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II.: THE PAPACY TO THE ACCESSION OF GREGORY VII, 1073 - Oliver J. Thatcher, A Source Book for Mediaeval History. Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age 
A Source Book for Mediaeval History. Selected Documents Illustrating the History of Europe in the Middle Age, ed. Oliver J. Thatcher and Edgar Holmes McNeal (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905).
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THE PAPACY TO THE ACCESSION OF GREGORY VII, 1073
The chief purpose of the documents offered in this section is to illustrate the growth of the papal power and the development of the conflicting claims of the empire and the papacy. The organization of the church was a matter of slow growth, and at first the bishop of Rome actually exercised ecclesiastical authority in a decisive way only in his own diocese. But by 1073 the organization of the church was so developed that the supremacy of the pope over the church and ecclesiastical affairs in the west was in a fair way of becoming an accomplished fact. He had secured the sole right to be called pope, universal, and apostolic.
The growth of his temporal power is even more clearly marked. At the time of Constantine the bishop of Rome had no temporal authority. But gradually he acquired power over temporal matters and exercised various secular and even imperial prerogatives, until Gregory VII found it easy to formulate and put forth the claim that the pope was master of the emperor and the real ruler of the world even in temporal things. Before 1073 there was occasional friction between the empire and the papacy, but this did not develop into a real and definite struggle for world supremacy until Gregory VII became pope.
Selections are here given to illustrate (1) the election of bishops, and especially the early election of the bishop of Rome, nos. 33, 34, 37, 38; (2) the chief means by which the pope acquired recognition of his ecclesiastical headship in the west, that is, his missionary work, nos. 35, 39, 40; (3) the rebellion of the pope against the rule of the Greek emperors, nos. 41, 42; (4) the acquisition of land and of temporal authority by the pope, nos. 36, 43-46, 54; (5) the development of specific conflicting claims of pope and emperor regarding the election and consecration of the pope, the creation and coronation of the emperor, and the exercise of functions which had been regarded as imperial, nos. 47-53, 55-59.
Legislation Concerning the Election of Bishops, Fourth to the Ninth Century.
In the election of the clergy, especially of the bishops, it was some centuries before the theory and the practice of the church entirely agreed. In theory the laity should have nothing to do with the election of the clergy, but in fact, they have, at various times and in different degrees, exercised authority over such matters. Thus, for instance, the people of Rome had a part in the election of their bishop; the emperors at Constantinople, at first in person, later through the exarch at Ravenna, confirmed his election; Karl the Great and his successors named the bishops of Germany; Otto I and Henry III made and unmade bishops of Rome. This state of affairs lasted well into the eleventh century. The church strove more and more to free itself from all outside influence, while the emperors struggled to retain their control of it.
The Corpus Juris Canonici (Body of Canon Law), which consists chiefly of decisions of church councils and of papal decrees and bulls, is the code of laws by which the church is governed. Frequent additions were made to it until Gregory XIII (1572-85) prepared a standard edition of it. It has been republished a great many times. For the sake of brevity we have made use of a few of its chapters here instead of the longer originals from which they are taken.
C. vi. Laymen have not the right to choose those who are to be made bishops.
(From the Council of Laodicæa, fourth century.)
C. vii. Every election of a bishop, priest, or deacon, which is made by the nobility [that is, emperor, or others in authority], is void, according to the rule which says: “If a bishop makes use of the secular powers to obtain a diocese, he shall be deposed and those who supported him shall be cast out of the church.”
(From the third canon of the second council at Nicæa, 787, quoting the 30th canon of the Apostolic Constitutions; Mansi, XVI, 748.)
C. i. No layman, whether emperor or noble, shall interfere with the election or promotion of a patriarch, metropolitan, or bishop, lest there should arise some unseemly disturbance or contention; especially since it is not fitting that any layman or person in secular authority should have any authority in such matters. . . . If any emperor or nobleman, or layman of any other rank, opposes the canonical election of any member of the clergy, let him be anathema until he yields and accepts the clear will of the church in the election and ordination of the bishop.
(From the twenty-second canon of the eighth synod of Constantinople, 869; Mansi, XVI, 174 f.)
The Pope must be Chosen from the Cardinal Clergy of Rome, 769.
C. iii. It is necessary that our mistress the holy Roman Catholic church be governed properly, and in accordance with the precedents established by St. Peter and his successors, and that the pope be chosen from the cardinal priests or cardinal deacons. C. iv. No one, whether layman or clergyman, shall presume to be made pope unless he has risen through the regular grades1 at least to the rank of cardinal deacon or has been made a cardinal priest.
The Petrine Theory as Stated by Leo I, 440-61.
Leo I (440-61) made frequent use of the Petrine theory. In brief this theory is that to Peter as the prince of the apostles was committed the supreme power over the church. To him the keys were intrusted in a special manner. In this consisted his primacy, his superiority over the other apostles. This primacy or first rank he communicated to his successors, the bishops of Rome, who, by virtue of being his successors, held the same primacy over the church and over all other bishops as Peter held over the other apostles. The passage on which this theory is based is found in Matt. 16:18 f: “And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
We offer the following detached passages from the works of Leo I to illustrate his conception of the theory.
