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John F. Chuchiak IV, Ph.D.

212 University Hall
Honors College
Missouri State University
Springfield, Missouri  65897
(417) 836-4852
(417) 836-6370
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JohnChuchiak@missouristate.edu

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Reading of the Heretics' Sentences

 

The culmination of the celebration focused on the formal reading of the official sentences against the heretics by the Inquisition's notary and his assistants.

 

The senior inquisitor began the event with the ringing of a ceremonial bell, which was a signal to the notary and the chief constable to begin the reading of the sentences.

 

The formal reading and proclamation of the crimes and sentences of the convicted heretics took most of the rest of the day. The notaries and inquisitors had the sentences proclaimed in the order of the gravity of their crimes.

 

The readings began with the sentences of those penanced for suspicions of minor crimes and heresy. One by one, the penanced heretics came up to a raised platform in the center of the stage and had their crimes and sentences read by the notary before the gaze of the entire town.

 

After the sentences for those penanced, which often took much of the morning, the notary proclaimed the sentences of those reconciled for formal heresy. Again, one by one, the reconciled heretics stepped up to the central box to hear their sentences.

 

Then came the reading of the crimes and sentences of those tried in absentia; those sentenced posthumously had their effigies or bones relaxed to the secular arm to be burned in effigy.

 

The conclusion of the reading of the sentences occurred when those to be relaxed in person had their crimes and sentences read.