(Dr. Richard Abels)     




German King (unless otherwise noted)





Not relevant

Sergius III (904-911), to whom the abbot of Cluny was technically subordinate

Count William I of Aquitaine;

Abbot Berno (first abbot);

St Odo of Cluny (second abbot, 927-942

Founding of the Benedictine abbey of Cluny by Count William I of Aquitaine, who freed it of all secular dues to him and placed it under the immediate authority of the pope.  Cluny differed in three ways from other Benedictine: in its organizational structure, in the

        prohibition on holding land by feudal service

        execution of the liturgy as its main form of

         Rather than create independent daughter houses, Cluny’s subsidiary houses were priories that answered directly to the abbot of Cluny.

Cluny and its priories came to exemplify 11th-century piety



Otto I (king of Germany 936-973,

emperor: 962-973)

John XII (955-964)


John XII’s pontificate is usually considered the nadir of the pre-reform papacy. Local lords during this period had established control over churches and monasteries, and Church officials were often unqualified. The majority of priests were illiterate and married. The tenth-century popes, mostly sons of powerful Roman families, were worldly or incompetent. John XII, the son of the then secular ruler of Rome, became pope at the age of 18. He was, according to contemporary sources, more interested in war, hunting, and sex than with church matters. When the papal states were invaded in 961 by King Berengarius of Italy, John sought aid from Otto I of Germany, whom John crowned emperor. John, however, began to conspire against Otto with Berengarius and the Byzantine emperor, and was driven out of Rome by Otto. In 963 a synod of 50 German and Italian bishops charged John with sacrilege, simony, perjury, murder, adultery, and incest (for having slept with his father’s concubine) and deposed him. The result was a civil war between John’s supporters, who retook Rome, and those of the pope chosen to replace him. John died while Otto was marching on Rome.


Otto I

Not relevant


Death of St. Udalrich, bishop of Augsburg. Udalrich is a model of pre-Gregorian piety. He served the German kings not only as a spiritual counsellor but as a royal official and military commander. Despite charges of nepotism, he was canonized in 993, the first canonization that followed an established canonical procedure based on evidence of miracles.


Not relevant

Not relevant

Gombald, archbishop of Bordeaux

Synod of Charroux initiates Peace of God and Christian peace movement: Gombald and the bishops of Poitiers, Limoges, Périgueux, Saintes and Angoulême preside over the Synod of Charroux in western France. The synod pronounces states that anyone who attacks or robs churches, peasants, or the poor, or robs, strikes or seizes a priest or cleric not bearing arms would be excommunicated. Making compensation or reparations could circumvent the anathema of the Church.


Not relevant

Not relevant

Oliba, bishop of Vic (in Catalonia, Spain)

Council of Toulanges: beginning of the Truce of God: prohibition of warfare between Christians on Sundays and Holy Days.


Henry III (king of Germany 1028-1056, sole king 1039-1056, emperor1046-1056)

1) Benedict IX, who two years earlier had sold the papacy to

2) Gregory VI 3) Sylvester III, chosen by a rival Roman family

Gregory VI (guilty of simony, but out of the best intentions, to rescue the papacy from an unworthy pope)

Council of Sutri: Henry III, who had crossed the Alps to be crowned emperor, found three claimants and called a council to determine which one was the legitimate pope. The council deposed all three and Henry appointed a German bishop (who had been his personal confessor) pope in their place.


Henry III

Leo IX (1049-1054)

Peter Damian

Hugh of Silva Candida

Hildebrand (later Gregory VII)

Henry III appoints his cousin, Bruno, bishop of Toul, to be pope Leo IX, the first of a series of reforming popes who enact decrees against the abuses of simony (purchase of holy offices) and clerical marriage.   Council of Reims initiates Leo IX’s reform program.


Duke Humphrey of Apulia and brother Robert Guiscard

Leo IX


Battle of Civitate: Pope Leo IX and his army of Germans, Italians, and Lombards defeated by the Norman rulers of southern Italy. Pope Leo captured.


Henry III and Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX

Leo IX and the Patriarch Michael I Celurarius

Humbert of Silva Candida, papal legate to Constantinople

Schism between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches over 1) the Patriarch’s refusal to recognize the primacy of the Pope, and 2) question of the nature of the Trinity (“filioque” controversy). Humbert of Silva Candida excommunicates Patriarch Michael; Michael responds by excommunicating Humbert and Pope Leo IX (who had died three months earlier, which was not then known in Constantinople)


Henry IV

King of Germany 1056-1105 (abdicated)

Emperor: 1084 (crowned by antipope “Clement III”)-1105 (abdicated)

Victor II (1055-1057)


Henry III died and was succeeded by his six year old son Henry, with the Empress Agnes (daughter of William V of Aquitaine) as regent and Pope Victor II named to be her counselor. Agnes’s regency proved a disaster, as she unsuccessfully attempted to pacify powerful noble enemies by giving them duchies. The young king was kidnapped by Archbishop (St) Anno II of Cologne, who briefly ruled in the king’s name only to be superseded by another archbishop, Adalbert of Bremen. Finally in 1065 Henry IV was declared of age to rule. He immediately set about recovering royal rights lost to the dukes and bishops during his minority. This provoked a series of rebellions by the dukes, the most serious being a war in Saxony that lasted from 1071 to 1088.