Col. 628. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, caused his truth to be promulgated through the apostles. And while this duty was placed on all the apostles, the Lord made St. Peter the head of them all, that from him as from their head his gifts should flow out into all the body. So that if anyone separates himself from St. Peter he should know that he has no share in the divine blessing.
Col. 656. If any dissensions in regard to church matters and the clergy should arise among you, we wish you to settle them and report to us all the terms of the settlement, so that we may confirm all your just and reasonable decisions.
Col. 995. Constantinople has its own glory and by the mercy of God has become the seat of the empire. But secular matters are based on one thing, ecclesiastical matters on another. For nothing will stand which is not built on the rock [Peter] which the Lord laid in the foundation [Matt. 16:18]. . . . Your city is royal, but you cannot make it apostolic [as Rome is, because its church was founded by St. Peter].
Col. 1031. You will learn with what reverence the bishop of Rome treats the rules and canons of the church if you read my letters by which I resisted the ambition of the patriarch of Constantinople, and you will see also that I am the guardian of the catholic faith and of the decrees of the church fathers.
Col. 991. On this account the holy and most blessed pope, Leo, the head of the universal church, with the consent of the holy synod, endowed with the dignity of St. Peter, who is the foundation of the church, the rock of the faith, and the door-keeper of heaven, through us, his vicars, deprived him of his rank as bishop, etc. [From a letter of his legates.]
Col. 615. And because we have the care of all the churches, and the Lord, who made Peter the prince of the apostles, holds us responsible for it, etc.
Col. 881. Believing that it is reasonable and just that as the holy Roman church, through St. Peter, the prince of the apostles, is the head of all the churches of the whole world, etc.
Col. 147. This festival should be so celebrated that in my humble person he [Peter] should be seen and honored who has the care over all the shepherds and the sheep committed to him, and whose dignity is not lacking in me, his heir, although I am unworthy.
The Emperor Gives the Pope Authority in certain Secular Matters.
One of the chief effects of the invasions of the barbarians was an increased lawlessness and disorder throughout the territory in which they settled. The administration of justice was seriously disturbed by their presence in the country, and the machinery of government was, to a certain extent, destroyed by them. Under these circumstances the clergy, by virtue of their office and character, were looked on as representatives of law, order, and justice, and they were quite naturally given a voice in the administration of justice and in the general management of affairs. The selections from the pragmatic sanction, which Justinian issued in 554, show in part the use which he made of the bishop of Rome to restore and secure order and good government in Italy after the long, destructive, and demoralizing wars which he waged with the East Goths.
§ 12. The bishops and chief men shall elect officials for each province who shall be qualified and able to administer its government, etc.
§ 19. That there may be no opportunity for fraud or loss to the provinces, we order that, in the purchase and sale of all kinds of produce [grain, wine, oil, etc.] and in the payment and receipt of money, only those weights and measures shall be used which we have established and put under the control of the pope and of the senate.
The Emperor has the Right to Confirm the Election of the Bishop of Rome,ca. 650. A Letter from the Church at Rome to the Emperor at Constantinople, Asking him to Confirm the Election of their Bishop.
For a long time the emperor at Constantinople had exercised the right of confirming the election of the bishop of Rome. No one could be ordained and consecrated pope until his election had been confirmed by the emperor.
The Liber Diurnus is a collection of letters or formulas which were used by the papal secretaries as models in drawing up the pope’s letters. This particular collection was in use at the papal court from about 600 to 900 ad When it became necessary to write to the emperor at Constantinople to secure his confirmation of the election of a bishop of Rome, a secretary would copy this letter, inserting the proper names in the appropriate places and making such other changes in its wording as might be necessary to fit the particular case.
Although God himself has brought about such harmony and unity in the election of a successor to the pope who has just died that there is scarcely one that opposes it, it is necessary that we humbly pour out the prayers of our petition to our most serene and pious lord who is known to rejoice in the harmony of his subjects and graciously to grant what they unite in asking. Now, when our pope (name), of blessed memory, died, we all agreed in the election of (name), venerable archdeacon of the apostolic see, because from his early youth he had served in this church and had shown himself so able in all things that on the score of his merits he deserved to be put at the head of the government of the church; especially since he was of such a character that with the help of Christ and by constant association with the aforesaid most blessed pope (name), he has attained to the same high merits with which his predecessor (name), of blessed memory, was graced; with his eloquence, he stirred within us a desire for the holy joys of heaven; so we confidently believe that what we have lost in his predecessor we have found again in him. Therefore, with tears, all your servants beg that you, our lord, may deign to grant our petition and accede to our wishes concerning the ordination of him whom we have elected, and, to the glory of the realm, authorize his ordination; that thus, after you have established him over us as our pastor, we may constantly pray for the life and government of our lord the emperor to the omnipotent Lord and to St. Peter, over whose church, with your permission, a worthy governor is now to be ordained.
Signatures of the clergy:
I, (name), by the mercy of God, priest of the holy Roman Church, have signed this our action regarding (name), venerable archdeacon of the holy apostolic see, our pope elect.
