Gui de Maillesec

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Guy de Malsec
Cardinal galero with fiocchi.svg
ChurchS. Croce in Gerusalemme (1375-1384)
DiocesePalestrina (1384-1412)
Created cardinal20 December 1375
by Pope Gregory XI
Personal details
Died8 March 1412
Paris FR
BuriedCouvent des Jacobins, Paris
Occupationcourtier, bishop, diplomat
EducationDoctorate in Canon Law
Alma materToulouse

Guy de Malsec (Gui de Maillesec; also written Malésec or Malesset; Lat. Guido de Malesicco; It. Guidone) (d. March 8, 1412 at Paris) was a French bishop and cardinal. He was born at the family's fief at Malsec (Maillesec), in the diocese of Tulle. He had two sisters, Berauda and Agnes, who both became nuns at the Monastery of Pruliano (Pruilly) in the diocese of Carcassone, and two nieces Heliota and Florence, who became nuns at the Monastery of S. Prassede in Avignon.[1] He was a nephew of Pope Gregory XI (Pierre Roger de Beaufort), or perhaps a more distant relative. He was also a nephew of Pope Innocent VI (Étienne Aubert). Guy was baptized in the church of S. Privatus, some 30 km southeast of Tulle.[2] He played a part in the election of Benedict XIII of the Avignon Obedience in 1394, in his status as second most senior cardinal. He played an even more prominent role in Benedict's repudiation and deposition. Guy de Malsec was sometimes referred to as the 'Cardinal of Poitiers' (Pictavensis) or the 'Cardinal of Palestrina' (Penestrinus).


Early career[edit]

He was Doctor of Canon Law (Toulouse) and Archdeacon of Corbaria in the Church of Narbonne, as well as Chaplain of Pope Urban V.[3]

On 27 May 1370 Guy de Malsec was appointed Bishop of Lodève by Gregory XI.[4] He was then promoted Bishop of Poitiers, approved by Pope Gregory XI on 9 April 1371.[5]


In 1375, in the Consistory of 20 December 1375, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Gregory XI, and appointed Cardinal Priest of the titular church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.[6] He accompanied Gregory XI on his return to Rome in 1376 and was present at the Pope's death in the Vatican on 27 March 1378.[7]

Cardinal Guy was appointed Canon and Prebend of Stillington[8] in the Church of York on 24 May 1376;[9] he then became Archdeacon of the West Riding in the Church of York in the same year;[10] he was "deprived" by Urban VI of the Roman Obedience, probably in 1379 or 1380.[11] On 15 June 1376 Pope Gregory appointed Cardinal Guy to be a Canon in the Cathedral of Krakow. On 8 January 1377 he was granted the Priory of Verasenus in the diocese of Vienne, a dependency of the monastery of La Chaise-Dieu.[12] He was Archdeacon of Condroz in the Church of Liège (from 1377).[13] These were, to be sure, income-producing benefices rather than residential appointments; the custom was for a papal dispensation for non-residence to be issued every three years.


He participated in the riotous election of April 1378, from which came Urban VI (Archbishop Bartolommeo Prignano), who was, however, repudiated by all the cardinals who had elected him under conditions of force and fear (metus et impressio). According to the narration of events sanctioned by Prignano himself, the "Casus Urbani VI", the Limousin cardinals[14] met immediately after the death of Pope Gregory XI, and decided that their candidate would be Guy de Malsec. When opposition to any Limousin papal relative developed, however, they switched their support to Pierre de Vergne.[15] Cardinal de Luna testified that a few days before the April Conclave began, Pierre de Verge had a majority of the electors on his side. But the riotous Roman crowds, led by their Bandarenses, changed the whole situation. At a new Conclave, held in safety in Fondi on 20 September 1378, the same cardinals (minus one, who had died, and with the addition of Cardinal Jean de la Grange, who had arrived in Rome in the meantime) elected Cardinal Robert of Geneva, who took the name Pope Clement VII. On 18 December 1378 Clement assigned Cardinal Guy as Apostolic Nuncio to travel to Flanders, Brabant, Scotland, England and the dioceses of Liège, Utrecht, Cambrai and Tournai, to secure adherence to his papacy;[16] Cardinal Guy departed on 31 December, and is known to have been in Paris at Easter.[17] On 10 February 1380 the Cardinal received additional powers with respect to England, Scotland and elsewhere; and on 6 March 1381 these were extended to the diocese of Reims.[18] He never received his safe-conduct for the realms of King Richard II, however, and thus did not travel to the British Isles. England, however, which was at war with France, had chosen not to support a French pope, and Flanders, which was allied with England, followed suit. Scotland, which hated the English and was a traditional ally of the French, supported the Avignon Obedience.

