Investiture Dispute | Interesting factsHistoryczne.pl

The year 1073. Hildebrandt was elected pope to the ovation of the crowd and took the name of Gregory VII. It soon became clear that he was a man of action who would pursue radical reform – and radically strengthen his power. In particular, he focused on a number of issues. firm however, he demanded that priests observe celibacy. He also did not like simony, that is, shopping with ecclesiastical dignities and sacraments. But first and foremost He did not want any secular authority to interfere in the governance of the Church. Even – and perhaps especially – every Roman emperor. The secular inauguration was particularly unpleasant for him. So the right direction should have been Papocesarianism, not Caesaropapism.

Like the pope messed with the king

Gregory VII clearly expressed his opinion in the document dictatus papae from 1075. In it he emphasized that the Pope directs the Church from God so that only he can rule the bishops. According to Gregory, the pope also had the right to remove emperors and to free all subjects of bad secular authority from obedience. Finally, the Church of Rome never made mistakes and never will. Interestingly, some sources suggest that this is actually the author dictatus papae there was one of the cardinals, Deusdedit.

photo: Otto Bitschnau OSB, Rudolph Blättler OSB / public domain

It was only a matter of time before Gregory VII would be impressed by Henry IV, who was elected King of Germany in 1053.

It was only a matter of time before Gregory VII would be impressed by Henry IV, who was elected King of Germany in 1053. He appointed a Godfrey, who was excommunicated by the previous pope, Alexander II, to the then controversial position of Archbishop of Milan. Gregory VII, of course, went into battle with a secular competitor even more passionately. In 1075 a synod was convened in Rome forbidding senior clergy from accepting an investiture for any ecclesiastical office by anyone other than a member of the clergy. Together with the explicit declaration of the pope’s sovereignty over the imperial authority, this could not go unanswered.

Also read: Wine, song and lots of women… He was probably the most debauched pope in history

Henry IV strikes back…

It is time for a counterattack from Henry IV. meanwhile several German bishops were excommunicated by the Pope for simony. Effect? The German bishops disobeyed the Pope. In 1076 Henry IV convened a synod in Worms. The Pope’s authority was rejected and the bishops even demanded his dethronement. The argument for this was the fact that the cardinals who took part in Hildebrandt’s election were forced to support his candidacy. The abdication of Gregory VII was also requested by Henry IV himself – with the support and applause of the German bishops, the archbishops of Mainz and Trier, and the bishops of Northern Italy and Piacenza.

But did Gregory VII care? Not at all! Roland of Parma, announcing Henry IV’s will in Rome, was nearly lynched. He was rescued by the Pope himself, who also decided to intervene. The situation is ripe for radical steps. Gregory convened his own synod. All priests who opposed the papal authority were excommunicated.

The punishment did not spare Henry IV himself. Gregory VII cursed him and dethroned him. This battle was so effective that Henry IV struggled with problems in his own country. His opposition took the opportunity and not only invited the Pope to the synod in Augsburg, but also demanded at the Congress in Trebura in October 1076 that the monarch humble himself and acquit him.

Also read: The Age of Anathema. Here are the six worst curses of the Middle Ages!

We’re going to Canossa!

Henry IV thus threatened to undergo a double humiliation. In the middle of winter, around 1076 and 1077, he began to prepare for the road. He tried not to make the matter public. He took his family on a trip: his wife Berta and a son. A long and arduous journey through the Alps awaited them. Finally Henry IV reached Canossa, where Gregory VII was thenwho, however, was reluctant to accept a competitor. And he expressed it by severely testing Henry IV… Barefoot, in a fine bag, the proud German ruler had to wait 3 days in front of the gate for the papal grace. There is no greater humiliation.

Barefoot, in a fine bag, the proud German ruler had to wait 3 days in front of the gate for the papal grace.photo: Eduard Schwoiser / public domain

Barefoot, in a fine bag, the proud German ruler had to wait 3 days in front of the gate for the papal grace.

In the end, Gregory VII agreed to accept him. He accepted Henry IV’s solemn act of penance and his pledges of loyalty. He acquitted him and lifted the curse on him. Henry IV’s mission was successful. He was able to return safely to his homeland. Or so he thought then.

After his return to Germany, an unpleasant surprise awaited him: he was no longer king! His political opponents wasted no time and… opted for an anti-king. It was Rudolf from Swabia. Worse, the new “ruler” was clearly to the liking of the papacy. Could Gregory VII have his fingers in it? Such a thought might appear in the mind of the dethroned ruler, although the Pope had nothing to do with this plot.

Blood is needed for this insult

Before Henry IV could harm Gregory VII in any way, however, he had to regain power in Germany. Although he was supported by the bishops and Lombards, he did not do well on the battlefield. In 1080 he even lost two battles. It was only in October that luck smiled upon him. Rudolf of Swabia was defeated. An obstacle in my head. Meanwhile, Henry IV was even crowned Lombardy when the Pope suddenly intervened again.

He again dethroned Henry and also excommunicated him. In answer the king organized a military expedition to Rome. He attacked once – failed. He attacked again – another failure. In the end, his perseverance was rewarded. In 1082 he finally entered the city. He was suggested to resolve the conflict through synod, but to no avail. Finally Henry IV achieved his goal: in 1084 the Synod of German and Italian Prelates removed Gregory VII from office and in his place – as antipope – the Archbishop of Ravenna, who took the name Clement III, was elected. In gratitude he crowned his benefactor emperor.

Henry IV finally achieved his goal: in 1084, the Synod of German and Italian Prelates removed Gregory VII from officephoto: Gustav Gaupp / public domain

Henry IV finally achieved his goal: in 1084, the Synod of German and Italian Prelates removed Gregory VII from office

However, Gregory VII decided that he would not sell leather so cheaply. He came up with the idea of ​​asking the Normans of southern Italy for help. They not only removed Clement III from Rome, but also the Imperial troops who were there. But Bringing in the Normans turned out to be putting out the fire with gasoline: they simply sacked Rome mercilessly. Grzegorz is no longer welcome there. This time he left the Eternal City forever. He went to Salerno. He died in 1085.

Nevertheless, the investiture war between the papacy and the empire was in full swing. It only ended with the conclusion of the Worms Concordat by Callixtus II and Henry IV’s son, Henry V. And it’s only surprising how many people were involved – and died – as a result of the conflict of two slightly overly self-centered rulers. …

Bibliography

  1. E. Cairns, With Christianity Through the Ages: The History of the Universal ChurchPublisher Credo, Katowice 2003.
  2. cast members, Events that changed the fate of the worldBellona, ​​​​​​Warsaw 2008.
  3. Jakubowski, M. Wlodarczyk, B. Zdaniuk, History to 1918. Cultural and Civilization PerspectiveFaculty of Journalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw, Warsaw 2014.
  4. możdżan, Pre-Slaves, Slavs, Poland – ReflectionsPublisher Ruthenus, Krosno 2015.

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