Key Points

When the Holy Roman Empire arisen as a force during the 10th century, it was the first actual non-barbarian obstacle to the authority of the church.A problem in between the secular and also ecclesiastical powers known as the Investiture Controversy arised beginning in the mid-11th century.The Investiture Controversy was readdressed through the Concordat of Worms in 1122, which offered the church power over investiture, together with various other reforms.By undercutting the imperial power established by previous queens, the conflict led to virtually fifty years of civil war in Germany, and also the triumph of the excellent dukes and also abbots.The papacy thrived more powerful in its power and authority from the controversy.

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The sale of church workplaces to a successor.


The authority to appoint regional church officials such as bishops of cities and abbots of abbeys.

Concordat of Worms

An agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Romale Emperor Henry V on September 23, 1122, that found a resolution to the Investiture Controversy.


The Investiture Controversy was the the majority of substantial dispute in between church and also state in medieval Europe, especially the Holy Roguy Empire.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, a collection of popes tested the authority of European monarchies. At worry was that, the pope or emperors, had actually the authority to apsuggest (invest) regional church officials such as bishops of cities and abbots of abbeys. The problem ended in 1122, when Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II agreed on the Concordat of Worms. It distinguished in between the imperial and also spiroutine powers and also gave the kings a restricted role in choosing bishops. The outcome appeared greatly a victory for the pope and also his insurance claim that he was God’s chief representative in the human being. However, the emperor did retain substantial power over the church.

The Investiture Controversy started as a power battle between Pope Gregory VII (1072–1085) and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V (1056–1106). A brief however substantial struggle over investiture likewise arisen in between Henry I of England also and Pope Paschal II in the years 1103–1107, and also the concern also played a minor duty in the battles in between church and state in France.

By undercutting the royal power establimelted by previous kings, the debate brought about practically fifty years of civil war in Germany, and also the triumph of the great dukes and also abbots. Imperial power was ultimately re-establiburned under the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Historian Norguy Cantor writes of its significance:

The age of the investiture conflict may rightly be regarded as the turning-point in medieval people. It was the fulfillment of the at an early stage Middle Ages because in it the acceptance of the Christian religious beliefs by the Germanic peoples got to its last and decisive stage…The higher component of the religious and political device of the high Center Ages emerged out of the occasions and ideas of the investiture controversy.

Investiture. A woodreduced by Philip Van Ness (1905), A medieval king investing a bishop with the signs of office.


After the decrease of the Roguy Realm and prior to the Investiture Controversy, investiture, while theoretically a job of the church, remained in practice performed by members of the religious nobility. Many bishops and also abbots were themselves part of the judgment the aristocracy. Because an eldest kid would certainly inherit the title of the father, siblings regularly discovered careers in the church. This was particularly true wright here the family may have actually establimelted a proprietary church or abbey on their estate. Because Otto I (936-972) the bishops had been princes of the empire, had secured many privileges, and also had actually end up being to a good degree feudal lords over good districts of the imperial region. The control of these good units of financial and armed forces power was for the king a question of primary prominence, as it affected the imperial authority. It was essential for a ruler or noblemale to apsuggest (or offer the office to) someone that would certainly remain loyal.

Due to the fact that a substantial amount of riches and land also was commonly associated through the office of a bishop or abbot, the sale of church offices (a practice recognized as simony) was a critical source of revenue for leaders among the the aristocracy, that themselves owned the land also and by charity permitted the building of churches.

The crisis started once a group within the church, members of the Gregorian Redevelop, made a decision to rebel versus the preeminence of simony by forcefully taking the power of investiture from the ruling secular power, i.e., the Divine Romale Emperor, and also placing that power wholly within control of the church. The Gregorian reformers kbrand-new this would certainly not be possible so lengthy as the emperor maintained the capability to apallude the pope, so their first action wregarding forcibly acquire the papacy from the manage of the emperor. An chance came in 1056 once six-year-old Henry IV ended up being the Germale king; the reformers took advantage of his young age and incapability to react by seizing the papacy by pressure. In 1059 a church council in Rome asserted, with In Nomine Domini, that leaders of the the aristocracy would have no component in the selection of popes, and created the College of Cardinals as a body of electors made up completely of church officials. Once Rome regained manage of the election of the pope, it was prepared to attack the practice of investiture and also 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 single power of the pope. It asserted that the Roman church was established by God alone—that the papal power was the single universal power. By this time, Henry IV was no longer a kid, and he continued to apallude his very own bishops. He reacted to this declaration by sending Gregory VII a letter in which he withattracted his royal support of Gregory as pope in no unspecific terms.

The case was made also more dire as soon as Henry IV mounted his chasimple, Tedald, a Milanese priest, as Bishop of Milan as soon as one more priest of Milan, Atto, had actually already been preferred by the pope for candidacy. In 1076 the pope responded by exinteracting Henry and also deposing him as Germale king, releasing all Christians from their oath of allegiance to him.

Enforcing these declarations was a various matter, but the advantage gradually came to the side of the pope. Germale princes and also the aristocracy were happy to hear of the king’s deposition. They provided spiritual reasons to proceed the rebellion began at the First Battle of Langensalza in 1075, and to seize imperial holdings. Aristocrats declared neighborhood lordships over peasants and also home, developed forts, which had previously been outlawed, and also built up localized fiefdoms to secure their autonomy from the empire.

The Investiture Controversy continued for several years as each being successful pope tried to diminish royal power by stirring up rebellion in Germany. These revolts were slowly successful. Henry IV was thrived upon his death in 1106 by his kid Henry V, who had rebelled against his father in favor of the papacy, and who had actually made his father renounce the legality of his antipopes before he passed away. Nevertheless, Henry V determined an additional antipope, Gregory VIII. Later, he renounced some of the legal rights of investiture via the Concordat of Worms, abandoned Gregory, and also was received earlier right into communion and also well-known as legitimate emperor as an outcome.


Henry IV. This illustration reflects Henry IV requesting mediation from Matilda of Tuscany kind of and also abbot Hugh of Cluny.

The Concordat of Worms and Its Significance

After fifty years of fighting, the Concordat of Worms provided a lasting weaken when it was signed on September 23, 1122. It removed lay investiture while leaving secular leaders some room for unofficial however considerable affect in the appointment process. The emperor renounced the ideal to invest ecclesiastics via ring and also crosier, the symbols of their spiroutine power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration.

The Concordat of Worms brought an end to the first phase of the power struggle between the papacy and also the Holy Romale majesties, and also has been interpreted as containing within itself the germ of nation-based sovereignty that would certainly sooner or later be evidenced in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). In component this was an unexpected result of strategic maneuvering in between the church and also the European sovereigns over political control within their domains.

While the monarchy was embroiled in the problem via the church, it declined in power and also broke acomponent. Localized civil liberties of lordship over peasants thrived. This led to multiple effects:

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

In the lengthy term, the decrease of royal power would certainly divide Germany kind of until the 19th century. Similarly, in Italy, the Investiture Controversy weakened the emperor’s authority and strengthened regional separatist forces. However, the papacy thrived more powerful from the controversy. Assembling for public opinion engaged lay world in religious affairs that raised lay piety, establishing the stage for the Crusades and also the excellent religious vitality of the 12th century.

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The problem did not finish with the Concordat of Worms. Future conflicts in between popes and Holy Roguy kings ongoing till northern Italy was shed to the empire entirely. The church would certainly crusade against the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II.