Signatures of the laity:
I, (name), your servant, have with full consent signed this our action regarding (name), venerable archdeacon of the holy apostolic see, our pope elect.
A Letter from the Church at Rome to the Exarch at Ravenna, Asking him to Confirm the Election of their Bishop,ca. 600.
As is clear from the preceding number, the confirmation of the election of the bishop of Rome was in the hands of the emperor. His residence was at Constantinople, but he was, of course, not always to be found there. Because of his distance from Rome it might take several months to secure his confirmation. Such delays interfered with the administration of the office and were very burdensome to the Romans because the pope had a large share in the government of the city. Until their new bishop was confirmed the government of the city was almost at a standstill. So, in the seventh century, the emperor, at the request of the Romans, commissioned his exarch at Ravenna to act for him in this matter.
To the most excellent and exalted lord (may God graciously preserve him to us for a long life in his high office), (name), exarch of Italy, the priests, deacons, and all the clergy of Rome, the magistrates, the army, and the people of Rome, as suppliants, send greeting.
Providence is able to give aid and to change the weeping and groaning of the sorrowing into rejoicing, that those who were recently smitten down with affliction may afterward be fully consoled. For the poet king, from whose prophetic heart the Holy Spirit spoke, has said: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” [Ps. 30:5]. And again, giving thanks to God, he sings of the greatness of his mercies, and says: “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness: to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent” [Ps. 30:11-12]. For he careth for us [1 Peter, 5:7] as that chosen vessel [Peter] and our confession of faith declare. For the things which were causing sadness He has changed to rejoicing and has mercifully given aid to us, unworthy sinners. Now, our pope (name) having been called from present cares to eternal rest, as is the lot of mortals, a great load of sorrow oppressed us, deprived, as we were, of our guardian. But because we hoped in God, He did not permit us long to remain in this affliction. For after we had spent three days in prayer that He would deign to make known to all who was worthy and should be elected pope, with the aid of his grace which inspired our minds, we all came together in the accustomed manner; that is, the clergy and the people of Rome, the nobility and the army, as we say, from the least to the greatest; and the election, with the help of God and the aid of the holy apostles, fell upon the person of (name), most holy archdeacon of this holy apostolic see of the church of Rome. The holy and chaste life of this good man, beloved of God, was so pleasing to all that no one opposed his election, and no one dissented from it. Why should not men unanimously agree upon him whom the incomparable and never failing providence of God had foreordained to this office? For without doubt this had been determined on in the presence of God. So, solemnly fulfilling God’s decrees and confirming the desires of our hearts with our signatures, we have sent you our fellow-servants as the bearers of this writing, (name), most holy bishop, (name), venerable priest, (name), regionary notary, (name), regionary subdeacon, (names), honorable citizens, and from the most flourishing and successful army of Rome, (name), most eminent consul, and (names), chief men, tribunes of the army, together most earnestly begging and praying that you may approve our choice. For he who has been unanimously elected by us, is, so far as man can discern, above reproach. And therefore we beg and beseech you to grant our petition quickly, because there are many matters arising daily which require the solicitous care and attention of a pope. And the affairs of the province and all things connected therewith also need and are awaiting some one to control them. Besides we need some one to keep the neighboring enemy in check, a thing which can be done only by the power of God and of the prince of the apostles, through his vicar, the bishop of Rome. For it is well known that at various times the bishop of Rome has driven off our enemies by his warnings, and at others he has turned them aside and restrained them with his prayers; so that by his words alone, on account of their reverence for the prince of the apostles, they have offered voluntary obedience; and thus they whom the force of arms had not overcome have yielded to papal threats and prayers.
Since these things are so, again and again we beseech you, our exalted lord, with the aid and inspiration of God, to perform the duty of your imperial office by granting our request. And we, your humble servants, on seeing our desires fulfilled, may then give unceasing thanks to God and to you, and with our spiritual pastor, our bishop, enthroned on the apostolic seat, we may pour out prayers for the life, health, and complete victories of our most exalted and Christian lords, (names), the great and victorious emperors, that the merciful God may grant manifold victories to their royal courage, and cause them to triumph over all peoples; and that God may give them joy of heart because the ancient rule of Rome has been restored. For we know that he whom we have elected pope can, with his prayers, influence the divine Omnipotence; and he has prepared a joyful increase for the Roman empire, and he will aid you in the government of this province of Italy which is subject to you, and he will aid and protect all of us, your servants, through many years.
Signatures of the clergy:
I, (name), humble archpriest of the holy Roman church, have with full consent subscribed to this document which we have made concerning (name), most holy archdeacon, our bishop elect.
And the signatures of the laity:
I, (name), in the name of God, consul, have with full consent subscribed to this document which we have made concerning (name), most holy archdeacon, our bishop elect.
Gregory I Sends Missionaries to the English, 596.
The pope secured recognition of his supremacy largely because much of the west was Christianized through his efforts. The mission established by Augustine in England was one of the most important missionary undertakings of the pope because it succeeded in making England Roman Catholic. And not only that, but after the conversion of England, Englishmen were largely instrumental in Christianizing many parts of Europe and in subjecting them to the bishop of Rome. Thus it was an Englishman, Boniface, who organized the church in Germany and put it under papal control. By English and German missionaries the barbarians to the north and east of Germany, that is, the Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Poles, Bohemians, and Hungarians, were Christianized and made tributary to the pope.