He was then named Bishop of Palestrina in 1384 by Pope Clement VII, a position he held until his death in 1412.[19] Given the schism of the time (1378-1416), Cardinal Guy's appointment in the Avignon Obedience was contested, by Francesco Moricotti Prignani, Archbishop of Pisa, a cardinal of Urban VI (Bartolommeo Prignano) in the Roman Obedience, from 1380 to 1394.

On 18 January 1394, Cardinal Guy de Malesec and Cardinal Guillaume d'Aigrefeuille were empowered by a Bull issued by Pope Clement VII to proceed to the reform of the College of Sainte-Catherine (Pampilonense) at the University of Toulouse, to the exclusion of Hugues, Bishop of Agde, the Provisor of the College. The two cardinals issued a Revised set of Statutes on 23 July.[20]

After the election of Cardinal Pedro de Luna as Pope Benedict XIII on 28 September 1394, it was the privilege of Cardinal Guy de Malsec, as Bishop of Palestrina, to ordain the new pope a priest. This took place on Saturday, 3 October. On Sunday 11 October, he was consecrated a bishop by Cardinal Jean de Neufchatel, Bishop of Ostia, and then crowned pope by the Cardinal Deacon, Hugues de Saint-Martial.[21] The new Pope granted each of the cardinals a coronation/election gift of 4,000 gold florins. When Guy de Malsec wrote his will in 1407 the money had not yet been paid.[22] Benedict also granted Cardinal de Malsec certain benefices, the Archdiaconate of Lantario in the Church of Toulouse, the Priorate of Montalto in the diocese of Auch, and the Provostship of Lesinhanno (Lesignan) in the diocese of Narbonne.[23]

Repudiation, reconciliation, repudiation[edit]

In 1398, at a meeting of the Church of Gaul, Cardinal Guy renounced his obedience to Benedict XIII, whose stubbornness was obstructing plans for an end of the Schism and a reunion of the Church. Cardinal Guy was sent to Paris in January 1399, along with Cardinal Pierre de Thury and Cardinal Amedeo di Saluzzo, to explain the decisions of the Church Council and to seek the assent of King Charles VI to the withdrawal of obedience.[24] The Cardinals were in Paris until the end of June, when the appearance of the plague caused the entire Royal Court to take to the highway.[25] Other meetings, Councils, and negotiations continued for several years,[26] until finally, on 28 May 1403, a reconciliation and return of France to the Obedience of Benedict XIII was announced. A major part had been played by Cardinal de Malsec, who, along with Cardinal de Saluzzo, had persuaded an assembly of the French clergy on 15 May, and had spoken personally in the presence of the King and the Duke d' Orleans on 25 May in favor of the reconciliation.[27]

Cardinal Guy de Malsec was Dean of the College of Cardinals, a matter of seniority, in the Obedience of Avignon from August 1405 until his death.

