Jean Charlier de Gerson

[Jean Charlier de Gerson] Scholar and orator, born Gerson, near Rheims, France, 1363; died Lyons, France, 1429. He was a friend and pupil of Peter d'Ailly, Chancellor of the Paris University, whom he succeeded in 1395, and is particularly known for the zeal and energy with which he labored to bring to an end the Western Schism. He took a very important part in the Council of Constance (1415), where his conduct was in keeping with his principles, that the Church and the ecumenical council are above the pope, as he saw no other means of ending the schism and of restoring unity. After the council, he had to take refuge in Bavaria to escape the wrath of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, whom he had taken to task for the murder of the Duke of Orleans. After John's death he retired to Lyons where he spent the last ten years of his life in a monastery in which his own brother was prior. He delighted to teach catechism to little children. His principal works are: "De auferibilitate Papre," a treatise destined to prepare the Council of Pisa; "De Potestate Ecclesire," in which he professes erroneous doctrines concerning the doctrine of infallibility; "De Consolatione Theologiae," an imitation of the "De Consolatione Philosophire" of Boethius; and "De parvulis ad Christum trahendis." He was also among the first to recognize and to proclaim the supernatural mission of Joan of Arc. He is not, however, the author of the "Following of Christ," which has been often attributed to him. He was hailed as a great and learned doctor, an ardent lover of souls, and a model minister of the Gospel.

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