23. . . . Gregory was divinely led to send Augustine, the servant of God, and with him several other pious monks to preach the word of God to the English. . . .
25. . . . So Augustine and the servants of Christ who were with him came into Britain. At that time Ethelbert was king in Kent. He was a powerful king and had extended the boundaries of his realm to the Humber river, which separates the English of the north from those of the south. On the east shore of Kent there is a small island called Thanet, about large enough for 600 families, according to the English way of reckoning. . . . Here Augustine, the servant of the Lord, landed with his companions, who, it is said, numbered about forty. At the suggestion of the pope, they brought with them some Franks as interpreters. They sent word to Ethelbert that they had come from Rome, bearing good tidings which would surely bring to all who obeyed them eternal joy in heaven and a kingdom without end with the true and living God. The king ordered them to remain where they were and to be supplied with food until he should make up his mind what to do with regard to them. For he already knew about Christianity. Indeed his wife, Bertha, of the royal family of the Franks, was a Christian. Her family had consented to her marriage with Ethelbert only on the condition that she should be permitted to remain faithful to her religion, and, to aid her in this, they had sent with her a bishop named Liudhard.
After some days the king came to Thanet and ordered Augustine and his companions to come to him. . . . At the command of the king they sat down, and after they had preached the word of God to the king and his companions, he responded as follows: “Beautiful indeed are your words and the promises which you make. But because they are new and untried I cannot accept them and desert those things which I and all the English have held for so long. However, since you are strangers and have come so far, and since I see that you desire to share with us those things which you think are true and best, we do not wish to offend you. On the contrary, we extend to you our gracious hospitality and will supply you with the necessities of life. And you may also preach, and convert to your faith as many as you can.” And he gave them a dwelling-place in Canterbury, which is the chief city of his kingdom.
The Oath of Boniface to Pope Gregory II, 723.
Although the Franks accepted Christianity in 496, they had made little progress in ecclesiastical discipline and in the knowledge of Christian doctrine. Heathen beliefs and practices were mixed with their Christianity, and the clergy were ignorant and undisciplined. The influence and authority of the pope did not extend to them. Boniface was an Englishman, a monk, and a devoted supporter of the doctrine of papal supremacy. He spent his life as a missionary among the Germans and gained the title of the “apostle of Germany.” From 715 to his death in 754 he labored with untiring zeal to convert them and to attach them to Rome. He visited Rome several times to secure the pope’s consent and blessing on his work, and bound himself by an oath to labor for the advancement of papal interests. He established bishoprics which became famous, such as Würzburg, Eichstädt, and Erfurt, and monasteries, such as Fritzlar, and Fulda. By his efforts the German church was bound firmly to Rome and the pope’s authority established over the church in Germany.
The pope required the newly elected bishops of his diocese to take an oath to be obedient and true to him. The unity of the church was to be secured by the obedience of all to one head, that is, the pope. So when the Lombards were converted to the orthodox faith the pope required their bishops to take the same oath to him as did the bishops of his diocese. Their oath is, with the exception of a few phrases, identical with this oath of Boniface. That is, the pope regarded Lombardy and Germany as having the same relation to him as did his own diocese about Rome.
I, Boniface, by the grace of God bishop, promise thee, St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and thy vicar, blessed pope Gregory, and his successors, through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the inseparable Trinity, and on this thy most holy body, that I will hold the holy Catholic faith in all its purity, and by the help of God I will remain in unity with it, without which there is no salvation. I will in no way consent to anyone who acts against the unity of the church, but, as I have said, I will preserve the purity of my faith and give my support to thee [St. Peter] and to thy church, to which God has given the power of binding and loosing, and to thy vicar, and to his successors. And if I find out that any bishops are acting contrary to the ancient rules of the holy fathers, I will have no communion or association with them, but I will restrain them as far as I can. But if I cannot restrain them I will report it at once to my lord the pope. And if I shall ever in any way, by any deceit, or under any pretext, act contrary to this my promise, I shall be found guilty in the day of judgment, and shall suffer the punishment of Ananias and Sapphira, who presumed to try to deceive thee about their possessions and to lie to thee. This text of my oath, I, Boniface, unworthy bishop, have written with my own hand, and have placed it over the most holy body of St. Peter; before God as my witness and judge, I have taken this oath, which also I promise to keep.
The Rebellion of the Popes against the Emperor.
Letter of Pope Gregory II to the Emperor, Leo III, 726 or 727.
From the days of Constantine the Great the emperors assumed and actually exercised extensive authority over the church, presuming even to dictate in matters which concerned the doctrine and practice of the church. Since the emperor often supported doctrines which the bishop of Rome held to be heretical, the relations between him and the pope became more and more strained. The harsh way in which the emperors treated the popes who resisted them angered the papal adherents. There were other reasons also why the rule of the emperor was disliked in Rome, and so it soon came about that the people of Rome, and even of central Italy, looked upon the pope as the head of the opposition to the emperor and heartily supported him when he rebelled against the Greek rule.
