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The history of the papacy from 1048 to 1257 was marked by conflict between popes and the Holy Roman Emperor, most prominently the Investiture Controversy, a dispute over who— pope or emperor— could appoint bishops within the Empire. Henry IV's Walk to Canossa in 1077 to meet Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), although not dispositive within the context of the larger dispute, has become legendary. Although the emperor renounced any right to lay investiture in the Concordat of Worms (1122), the issue would flare up again.
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.
The Holy Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was a conflict between church and state in medieval Europe over the ability to appoint local church officials through investiture. By undercutting imperial power, the controversy led to nearly 50 years of civil war in Germany. According to historian Norman Cantor, the investiture controversy was "the turning-point in medieval civilization", marking the end of the Early Middle Ages with the Germanic peoples' "final and decisive" acceptance of Christianity. More importantly, it set the stage for the religious and political system of the High Middle Ages.
The Imperial crown once held by the Carolingian emperors was disputed between their fractured heirs and local overlords; none emerged victorious until Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor invaded Italy. Italy became a constituent kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire in 962, from which point emperors were Germanic. As emperors consolidated their position, northern Italian city-states would become divided by Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family founded by Charles Martel with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The dynasty consolidated its power in the 8th century, eventually making the offices of mayor of the palace and dux et princeps Francorum hereditary, and becoming the de facto rulers of the Franks as the real powers behind the Merovingian throne. In 751 the Merovingian dynasty which had ruled the Germanic Franks was overthrown with the consent of the Papacy and the aristocracy, and a Carolingian Pepin the Short was crowned King of the Franks. The Carolingian dynasty reached its peak in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne as the first Emperor of Romans in the West in over three centuries. His death in 814 began an extended period of fragmentation of the Carolingian empire and decline that would eventually lead to the evolution of the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Otto I, traditionally known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda.
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
Long-standing divisions between East and West also came to a head in the East-West Schism and the Crusades. The first seven Ecumenical Councils had been attended by both Western and Eastern prelates, but growing doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographic differences finally resulted in mutually denunciations and excommunications. Pope Urban II (1088–99) speech at the Council of Clermont in 1095 became the rallying cry of the First Crusade.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760.
Pope Urban II, born Odo of Châtillon or Otho de Lagery, was Pope from 12 March 1088 to his death in 1099.
The Council of Clermont was a mixed synod of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Catholic Church, called by Pope Urban II and held from 18 to 28 November 1095 at Clermont, Auvergne, at the time part of the Duchy of Aquitaine.
Unlike the previous millennium, the process for papal selection became somewhat fixed during this period. Pope Nicholas II promulgated In Nomine Domini in 1059, which limited suffrage in papal elections to the College of Cardinals. The rules and procedures of papal elections evolved during this period, laying the groundwork for the modern papal conclave. The driving force behind these reforms was Cardinal Hildebrand, who later became Gregory VII.
Pope Nicholas II, born Gérard de Bourgogne, was pope from 24 January 1059 until his death. At the time of his election, he was Bishop of Florence.
The College of Cardinals, formerly styled the Sacred College of Cardinals, is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church. Its membership is 222, as of 14 March 2019. Cardinals are appointed by the Pope for life. Changes in life expectancy partly account for the increases in the size of the College.
A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of Cardinals convened to elect a Bishop of Rome, also known as the pope. The pope is considered by Roman Catholics to be the apostolic successor of Saint Peter and earthly head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Investiture Controversy was the most significant conflict between secular and religious powers in medieval Europe. It began as a dispute in the 11th century between the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and the Gregorian Papacy concerning who would control appointments of church officials (investiture). The controversy, undercutting the Imperial power established by the Salian Emperors, would eventually lead to nearly fifty years of civil war in Germany, the triumph of the great dukes and abbots, and the disintegration of the German empire, a condition from which it would not recover until the unification of Germany in the 19th century.
Henry IV became King of the Germans in 1056. From 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105, he was also referred to as the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century. His reign was marked by the Investiture Controversy with the Papacy, and he was excommunicated five times by three different popes. Civil wars over his throne took place in both Italy and Germany. He died of illness, soon after defeating his son's army near Visé, in Lorraine, France.
Pope Gregory VII, born Hildebrand of Sovana, was pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
In 1046, Henry III deposed three rival popes. Over the next ten years, he personally selected four of the next five pontiffs. But after the death of Henry III, the pope quickly moved to change the system to prevent such secular involvement in the election of future popes.
Henry III, called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors. He was the eldest son of Conrad II of Germany and Gisela of Swabia. His father made him Duke of Bavaria in 1026, after the death of Duke Henry V.
