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Nicolas Eymeric

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Theologian and inquisitor, born at Gerona, in Catalonia, Spain, c. 1320; died there 4 January, 1399. He entered the Dominican Order at an early age, receiving the habit 4 August, 1334, from the hands of Prior Petrus Carpi, and soon won a reputation for theological knowledge. His earliest writings, which date from 1351, were of a philosophical character. Nicola Roselli, the grand inquisitor of Aragon, having been raised to the rank of a cardinal (1356), Eymeric was appointed his successor in the Inquisition early in 1357. The zeal he displayed in his new office roused much opposition and even open enmity. In spite of the support of Cardinal Legate Guido, Eymeric, in the interest of peace, was removed from office at the general chapter held at Perpignan in 1360. Two years later, at the general chapter held at Ferrara, he was chosen vicar of the Dominican province of Aragon. Shortly afterwards, when a provincial was to be elected for the same province, there was a hopeless division among the Dominicans, one party supporting Eymeric, the other Father Bernardo Ermengaudi. Pope Urban V confirmed neither, but appointed a third, Jacopo Dominici.

Meanwhile Eymeric showed great activity as a preacher, as well as a writer on theological subjects. Some years later he was inquisitor general of Aragon ; we find him in this office in 1366, and several tractates on dogmatic subjects date from the years immediately following. He combated in particular Raymond Lully, in whose writings he found numerous errors. He influenced Gregory XI to forbid the faithful to read certain writings of Lully's and to condemn by a special decree (26 Jan., 1376) several theses extracted from his works. Eymeric was in high esteem with King Pedro IV of Aragon, as well as with Gregory XI. In 1376 he visited the papal court at Avignon, and accompanied the pope on his return to Rome. He was still there at the election of Urban VI and the nomination of the antipope Clement VII, whose claims he vigorously championed against those of the Roman pope. Towards the end of 1378 he returned to Aragon, but in the interests of his office as grand inquisitor often went to the court of Clement VII at Avignon. Eymeric continued his campaign against the Luilists by word as well as by pen. In his "Tractatus contra doctrinam Raymundi Lulli", dedicated to Clement VII, he indicates 135 heresies, 38 errors, and many misleading statements of Lully. He also composed a "Dialogus contra Lullistas" and other treatises. Lully's partisans, however, won over to their side, soon after his accession, King John I of Aragon. Eymeric was banished and went to the papal court of Avignon, where he was welcomed both by Clement VII and later by Benedict XIII. He wrote numerous theological works and also special tractates defending the legitimacy of the Avignon popes, e.g. his "Tractatus de potestate papali" (1383), which he composed for Clement VII, and two tractates for Benedict XIII. Notwithstanding his sentence of banishment, he still retained his post of grand inquisitor of Aragon. As early as 1376 he had compiled, as a guide for inquisitors, his Directorium inquisitorum", the only one of his more extensive works that was afterwards printed (Barcelona, 1503; Rome, 1578, ed. Francesco Pegna, with a copious commentary; reissued several times). Towards the end of 1397 Eymeric returned to his native land and his monastery of Gerona, where he died. His epitaph describes him as praedicator veridicus, inquisitor intrepidus, doctor egregius.

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