The emperors met with increasing resistance when they interfered with the bishop of Rome. Pope Vigilius (547-554) was humiliated and deposed by Justinian and died in exile. Because Martin I (649-655) resisted the emperor in a doctrinal matter, Constans II (642-668) had him brought as a prisoner to Constantinople (653) and afterward exiled him to the Crimea. But Sergius I (687-701) successfully resisted the emperor and escaped arrest and deposition because the people of central Italy supported him and threatened to revolt if the emperor should seize and carry away their pope.
The struggle about the use of images gave the popes an opportunity to rebel and assert their complete independence of the emperor. In 726 the emperor, Leo III, began to condemn the presence and use of images in the churches. He met with great resistance, especially in the west, where pope Gregory II vigorously defended the images. There followed a heated controversy, in the course of which the pope laid down the principle that the emperor has no authority in ecclesiastical matters. In the letter here given Gregory II asserts his independence and practically excommunicates the emperor. And Gregory III published a general excommunication of all iconoclasts, as those who destroyed images were called. The emperor was of course included in this excommunication. Peace was never again established between the pope and emperor, and the rebellion of the west was consummated in 800 when pope Leo III crowned Karl the Great emperor.
We have received the letter which you sent us by your ambassador Rufinus. We are deeply grieved that you should persist in your error, that you should refuse to recognize the things which are Christ’s, and to accept the teaching and follow the example of the holy fathers, the saintly miracle-workers and learned doctors. I refer not only to foreign doctors, but also to those of your own country. For what men are more learned than Gregory the worker of miracles, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the theologian, Basil of Cappadocia, or John Chrysostom—not to mention thousands of others of our holy fathers and doctors, who, like these, were filled with the spirit of God? But you have followed the guidance of your own wayward spirit and have allowed the exigencies of the political situation at your own court to lead you astray. You say: “I am both emperor and bishop.” But the emperors who were before you, Constantine the Great, Theodosius the Great, Valentinian the Great, and Constantine the father of Justinian, who attended the sixth synod, proved themselves to be both emperors and bishops by following the true faith, by founding and fostering churches, and by displaying the same zeal for the faith as the popes. These emperors ruled righteously; they held synods in harmony with the popes, they tried to establish true doctrines, they founded and adorned churches. Those who claim to be both emperors and priests should demonstrate it by their works; you, since the beginning of your rule, have constantly failed to observe the decrees of the fathers. Wherever you found churches adorned and enriched with hangings you despoiled them. For what are our churches? Are they not made by hand of stones, timbers, straw, plaster, and lime? But they are also adorned with pictures and representations of the miracles of the saints, of the sufferings of Christ, of the holy mother herself, and of the saints and apostles; and men expend their wealth on such images. Moreover, men and women make use of these pictures to instruct in the faith their little children and young men and maidens in the bloom of youth and those from heathen nations; by means of these pictures the hearts and minds of men are directed to God. But you have ordered the people to abstain from the pictures, and have attempted to satisfy them with idle sermons, trivialities, music of pipe and zither, rattles and toys, turning them from the giving of thanks to the hearing of idle tales. You shall have your part with them, and with those who invent useless fables and babble of their ignorance. Hearken to us, emperor: abandon your present course and accept the holy church as you found her, for matters of faith and practice concern not the emperor, but the pope,1 since we have the mind of Christ [1 Cor. 2:16]. The making of laws for the church is one thing and the governing of the empire another; the ordinary intelligence which is used in administering worldly affairs is not adequate to the settlement of spiritual matters. Behold, I will show you now the difference between the palace and the church, between the emperor and the pope; learn this and be saved; be no longer contentious. If anyone should take from you the adornments of royalty, your purple robes, diadem, sceptre, and your ranks of servants, you would be regarded by men as base, hateful, and abject; but to this condition you have reduced the churches, for you have deprived them of their ornaments and made them unsightly. Just as the pope has not the right to interfere in the palace or to infringe upon the royal prerogatives, so the emperor has not the right to interfere in the churches, or to conduct elections among the clergy, or to consecrate, or to administer the sacraments, or even to participate in the sacraments without the aid of a priest; let each one of us abide in the same calling wherein he is called of God [1 Cor. 7:20]. Do you see, emperor, the difference between popes and emperors? If anyone has offended you, you confiscate his house and take everything from him but his life, or you hang him or cut off his head, or you banish him, sending him far from his children and from all his relatives and friends. But popes do not so; when anyone has sinned and has confessed, in place of hanging him or cutting off his head, they put the gospel and the cross about his neck, and imprison him, as it were, in the sacristy or the treasure chamber of the sacred vessels; they put him into the part of the church reserved for the deacons and the catechumens; they prescribe for him fasting, vigils, and praise. And after they have chastened and punished him with fasting, then they give him of the precious body of the Lord and of the holy blood. And when they have restored him as a chosen vessel, free from sin, they hand him over to the Lord pure and unspotted. Do you see now, emperor, the difference between the church and the empire? Those emperors who have lived piously in Christ have obeyed the popes, and not vexed them. But you, emperor, since