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3 The Lombard Church in the Late Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

To govern the Milanese Church, on 4 July 1327 the emperor attributed the function of iudex ordinarius to the youngest son of Matteo Visconti, Giovanni Visconti, who was to exercise jurisdiction and administer justice on all the ecclesiastics of the diocese, as the archbishop would have done if he had been present. In this way the Visconti acquired a legitimate title to justify how they had been behaving for years towards the Ambrosian clergy under the lordship of the family. The major confrontation arose with the violent Bernabò Visconti, who intended to dispose of the ecclesiastical revenues as he pleased to favour men linked to him, so that the archbishop and the suffragans were humiliated on several occasions and many clergy were tortured and killed. If there was a crisis, this was not only in the Lombard Church, but throughout Christian Europe, then shaken by the Protestant reform.

Keywords: Ambrosian clergy; Bernabò Visconti; ecclesiastics; Giovanni Visconti; Lombard Church; Matteo Visconti

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