Hungarian