Key Points

When the divine Roman Empire arisen as a force throughout the 10th century, it was the very first real non-barbarian challenge to the authority 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 dispute was addressed with the Concordat the Worms in 1122, which offered the church strength over investiture, together with other reforms.By undercutting the imperial power created by vault emperors, the dispute led to virtually fifty years of civil battle in Germany, and the triumph the the great dukes and abbots.The papacy thrived stronger in that power and authority from the controversy.

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The revenue of church offices to a successor.


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

Concordat of Worms

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


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

In the 11th and also 12th centuries, a series of popes challenged the government of european monarchies. At problem was who, the pope or monarchs, had the government to appoint (invest) local church public representative such together bishops the cities and also abbots the monasteries. The problem ended in 1122, once Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II agreed on the Concordat that Worms. The differentiated in between the royal and also spiritual powers and gave the emperors a limited role in picking bishops. The outcome seemed mainly a victory for the pope and also his insurance claim that he to be God’s chef representative in the world. However, the emperor walk retain considerable power over the church.

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

By undercutting the royal power created by vault emperors, the dispute led to nearly fifty year of civil war in Germany, and the triumph the the an excellent dukes and abbots. Imperial power was finally re-established under the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Chronicler Norman Cantor to write of the significance:

The age of the investiture dispute may correct be related to as the turning-point in medieval civilization. It to be the fulfillment that the at an early stage Middle Ages because in it the acceptance of the Christian religious beliefs by the Germanic peoples reached its final and also decisive stage…The greater part of the religious and political mechanism of the high center Ages emerged out the the events and ideas the the investiture controversy.

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


After the decrease of the roman Empire and prior to the Investiture Controversy, investiture, while about theory a task of the church, to be in practice performed through members of the religious nobility. Countless bishops and also abbots were themselves part of the judgment nobility. Due to the fact that an eldest kid would inherit the title of the father, brothers often discovered careers in the church. This was specifically true wherein the family members may have created a proprietary church or abbey on your estate. Since Otto i (936-972) the bishops had been princes the the empire, had secured countless privileges, and had become to a an excellent extent feudal lords over good districts that the royal territory. The manage of these good units that economic and also military strength was because that the king a question of primary importance, as it affected the royal authority. The was necessary for a ruler or nobleman to appoint (or market the office to) someone who would stay loyal.

Since a an extensive amount the wealth and also land was usually associated with the office of a bishop or abbot, the revenue of church offices (a practice well-known as simony) was critical source of revenue for leaders among the nobility, that themselves owned the land and by charity allowed the building of churches.

The crisis began when a team within the church, members the the Gregorian Reform, decided to rebel versus the rule of simony by forcefully acquisition the power of investiture indigenous the ruling secular power, i.e., the holy Roman Emperor, and also placing that strength wholly within control of the church. The Gregorian reformers knew this would not be feasible so lengthy as the emperor maintained the capacity to appoint the pope, so their very first step to be to forcibly get the papacy native the control of the emperor. An possibility came in 1056 as soon as 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 by force. In 1059 a church board of directors in Rome declared, v In Nomine Domini, the leaders the the nobility would have no component in the an option of popes, and created the university of Cardinals as a human body of electors made up entirely the church officials. Once Rome regained manage of the choice of the pope, the was all set to strike the practice of investiture and also simony on a vast front.

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

The situation was made even more dire when Henry IV set up his chaplain, Tedald, a Milanese priest, as Bishop that Milan when another priest of Milan, Atto, had already been chosen by the pope because that candidacy. In 1076 the pope responded by excommunicating Henry and also deposing him together German king, releasing every Christians from their oath the allegiance come him.

Enforcing this declarations was a different matter, however the benefit gradually involved the next of the pope. German princes and the aristocracy were happy come hear the the king’s deposition. Lock used religious reasons to continue the rebellion began at the first Battle the Langensalza in 1075, and also to seize royal holdings. Aristocrats asserted local lordships end peasants and property, developed forts, which had actually previously to be outlawed, and gathered localized fiefdoms come secure their autonomy from the empire.

The Investiture Controversy ongoing for several years as each succeeding pope tried come diminish royal power by stirring up revolt in Germany. These revolts were gradually successful. Henry IV was prospered upon his death in 1106 by his child Henry V, who had actually rebelled against his father in favor of the papacy, and also who had actually made his father renounce the legality the his antipopes prior to he died. Nevertheless, Henry V determined one much more antipope, Gregory VIII. Later, the renounced several of the civil liberties of investiture with the Concordat the Worms, exit Gregory, and also was received ago into communion and also recognized as legitimate emperor together a result.


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

The Concordat that Worms and also Its Significance

After fifty year of fighting, the Concordat that Worms noted a lasting compromise as soon as it was signed ~ above September 23, 1122. It eliminated lay investiture if leaving secular leaders some room for unofficial but far-reaching influence in the meeting process. The emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics through ring and crosier, the signs of their spiritual power, and guaranteed choice by the canons of cathedral or abbey and cost-free consecration.

The Concordat of Worms carried an end to the an initial phase the the power struggle between the papacy and also the divine Roman emperors, and has been taken as containing in ~ itself the germ of nation-based sovereignty the would one day be shown in the treaty of Westphalia (1648). In part this was an unforeseen an outcome of strategy maneuvering in between the church and also the european sovereigns end political manage 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 end peasants grew. This brought about multiple effects:

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

In the long term, the decline of royal power would certainly divide Germany until the 19th century. Similarly, in Italy, the Investiture controversy weakened the emperor’s authority and strengthened neighborhood separatist forces. However, the papacy thrived stronger from the controversy. Assembling for public opinion involved lay human being in spiritual affairs that increased lay piety, setup the stage for the Crusades and the an excellent religious vitality of the 12th century.

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