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The History of the Church 82 The Humiliation of Canossa Less than a century after the plight of Robert the Pious came another political excommunication of much greater import. In 1075, Pope Gregory VII, a monk of Cluny, published an edict reserving the right of nomination of bishops to the Holy See. Henry IV, the Germanic emperor, seeing himself deprived of his power of investiture, sought to depose the irksome pontiff, but Gregory responded by excommunicating the emperor. As the German lords took advantage of the situation to shake off imperial domination, Henry IV had no choice but to submit. He came to Tuscany, to the castle of Canossa where the pope was staying, and there had to wait for three days, bare feet in the snow, before Gregory VII would deign to receive and absolve him. It was a false papal victory. As soon as the emperor regained authority over his vassals, he convened a council and had Gregory VII deposed. The conflict was not resolved until 1122 with the Concordat of Worms, which determined that only the church could confer ecclesiastical authority, while bishops would continue to depend on secular powers for material matters. This solution has endured. Still today, the very secular French Republic has implicit veto power over the nomination of bishops proposed by the pope. Eduard Schwoiser (1826–1902) The Emperor Henry IV in Canossa Maximilianeum Foundation, Munich ...


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