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Antimendicancy in Central Europe and Bishop Robert of Olomouc in Historiography

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Abstract

The notion that Bishop Robert, personally, would be actively taking a stance against mendicants, or the Franciscans specifically on the issue of stigmata, seems contradictory to statements Robert made concerning stigmata and the utility of preachers in his own writings. The assumption that Robert was an antimendicant places blind faith in the credulity of the claims, which are as of yet uncorroborated, and the long-term attempts of the papacy to control the bishopric of Olomouc suggest a more political motive to the accusations. Finally, evidence suggests that resistance to the Franciscans was in part an internal conflict with brothers of the Dominican order, who themselves had reasons to sew dissent against the competing mendicant order in their own province, rather than a conflict with the local clergy or other monastic orders. The initiative to identify Bishop Robert as an antimendicant is most likely the result of modern influence; the attempt of reformers or later researchers to pre-date the clearer antimendicant stance of proto-reformers, or the retroactive application of wider, European antimendicant concepts, and an insensitivity to the circumstances surrounding the papal bulls of 1237. If there were antifraternal tendencies in the region, this probably reflected a wider movement in Moravia to secure the region for the Dominican order by employing arguments against stigmata, as evidenced by the three papal bulls issued in 1237, which were targeted at the entire Central European region.
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