Key Points

When the holy Roman Empire developed as a force during the 10th century, it was the an initial real non-barbarian an obstacle to the government of the church.A dispute between the secular and also ecclesiastical powers well-known as the Investiture controversy emerged beginning in the mid-11th century.The Investiture controversy was solved with the Concordat the Worms in 1122, which provided the church power over investiture, in addition to other reforms.By undercutting the royal power created by vault emperors, the controversy led to nearly fifty years of civil war in Germany, and also the triumph that the good dukes and also abbots.The papacy thrived stronger in the power and also authority native the controversy.

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The sale of church workplaces to a successor.


The government to appoint local church public official such as bishops the cities and also abbots the monasteries.

Concordat that Worms

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


The Investiture conflict was the most far-ranging conflict between church and state in middle ages Europe, specifically the holy Roman Empire.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of popes tested the government of europe monarchies. At issue was who, the pope or monarchs, had actually the authority to choose (invest) neighborhood church public official such together bishops the cities and abbots of monasteries. The conflict ended in 1122, as soon as Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II i agree on the Concordat of Worms. The differentiated between the royal and spiritual powers and also gave the monarchs a limited role in choosing bishops. The result seemed mostly a victory for the pope and also his claim that he to be God’s cook representative in the world. However, the emperor walk retain considerable power end the church.

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

By undercutting the imperial power developed by vault emperors, the debate led to virtually fifty years of civil war in Germany, and also the triumph the the an excellent dukes and abbots. Imperial power was lastly re-established under the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Chronicler Norman Cantor writes of that significance:

The period of the investiture conflict may correctly be pertained to as the turning-point in middle ages civilization. It to be the fulfillment the the beforehand Middle Ages because in the the accept of the Christian religious beliefs by the Germanic individuals reached the final and decisive stage…The greater component of the religious and political mechanism of the high center Ages emerged out the the events and ideas of the investiture controversy.

Investiture. A woodcut by Philip valve Ness (1905), A middle ages king investing a bishop v the icons of office.


After the decline of the roman Empire and also prior to the Investiture Controversy, investiture, while theoretically a job of the church, was in exercise performed by members of the religious nobility. Numerous bishops and also abbots were themselves part of the judgment nobility. Because an eldest boy would inherit the title of the father, siblings often found careers in the church. This was an especially true whereby the family members may have created a proprietary church or abbey on their estate. Due to the fact that Otto ns (936-972) the bishops had been princes the the empire, had actually secured many privileges, and had come to be to a great extent feudal lords over good districts of the royal territory. The control of these great units the economic and also military power was for the king a question of major importance, together it influenced the royal authority. It was essential for a ruler or nobleman to choose (or offer the office to) someone who would remain loyal.

Since a substantial amount that wealth and land was usually connected with the office that a bishop or abbot, the sale of church offices (a practice recognized as simony) was an important source of revenue for leaders amongst the nobility, that themselves owned the land and also 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 dominion of simony by forcefully acquisition the strength of investiture from the judgment secular power, i.e., the divine Roman Emperor, and placing that power wholly within regulate of the church. The Gregorian reformers knew this would certainly not be feasible so lengthy as the emperor maintained the capability to appoint the pope, therefore their first step to be to forcibly gain the papacy indigenous the regulate of the emperor. An possibility came in 1056 when six-year-old Henry IV came to be the German king; the reversal took advantage of his young age and also inability to reaction by seizing the papacy through force. In 1059 a church council in Rome declared, v In Nomine Domini, the leaders of the the aristocracy would have actually no part in the an option of popes, and also created the university of Cardinals together a body of electors consisted of entirely of church officials. As soon as Rome regained control of the election of the pope, the was prepared to assault the practice of investiture and simony on a wide front.

In 1075, Pope Gregory VII created the Dictatus Papae. One clause asserted that the deposal of an emperor was under the sole power that the pope. It declared that the roman church was founded by God alone—that the papal strength was the sole universal power. By this time, Henry IV was no longer a child, and he continued to choose his very own bishops. He reaction to this declaration by sending Gregory VII a letter in i beg your pardon he i was withdrawn his royal support the Gregory together pope in no uncertain terms.

The situation was do even an ext dire when Henry IV set up his chaplain, Tedald, a Milanese priest, together Bishop the Milan when one more priest of Milan, Atto, had currently been preferred by the pope for candidacy. In 1076 the pope responded by excommunicating Henry and deposing him as German king, releasing all Christians from your oath that allegiance come him.

Enforcing this declarations to be a different matter, but the benefit gradually came to the next of the pope. German princes and also the aristocracy were happy come hear the the king’s deposition. They used religious reasons to continue the rebellion started at the very first Battle of Langensalza in 1075, and to seize royal holdings. Aristocrats declared local lordships end peasants and property, constructed forts, which had actually previously been outlawed, and built up localized fiefdoms come secure your autonomy from the empire.

The Investiture Controversy continued for several years as each prospering pope tried come diminish imperial power by stirring up revolt in Germany. These revolts were progressively successful. Henry IV was prospered upon his fatality in 1106 by his kid Henry V, who had rebelled versus his dad in donate of the papacy, and who had actually made his father renounce the legality that his antipopes prior to he died. Nevertheless, Henry V decided one more antipope, Gregory VIII. Later, the renounced few of the civil liberties of investiture v the Concordat the Worms, abandoned Gregory, and also was received back into communion and recognized together legitimate emperor as a result.


Henry IV. This illustration reflects Henry IV requesting mediation indigenous Matilda of Tuscany and abbot Hugh that Cluny.

The Concordat the Worms and also Its Significance

After fifty year of fighting, the Concordat of Worms provided a lasting compromise as soon as it to be signed ~ above September 23, 1122. It eliminated lay investiture while leaving secular leaders part room for unofficial but far-ranging influence in the meeting process. The emperor renounced the ideal to invest ecclesiastics v ring and crosier, the signs of your spiritual power, and guaranteed choice by the canons that cathedral or abbey and complimentary consecration.

The Concordat of Worms lugged an finish to the very first phase of the power struggle between the papacy and the holy Roman emperors, and has been interpreted as containing in ~ itself the germ that nation-based sovereignty the would someday be confirmed in the contract of Westphalia (1648). In component this to be an unforeseen result of strategy maneuvering in between the church and also the europe sovereigns over political control within their domains.

While the monarchy was embroiled in the problem with the church, it declined in power and also broke apart. Localized legal rights of lordship over peasants grew. This resulted in multiple effects:

Increased serfdom that decreased human civil liberties for the majority;Increased taxes and levies that royal coffers declined;Localized legal rights of justice wherein courts did not need to answer to royal authority.

In the long term, the decrease of royal power would divide Germany till the 19th century. Similarly, in Italy, the Investiture controversy weakened the emperor’s authority and strengthened neighborhood separatist forces. However, the papacy flourished stronger native the controversy. Assembling because that public opinion involved lay world in spiritual affairs that enhanced lay piety, setup the phase for the Crusades and the great religious vitality of the 12th century.

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The conflict did not end with the Concordat of Worms. Future disputes between popes and also Holy roman inn emperors ongoing until northern Italy was lost to the realm entirely. The church would certainly crusade versus the holy Roman empire under Frederick II.