FIDELIS, SAINT (MARKUS ROY): German Capuchin; b. at Sigmaringen (30 m. n.e. of Constance) 1577; d. at Seewis (32 m. s.e. of Schwyz) Apr. 24, 1622. He received a thorough education and studied law at Freiburg until 1603, after which he traveled extensively, and in 1611 settled at Ensisheim as a lawyer. In the same year, he entered the Capuchin Order under the name of Pater Fidelis; after his ordination he studied theology at the monasteries of Constance and Frauenfeld. He then became parish priest successively at Rheinfelden and Freiburg, and finally guardian in the monastery of Feldkirch. When the Austrians and Spaniards seized a portion of the Swiss territories in 1620 and sought to reconvert them to the Roman Catholic Church, the Congregation of the Propaganda placed Fidelis at the head of the Rhetian mission. On the day of his death he preached in the church of Seewis under the protection of a detachment of soldiers, whereupon the desperate peasants captured the church and routed the troops, murdering the fleeing preacher in the street. His corpse was first buried at Seewis and later at Chur, while his head was interred at Feldkirch. He was canonized by Benedict XIV. on June 29, 1746.

E. Blosch.

Bibliography: Sources for a life are in H. Murer, Helvetia sancta. pp. 431 sqq., Lucerne, 1648; F. Sprecher von Berneck, Hist. motuum et bellorum, Geneva, 1629. Germ transl., i. 334, Chur. 1856. The best modern life is in A. Butler, Lives of the Fathers, i. 494-496, London, 1857 consult also KL, iv. 1482-88.

FIEF, ECCLESIASTICAL: A term used sometimes as equivalent to Benefice (q.v.), but more properly designating an estate belonging to the Church and conferred by feudal tenure. Military service was included in the obligations of a true fief, even when held by a cleric - but in this case as the canons forbade him to bear arms, he was allowed to provide a substitute. The practise of granting church lands attained such proportions during the Middle Ages that Pius V., in 1567 prohibited any further grants, providing for the immediate incorporation with the papal camera of any fiefs that fell in. On this principle Clement VIII. incorporated the duchy of Ferrara with the States of the Church in 1598, and Urban VIII. did the same with Urbino, Castro, and Ronciglione. Famous instances of countries held by their rulers as vassals of the pope were Aragon (1208), England (1213), the island of Sardinia (1295), Naples and Sicily down to the second half of the eighteenth century.

O. Mejer.

Bibliography: G. A. Jenichen, Thesaurus juris feudalis, i. 990. Frankfort, 1750; G. L. Böhmer. Observationes juris feudalis, no. 7. Göttingen, 1784; Rechtslexikon. vi. 386 sqq., Leipsic, 1845: kL, vii. 597-600.


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