Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Today on the Almanac, we remember a man who fought the Pope by posting his complaints on the door of a church (but not that one).

It is the 21st of July 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at, I’m Dan van Voorhis.

If you want to get in trouble try telling the people in charge that they aren’t doing it right. This is how you get excommunicated, fired, killed, etc… When we find trouble in the church we often find someone claiming that the authorities are abusing their authority.

This story might sound familiar: a member of the clergy, unhappy with the Pope, decides to challenge his authority by asserting a set of theological propositions. And this guy decides to post his complaints and propositions on the door of a prominent church. Sound familiar?

Except this is not October of 1517, it is the 21st of July, 1482. The man was not Martin Luther but a Dominican monk named Andrew who had been named Archbishop by the Emperor and sought to elevate the council of Bishops over the Pope.

  1. Who was Andrew, Archbishop of Carniola?

We don’t know much about him.

He was Slovenian

He was a proponent of conciliarism

He was appointed Archbishop of Carniola by Emperor, Frederick III

He was rejected in his attempt to be named a Cardinal

2. He was appointed Archbishop by the Emperor?

Yes. And this is weird but was common.

This emperor- Fred III was called the Erzschlafmütze (arch sleepyhead) and was relatively insignificant but could still poke at the Pope by appointing people who were anti-Pope.

3. How was Andrew “anti-Pope”?

We would consider Andrew a member of a group of late medieval Christian leaders called “conciliarists”. These were people that believed the church should be led not by a single Pope but by the council of Bishops.

4. The Pope at the time was Sixtus VI.

Sixtus was a quintessential Renaissance Pope

Subordinated spiritual concerns to temporal and Italian preoccupations

Consolidated the Papal States, fought with De’Medici’s, commissioned the Sistine Chapel, HATED conciliarism, and rejected the Council of Constance (1414-1418)

5. What happened to Andrew?

Dropped like the proverbial black sheep in the family. He was imprisoned. His former secretary suggested he was insane. Andrew was found dead in prison from an apparent suicide.

The story of Andrew, the Slovakian Archbishop of Carniola is obscure but important. The Protestant Reformation was unusual because of its results, not because it wanted to question church hierarchy and abuse. Those who have championed reform in the church often jump from the praise of Jan Huss to Martin Luther, but perhaps it's worth a small stop on the way to remember another dissenter who got in trouble for posting his opposition to the Pope on a church door- on this, the 21st of July in 1482.

The last word for today comes from Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, a good word regarding power and authority in the Kingdom of Heaven. In this reading, the sons of Zebedee are arguing over who will be the greatest in the kingdom:

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 21st of July 2021 brought to you by 1517 at

The show is produced by my favorite Erzschlafmütze, Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by not the “erz”, just a schlafmütze, Dan van Voorhis.

You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.

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