The eleventh century is often called the century of Saxon popes: Pope Gregory VI (1045–1046), Pope Clement II (1046–1047), Pope Damasus II (1048), Pope Leo IX (1049–1054), Pope Victor II (1055–1057) and Pope Stephen IX (1057–1058).
Three popes Benedict IX, Sylvester III and Gregory VI all claimed to be the rightful pope. Henry III deposed all three and held a synod where he declared no Roman priest fit for the title of pope. He subsequently appointed Suidger of Bamberg who, after being duly acclaimed by the people and clergy, took the name Clement II.
Days later, Clement II then crowned Henry emperor. Over the next ten years, Henry personally selected four of the next five pontiffs. The ascendancy of these to the papacy reflected the strength and power of the Holy Roman Emperor. However, Henry was the last emperor to dominate the papacy in this way because, after his death, the pope quickly moved to change the system to prevent such secular involvement in the election of future popes.
The struggle between the temporal power of the emperors and the spiritual influence of the popes came to a head in the reigns of Pope Nicholas II (1059–1061) and Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085). The popes fought to free the appointment of bishops, abbots and other prelates from the power of secular lords and monarchs into which it had fallen. This would prevent venial men being appointed to vital church positions because it benefited political rulers. Henry IV was ultimately driven by a revolt among the German nobles to make peace with the pope and appeared before Gregory in January 1077 at Canossa. Dressed as a penitent, the emperor is said to have stood barefoot in the snow for three days and begged forgiveness until, in Gregory's words: "We loosed the chain of the anathema and at length received him into the favor of communion and into the lap of the Holy Mother Church".
Pope Nicholas II, elected in 1058, initiated a process of reform which exposed the underlying tension between empire and papacy. In 1059, at a synod in Rome, Nicholas condemned various abuses within the church, and issued In Nomine Domini . These included simony (the selling of clerical posts), the marriage of clergy and, more controversially, corrupt practices in papal elections. Nicholas then restricted the choice of a new pope to a conclave of cardinals, thus ruling out any direct influence by secular powers. The primary objective of these actions was to restrict the influence of the Holy Roman Emperor on papal elections. In 1061, the assembled bishops of Germany, the emperor's own faction, declared all the decrees of this pope null and void.
In 1059, Nicholas II took two steps of a kind which, while unusual at this period, would later become commonplace for the medieval papacy. He granted land, which was already occupied, to recipients of his own choice, engaging those recipients in a feudal relationship with the papacy, or the Holy See, as the feudal lord. The beneficiaries of Nicholas' land grants were the Normans, who were granted territorial rights in southern Italy and Sicily in return for feudal obligations to Rome.
These tensions between emperors and pontiffs were to continue into the twelfth century and ultimately gave rise to the "distinctive separation of Church and State when the emperor signed the Concordat of Worms (1122) forfeiting any right to invest bishops with the ring and the staff symbolic of spiritual authority".Papal victory was short-lived, and this attempted separation of the secular from the ecclesiastical did not end aspirations on the part of the emperors to influence the papacy, nor the aspirations of the popes to exercise political power.
During the reign of Pope Gregory VII, the title “pope” was officially restricted to the bishop of Rome. Gregory VII was also responsible for greatly expanding the power of the papacy in worldly matters. One of the great reforming popes, Gregory is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, which pitted him against Emperor Henry IV, and the Gregorian Reform process.
The East-West Schism was the event that divided Chalcedonian Christianity into Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Though normally dated to 1054, the East-West Schism was actually the result of an extended period of estrangement between the two Churches. The primary causes of the Schism were disputes over papal authority— the pope claimed he held authority over the four Eastern Greek-speaking patriarchs, and over the insertion of the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed by the Western Church. Eastern Orthodox today claim that the primacy of the Patriarch of Rome was the only honorary and that he has authority only over his own diocese and does not have the authority to change the decisions of Ecumenical Councils. There were other, less significant catalysts for the Schism, including variance over liturgical practices and conflicting claims of jurisdiction.
The Church split along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographic lines, and the fundamental breach has never been healed. Attempts were made to reunite the two churches in 1274 (by the Second Council of Lyon) and in 1439 (by the Council of Basel), but in each case the councils were repudiated by the Orthodox as a whole, charging that the hierarchs had overstepped their authority in consenting to these so-called "unions". Further attempts to reconcile the two bodies have failed.
Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus asked Pope Urban II (1088–1099) for help against the Turks in the early 1090s. Urban II viewed this request as a great opportunity. Not only could it restore Christian control over the Holy Land, but it also provided a means of domestic pacification that focused the aggression of the European nobility towards the Moslems instead of each other. In addition, coming to the aid of Byzantium held the possibility of a reunion between the eastern and western Churches after almost four decades of schism, thereby strengthening the western Church in general and the papacy in particular.
