Bishop of Sion (Sitten), cardinal and papal legate, commander of Swiss forces fighting the French (1510–15); b. Mühlbach, Switzerland, between 1465 and 1470; d. Rome, Oct. 2, 1522. He studied classics and theology at Sion, Zurich, and Como, and was ordained in 1489. He supported Jorg auf der Fluh (Supersax) against Jost von Sillenen, Bishop of Sion, who favored French influence in the Canton of Valais. His uncle, Nicholas Schiner, became bishop of Sion in 1496 and Matthäus was given a parish and then made canon and dean of the cathedral. When his uncle resigned, Matthäus became bishop of Sion and suzerain lord of Valais (September 1499). He helped Ludovico sforza regain Milan in January 1500, but the Swiss there turned Sforza over to the French in April. The French in return ceded Bellinzona to the Swiss. Between 1503 and 1510 the Swiss were at peace with France. But Schiner, who may secretly have been made a cardinal in 1508, was in Rome between December 1509 and March 1510 and helped persuade the Swiss to join the Holy League. He was made bishop of Novara, and notice of his elevation to the cardinalate was given on March 10, 1511. When the French defeated the Holy League at Ravenna in April 1512, with Swiss troops Schiner advanced out of Verona, entered Cremona and Pavia, and in January 1512 received the surrender of Milan, which was turned over to Maximilian Sforza. In return Sforza ceded Locarno, Val Maggia, Mendrisio, and Lugano to the Swiss. In 1513 Schiner participated in the election of Leo X, after which he helped promote another alliance between the Pope and the Swiss. When the French tried to return to Lombardy, they were routed by the Swiss at Novara, June 6, 1513. Schiner continued to oppose the French, even after their victory at Marignano. He supported the election of Charles V in 1519 and in 1521 led a Swiss army in the Spanish conquest of Milan. In his zeal for reform he associated briefly with Zwingli, but he was a strong opponent of Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521. He left a large and scattered correspondence.
Bibliography: a. bÜchi, Kardinal Matthäus Schiner (Zurich 1923-). w. oechsli, History of Switzerland, 1499–1914, tr. E. and c. paul (Cambridge, Eng. 1922). e. mÜller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 1 9:252–253. b. moeller, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3 5:1417.
[d. r. campbell]