Henry IV

Nicholas II (1058-1061)

Humbert of Silva Candida

Synod of the Lateran (in Rome) issues a decree on papal elections which gives the college of cardinals sole right of electing popes and bans the practice of lay investiture (laymen giving bishops the symbols of their spiritual offices). The former decree allows papal elections to escape the whims of political leaders; the latter will give rise to a struggle between kings and popes.  Papal recognition of Robert Guiscard as duke of Apulia.


Henry IV

Gregory VII (1073-1085)


Gregory VII initiates a new conception of the Church and the Papacy. According to Gregory, the Church is obligated to create "right order in the world," rather than withdraw from it. Gregory seeks to create a papal monarchy with power over the secular state and to establish ecclesiastical authority. Henry IV, the German king, resists this authority thereby inaugurating the Investiture Controversy between reformer popes and traditionalist emperors, kings, and bishops.  The conflict ostensibly concerns the papacy’s attempt to ban the practice of lay investiture, i.e. laymen conferring upon newly consecrated bishops the symbols of spiritual office, but it is really over control of episcopal appointments. The papacy claims that bishops and abbots must be freely elected by the clergy of their diocese or the monks of their monastery; emperors and kings maintain their traditional right to appoint bishops and abbots. The Gregorian reform encourages the practice of Christian warfare in the pursuit of providing "right order in the world" and establishes religious enthusiasm in all of Christendom.


Henry IV

Gregory VII

Countess Mathilda

Canossa. Henry IV of Germany submits to Pope Gregory VII at Canossa in an act of public humiliation. After two years of harmony with the papacy because he needed the pope’s support against rebellious German princes, Henry IV defied Pope Gregory VII’s ban on lay investiture by appointing and investing the archbishop of Milan in Italy (1075). Gregory VII reprimanded Henry IV, and the latter responded by calling a council of German bishops (1076) which declared that Gregory VII had gained the papacy by illegitimate means and had forfeited the office through his unholy actions. Henry IV deposed Gregory VII, who responded by excommunicating the king and absolving his subjects from their oaths of loyalty to him. The German princes took this as a signal to revolt against Henry IV and prepared to elect a new German king. While Pope Gregory VII was on his way to attend the election, Henry intercepted him at Canossa, a fortress in northern Italy at the mouth of the Alps belonging to Countess Mathilda of Tuscany, a fervent papal supporter. Rather than attack, as Gregory expected, the king surprised the pope as presenting himself as a penitent. Gregory kept the king standing in the snow bareheaded for three days before lifting the excommunication. Henry IV, with Pope Gregory VII maintaining neutrality, wages war against the rebel German princes and their “anti-king” Rudolf of Swabia.


Henry IV

Gregory VII


Gregory VII realizes that Henry IV has no intention of abiding by his submission to the papacy and declares Rudolf the legitimate king of Germany and excommunicates Henry IV for a second time. Henry IV responds by appointing an “anti-pope.”


No relevant

Not relevant

St Bruno

Establishment of Carthusian monastic order by Bruno, master of the cathedral school at Reims (mother house La Chartreuse, in diocese of Grenoble), who had been driven out of Reims because of a dispute with the simoniacal archbishop Manasses. Carthusians, described by Guibert of Nogent, were a heremitic order, in which the monks spend their time in individual cells and gathered together only to attend church services and to eat in the refectory on Sundays and feast days. Diet: no meat; 3 days a week ate only bread & water, 4 days also had vegetables, milk, cheese and wine mixed with water. They refused any property outside of the valley of La Chatreuse. SEVERE, AUSTERE, DEDICATED TO POVERTY


Henry IV

Gregory VII


Henry IV seizes Rome and enthrones his anti-pope who crowns him emperor. The Norman duke of southern Italy Robert Guiscard, an ally and vassal of Pope Gregory VII, rescues the pope but the Normans pillage Rome in the process. Gregory VII retires to southern Italy with Robert Guiscard.


Henry IV

Gregory VII


Pope Gregory VII dies in exile in southern Italy. His last words are a bitter parody of a psalm: ‘I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile. Robert Guiscard dies fighting the Byzantines attempting to seize Thessaly from the Byzantine Empire.