Benedict XIII, however, continued to be under intense pressure to end the schism. He repeatedly promised to do everything he could to achieve that goal, and then found obstacle after obstacle to its realization. In May of 1408 he sent an embassy to Italy to negotiate with Pope Gregory XII (Angelo Corraro). The embassy was led by four cardinals, Guy de Malsec (Bishop of Palestrina), Pierre de Thury, Pierre Blau (who died on 12 December 1409), and Antoine de Chalant [28] In accordance with the written Instructions given them, the Cardinals were to get in touch with the cardinals of Gregory XII and sound them out as to the prospects for a General Council of the Church.[29]

At Livorno the embassy happened to meet some of the cardinals of Gregory XII who had fled from his Court, which was living in exile in Lucca at the time. Those cardinals had fled on May 11 and May 12, fearing arrest and worse at the hands of that Pope's violent nephew, Paolo Corraro. Paolo had already tried unsuccessfully to seize Jean Gilles, the Cardinal of Liège (who died July 1, 1408). The Gregorian cardinals were Francesco Uguccione (the Cardinal of Bordeaux), Giordano Orsini, Niccolò Brancaccio and Angelo de Sommariva.[30] On the 29th of June of 1408, the cardinals of both Observances published a document on which they had reached agreement, pledging themselves to summon a General Council of the entire Church, and that if both papal claimants did not give peace to the Church by mutual cessation (resignation), the General Council would take action. They agreed that they would not maintain their adherence to either claimant. They agreed that they would pay no attention to the diminution in the status of any or all of them made by either claimant after 1 May 1408. They also agreed that if one of the claimants died, his cardinals would not proceed to an election, until consultation with the Church had been undertaken concerning the surviving claimant, or the claimant had resigned. The manifesto was signed by the thirteen cardinals who were present, led by Cardinal Guy de Malsec, and later subscribed to by six other cardinals. Cardinal Jean Gilles was dying and did not sign.[31]

The opening solemnities of the Council of Pisa took place in the Cathedral on 25 March 1409. Cardinal Guy de Malsec, Bishop of Palestrina, was the senior cardinal in attendance. On 10 May the Cardinals took a preliminary vote on the deposition of the two popes, which was completely in favor, except for Cardinals Brancacci and Malsec, who asked for time for further consideration.[32] At the fifteenth session,[33] which took place on 5 June 1409, the two papal claimants, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) and Gregory XII (Angelo Corraro) were declared to be notorious schismatics, heretics and perjurers, and were anathematized.[34]

Conclave of 1409[edit]

With the ground cleared, the cardinals then proceeded to a papal election. The Conclave opened in the Episcopal Palace in Pisa on 15 June, a sort of Novendiales (the traditional nine days of mourning for a dead pope) being observed. Twenty three cardinals entered Conclave on the opening day, and they were joined the next day by Cardinal Antonio Calvi.[35] Cardinal Guy de Malsec presided.[36] There were ten cardinals of the Avignon Obedience and fourteen others. Two days before the Conclave began the cardinals had entered into an agreement that it would take at least a two-thirds vote of each of the two Obediences for a valid election, thereby ensuring that both Obediences would accept the result as valid.[37] There was a major problem. The French faction had enough votes that they could easily elect a French pope. Everyone knew that. Everyone also knew that a French pope would probably be rejected both by the followers of Gregory XII and those of Benedict XIII, and the Schism would continue. The French, therefore, had to find a candidate who would be agreeable to their faction and who would be embraced by the others as well. That person could not be a Frenchman.[38] But the French would never accept a pope who was associated with one of their enemies in Italy, especially Ladislaus of Naples. Eventually, on 26 June 1409, the Cardinals agreed unanimously on a Franciscan from Crete who had been raised in Venice, Pietro Filargi, O.Min., who took the throne name Alexander V.[39] Pope Alexander survived his election a little over ten months, dying at Bologna, on his way back to Rome, in the night between 3 May and 4 May 1410.[40]

Later years[edit]

He wrote his Last Will and Testament at Avignon on 12 September 1407, adding a Codicil on 8 March 1411 Old Style (i.e. 1412), "laying on my sickbed, and, although weak with old age and unsound of body, healthy in mind, speaking clearly, composed in spirit, constant in faith, by no means doubting in hope, contrite and humble of heart...." His residual legatee was Guillaume de Malsec, the second son of Chevalier Reynaud de Rossignac.[41]

He was sent to France in 1410 by John XXIII, the successor of Alexander V.

