BONI HOMINES: A name borne by several monastic brotherhoods, particularly by the Grammontensians (see GRAMMONT, ORDER OF), the Fratres saccati, or Sack Brethren, and an order of canons regular founded in Portugal by John Vicenza (d. 1463), physician and professor at Lisbon, afterward bishop of Lamego, and later bishop of Vizeu. In 1425 Vicenza and his followers, who had made pilgrimages throughout Portugal, received the Benedictine cloister of San Salvador in Villar de Frades. They adopted the dress and statutes of the canons regular of San Giorgio in Alga, at Venice, and received papal confirmation under this title. In another house near Lisbon they received the name Canons Regular of the Congregation of St. John the Evangelist. The Boni homines of San Salvador were later included under this title. They gradually attained a strength of fourteen houses in Portugal, and also maintained missions in India and Ethiopia.


After the Minims had come into possession of the house of the Grammontensians at Vincennes they, too, came to be called bons hommes. Even at an earlier date it seems that the Minims in Paris had been contemptuously called bons hommes. The same name was also appropriated by certain heretical sects, for instance, by the Cathari (see NEW MANICHEANS) and by the Brethren of the Free Spirit. In Florence, in the thirteenth century, the twelve men elected to restore order after the withdrawal of the Ghibellines were called buoni uomini, likewise the overseers of the thirteen city districts in Rome in the fourteenth century.

BONIZO (BONITHO): Bishop of Sutri; b. at Cremona c. 1045; d. at Piacenza July 14, probably 1090. As a young cleric he joined the Patarene movement (see PATARENES) in Cremona and Piacenza. He came to Rome in 1074, possibly in consequence of his conflict with Bishop Dionysius of Piacenza, and was himself made bishop of Sutri in 1075 or 1076. In the spring of 1078 he was in Lombardy as legate, and back in Rome by November, when he took part in the synod that discussed Berengar's teachings. A zealous partizan of Gregory VII, he was imprisoned by Henry IV in 1082 and entrusted for safe-keeping to the antipope Guibert of Ravenna (Clement III). He contrived to escape, but never returned to his see. In 1085 he found shelter with Countess Matilda, and in the summer of 1086 was chosen bishop of Piacenza by the Patarene party. His election being uncanonical, Anselm of Milan, the metropolitan, refused to install him; but he succeeded in gaining the approval of Pope Urban II in 1088 or 1089. He did not long enjoy his triumph, meeting a violent death in a rising of the imperialist party. The most important of his writings, the Liber ad amicum (ed. E. Dümmler, MGH, Libelli de lite, i, 1891), composed between the death of Gregory VII and the accession of Victor III (1085-86), besides discussing the question whether a Christian may bear arms in the defense of the Church (which he answers in the affirmative), shown by an extended historical sketch that the Church grows under persecution. The chief value of the work is due to its presentation of the ideas of Gregory and his adherents; it informs us how the papal camp judged of the numerous theological and ecclesiastico-political controversies of the time, and as a whole is one of the most noteworthy productions of the Gregorian party. Often as it has been appealed to as a contemporary source, it has to be used with caution, owing not only to carelessness and errors of detail, but to demonstrable perversions of history, as in the account of the Canossa episode. In fact, it is colored throughout by the author's subjective standpoint. The Liber in Hugonem schismaticum (presumably Cardinal Hugo Candidus) has unfortunately been lost. As a canonist Bonizo left a large Decretum in ten books, from which Mai published extracts in 1854.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Saur, Studien über Bonizo, in Forschungen zur deutschen Geschichte, viii, 397-464, Göttingen, 1868; E. Steindorff, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reichs unter Heinrich III., i, 457-462, ii, 473-482, Leipsic, 1874, 1887; W. Martens, Ueber die Geschichtschreibung Bonizos, in Tübinger theologische Quartalschrift, 1883, pp. 457-483; idem, Gregor VII, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1894; H. Lehmgrübner, Ueber des Leben des Bonizo . . . , in Benzo von Alba, pp. 129-151, Berlin, 1887; G. Meyer von Knonau, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reichs unter Heinrich IV., vols. i, ii, Leipsic, 1890-94; C. Mirbt, Die Publizistik im Zeitalter Gregors VII., ib. 1894; idem, Die Wahl Gregors VII., Marburg, 1892.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 05/10/04. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely