Investiture Controversy

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Myers, Philip Van Ness (1905), A medieval king investing a bishop with the symbols of office
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Myers, Philip Van Ness (1905), A medieval king investing a bishop with the symbols of office

The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was a conflict between church and state in medieval Europe over the ability to install high church officials through investiture. [1] 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. [1]

Church and state in medieval Europe

Church and State in medieval Europe includes the relationship between the Catholic Church and the various monarchies and other states in Europe, between the end of Roman authority in the West in the fifth century and the beginnings of the Reformation in the early sixteenth century. The relationship between the Church and the feudal states during the medieval period went through a number of developments. The struggles for power between kings and popes shaped the western world.

Investiture, from the Latin, is the formal installation of an incumbent. In the United States and other countries, the ceremonial signing in of judges, including those of the Supreme Court, is called investiture.

Holy Roman Empire Complex of territories in Europe from 962 to 1806

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.

Contents

It began as a power struggle between Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV in 1076. [2] There was also a brief but significant investiture struggle between Pope Paschal II and King Henry I of England from 1103 to 1107. The conflict ended in 1122, when Pope Callixtus II and Emperor Henry V agreed on the Concordat of Worms, which differentiated between the royal and spiritual powers and gave the emperors a limited role in selecting bishops. The outcome was largely a papal victory, but the Emperor still retained considerable power.

Pope Gregory VII Pope from 1073 to 1085

Pope Gregory VII, born Hildebrand of Sovana, was pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085.

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

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 Paschal II pope

Pope Paschal II, born Ranierius, was pope from 13 August 1099 to his death in 1118.

Background

In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of popes challenged the authority of European monarchies about who had the authority to appoint ("invest") local church officials such as bishops of cities and abbots of monasteries.

Christianity in the 11th century Christianity-related events during the 11th 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.

Christianity in the 12th century Christianity-related events during the 12th century

Christianity in the 12th century was marked by scholastic development and monastic reforms in the western church and a continuation of the Crusades, namely with the Second Crusade in the Holy Land.

Abbot Religious title

Abbot, meaning father, is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.

After the decline of the Western Roman Empire, investiture was performed by members of the ruling nobility despite theoretically being a task of the church. [3] Many bishops and abbots were themselves usually part of the ruling nobility. Given that most members of the European nobility practiced primogeniture, and willed their titles of nobility to the eldest surviving male heir, surplus male siblings often sought careers in the upper levels of the church hierarchy. This was particularly true where the family may have established a proprietary church or abbey on their estate. Since Otto the Great (936–72) the bishops had been princes of the empire, had secured many privileges, and had become to a great extent feudal lords over great districts of the imperial territory. The control of these great units of economic and military power was for the king a question of primary importance due to its effect on imperial authority. [4] It was essential for a ruler or nobleman to appoint (or sell the office to) someone who would remain loyal. [3]

Proprietary church

During the Middle Ages, the proprietary church was a church, abbey or cloister built on private ground by a feudal lord, over which he retained proprietary interests, especially the right of what in English law is "advowson", that of nominating the ecclesiastic personnel.

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor German king and first emperor of the Ottonian 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.

Since a substantial amount of wealth and land was usually associated with the office of a bishop or abbot, the sale of church offices—a practice known as "simony"—was an important source of income for leaders among the nobility, who themselves owned the land and by charity allowed the building of churches.[ citation needed ]

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Simony Act of selling church offices and roles

Simony is the act of selling church offices and roles. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things."

Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII

The crisis began when supporters of the Gregorian Reform decided to rebel against simony by forcefully taking the power of investiture from the ruling secular power, the Holy Roman Emperor, and placing that power wholly within control of the church. The Gregorian reformers knew this would not be possible so long as the emperor maintained the ability to appoint the pope, so their first step was to forcibly gain the papacy from the control of the emperor.

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.

Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Emperor, officially the Emperor of the Romans, and also the German-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.

When six-year-old Henry IV became King of the Germans in 1056, the reformers seized the papacy while the king was still a child. In 1059, a church council in Rome declared, with In Nomine Domini , that leaders of the nobility would have no part in the selection of popes and created the College of Cardinals as a body of electors made up entirely of church officials. Having regained control of the election of the pope, the church was now ready to tackle investiture and simony.

