Key Points

When the divine Roman Empire occurred as a force during the 10th century, it to be the first real non-barbarian an obstacle to the government of the church.A dispute in between the secular and ecclesiastical powers well-known as the Investiture debate emerged beginning in the mid-11th century.The Investiture conflict was fixed with the Concordat that Worms in 1122, which gave the church power over investiture, in addition to other reforms.By undercutting the royal power established by previous emperors, the debate led to almost fifty year of civil battle in Germany, and the triumph the the good dukes and also abbots.The papacy thrived stronger in the power and also authority indigenous the controversy.

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The sale of church workplaces to a successor.


The government to appoint local church public representative such as bishops that cities and abbots that monasteries.

Concordat of Worms

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


The Investiture debate was the most significant conflict in between church and state in medieval Europe, particularly the holy Roman Empire.

In the 11th and also 12th centuries, a collection of popes tested the government of europe monarchies. At worry was who, the pope or monarchs, had actually the authority to appoint (invest) neighborhood church officials such together bishops of cities and also abbots of monasteries. The dispute ended in 1122, as soon as Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II agreed on the Concordat of Worms. It differentiated between the royal and also spiritual powers and also gave the emperors a limited role in choosing bishops. The result seemed mainly a win for the pope and also his insurance claim that he was God’s chef representative in the world. However, the emperor did retain considerable power end the church.

The Investiture Controversy began as a strength struggle in between Pope Gregory VII (1072–1085) and Holy roman inn Emperor Henry V (1056–1106). A brief but far-reaching struggle end investiture additionally 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 in between church and also state in France.

By undercutting the imperial power created by vault emperors, the dispute led to almost fifty years of civil battle in Germany, and also the triumph that the great dukes and abbots. Imperial power was lastly re-established under the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Chronicler Norman Cantor writes of that significance:

The age of the investiture debate may correctly be regarded as the turning-point in middle ages civilization. It to be the fulfillment the the early on Middle Ages because in the the accept of the Christian religious beliefs by the Germanic peoples reached that final and also decisive stage…The greater part of the religious and political system of the high center Ages arised out that the events and also ideas the the investiture controversy.

Investiture. A woodcut through Philip van Ness (1905), A middle ages king investing a bishop with the icons of office.


After the decrease of the roman inn Empire and also prior come the Investiture Controversy, investiture, while theoretically a job of the church, was in exercise performed by members that the religious nobility. Countless bishops and also abbots were themselves component of the judgment nobility. Due to the fact that an eldest kid would inherit the location of the father, siblings often found careers in the church. This was specifically true wherein the household may have established a proprietary church or abbey on their estate. Due to the fact that Otto i (936-972) the bishops had actually been princes that the empire, had actually secured plenty of privileges, and also had come to be to a an excellent extent feudal lords over great districts that the royal territory. The manage of these great units that economic and also military strength was because that the king a question of main importance, as it impacted the royal authority. The was essential for a leader or nobleman to choose (or sell the office to) someone who would stay loyal.

Since a considerable amount that wealth and land to be usually linked with the office of a bishop or abbot, the sale of church offices (a practice well-known as simony) was an important source of income for leaders amongst the nobility, who themselves owned the land and also by charity allowed the building of churches.

The crisis began when a team within the church, members the the Gregorian Reform, determined to rebel versus the dominance of simony by forcefully acquisition the power of investiture native the ruling secular power, i.e., the holy Roman Emperor, and placing that strength wholly within manage of the church. The Gregorian reformers knew this would not be possible so lengthy as the emperor preserved the capability to appoint the pope, so their first step was to forcibly acquire the papacy native the control of the emperor. An opportunity came in 1056 once six-year-old Henry IV came to be the German king; the reformers took advantage of his young age and inability to react by seizing the papacy through force. In 1059 a church board of directors in Rome declared, through In Nomine Domini, the leaders that the the aristocracy would have actually no component in the an option of popes, and created the college of Cardinals as a body of electors consisted of entirely that church officials. As soon as Rome regained manage of the election of the pope, it was prepared to assault the practice of investiture and also simony top top a large front.

In 1075, Pope Gregory VII written the Dictatus Papae. One i asserted the the deposal of one emperor to be under the sole power that the pope. It claimed that the roman inn church was founded by God alone—that the papal strength was the sole universal power. By this time, Henry IV to be no much longer a child, and also he ongoing to appoint his own bishops. He reacted to this statements by sending Gregory VII a letter in i beg your pardon he withdrew his imperial support of Gregory as pope in no unsure terms.

The instance was do even an ext dire when Henry IV mounted his chaplain, Tedald, a Milanese priest, together Bishop the Milan when another priest of Milan, Atto, had already been preferred by the pope for candidacy. In 1076 the pope comment by excommunicating Henry and deposing him together German king, releasing every Christians from your oath that allegiance to him.

Enforcing these declarations to be a various matter, yet the benefit gradually involved the next of the pope. German princes and the aristocracy to be happy come hear that the king’s deposition. Castle used religious reasons to continue the rebellion began at the very first Battle that Langensalza in 1075, and to seize imperial holdings. Aristocrats claimed local lordships over peasants and also property, developed forts, which had actually previously to be outlawed, and accumulated localized fiefdoms come secure their autonomy indigenous the empire.

The Investiture Controversy continued for several years as each prospering pope tried to diminish imperial power by stirring up rebellion in Germany. This revolts were gradually successful. Henry IV was thrived upon his fatality in 1106 through his boy Henry V, who had rebelled versus his dad in donate of the papacy, and who had made his father renounce the legality that his antipopes before he died. Nevertheless, Henry V determined one more antipope, Gregory VIII. Later, the renounced some of the legal rights of investiture v the Concordat the Worms, abandoned Gregory, and also was received back into communion and also 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 that Worms and Its Significance

After fifty years of fighting, the Concordat of Worms listed a lasting compromise as soon as it to be signed ~ above September 23, 1122. It got rid of lay investiture while leaving secular leaders part room for unofficial but far-reaching influence in the meeting process. The emperor renounced the ideal to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the signs of your spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and totally free consecration.

The Concordat of Worms lugged an finish to the first phase of the power struggle between the papacy and also the divine Roman emperors, and also has been construed as containing in ~ itself the germ that nation-based sovereignty the would someday be shown in the treaty of Westphalia (1648). In component this was an unforeseen an outcome of strategy maneuvering in between the church and also the european sovereigns over political regulate within your domains.

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

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

In the lengthy term, the decline of royal power would divide Germany till the 19th century. Similarly, in Italy, the Investiture controversy weakened the emperor’s authority and also strengthened local separatist forces. However, the papacy prospered stronger indigenous the controversy. Assembling because that public opinion involved lay world in spiritual affairs that boosted lay piety, setup the stage for the Crusades and also the great religious vitality of the 12th century.

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The dispute did not end with the Concordat that Worms. Future disputes between popes and also Holy roman emperors ongoing until north Italy was shed to the empire entirely. The church would crusade against the divine Roman empire under Frederick II.