Ponsa or Pousa (Hungarian: Pósa;[1] Serbo-Croatian: Ponza/Понза or Povša/Повша) was a Dominican friar, who served as Bishop of Bosnia from 1238 to 1270 (or 1272).

Ponsa (Pousa), O.P.
Bishop of Bosnia
Term ended1270/72
PredecessorJohn of Wildeshausen
Consecration26 April 1238
by Theodoric, Bishop of Cumania
Personal details


Prior to his appointment as bishop, Ponsa was a leading superior of the Dominican friars' missionary activities to the territory of the neighboring Cuman tribes.[2] He was appointed Bishop of Bosnia in the midst of the Bosnian Crusade. The crusade's stated objective was to purge Bosnia from heresy, in other words to exterminate the autonomous Bosnian Church.[3] His predecessor, the German-born Dominican John of Wildeshausen, repeatedly requested to be relieved of the bishopric, and in 1238 Pope Gregory IX wrote that the crusade was a success and that he had selected Ponsa as the new bishop.[4] Ponsa was also to be assigned jurisdiction over Zachlumia, but probably only its western part, as the rest belonged to Serbia.[3] Ponsa was consecrated by Theodoric, Bishop of Cumania on 26 April 1238.[2] Pope Gregory believed Ponsa to be very capable, and named him apostolic legate to Bosnia for a term of three years.[5] Matej Ninoslav, Ban of Bosnia, apparently refused to accept Ponsa as bishop, which the Pope regarded as an act of defiance.[6] The crusaders penetrated into Central Bosnia, and a cathedral called Saint Peter's was built in Brdo (Burdo) above Vrhbosna (modern Sarajevo) in 1238.[4]

Ponsa's episcopate lasted over three decades,[7] but he functioned as a puppet of Hungary and had no support in Bosnia, where Bosnian Church still prevailed.[6] By the first half of the 1240s, he was forced to leave the country and establish a residence in the Slavonian town of Đakovo,[6] granted to him earlier by the Hungarian prince Coloman.[7] The relocation was meant to be temporary, but from then on Ponsa and his successors never set foot in Bosnia and had nothing to do with its affairs (except for the 14th-century Peregrin Saxon, the first Bishop of Bosnia since Ponsa to live in Bosnia, and Peregrin's successor, Peter Siklósi).[6] Ponsa requested Pope Innocent IV to put his virtual bishopric under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Kalocsa. After a lengthy investigation, the pope fulfilled the request on 26 August 1247. However the official replacement did not happen until the beginning of the 14th century.[8] Ponsa is last mentioned as a living person in September 1270. He died by March 1272, when Roland first appears as his successor.[1]


  1. ^ a b Zsoldos 2011, p. 85.
  2. ^ a b Ternovácz 2016, p. 220.
  3. ^ a b Fine 1994, p. 145.
  4. ^ a b Fine 2007, p. 127.
  5. ^ Barun 2003, p. 78.
  6. ^ a b c d Fine 2007, p. 133.
  7. ^ a b Barun 2003, p. 79.
  8. ^ Ternovácz 2016, p. 222.


  • Barun, Anđelko (2003). Svjedoci i učitelji: povijest franjevaca Bosne Srebrene (in Serbo-Croatian). Svjetlo riječi.
  • Fine, John Van Antwerp, Jr. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08260-4.
  • Fine, John Van Antwerp, Jr. (2007). The Bosnian Church: Its Place in State and Society from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century. Saqi. ISBN 0863565034.
  • Ternovácz, Bálint (2016). "A boszniai latin püspökség története 1344-ig [The History of the Latin Bishopric of Bosnia until 1344]". In Fábián, Laura; et al. (eds.). Micae Mediaevales V (in Hungarian). Eötvös Loránd University. pp. 215–228. ISBN 978-963-284-712-2.
  • Zsoldos, Attila (2011). Magyarország világi archontológiája, 1000–1301 [Secular Archontology of Hungary, 1000–1301] (in Hungarian). História, MTA Történettudományi Intézete. ISBN 978-963-9627-38-3.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John of Wildeshausen
Bishop of Bosnia
Succeeded by