you have transgressed and gone astray, and since you have written with your own hand and confessed that he who attacks the fathers is to be execrated, have thereby condemned yourself by your own sentence and have driven from you the Holy Spirit. You persecute us and vex us tyrannically with violent and carnal hand. We, unarmed and defenseless, possessing no earthly armies, call now upon the prince of all the armies of creation. Christ seated in the heavens, commanding all the hosts of celestial beings, to send a demon upon you;2 as the apostle says: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved” [1 Cor. 5:5]. Do you see now, emperor, to what a pitch of impudence and inhumanity you have gone? You have driven your soul headlong into the abyss, because you would not humble yourself and bend your stubborn neck. When a pope is able by his teaching and admonition to bring the emperor of his time before God, guiltless and cleansed from all sin, he gains great glory from Him on the holy day of resurrection, when all our secrets and all our works are brought to light to our confusion in the presence of his angels. But we shall blush for shame, because you will have lost your soul by your disobedience, while the popes that preceded us have won over to God the emperors of their times. How ashamed we will be on that day, that the emperor of our time is false and ignominious, instead of great and glorious. Now, therefore, we exhort you to do penance; be converted and turn to the truth; obey the truth as you found and received it. Honor and glorify our holy and glorious fathers and doctors who dispelled the blindness from our eyes and restored us to sight. You ask: “How was it that nothing was said about images in six councils?”3 What then? Nothing was said about bread or water, whether that should be eaten or not; whether this should be drunk or not; yet these things have been accepted from the beginning for the preservation of human life. So also images have been accepted; the popes themselves brought them to councils, and no Christian would set out on a journey without images, because they were possessed of virtue and approved of God. We exhort you to be both emperor and bishop, as you have called yourself in your letter. But if you are ashamed to take this upon yourself as emperor, then write to all the regions to which you have given offence, that Gregory the pope and Germanus the patriarch of Constantinople are at fault in the matter of the images [that is, are responsible for the destruction of the images],4 and we will take upon ourselves the responsibility for the sin, as we have authority from God to loose and to bind all things, earthly and celestial; and we will free you from responsibility in this matter. But no, you will not do this! Knowing that we would have to render account to Christ the Lord for our office, we have done our best to convert you from your error, by admonition and warning, but you have drawn back, you have refused to obey us or Germanus or our fathers, the holy and glorious miracle-workers and doctors, and you have followed the teaching of perverse and wicked men who wander from the truth. You shall have your lot with them. As we have already informed you, we shall proceed on our way to the extreme western regions, where those who are earnestly seeking to be baptized are awaiting us. For although we have sent them bishops and clergymen from our church, their princes have not yet been induced to bow their heads and be baptized, because they hope to be received into the church by us in person. Therefore we gird ourselves for the journey in the goodness of God, lest perchance we should have to render account for their condemnation and for our faithlessness. May God give you prudence and patience, that you may be turned to the truth from which you have departed; may he again restore the people to their one shepherd, Christ, and to the one fold of the orthodox churches and prelates, and may the Lord our God give peace to all the earth now and forever to all generations. Amen.
Gregory III Excommunicates all Iconoclasts, 731 ad
See introductory note to no. 41.
The pope [Gregory III] made a decree in the council that if anyone, in the future, should condemn those who hold to the old custom of the apostolic church and should oppose the veneration of the holy images, and should remove, destroy, profane, or blaspheme against the holy images of God, or of our Lord Jesus Christ, or of his mother, the immaculate and glorious Virgin Mary, or of the apostles, or of any of the saints, he should be cut off from the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And all the clergy present solemnly signed this decree.
The Pope, Gregory III, Asks Aid of the Franks against the Lombards, 739. A Letter of Gregory III to Karl Martel.
When the pope was attacked by the Lombards he found himself without protection. Aside from the fact that the Greek emperor was wholly occupied in the east, the pope was in rebellion against him and so could not expect aid from him. Under these circumstances there was nothing to do but seek help from the Franks. But Karl Martel was a friend of the Lombards and so, although the pope appealed to him more than once, Karl declined to give him aid and to interfere in the affairs of Italy.
Pope Gregory to his most excellent son, Karl, sub-king.
In our great affliction we have thought it necessary to write to you a second time, believing that you are a loving son of St. Peter, the prince of apostles, and of ourselves, and that out of reverence for him you would obey our commands to defend the church of God and his chosen people. We can now no longer endure the persecution of the Lombards, for they have taken from St. Peter all his possessions, even those which were given him by you and your fathers. These Lombards hate and oppress us because we sought protection from you; for the same reason also the church of St. Peter is despoiled and desolated by them. But we have intrusted a more complete account of all our woes to your faithful subject, our present messenger, and he will relate them to you. You, oh son, will receive favor from the same prince of apostles here and in the future life in the presence of God, according as you render speedy aid to his church and to us, that all peoples may recognize the faith and love and singleness of purpose which you display in defending St. Peter and us and his chosen people. For by doing this you will attain lasting fame on earth and eternal life in heaven.