In 1075, Pope Gregory VII composed the Dictatus Papae . One clause asserted that the deposal of an emperor was under the sole power of the pope. [5] It declared that the Roman church was founded by God alone – that the papal power (the auctoritas of Pope Gelasius) was the sole universal power; in particular, a council held in the Lateran Palace from 24 to 28 February the same year decreed that the pope alone could appoint or depose churchmen or move them from see to see. [6] By this time, Henry IV was no longer a child, and he continued to appoint his own bishops. [5] He reacted to this declaration by sending Gregory VII a letter in which he withdrew his imperial support of Gregory as pope in no uncertain terms: the letter was headed "Henry, king not through usurpation but through the holy ordination of God, to Hildebrand, at present not pope but false monk". [7] It called for the election of a new pope. His letter ends, "I, Henry, king by the grace of God, with all of my Bishops, say to you, come down, come down!", and is often quoted with "and to be damned throughout the ages", which is a later addition. [8]

The situation was made even more dire when Henry IV installed his chaplain, Tedald, a Milanese priest, as Bishop of Milan, when another priest of Milan, Atto, had already been chosen in Rome by the pope for candidacy. [9] In 1076 Gregory responded by excommunicating Henry, and deposed him as German king, [10] releasing all Christians from their oath of allegiance. [11]

Enforcing these declarations was a different matter, but the advantage gradually came to be on the side of Gregory VII. German princes and the aristocracy were happy to hear of the king's deposition. They used religious reasons to continue the rebellion started at the First Battle of Langensalza in 1075, and for seizure of royal holdings. Aristocrats claimed local lordships over peasants and property, built forts, which had previously been outlawed, and built up localized fiefdoms to secure their autonomy from the empire. [5]

Henry IV requests mediation from Matilda of Tuscany and abbot Hugh of Cluny Hugo-v-cluny heinrich-iv mathilde-v-tuszien cod-vat-lat-4922 1115ad.jpg
Henry IV requests mediation from Matilda of Tuscany and abbot Hugh of Cluny

Thus, because of these combining factors, Henry IV had no choice but to back down, needing time to marshal his forces to fight the rebellion. In 1077, he traveled to Canossa in northern Italy to meet the pope and apologize in person. [12] As penance for his sins, and echoing his own punishment of the Saxons after the First Battle of Langensalza, he wore a hair shirt and stood barefoot in the snow in what has become known as the Walk to Canossa. Gregory lifted the excommunication, but the German aristocrats, whose rebellion became known as the Great Saxon Revolt, were not as willing to give up their opportunity and elected a rival king, Rudolf von Rheinfeld. Three years later, Pope Gregory declared his support for von Rheinfeld, and excommunicated Henry IV again.[ citation needed ]

Henry IV then proclaimed Antipope Clement III to be pope and Rudolf von Rheinfeld died in 1080, effectively ending the internal revolt against Henry. In 1081, Henry invaded Rome for the first time with the intent of forcibly removing Gregory VII and installing a friendlier pope. Gregory VII called on his allies, the Normans in southern Italy, and they rescued him from the Germans in 1085. The Normans sacked Rome in the process, and when the citizens of Rome rose up against Gregory, he was forced to flee south with the Normans. He died soon thereafter.

The Investiture Controversy continued for several decades as each successive pope tried to diminish imperial power by stirring up revolt in Germany. These revolts were gradually successful. Henry IV was succeeded upon his death in 1106 by his son Emperor Henry V, who had rebelled against his father in favor of the papacy, and who had made his father renounce the legality of his antipopes before he died. Nevertheless, Henry V chose another antipope, Gregory VIII. Later, he renounced some of the rights of investiture with the Concordat of Worms, abandoned Gregory VIII, and was received back into communion and recognized as legitimate emperor as a result.

English investiture controversy (1102–07)

At the time of Henry IV's death, Henry I of England and the Gregorian papacy were also embroiled in a controversy over investiture, and its solution provided a model for the eventual solution of the issue in the empire.

William the Conqueror had accepted a papal banner and the distant blessing of Pope Alexander II upon his invasion, but had successfully rebuffed the pope's assertion after the successful outcome, that he should come to Rome and pay homage for his fief, under the general provisions of the "Donation of Constantine".

The ban on lay investiture in Dictatus Papae did not shake the loyalty of William's bishops and abbots. In the reign of Henry I, the heat of exchanges between Westminster and Rome induced Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to give up mediating and retire to an abbey. Robert of Meulan, one of Henry's chief advisors, was excommunicated, but the threat of excommunicating the king remained unplayed. The papacy needed the support of English Henry while German Henry was still unbroken. A projected crusade also required English support.

