Henry of Segusio

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Henry of Segusio, usually called Hostiensis, (c. 1200 – 6 or 7 November 1271) [1] was an Italian canonist of the thirteenth century, born at Susa (Segusio), in the ancient Diocese of Turin. He died at Lyon.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Susa, Piedmont Comune in Piedmont, Italy

Susa is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Turin, Piedmont, Italy. In the middle of Susa Valley, it is situated on at the confluence of the Cenischia with the Dora Riparia, a tributary of the Po River, at the foot of the Cottian Alps, 51 km (32 mi) west of Turin.

Turin Comune in Piedmont, Italy

Turin is a city and an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy. It is the capital city of Piedmont and of the Metropolitan City of Turin, and was the first Italian capital from 1861 to 1865. The city is located mainly on the western bank of the Po River, in front of Susa Valley, and is surrounded by the western Alpine arch and Superga Hill. The population of the city proper is 875,698 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 1.7 million inhabitants. The Turin metropolitan area is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 2.2 million.


He undertook the study of Roman law and canon law at Bologna, where he seems to have taught Canon Law, [2] and to have taken his degree utriusque juris . He taught canon law at Paris, and spent some time in England, whence King Henry III sent him on a mission to Innocent IV.

Roman law Legal system of Ancient Rome (c. 449 BC - AD 529)

Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables, to the Corpus Juris Civilis ordered by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. Roman law forms the basic framework for civil law, the most widely used legal system today, and the terms are sometimes used synonymously. The historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law.

Canon law is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

University of Bologna university in Bologna, Italy

The University of Bologna is a research university in Bologna, Italy. Founded in 1088 by an organised guild of students, it is the oldest university in the world, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national rankings.

Later he became Provost of the Cathedral Chapter of Antibes, and chaplain to the pope. He was promoted to the See of Sisteron in 1244, afterwards to the Archdiocese of Embrun in 1250. He became Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri on 22 May 1262, [3] whence his name Hostiensis.

A provost is a senior official in a number of Christian churches.

Antibes Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Antibes is a Mediterranean resort in the Alpes-Maritimes department of southeastern France, on the Côte d'Azur between Cannes and Nice.

Chaplain Provider of pastoral care, often a minister of a religious tradition, attached to an institution

A chaplain is, traditionally, a cleric, or a lay representative of a religious tradition, attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, school, labor union, business, police department, fire department, university, or private chapel.

His health forced him to leave the conclave of 1268-1271, though he remained at Viterbo. He was not present at the compromise election of Tedaldo Visconti on 1 September 1271, after the vacancy in the Holy See of two years and nine months. Nonetheless, the other cardinals immediately sought out Cardinal Enrico and obtained his consent to the election. [4] In his room, he wrote his Last Will and Testament on 29 October 1271. [5]

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholics around the world. As a sovereign entity, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy, of which the pope is sovereign. It is organized into polities of the Latin Church and the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.


Summa aurea, 1570 Enrico da Susa - Summa aurea, 1570 - BEIC 6499770.jpg
Summa aurea, 1570

As a canonist Hostiensis had a great reputation. His works are:

A work on feudal law has also been attributed to him, but without foundation.

Hostiensis on papal plenitudo potestatis

For Hostiensis the law as well as all political authority were derived from God. [6] Because of this all princes “exercised authority by divine mandate.” [6] Civil law was divine because the emperors who created that law were placed in authority by God. [7] Despite this, however, civil law was inferior to canon law. [8]

The reason for this is that the pope’s authority was even closer to the divine than that of secular princes. Because the pope was the vicar of God he acted on God’s authority, from which he (the pope) derived his own authority. [6] Thus, whenever the pope acted de iure he acted as God. [6] Therefore, canon law, since it was promulgated by the pope, was established by God. [9] This is because canon law was based on the bible, and God had given his vicar, the pope, the authority to interpret that text. [9] Thus canon law was divine not because it came directly from God, but because of the end it sought (the spiritual well-being of Christians) and because of the dignity of the Pope, from which the canon law emanated. [10]

Hostiensis believed that while the pope should follow positive law he was not bound by it. [11] Thus the pope could not be tried for any crime, except that of heresy, in which case “the pope could be subject to the 'ecclesia' (the Church)." [11] For any other violation of law the pope could be judged by no one save God. [11] Further, except in the event that a mortal sin would result, the pope was to be obeyed in everything he commanded, including violations of positive law, since the pope was above that law. [12] The only exception to this was if the pope’s command violated the conscience of the one being commanded, in which case the one being commanded should not obey. [12]

Similarly, Hostiensis believed that the pope could grant exemptions even from divine law ("mandates of the Apostles and rules of the Old Testament"), [12] so long as that exemption did not lead to a mortal sin, violate the faith, subvert the faith, or endanger the salvation of souls. [13] The pope had great authority indeed, he could even "change squares into circles. [14]