On the death of Hugh de Montruc, Bishop of Agde (dioecesis Agathensis), a suffragan of Narbonne, on 27 July 1408, Cardinal Guy was appointed Administrator of the diocese, until a new bishop was named on 8 June 1411.[42] In 1411, the University of Paris was so moved by the age and limited income of the Cardinal that they sent a letter to Pope John XXIII, having heard that he was about to assign the income of the diocese of Agde to someone else, begging him not to do so.[43]


Cardinal Guy de Malsec died in Paris in the spring of 1412, either on 8 March (actually the date of the signing of the Codicil to his Will) or on 4 April (actually the date on which the Apostolic Camera first records his passing).[44] In fact his Will was registered with the Parliament of Paris, in accordance with his Codicil, on 12 March, and in the document he is spoken of as 'deceased' (ledit defunt).[45]

He was buried in the now demolished church of the Couvent des Jacobins in Paris.


  1. ^ Du Chesne, Histoire, p. 643; Preuves, p. 461-462.
  2. ^ Gallia christiana II, p. 1193. He left the church a legacy in his Will of the chalice from his principal chapel and a set of sacerdotal vestments. Du Chesne, Preuves, p. 460.
  3. ^ Gallia christiana II, p. 1192. Eubel, p. 310, n. 6.
  4. ^ Eubel, p. 310.
  5. ^ Eubel, p. 399.
  6. ^ Eubel, p. 22.
  7. ^ Baluze (1693) I, p. 1142 [ed. Mollat, II (1927), p. 663].
  8. ^ British History Online, Prebend of Stillington. Retrieved: 2016-07-13.
  9. ^ John Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae III, 213.
  10. ^ British History Online, Archdeacon of the West Riding, York. Retrieved: 2016-07-13.
  11. ^ W. Bliss and J. Twemlow, Calendar of Papal Registers relating to England and Ireland Volume V, p. 208 (6 October 1399).
  12. ^ Baluze (1693), I, p. 1144 [ed. Mollat I (1927), p. 666].
  13. ^ Ursmer Berlière, OSB, Bulletin de la Commission Royale d' histoire 75 (Bruxelles 1906), 168-171.
  14. ^ Jean de Cros, Guillaume de Agrifolio, Guy de Malsec, Gérard du Puy, OSBClun., and Petrus de Vernio.
  15. ^ Baronio (ed. Theiner), Vol. 26, p. 333, under the year 1378, § 79.
  16. ^ William Henry Bliss; Jessie Alfred Twemlow (1902). Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: 1362-1404. Vol. IV (1362-1404). London: H.M. Stationery Office. pp. 229–236.
  17. ^ Baluze (1693), I, p. 1149 [ed. Mollat I (1927), p. 669].
  18. ^ Bliss and Twemlow IV, pp. 240-242.
  19. ^ Eubel, p. 37.
  20. ^ Marcel Fournier (1890). Les statuts et privilèges des universités françaises depuis leur fondation jusqu'en 1879: 1ère partie : Moyen Age (in French and Latin). Tome I. Paris: L. Larose et Forcel. pp. 686–690.
  21. ^ Baluze (1693) I, pp. 567-568.
  22. ^ Du Chesne, Preuves p. 460. He left the money which had not been paid by Benedict XIII to Benedict XIII, thereby cancelling the debt while making the Pope aware of his lapse.
  23. ^ Du Chesne, Preuves p. 460.
  24. ^ Franz Ehrle published their Instructions in: Heinrich Denifle and Franz Ehrle, ed. (1892). Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters (in German and Latin). Volume 7. Herder. pp. 288–300.
  25. ^ Baluze (1693), I, p. 1150 [ed. Mollat I (1927), p. 670].
  26. ^ In his Last Will and Testament, Cardinal de Malsac states that he was engaged in this journey for two years, one month and five days: Du Chesne, Preuves, p. 460.