Henry I commissioned the Archbishop of York to collect and present all the relevant traditions of anointed kingship. On this topic, the historian Norman Cantor would note: "The resulting 'Anonymous of York' treaties are a delight to students of early-medieval political theory, but they in no way typify the outlook of the Anglo-Norman monarchy, which had substituted the secure foundation of administrative and legal bureaucracy for outmoded religious ideology." [13]

Concordat of London (1107)

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According to René Metz, author of What Is Canon Law?, a concordat is a convention concluded between the Holy See and the civil power of a country to define the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in matters in which both are concerned. The concordat is one type of an international convention. Concordats began during the First Crusade's end in 1098. [14]

The Concordat of London (1107) suggested a compromise that was later taken up in the Concordat of Worms. In England, as in Germany, the king's chancery started to distinguish between the secular and ecclesiastical powers of the prelates. Employing this distinction, Henry gave up his right to invest his bishops and abbots while reserving the custom of requiring them to swear homage for the "temporalities" (the landed properties tied to the episcopate) directly from his hand, after the bishop had sworn homage and feudal vassalage in the commendation ceremony (commendatio), like any secular vassal. The system of vassalage was not divided among great local lords in England as it was in France, since the king was in control by right of the conquest.

Concordat of Worms (1122)

On the European mainland, after 50 years of fighting, the Concordat of Worms provided a similar but longer-lasting compromise when it was signed on September 23, 1122.

It eliminated lay investiture, while allowing secular leaders some room for unofficial but significant influence in the appointment process. While the monarchy was embroiled in the dispute with the Church, its power declined while the localized rights of lordship over peasants increased. This eventually led to:

Legacy

In the long term, the decline of imperial power would divide Germany until the 19th century. Similarly, in Italy, the investiture controversy weakened the emperor's authority and strengthened local separatists. [15]

On the other hand, the papacy grew stronger. Marshalling for public opinion engaged lay people in religious affairs increasing lay piety, setting the stage for the Crusades and the great religious vitality of the 12th century.

However, the dispute did not end with the Concordat of Worms in 1122; future disputes between popes and Holy Roman Emperors continued until northern Italy was lost to the empire entirely. The church would Crusade against the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II. As historian Norman Cantor put it, the controversy "shattered the early-medieval equilibrium and ended the interpenetration of ecclesia and mundus ". Indeed, medieval emperors, which were "largely the creation of ecclesiastical ideals and personnel", were forced to develop a secular bureaucratic state whose essential components persisted in the Anglo-Norman monarchy. [16]

Cultural references

Science fiction writer Poul Anderson wrote the novel The Shield of Time, depicting two alternate history scenarios - one in which the imperial power completely and utterly defeated the Papacy, and the other in which the Papacy emerged victorious with the imperial power humbled and marginalized - and both ending with a highly authoritarian and repressive twentieth century, completely devoid of democracy or civil rights. The conclusion stated by a protagonist is that the outcome in actual history - in which neither power gained a clear victory, and both continued to counter-balance each other - was the best from the point of view of human liberty.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Benzo of Alba was an Italian bishop. He was an opponent of Gregorian reform who supported Henry IV of Germany in the Investiture Controversy.

References

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 Cantor 1958, pp. 8–9.
  2. Rubenstein 2011, p. 18.
  3. 1 2 Blumenthal 1988, pp. 34–36.
  4. Löffler 1910.
  5. 1 2 3 Appleby, R. Scott (1999). "How the Pope Got His Political Muscle". U.S. Catholic. Vol. 64 no. 9. p. 36.
  6. Paravicini Bagliani, Agostino. "Sia fatta la mia volontà". Medioevo (143): 76.
  7. Henry IV 1076.
  8. Fuhrmann 1986, p. 64; Henry IV 1076.
  9. Floto 1891, p. 911.
  10. Pope Gregory VII 1076.
  11. Löffler 1910, p. 85.
  12. A. Creber, ‘Women at Canossa. The Role of Elite Women in the Reconciliation between Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV of Germany (January 1077),’ Storicamente 13 (2017), article no. 13, pp. 1-44.
  13. Cantor 1993, p. 286.
  14. Metz 1960, p. 137.
  15. Hearder & Waley 1963.
  16. Cantor 1993, p. 395.

