Key Points

When the divine Roman Empire emerged as a force during the 10th century, it to be the first real non-barbarian difficulty to the authority of the church.A dispute between the secular and ecclesiastical powers recognized as the Investiture controversy emerged beginning in the mid-11th century.The Investiture dispute was addressed with the Concordat of Worms in 1122, which provided the church power over investiture, along with other reforms.By undercutting the royal power created by vault emperors, the controversy led to nearly fifty years of civil battle in Germany, and the triumph the the great dukes and abbots.The papacy grew stronger in that is power and authority from the controversy.

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The revenue of church workplaces to a successor.


The authority to appoint neighborhood church public official such as bishops the cities and abbots of monasteries.

Concordat the Worms

An agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy roman Emperor Henry V ~ above September 23, 1122, that discovered a resolution to the Investiture Controversy.


The Investiture conflict was the most far-ranging conflict in between church and state in medieval Europe, especially the divine Roman Empire.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, a collection of popes tested the authority of european monarchies. At issue was who, the pope or monarchs, had the authority to appoint (invest) local church public representative such together bishops of cities and also abbots that monasteries. The problem ended in 1122, as soon as Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II agreed on the Concordat the Worms. The differentiated between the royal and also spiritual powers and also gave the kings a minimal role in choosing bishops. The outcome seemed mostly a win for the pope and also his insurance claim that he was God’s cook representative in the world. However, the emperor go retain significant power end the church.

The Investiture Controversy began as a power struggle in between Pope Gregory VII (1072–1085) and Holy roman Emperor Henry V (1056–1106). A quick but far-reaching struggle end investiture likewise occurred between Henry i of England and Pope Paschal II in the years 1103–1107, and also the issue additionally played a minor duty in the struggles in between church and state in France.

By undercutting the imperial power created by vault emperors, the dispute led to nearly fifty year of civil battle in Germany, and also the triumph of the good dukes and also abbots. Royal power was ultimately re-established under the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Historian Norman Cantor to write of the significance:

The period of the investiture dispute may correctly be concerned as the turning-point in medieval civilization. It was the fulfillment that the at an early stage Middle Ages due to the fact that in the the accept of the Christian religious beliefs by the Germanic peoples reached that final and also decisive stage…The greater component of the spiritual and political system of the high middle Ages emerged out that the events and ideas the the investiture controversy.

Investiture. A woodcut through Philip valve Ness (1905), A medieval king investing a bishop with the symbols of office.


After the decrease of the roman inn Empire and also prior come the Investiture Controversy, investiture, while about theory a task of the church, was in exercise performed through members the the religious nobility. Plenty of bishops and also abbots to be themselves part of the ruling nobility. Because an eldest boy would inherit the title of the father, brothers often uncovered careers in the church. This was particularly true where the family may have created a proprietary church or abbey on your estate. Since Otto i (936-972) the bishops had actually been princes that the empire, had actually secured countless privileges, and had end up being to a good extent feudal lords over good districts the the royal territory. The manage of these good units that economic and also military strength was for the king a inquiry of primary importance, as it impacted the royal authority. It was essential for a leader or nobleman to choose (or market the office to) someone who would stay loyal.

Since a considerable amount of wealth and land to be usually linked with the office the a bishop or abbot, the revenue of church offices (a practice known as simony) was an essential source of revenue for leaders amongst the nobility, that themselves own the land and by charity permitted the building of churches.

The crisis began when a team within the church, members that the Gregorian Reform, made decision to rebel versus the rule of simony through forcefully acquisition the strength of investiture from the ruling secular power, i.e., the divine Roman Emperor, and also placing that power wholly within regulate of the church. The Gregorian reversal knew this would not be feasible so long as the emperor kept the capability to appoint the pope, therefore their an initial step was to forcibly get the papacy native the manage of the emperor. An possibility came in 1056 when six-year-old Henry IV ended up being the German king; the reformers took advantage of his young age and inability to reaction by seizing the papacy by force. In 1059 a church board of directors in Rome declared, v In Nomine Domini, that leaders that the nobility would have actually no part in the selection of popes, and also created the university of Cardinals as a body of electors made up entirely that church officials. As soon as Rome regained control of the election of the pope, the was ready to attack the exercise of investiture and simony on a wide front.

In 1075, Pope Gregory VII written the Dictatus Papae. One i asserted that the deposal of one emperor was under the sole power of the pope. It declared that the roman inn church was established by God alone—that the papal power was the sole universal power. By this time, Henry IV was no longer a child, and also he ongoing to appoint his very own bishops. He reaction to this declaration by sending out Gregory VII a letter in which he withdrew his royal support that Gregory as pope in no uncertain terms.

The instance was do even an ext dire once Henry IV installed his chaplain, Tedald, a Milanese priest, as Bishop the Milan when an additional priest of Milan, Atto, had currently been chosen by the pope because that candidacy. In 1076 the pope comment by excommunicating Henry and deposing him together German king, releasing all Christians from your oath the allegiance to him.

Enforcing this declarations was a various matter, but the advantage gradually involved the side of the pope. German princes and also the aristocracy to be happy come hear the the king’s deposition. They used religious reasons to proceed the rebellion started at the first Battle that Langensalza in 1075, and to seize royal holdings. Aristocrats claimed local lordships over peasants and also property, constructed forts, which had previously to be outlawed, and built up localized fiefdoms to secure your autonomy from the empire.

The Investiture Controversy continued for several decades as each being successful pope tried to diminish imperial power through stirring up rebellion in Germany. These revolts were progressively successful. Henry IV was succeeded upon his fatality in 1106 by his boy Henry V, who had actually rebelled versus his father in donate of the papacy, and who had actually made his dad renounce the legality that his antipopes before he died. Nevertheless, Henry V chose one much more antipope, Gregory VIII. Later, that renounced few of the civil liberties of investiture through the Concordat of Worms, abandoned Gregory, and also was received ago into communion and recognized together legitimate emperor together a result.


Henry IV. This illustration shows Henry IV requesting mediation from Matilda the Tuscany and also abbot Hugh the Cluny.

The Concordat that Worms and also Its Significance

After fifty years of fighting, the Concordat of Worms provided a lasting compromise when it to be signed on September 23, 1122. It removed lay investiture when leaving secular leaders some room because that unofficial but far-reaching influence in the meeting process. The emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics through ring and also crosier, the signs of your spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and totally free consecration.

The Concordat the Worms lugged an end to the an initial phase the the strength struggle in between the papacy and the divine Roman emperors, and also has been construed as containing within itself the germ of nation-based sovereignty that would one day be shown in the contract of Westphalia (1648). In part this was an unforeseen an outcome of strategic maneuvering between the church and also the european sovereigns end political regulate within your domains.

While the monarchy was embroiled in the conflict with the church, it declined in power and broke apart. Localized civil liberties of lordship over peasants grew. This led to multiple effects:

Increased serfdom that lessened human legal rights for the majority;Increased taxes and also levies that imperial coffers declined;Localized civil liberties of justice whereby courts go not need to answer to royal authority.

In the lengthy term, the decrease of imperial power would certainly divide Germany till the 19th century. Similarly, in Italy, the Investiture conflict weakened the emperor’s authority and also strengthened local separatist forces. However, the papacy thrived stronger indigenous the controversy. Assembling because that public opinion engaged lay civilization in spiritual affairs that raised lay piety, setting the stage for the Crusades and the great religious vitality of the 12th century.

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The problem did not finish with the Concordat of Worms. Future disputes between popes and Holy roman emperors continued until northern Italy was shed to the realm entirely. The church would certainly crusade against the divine Roman empire under Frederick II.