Papal Triumph: The Investiture Controversy Research Paper by NCHist

Papal Triumph: The Investiture Controversy
An in-depth exploration of the issue of lay investiture and the eventual triumph of the Papacy.
# 153514 | 2,248 words | 12 sources | MLA | 2003 | US

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The paper explores the issue of lay investiture, which came to the forefront during the reigns of Pope St. Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV, and was at the center of the conflict between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The paper explains that lay investiture was heavily practiced by the Holy Roman Emperors, who claimed that they had the right to install bishops in their kingdom without interference from the Holy See. The paper discusses the life work of Pope St. Gregory to eradicate this practice and notes that although Pope St. Gregory did not live to see the culmination of his work, his tireless efforts to end lay investiture ensured that the church was the final victor in this controversy and would experience the apex of its power in the following years.

From the Paper:

"According to German scholar Gerd Tellenbach many of the documents from the period are nothing more than "propaganda" (115). What is of value though are the actual letters of Henry IV and Gregory VII which have been preserved by the Vatican archives. These documents provide a firsthand account of the confrontation between the Pope and the Emperor. There is also no lack of contemporary historians who have written on the investiture controversy. The topic has engendered numerous resources, which interestingly enough have characterized the controversy in favor of the papacy. The overall view of modern scholars of Gregory is that of a venerable and determined Pope who was committed to freeing the Papacy of secular domination. In contrast, Henry is seen as a petulant and immature youth who arrogantly challenged the power of the papacy. Indeed, the same position emerges when comparing the lives of Henry and Gregory.
"The future Pope was born as Hildebrand in the mountains of Tuscany from a peasant family. There are no extant records for his date of birth, although most chroniclers such as Matthew Bunson have estimated that he was probably born in the later 1020 (138). At a young age, Hildebrand entered into the monastery of Santa Maria del Priorato, where his uncle was the abbot. The monastery was heavily guided by the Cluniac reform movement which was dedicated to stamping out corruption and secular interference in the church. No doubt, Hildebrand's experience at Santa Maria would influence his later commitment to reform."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bainton, Ronald H. Christendom: A Short History of Christianity and its Impact on Western Civilization. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1966.
  • Barraclough, Geoffery. Mediaeval Germany 911-1250: Essays by German Historians: Studies in Medieval History. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1961.
  • Bettenson, Henry. Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963.
  • Blumenthal, Uta-Renate. The Investiture Controversy: Church and Monarchy From the Ninth to the Twelfth Century. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1991.
  • Bunson, Matthew. The Pope Encyclopedia. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1995.

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Papal Triumph: The Investiture Controversy (2013, June 08) Retrieved December 05, 2023, from

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"Papal Triumph: The Investiture Controversy" 08 June 2013. Web. 05 December. 2023. <>