Not relevant

Urban II (1088-1099)


Council of Clermont: Reform council in France at which Urban II 1) condemns (again) the abuses of simony, clerical marriage, and lay investiture, and forbids bishops to do homage to rulers; 2) calls for the imposition of the Peace of God throughout Christendom; and 3) launches the First Crusade in response to a request by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus for troops to help him reconquer lost territory in Asia Minor from the Seljuk Turks. Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont calls upon the princes of Christendom for an armed “pilgrimage” to recover Jerusalem from the Muslims. Among his goals is the strengthening of the Gregorian papacy by bringing the Greek Orthodox Church under papal authority. The response is dramatic with two waves of “crusaders” answering the Pope’s call. 

War continues between Henry IV and Pope Urban II, supported now by Henry IV’s eldest son Conrad`. 1095 is a bad year for Henry IV. The pope humiliates him by granting his second wife a marital separation on the grounds of her husband’s sexual depravity and soon after he is militarily driven from Italy. Henry IV, unsurprisingly, does not go on Crusade.


Not relevant

Urban II


The First Crusade: Force of about 50-60,000 (including noncombatants), of which about 7,000 were knights. Led by dukes and counts: Godfrey of Bouillon, Raymond of Toulouse, Robert of Normandy, Bohemond of Taranto (Norman of southern Italy).  Results: Jerusalem taken; Latin states in the East established; introduction of a new ideology of Christian warfare in which wars undertaken 1) under the authority of the pope, 2) for the protection or in defense of the Church and Christianity, and 3) under a solemn vow would be regarded by the Church as meritorious acts akin to pilgrimages and earn the participants indulgences (remission of the temporal penalties of sin).


Not relevant

Paschal II

Robert, abbot of Molesme, and Stephen Harding

Establishment of Citeaux (CISTERCIAN order) by Robert, abbot of Molesme, and Stephen Harding (abbot after 1109). Citeaux is on the Rhone north of Cluny in remote, wild area. Cistercians adhered to the strictest obedience to Benedictine rule; separation from secular influence (no peasants serving the monastery; rather lay brothers--peasants in orders, who served God by manual labor.) Simplicity--churches and other buildings unadorned and undecorated; crucifixes only of cheap, plain material--no gold and silver ornamentation. Accepted only uncultivated land. Refused oblates. Had to be 16 to become a monk.


King Henry I of England (1100-1135)

Paschal II (1099-1118)

St Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury (1093-1121)

King Henry I, needing support for a campaign against his brother Robert, duke of Normandy, recalls Archbishop Anselm from exile (because of the archbishop’s refusal to permit lay investiture) and the two hammer out a compromise that is accepted by Pope Paschal II: newly elected bishops were to be invested with their spiritual symbols by the bishops who consecrated them, and would do homage and swore loyalty to the king from whom they held land and rights of jurisdiction (reversing decree of Pope Urban II). This solution was to be later adopted in Germany with the Concordat of Worms (see below at 1122)


Henry V (king of Germany 1098-1125; Emperor 1105-1125)

Paschal II


Paschal proposed a solution to the Investiture Controversy which involved bishops returning to kings all regalia (royal lands, rights, powers, and privileges) and content themselves with the lands given to their churches by the pious. This would have taken bishops out of royal administration completely. Paschal’s cardinals, the German bishops, and Henry V all violently reject it. After Paschal refuses to crown Henry V emperor, Henry takes the pope captive, which leads to


Henry V

Paschal II


The Privilege of Mammolo: the imprisoned Paschal surrendered to Henry V on all the major issues, granting the emperor the right of investiture before consecration of bishops, a promise to anoint Henry emperor, and a promise never to excommunicate Henry. The cardinals and bishops reject the Privilege and Paschal, once freed from captivity, quashes it.


Not relevant

Not relevant

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Bernard of Clairvaux entered the Cistercian Order. He was to become the most successful preacher of the twelfth century. Popularized the Cistercians. When he entered the order the Cistercians had 5 houses; when he died in 1153, 343 houses.


Henry V

Calixtus II (1119-1124)


Concordat of Worms (23 Sept): formally ends the Investiture Controversy. Compromise is reached in a meeting at Worms, Germany, between pope and emperor over the issue of investiture: Pope and emperor agreed that 1) bishops would invest newly consecrated bishops with the religious symbols of their office, while 2) the emperor would then invest them with the symbols of their temporal rule. Bishops were to be freely elected by their clergy, but the emperor (or a rep) had the right to be present at the election. Bishops also had to do homage to the emperor for the royal fiefs (regalia) they held from him. This compromise acknowledged the dual office of bishop. Insofar as the bishop is spiritual, he belongs to the clergy alone. Insofar as he is an earthly ruler endowed with jurisdictional rights, he is a subject of the emperor from whom he has received these rights.