On November 27, 1095, Urban II made one of the most influential speeches in the Middle Ages at the Council of Clermont combining the ideas of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with that of waging a holy war against infidels. The pope called for a “War of the Cross,” or Crusade, to retake the holy lands from the unbelievers. France, the pope said, was already overcrowded and the Holy Lands of Canaan were overflowing with milk and honey. Pope Urban II asked the Frenchmen to turn their swords in favor of God's service, and the assembly replied "Dieu le veult!" – "God wills it!"
The Concordat of Worms, sometimes called the Pactum Calixtinum by papal historians, was an agreement between Pope Callixtus II and Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor on September 23, 1122, near the city of Worms. It brought to an end the first phase of the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors and has been interpreted as containing within itself the germ of nation-based sovereignty that would one day be confirmed in the Peace of Westphalia (1648). In part this was an unforeseen result of strategic maneuvering between the Church and the European sovereigns over political control within their domains. The King was recognised as having the right to invest bishops with secular authority in the territories they governed, but not with sacred authority. The result was that bishops owed allegiance in worldly matters both to the pope and to the king, for they were obliged to affirm the right of the sovereign to call upon them for military support, under his oath of fealty. Previous Holy Roman Emperors had thought it their right, granted by God, to name Church officials within their territories and to confirm the Papal election. In fact, the Emperors had been heavily relying on bishops for their secular administration, as they were not hereditary or quasi-hereditary nobility with family interests. A more immediate result of the Investiture struggle identified a proprietary right that adhered to sovereign territory, recognising the right of kings to income from the territory of a vacant diocese and a basis for justifiable taxation. These rights lay outside feudalism, which defined authority in a hierarchy of personal relations, with only a loose relation to territory. The pope emerged as a figure above and out of the direct control of the Holy Roman Emperor.
The Council of Constance is the 15th-century ecumenical council recognized by the Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418 in the Bishopric of Constance. The council ended the Western Schism by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining papal claimants and by electing Pope Martin V.
Pope Callixtus II or Callistus II, born Guy of Burgundy, was pope of the western Christian church from 1 February 1119 to his death in 1124. His pontificate was shaped by the Investiture Controversy, which he was able to settle through the Concordat of Worms in 1122.
The Salian dynasty was a dynasty in the High Middle Ages. The dynasty provided four German Kings (1024–1125), all of whom went on to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor (1027–1125); as such, the term Salic dynasty is also used to refer to the Holy Roman Empire of the time as a separate term.
Pope/Antipope Benedict X was born Giovanni, a son of Guido, a brother of the notorious Pope Benedict IX, a member of the dominant political dynasty in the region at that time. He reportedly later was given the nickname of Mincius (thin) due to his ignorance.
The Gregorian Reforms were a series of reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII and the circle he formed in the papal curia, c. 1050–80, which dealt with the moral integrity and independence of the clergy. The reforms are considered to be named after Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), though he personally denied it and claimed his reforms, like his regnal name, honoured Pope Gregory I.
The Western Schism, also called Papal Schism, Great Occidental Schism and Schism of 1378, was a split within the Catholic Church lasting from 1378 to 1417 in which two, since 1410 even three, men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope, having excommunicated one another. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance (1414–1418). For a time these rival claims to the papal throne damaged the reputation of the office.
The Council of Sutri was called by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III and opened on December 20, 1046, in the hilltown of Sutri, at the edge of the Duchy of Rome. The Catholic Church does not list this as an ecumenical council.
The counts of Tusculum were the most powerful secular noblemen in Latium, near Rome, in the present-day Italy between the 10th and 12th centuries. Several popes and an antipope during the 11th century came from their ranks. They created and perfected the political formula of noble-papacy, wherein the Pope was arranged to be elected only from the ranks of the Roman nobles. The Pornocracy, the period of influence by powerful female members of the family, also influenced papal history.
Papal supremacy is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as the visible foundation and source of unity, and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."
In nomine Domini is a papal bull written by Pope Nicholas II and a canon of the Council of Rome. The bull was issued on 13 April 1059 and caused major reforms in the system of papal election, most notably establishing the cardinal-bishops as the sole electors of the pope, with the consent of minor clergy.
Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.
There was no fixed process for papal selection before 1059. Popes, the bishops of Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church, were often appointed by their predecessors or secular rulers. While the process was often characterized by some capacity of election, an election with the meaningful participation of the laity was the exception to the rule, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later give rise to the jus exclusivae, a veto right exercised by Catholic monarchies into the twentieth century.
Christianity in the 11th century is marked primarily by the Great Schism of the Church, which formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches.
The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.
Benzo of Alba was an Italian bishop. He was an opponent of Gregorian reform who supported Henry IV of Germany in the Investiture Controversy.