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Letters and Politics: Gerald Odonis vs. Francis of Marchia

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Gerald Odonis and Francis of Marchia, both Franciscan masters of theology active in the early fourteenth century, played an important role in the controversies that split the Franciscan Order as a result of Pope John XXII's decisions concerning the theory of religious poverty. They fought on opposite fronts: Odonis was elected Minister General after the deposition of Michael of Cesena, whom Francis supported in the struggle against the pope. This paper reconstructs the different stages at which Francis became a target of Odonis' repressive actions against his dissident former confreres, from the first mention of Francis' name in the lists of rebels to the letter Quid niteris, where Odonis reproaches Francis for his purported violations of the Franciscan Rule. Odonis most probably intentionally avoided entering the slippery ground of the poverty controversy and preferred attacking Francis on ecclesio-political issues.

Affiliations: 1: Università degli Studi di Macerata


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