According to Hostiensis the pope was imbued with the authority of the two swords (Lk 22:36-38), interpreted as spiritual and temporal power. [15] The spiritual was superior to the temporal in the following three aspects: “in dignity, for the spirit is greater and more honourable than the body; in time, for it was earlier; and in power, for it not only institutes the temporal power but also has the authority to judge it, while the Pope cannot be judged by any man, except in cases of heresy.” [16] The pope entrusted temporal authority to the emperors [17] but retained the right to reclaim that authority “in virtue of the ‘plenitudo potestatis’ which he possesses as the vicar of Christ.” [18] Indeed, the temporal power of the pope was so complete that Hostiensis considered it a mortal sin for a temporal ruler to disobey the pope in temporal matters. [19]

This view of papal authority in temporal matters also applied to the kingdoms of non-Christians. For Hostiensis all sovereignty had been taken away from non-Christians and transferred to the faithful when Christ came into the world. [20] “This translation of power was first made to the person of Christ who combined the functions of priesthood and kingship, and this sacerdotal and kingly power was then transferred to the popes.” [21] Non-Christians were thus subject to Christians but could maintain sovereignty over their lands so long as they recognized the church as superior. [21] If non-believers failed to recognize the lordship of the Church, however, sovereignty could be taken away from them by the pope and transferred to Christian rulers.

Hostiensis’ influence lasted well into the seventeenth century. [22] His thought played an especially central role in Spanish theories of empire during the age of discovery. Both Juan Lopez de Palacios Rubios and Fray Matias de Paz, who were recruited by King Ferdinand of Spain in 1512 to help legitimate Spanish title over the New World, [23] based their justifications of Spanish sovereignty over the New World on Hostiensis’ ideas on papal temporal sovereignty. [24]

In literature

He is mentioned in the Paradise (12.82-85) of Dante's Divine Comedy.

See also


  1. Kenneth Pennington, Popes, Canonists and Texts, 1150-1550. Brookfield, VT: Variorum (1993), pp. XVI.1, XVI.5.
  2. Mauro Sarti; Ludovico Mattioli (1769). De claris Archigymnasii Bononiensis professoribus a saeculo 11. usque ad saeculum 14 (in Latin). Tomi 1. Pars 1. Bologna: Laelii a Vulpi. pp. 360–366.
  3. Consistory of 1262
  4. Ceterum venerabilem patrem d(omi)num H(enricum) Ostiensem episcopum, post h(a)ec ad idem consistorium convocantes, communicavimus ei omnia supradicta, qui ea omnia et singula grata gratanter acceptans, memoratum d(omi)num T(heodaldum) in Romanum pontificem et pastorem humiliter et devote recepit.Francesco Cristofori (1887). Le tombe dei papi in Viterbo a la chiese di S. Maria in Gradi, d[i] S. Francesco e di S. Lorenzo: memorie e documenti della storia medioevale viterbese (in Italian and Latin). Siena: Bernadino. p. 212.
  5. Denis de Sainte-Marthe, Gallia christiana Tomus III (Paris 1725), Instrumenta, pp. 180-182.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Pennington, Kenneth (1993b). The Prince and the Law, 1200–1600. Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 51. ISBN   0520913035.
  7. Arturo Rivera Damas, Pensamiento Politico de Hostiensis: Estudio Juridico-Historico Sobre las Relaciones Entre el Sacerdocio y el Imperio en los Escritos de Enrique de Susa. Zurich (1964), p. 142.
  8. Damas (1964), p. 55.
  9. 1 2 Pennington (1993b), p. 53.
  10. Rivera Damas, supra f.n. 4, at 42
  11. 1 2 3 Pennington, supra f.n. 3, at 59.
  12. 1 2 3 Pennington, supra f.n. 3, at 60.
  13. Pennington, supra f.n. 3, at 60–61.
  14. "Pennington, supra f.n. 3, at 61.
  15. R.W. & A.J. Carlyle, A History of Medieval Political Theory in the West: Vol. 5, The Political Theory of the Thirteenth Century. London: William Blackwood & Sons LTD (1928), p. 331
  16. Carlyle at 229
  17. Carlyle at 331
  18. Carlyle at 332
  19. Walter Ullmann, Medieval Papalism: The Political Theories of the Medieval Canonists. London: Methuen & Co. LTD (1949), p. 93.
  20. Rivera Damas, supra f.n. 4, at 144-146.
  21. 1 2 Ullmann, supra f.n. 16, at 131.
  22. Pennington, supra f.n. 3, at 49.
  23. Seed, Patricia (1992). "Taking Possession and Reading Texts: Establishing the Authority of Overseas Empires". The William and Mary Quarterly. 49 (2): 183–209 [p.&nbsp, 202]. JSTOR   2947269.
  24. J.H. Parry, The Spanish Theory of Empire in the Sixteenth Century. London: Cambridge University Press (1940), pp. 12–13.

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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Hugh of St Cher
Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
Succeeded by
Peter of Tarentaise
Preceded by
Bishop of Embrun
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rodolphe II
Bishop of Sisteron
Succeeded by
Humbert Fallavel

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Blessed Henry of Segusio". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.