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Matthew of Cracow


Theologian and bishop of Worms; b. Cracow, Poland, c. 1330; d. Worms, Germany, March 5, 1410. He should not be confused with another Matthew, also from Cracow, who was active at the end of the 15th century as a university theologian and preacher. The earlier Matthew was the son of a city notary and was first educated at St. Mary's collegiate school, Cracow. He pursued further studies at Charles University of Prague, where he received a bachelor of arts in 1355, a bachelor of theology in 1381, and a doctor of theology in 1387. For a short time, he was professor of theology at Prague and a city preacher. In 1390 he became a canon in Leslau at the church of St. Idzi. In 1391 Matthew returned to his native city and in 1395 left again to become a professor of theology at the University of Heidelberg. He became rector of the University the following year, and confessor and councilor to Rupert, King of the Romans (d. 1410). In 1397, at the request of Włladysllaw jagieŁŁlo, he returned to Poland to reorganize the University of Cracow. In 1405 the emperor nominated him to the See of Worms; in 1408 Pope gregory xii created him cardinal, and in the same year he was appointed papal legate for Germany.

Matthew of Cracow left several important theological writings, some published, others still in MS; many of them are preserved in the Cracow University library, but copies are scattered in various European libraries. His most important work, De squaloribus curiae romanae, known also as Moyses sanctus, was submitted to Pope in nocent vii in 1404 and published in 1551. In it he advocated supremacy of the council over the pope (see conciliarism, history of). A treatise, Ars moriendi, xylographed in 1450, is ascribed to Matthew of Cracow, but its authorship is uncertain. Another work, the homiletic Rationale operum divinorum, exists in MS in the University of Cracow library. The other theological treatise, Dialogus rationis et conscientiae, was printed supposedly by Guttenberg in 1459 and has been translated into Czech and German.

Bibliography: g. korbut, Polish Literature, 4 v. (2d ed. Warsaw 192931) 1:2224, in Polish. k. morawski, A History of the Jagiellonian University, 2 v. (Cracow 1900) 1:6063, in Polish. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 10.1:389392. b. stasiewski, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 7:174175.

[b. b. szczesniak]

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