King Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII Conflict

King Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII Conflict

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  • I am your religious leader and only I can appoint bishops!
  • The pope cannot tell me what to do, you are my bishop, bow before me.
  • You are excommunicated, God does not love you! You are not worthy!
  • In 1073 a monk named Hildegroth was appointed as Pope Gregory VII. Pope Gregory had strong ideas about powers of the pope. He claimed that he had supreme authority over church and secular leaders. He even said that he could remove an emperor.
  • I am out here pope! Face me like a man!
  • The Holy Roman Emperor at the time, named Henry IV, reacted to the pope's rules as a direct attack at his own powers and rights. Henry began this war between them by naming his own bishop instead of listening to the pope. 
  • Open the door pope! Or we will harm you and your family!
  • In response to King Henry IV bishop, the pope appointed his own rival bishop. Then King Henry tried to remove Gregory from the title pope. Pope Gregory then excommunicated Henry from the Christian religion. Finally, pope Gregory freed all of Henry's subjects from his command.
  • We have come to an agreement, it is the Concordat of Worms!
  • Here! Here!
  • Across Europe members of secular groups and the clergy took sides. As a last effort, King Henry visited the pope in an Italian castle. Stories say that Henry stood outside of the castle for three days in a blizzard. The pope finally saw him and brought him inside where he forgave him.
  • The conflict however did not end there. King Henry still feeling humiliated by his defeat marched his army to Rome. He then removed the pope from office by getting his rightful justice.
  • Even after King Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII conflict, other conflicts arose between other kings and popes. The power struggle between popes and kings finally weakened when the Church and Holy Roman Empire came to an agreement. This agreement was called the Concordat of Worms and gave the church sole authority over who could be bishop. The emperors could earn the bishops trust by giving them fiefs of land.
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