Some of us are going through Sketches from Church History by S M Houghton one small chapter at a time. (By the way, the book has pictures.) Aiding us in this study is the work book by Rebecca Frawley. Both are Banner of Truth books.
Now we are at
Chapter 11 Pope and Emperor
The year is about 1073 and this chapter deals with the relationship between Hilderbrand, known as Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV who lived in Germany.
Three theories existed about what the relation between Pope and Emperor needed to be:
- Pope and Emperor had equal powers and needed to cooperate with each other
- Emperor was superior to the Pope in secular matters
- The Pope and Emperor were like the sun and the moon, both great lights, but the Pope was superior to the Emperor even in civil affairs
Houghton describes two practices of the time:
- Simony: Buying and selling of offices in the church for money. So offices were held by unqualified, even illiterate, men.
- Investiture: The right of kings to appoint bishops and abbots. This was not a good practice, however, this was the only way by which the state could get sufficient taxes and military help, because vast areas of land belonged to the church.
Sequence of events mentioned in this chapter:
Not much love was lost between Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV.
Pope Gregory VII summoned Emperor Henry IV to Rome
In retaliation, Emperor Henry IV deposed Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII in turn excommunicated Emperor Henry IV. This meant that he could not meet with family and friends.
Pope Gregory VII also pronounced a sentence of Interdict against the subjects of Emperor Henry IV. This meant that no church services were held or church practices carried out. Even burial ceremonies could not be held.
Amazingly, Emperor Henry IV traveled in midwinter with his wife and child to meet the Pope. Pope Gregory VII did not give him audience. So for three days he stood in the snow waiting. On the fourth day, the Pope conceded to meet him. The reconciliation was only superficial, for neither did the Pope have the mind of the Christ he was supposed to represent, nor was the Emperor truly penitant but harboured hate and revenge in his heart.
Seven years later, Emperor Henry IV drove Pope Gregory VII into exile.
Later Henry IV was excommunicated for a second time.
A later Pope poisoned the mind of the Emperor’s son against his father leading to Emperor Henry IV being killed by his own son.
To read more about Sketches from Church History