  27. ^ Franz Ehrle, "Neue Materialen zur Geschichte Peters von Luna," in: Heinrich Denifle and Franz Ehrle, ed. (1892). Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters (in German and Latin). Volume 7. Herder. pp. 278–282.
  28. ^ Ehrle, Archiv 7, pp. 635 and 644. Noël Valois (1902). La France et le grand schisme d'Occident: Recours au Concile général (in French). Tome quatrième (IV). Paris: A. Picard et fils. p. 4.
  29. ^ Franz Ehrle, "Aus den Acten des Afterconcils von Perpignan 1408," Archiv fur Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte 7 (1900) pp. 644-646
  30. ^ F. Gregorovius, History of Rome in the Middle Ages Volume VI. 2 second edition, revised (London: George Bell, 1906) [Book XII, chapter 5], pp. 600-601.
  31. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1409: Agreement of Cardinals at Livorno.. Retrieved: 2016-07-15. There were twenty-four living cardinals, counting both Obediences, on the day the document was signed.
  32. ^ Valois, IV, p. 99.
  33. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1409. Council of Pisa, Session XV. Retrieved: 2016-07-15.
  34. ^ Joannes Dominicus Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima Collectio Tomus vicesimus-septimus (Venice 1784), pp. 402-404: "...eorum utrumque fuisse, et esse notorios schismaticos, et antiquitati schismatis nutritores, defensores, fautores, et approbatores, et manutentores, pertinaces, necnon notorios haereticos et a fide devios, notoriisque criminibus enormis perjurii et violatione voti irrretitos, universalem ecclesiam sanctam Dei notorie scandalizantes, cum incorrigibilitate, contumacia et pertinacia notoriis, evidentibus et manifestis...."
  35. ^ Eubel I (1923), p. 32 n. 3.
  36. ^ Valois, p. 78.
  37. ^ Edmundus Martene et Ursinus Durand, Veterum Scriptorum et Monumentorum Amplissima Collectio Tomus VII (Parisiis: apud Montalant 1733), columns 1103-1104: Verum est tamen quod aliqui dicebant dominos cardinales, praesentibus quibusdam praelatis, dum Missa celebraretur, in ists sessione existentes, retro altare jurasse se electuros unum indubitatum papam, in quem omnes consentirent, aut saltem duae partes utriusque collegii.
  38. ^ Valois, pp. 106-107.
  39. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1409. Retrieved: 2016-07-16.
  40. ^ Eubel, p. 32. Gregorovius VI.2, pp. 612-613.
  41. ^ Du Chesne, Preuves, pp. 459-464. A précis is given in French in Histoire, pp. 642-644.
  42. ^ Eubel, p. 76. Gallia christiana VI, pp. 692-693.
  43. ^ Henricus Denifle, ed. (1897). Chartularium Universitatis parisiensis (in Latin). Tomus IV. Paris: ex typis fratrum Delalain. pp. 208, no. 1922. The letter specifically mentions that the three-year term of appointment of Cardinal Guy was coming to an end, proving that he was not appointed the Bishop of Agde, just the Administrator during the vacancy.
  44. ^ Eubel, p. 22. Baluze (1693), I, pp. 1153-1154 [ed. Mollat I (1927), p. 673-674]. Cf. Du Chesne, Histoire, p. 644.
  45. ^ Du Chesne, Preuves, p. 464.


External links[edit]

  • Salvador Miranda, Senior Librarian Emeritus, Florida International University, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church: Malsec, Guy de