The Humiliation of King Henry

Coffman, Elesha
April 2005
Christian History & Biography;Spring2005, Issue 86, p46
The article presents information on the Investiture Controversy between Pope Gregory VII and Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. In theory, the church has always held the power to appoint its own leaders. In medieval practice, however, secular authorities handed out clerical offices as patronage. Following the pattern known as investiture, abbots and bishops received their positions and the properties that went with them, from local princes. The emperor picked the pope. Gregory believed that the corruption and immorality of the 11th-century church stemmed from this practice. Before he could fight it at lower ecclesial levels, though, he had to free the papacy from imperial control.


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