The Acquisition of Land by the Pope.
Promise of Pippin to Pope Stephen II, 753-54.
The Lombards entered Italy in 568 and soon established themselves in the valley of the Po. For some years the boundary line between them and the Byzantine possessions, that is, the lands still held by the emperor, ran, roughly speaking, from Monselice (near Padua) west to Mantua, then southwest to Reggio, then northwest to Parma, then southwest to Berceto in the Apennines. But after Authari (583-90) became king of the Lombards he renewed the war of conquest which had been interrupted for a few years. He and his successors conquered the Byzantine possessions bit by bit and added them to the Lombard kingdom. In this way Lombardy was slowly enlarged and the Byzantine land, which was called the “province Italy” (Italia provincia), was correspondingly reduced in size. Success made the Lombard kings more ambitious and led them to plan the conquest of all Italy. A great step forward was taken in 749 when Aistulf took Ravenna, drove out the exarch, and put an end to the Byzantine rule in central Italy. Tuscany, which was separated from Liguria by a line from Luna to Berceto, was already in their hands, and Corsica, after suffering several invasions, had finally been occupied by them in the eighth century. Venice, Istria, and the duchies of Rome, Spoleto, and Benevento were next attacked, but they united to resist their common enemy, and put themselves under the protection of the pope. Under these circumstances Stephen II (752-757) saw an opportunity to unite all these provinces and to make himself their political head. He determined to try to succeed to the power of the emperor in Italy. He accordingly went to France and secured the promise from Pippin to give him all the above-named territories and to force the Lombards to withdraw from them into the territory which they had first occupied. See no. 6. It was an ambitious plan which Stephen II formed, but he could not carry it into effect. Pippin fulfilled his promise only in part, and the pope was content with a few cities and the promise of Aistulf that he would never again attack any of the territories named in Pippin’s promise. Desiderius (756-774), however, did not keep the promise which Aistulf, his predecessor, had given, but made war on the duchy of Rome. Adrian I (772-795) called on Karl the Great to come to his aid. Karl came, and, while spending Easter (774) at Rome, at the earnest request of Adrian, renewed the promise of his father. But Karl did not keep this promise which had been so solemnly made. Contrary to the wishes of the pope he made himself king of the Lombards and thereby inherited the ambitions, pretensions, policy, and interests of the Lombard kings. The situation was changed. To Karl, as well as to the dukes of Benevento and Spoleto, and to the people of Istria, an increase in the power of the pope was no longer a desirable thing. So Karl refused to keep his promise. Adrian angrily protested. But Karl was deaf to protests and threats. Their relations were consequently strained for some time, but eventually they made a compromise. Karl gave him certain Tuscan cities and some taxes from the rest of Tuscany and from Spoleto. For nearly 200 years the promise of Pippin lost all importance, until it was renewed in 962 by Otto I, who incorporated it in his famous gift to John XII. See no. 54.
When the king learned of the approach of the blessed pope, he hastened to meet him, accompanied by his wife and sons and nobles, and sent his son Charles and certain of the nobles nearly one hundred miles in advance to meet the pope. He himself, however, received the pope about three miles from his palace of Pontico, dismounting and prostrating himself with his wife and sons and nobles, and accompanying the pope a little distance on foot by his saddle as if he were his esquire. Thus the pope proceeded to the palace with the king, giving glory and praise to God in a loud voice, with hymns and spiritual songs. This was on the sixth day of the month of January, on the most holy festival of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. And when they were seated in the palace the pope began to beseech the king with tears to make a treaty with St. Peter and the Roman state1 and to assume the protection of their interests. And the king assured the pope on his oath that he would strive with all his powers to obey his prayers and admonitions and to restore the exarchate of Ravenna and the rights and territories of the Roman state, as the pope wished. . . .
The aforesaid king Pippin, after receiving the admonitions and the prayers of the pope, took leave of him and proceeded to the place called Kiersy,2 and called together there all the lords of his kingdom, and by repeating to them the holy admonitions of the pope he persuaded them to agree to fulfil his promise to the pope.
Donation of Pippin, 756.
See introductory note to no. 44.
The most Christian king of the Franks [Pippin] despatched his counsellor Fulrad, venerable abbot and priest, to receive these cities, and then he himself straightway returned to France with his army. The aforesaid Fulrad met the representatives of King Aistulf at Ravenna, and went with them through the various cities of the Pentapolis and of Emilia, receiving their submission and taking hostages from each and bearing away with him their chief men and the keys of their gates. Then he went to Rome, and placed the keys of Ravenna and of the other cities of the exarchate along with the grant of them which the king had made, in the confession of St. Peter,1 thus handing them over to the apostle of God [Peter] and to his vicar the holy pope and to all his successors to be held and controlled forever. These are the cities: Ravenna, Rimini, Pesaro, Conca, Fano, Cesena, Sinigaglia, Forlimpopoli, Forli with the fortress of Sussubium, Montefeltre, Acerreagium, Monte Lucati, Serra, San Marino, Bobbio, Urbino, Cagli, Lucioli, Gubbio, Comacle; and also the city of Narni, which in former years had been taken from the duchy of Spoleto by the Romans.
