Martin V

1368-1431. Pope from 1417. Elected pope at the Council of Constance, he ended the Great Schism,* winning general recognition in W Europe except in Aragon, where the former Avignonese antipopes maintained their positions until 1429. Although the French offered Avignon as his residence, he decided to return to Rome. He reached Florence in 1419, but stayed there until 1420 because Rome was in the hands of Joan of Naples. When he got to Rome, the city was in ruins, and other parts of the Papal States were either in revolt or in the hands of usurpers. The pope reestablished papal control, not only over central Italy, but also in the entire Western Church. He corresponded with the sovereigns of Europe and sent peace missions to England and France, who were involved in the Hundred Years' War.

The pope also devoted attention to the Hussites who, reacting violently to the martyrdom of Jan Hus* at Constance, rebelled against the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund,* spread terror in neighboring Catholic countries, and necessitated several crusades in an attempt to crush them. In 1423, five years after Constance, Martin summoned the Council of Pavia-Siena, but the attendance was poor and he quickly dissolved it. Despite his previous commitment to conciliarism, he successfully opposed limitation of the papal monarchy. Martin also reorganized the Roman Curia, uniting the bureaucracies of Rome and Avignon and establishing a model administration. A rebuilding program was initiated in Rome, and efforts were made to end the schism between the Eastern and Western churches.

See P. Partner, The Papal States Under Martin V (1958).