Biography of Johannes Eberhard Nithard (1607-1681)

Spanish nationalized Austrian Jesuit - Johaness Everhard Nithard in German, born 8 December 1607 at Schloss Falkenstein (Austrian Tyrol) and died 1 February 1681 in Rome, who was confessor of Queen Mariana of Austria (Regent during the minority of his son Carlos IIage) and was also his valid between 1666 and 1669.


Member of a family belonging to the nobility, though impoverished, suffered in his childhood religious rivalries of the thirty years war: his father - imperial officer - suffered persecution and his house burned, and he was mistreated and was on the verge of death stoned by Protestant hands, which was saved by the arrival of friendly troops. After that, participated in that war as second lieutenant of the Catholic League (1625), until in 1628, he decided to become a Jesuit - apparently, by the reading of the work of Tomás de Kempis, the imitation of Christ. He studied in Graz, institution which served as Professor of philosophy and Canon law and where she rose to the Vienna school to teach theology. Later, the Emperor Fernando III of Austria entrusted the spiritual direction of his sons the Archdukes Leopold and Mariana, which was accompanied by Nithard when, after his marriage to Felipe IV, moved to Spain (1649).

Die Felipe IV in 1665 and become charge Mariana of Austria from the direction of the Regency Council established because of the minority of the heir, Carlos II (born 1661), and formed by the President of the Council of Castile, the Vice-Chancellor of Aragón, Archbishop of Toledo, the Grand Inquisitor, the Minister of State and a representative of the nobilitythe own stockbrokers - under the influence of the Queen - came in as Prime Minister after being appointed President of the Council of inquisition (1666); even the double hindrance be Jesuit and overseas (the members of the society of Jesus had prohibited political activity, and on the other hand the post of Grand Inquisitor was reserved to Spanish) prevented it; Moreover, in their intention to prevent the first thing, the Pope Alejandro VII gave the necessary licences, and that did not happen the second thing, the Queen naturalized you Spanish.

Although Nithard had an exemplary life and devoted himself willingly to his new position, he had no political skills and soon became unpopular. The bias that existed toward it by being a foreigner was followed by an open opposition by its moral measures and its military failures; It was found, therefore with the antipathy of everyone: nobility (especially of the natural son of Felipe IV, the influential Juan José of Austria), clergy (including the Pope Clement IX) and people. Forbade amusement as popular as theatrical performances and bullfights, and involved in the war of return (1667-1668) Luis XIV, with Spanish defeats in the Netherlands and the Franche-Comté to Spain. Juan José de Austria, which had already tried unsuccessfully to Nithard of power away from and make the Queen to retire to a convent, returned from exile in Aragon, and resumed their pressure on Mariana de Austria to make it language to its valid. It consulted the opinion of the Board of Government and councils, which recommended the removal to avoid the risk of uprisings. The little benefit gained in the peace of Aachen with France in 1668, in which some places of southern Flanders gave even to recover the Franche-Comté, and the failure of the peace of Lisbon in 1668, whereby it had recognized Portuguese independence, also urged by a possible prison for treason, since he had hatched a conspiracy to threaten Nithardthey were exploited by don Juan José to go from Barcelona to Torrejón de Ardoz - about thirty kilometers of Madrid, where he gave an ultimatum to the Queen.

A second query to the Governing Board and the Council of Castile was unfavorable to Nithard, who in turn asked Mariana of Austria to be removed from their posts; Thus, it was finally removed, and sent to Rome as Ambassador extraordinary in February of 1669. Appointed Bishop of Edessa in 1671 and cardinal in 1672 by Pope Clement X, he remained in until his death in 1681 papal city, although it was claimed by the Queen on more than one occasion. In the uultimos years of his life wrote a memoir, that is justified politically; and some theological works in defense of la Inmaculada Concepción and other issues.


VILLAGE, q., MARIN, T. and VIVES, J. Dictionary of ecclesiastical history of Spain. Vol. III. (Madrid: CSIC, 1973).

ARTOLA, M. (dir.). Encyclopedia of history of evaluated. Vol. 4: "Biographical Dictionary". (Madrid: Editorial Alianza, 1994).