Bibliography

Primary sources

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1076). "Henry IV.'s Answer to Gregory VII., Jan. 24, 1076". In Henderson, Ernest F. (ed.). Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages. Translated by Henderson, Ernest F. London: George Bell and Sons (published 1903). pp. 372–373. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Pope Gregory VII (1076). "First Deposition and Banning of Henry IV. by Gregory VII., February 22, 1076". In Henderson, Ernest F. (ed.). Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages. Translated by Henderson, Ernest F. London: George Bell and Sons (published 1903). pp. 376–377. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Slocum, Kenneth, ed. (2010). "The Investiture Controversy". Sources in Medieval Culture and History. Boston: Prentice Hall. pp. 170–175. ISBN   978-0-13-615726-7.

Secondary and tertiary sources

  • Blumenthal, Uta-Renate (1988). The Investiture Controversy: Church and Monarchy from the Ninth to the Twelfth Century. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Cantor, Norman F. (1958). Church, Kingship, and Lay Investiture in England, 1089–1135. Princeton University Press.
  •  ———  (1993). The Civilization of the Middle Ages. HarperCollins.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
Cowdrey, H. E. J. (1998). Pope Gregory VII, 1073–1085. Oxford University Press.
Floto (1891). "Gregory VII". In Schaff, Philip (ed.). Religious Encyclopedia: or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology. 2 (3rd ed.). New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. pp. 910–912. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Fuhrmann, Horst (1986). Germany in the High Middle Ages c. 1050–1200. Translated by Reuter, Timothy. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press (published 2001). ISBN   978-0-521-31980-5.
Hearder, H.; Waley, D. P., eds. (1963). A Short History of Italy: From Classical Times to the Present Day.
Jolly, Karen Louise (1997). Tradition & Diversity: Christianity in a World Context to 1500. ME Sharpe.
Löffler, Klemens (1910). "Conflict of Investitures"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company. pp. 84–89.
McCarthy, T. J. H. (2014). Chronicles of the Investiture Contest: Frutolf of Michelsberg and His Continuators . Manchester: Manchester Medieval Sources. ISBN   978-0-7190-8470-6.
Metz, René (1960). What Is Canon Law?. The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism. 80. Translated by Derrick, Michael. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Morrison, Karl F., ed. (1971). The Investiture Controversy: Issues, Ideas, and Results. Holt McDougal.
Rubenstein, Jay (2011). Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse. New York: Basic Books. ISBN   978-0-465-01929-8.
Tellenbach, Gerd (1993). The Western Church from the Tenth to the Early Twelfth Century. Cambridge University Press.
Thompson, James Westfall; Johnson, Edgar Nathaniel (1937). An Introduction to Medieval Europe, 300–1500.

Further reading

Primary sources

Halsall, Paul, ed. (2007). "Selected Sources: Empire and Papacy". Internet Medieval Sourcebook. New York: Fordham University. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Henderson, Ernest F., ed. (1122). "Concordat of Worms, Sept. 23, 1122". Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages. Translated by Henderson, Ernest F. London: George Bell and Sons (published 1903). pp. 408–409. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Pope Gregory VII (1078). "Decree of Nov. 19th, 1078, Forbidding Lay Investiture". In Henderson, Ernest F. (ed.). Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages. Translated by Henderson, Ernest F. London: George Bell and Sons (published 1903). p. 365. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
 ———  (1080). "Second Banning and Dethronement of Henry IV., through Gregory VII., March 7th, 1080". In Henderson, Ernest F. (ed.). Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages. Translated by Henderson, Ernest F. London: George Bell and Sons (published 1903). pp. 388–391. Retrieved 13 October 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
 ———  (1903). "The Dictate of the Pope". In Henderson, Ernest F. (ed.). Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages. Translated by Henderson, Ernest F. London: George Bell and Sons. pp. 366–367. Retrieved 13 October 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)

Secondary and tertiary sources

Blumenthal, Uta-Renate (2016). "Investiture Controversy". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 13 October 2017.
"Investiture". The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Nelson, Lynn H. "The Owl, the Cat, and the Investiture Controversy". Lectures for a Medieval Survey. On-line Reference Book for Medieval Studies. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Schroeder, H. J. (1937). "The Ninth General Council (1123)". Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils: Text, Translation, and Commentary. St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder Book Co. pp. 177–194. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Van Hove, Alphonse (1910). "Canonical Investiture"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company. p. 84.