Complaints of any kind, but especially ecclesiastical protests made formally to a superior authority such as pope or legate or council or king, and setting out the "burdens" (gravamina ), secular or ecclesiastical, which the church or the realm had to support. Thus, in 13th-century England, gravamina listing secular infringements of church liberties were put before the legate Otto in 1239 and were later presented by representative groups of clergy (synod or council) to the king; the royal replies (e.g., of 1258, 1280, 1300) are extant. These gravamina form the substance of those submitted by the English Church to the Council of Vienne in 1311: usurpation of ecclesiastical jurisdiction; the capture, torture, and sometimes the execution of criminous clerks; the frustration of decisions of ecclesiastical courts. Complaints of this nature were, in fact, sent in to the Council of Vienne from various provinces of the church (Ehrle), but only a few received conciliar attention, chiefly because a committee eliminated many beforehand (Göller). Furthermore, official memoranda censuring the conduct of the papacy itself were not uncommon, particularly in respect of papal provisions. The practice of beneficing foreign clergy in England was the burden of English gravamina at the First Council of Lyons in 1245; and papal provisions in general occasioned the gravamina ecclesiae gallicanae, or "Protestation of St. Louis," in 1247, when, foreshadowing gallicanism, it was alleged that there was no canonical authority for such practices. In the 15th and 16th centuries spirited gravamina that protested curial extortions through the collatio of benefices and the collection of tithes and annates were drawn up by German clergy, e.g., at diets in Mainz (1451, 1455), Frankfurt (1456, 1458, 1479), Worms (1521), and Nuremberg (1522–23).
Bibliography: matthew paris, Chronica majora, ed. h. r. luard, 7 v. Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores 57:1872–83, 6:99–112. f. ehrle, "Ein Bruchstück der Akten des Concils von Vienne," Archiv für Literatur und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters 4 (1888) 361–470. e. gÖller, "Die Gravamina auf dem Konzil von Vienne und ihre literarische Überlieferung," Festgabe Heinrich Finke (Münster 1904) 197–221. g. mollat, "Les Doléances du clergé de la Province de Sens au concile de Vienne, 1311–1312," Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique 6 (1905) 319–326. g. j. campbell, "The Protest of Saint Louis," Traditio 15 (1959) 405–418. h. raab, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 10v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 4:1174–75. f. m. powicke and c. r. cheney, Councils and Synods (Oxford 1964–) v.2 passim.
[l. e. boyle]