Council of Vienne

1311-12. Church council which is considered the fifteenth ecumenical council by the Roman Catholic Church. It was convoked by Clement V and was in session from 16 October 1311 until 6 May 1312. A major reason for calling it was the question of the Knights Templar.* The transfer of the papacy to Avignon in 1309 made the pope more subject to the influence of the king of France, Philip IV,* who desired the property of this wealthy crusading order. In 1307 he had ordered the arrest of the Templars in France and by torture had exacted confessions of heresy and immorality. He then brought pressure on Clement V to suppress the order-and his presence at the council forced the pope to meet the royal demands and to suppress the order. The council discussed also a new Crusade which, despite Philip's promise to undertake it, never materialized. The council tried to settle a dispute among the Franciscans,* condemned the Beguines and Beghards,* prescribed the teaching of Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic at universities to aid in missionary work, and issued a number of canons dealing with church reform.