Promise of Charles to Adrian I, 774.
See introductory note to no. 44.
Now on Wednesday the aforesaid pope [Adrian] came to the church of St. Peter the apostle, with all his officials, both ecclesiastical and military, and held a conference with the king and earnestly besought, admonished, and exhorted him by his paternal love to fulfil the promise which his father, Pippin, the former king, and he himself [that is, Karl], along with his brother Karlmann and all the officials of the Franks, had made to St. Peter and to his vicar the holy pope, Stephen II, of blessed memory, when he went to France; that is, to give to St. Peter and to all his vicars certain cities and their territories in the province of Italy to be held forever. And when the king had caused them to read to him that promise which had been made at Kiersy in France, he and his officials ratified all its provisions. And of his own will and gladly the aforesaid Karl, the most excellent and truly Christian king of the Franks, ordered another promise of the gift, an exact copy of the former, to be drawn up by Etherius, his chaplain and notary, in which he granted to St. Peter the same cities and their territories, and promised that they would be handed over to the pope according to the designated boundaries as they were contained in that gift; that is, Corsica, and from Luna to Suriano, thence over the Apennines to Berceto, thence to Parma, thence to Reggio, and thence to Mantua and Monselice; and besides the whole exarchate of Ravenna as it was of old, and the provinces of Venetia and Istria, as well as the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. And when the grant had been drawn up and signed with his own hand, Karl caused all the bishops, abbots, dukes, and counts to sign it also. And placing it first on the altar of St. Peter, and then within his holy confession, the king of the Franks and his officials gave it thus to St. Peter and to his vicar the holy pope Adrian, promising with a solemn oath that they would observe everything contained in that grant. And this most Christian king of the Franks caused Etherius to draw up a copy of this grant and placed it himself upon the body of St. Peter, under the gospels which are kissed there, that it might be a perpetual testimonial of the gift and an eternal memorial of his name and of the Frankish kingdom. And the king took with him other copies of the same grant that were made by the notary of the holy Roman church.
Karl the Great Declares the Pope Has Only Spiritual Duties, 796. Letter of Karl to Leo III.
Karl the Great had a keen sense of his authority and position, and resented any action which seemed to him an infringement of his prerogatives. Adrian I had offended him by presuming to approve and publish the acts of the council of Nicæa, 787, without waiting for Karl’s authorization. By this letter to the pope, Leo III, Karl made it plain to him that his duties were only spiritual.
Karl, by the grace of God king, of the Franks and Lombards, and patricius of the Romans, to his holiness, pope Leo, greeting. . . . Just as I entered into an agreement with the most holy father, your predecessor, so also I desire to make with you an inviolable treaty of mutual fidelity and love; that, on the one hand, you shall pray for me and give me the apostolic benediction, and that, on the other, with the aid of God I will ever defend the most holy seat of the holy Roman church. For it is our part to defend the holy church of Christ from the attacks of pagans and infidels from without, and within to enforce the acceptance of the catholic faith. It is your part, most holy father, to aid us in the good fight by raising your hands to God as Moses did [Ex. 17:11], so that by your intercession the Christian people under the leadership of God may always and everywhere have the victory over the enemies of His holy name, and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified throughout the world. Abide by the canonical law in all things and obey the precepts of the holy fathers always, that your life may be an example of sanctity to all, and your holy admonitions be observed by the whole world, and that your light may so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven [Matt. 5:16]. May omnipotent God preserve your holiness unharmed through many years for the exalting of his holy church.
Karl the Great Exercises Authority in Rome, 800.
The title of patricius of Rome was somewhat vague and it is impossible to say exactly how much actual authority attached to it. But it is evident from Karl’s conduct that he regarded himself as responsible for the government of Rome. The passage from Einhard’s Annals shows that Karl was the supreme authority in legal matters there. He acted as judge even in the case of the pope. There was no one willing to make a formal charge against Leo, and hence he might have been declared innocent. But he was not willing to receive that sort of acquittal. So of his own accord he took an oath to his innocence.
Anno 800. The day before Karl reached Rome pope Leo came to Nomentum to meet him. Karl received him with great honor and they dined together. The pope preceded Karl to Rome, and the next morning took his stand, with the bishops and all the clergy of the city, on the steps of St. Peter’s to receive Karl when he should come. . . . Seven days later Karl called a public meeting, in which he made known the reasons why he had come to Rome. He then devoted himself every day to the accomplishment of the things which had called him to the city. Of these he began with the most important as well as the most difficult, namely, the investigation of the crimes with which the pope was charged. As there was no one who was willing to prove the truth of those charges, Leo took the gospels in his hand, and, in the presence of all the people, mounted the pulpit in St. Peter’s, and took an oath that he was innocent of the crimes laid to his charge.
The Oath of Pope Leo III before Karl the Great, 800.
See introductory note to no. 48.
Most beloved brethren, it is well known that evil men rose up against me and wished to do me harm and accused me of grave crimes. And now the most clement and serene king, Karl, has come with his priests and nobles to this city to try the case. Therefore, I, Leo, bishop of the holy Roman church, neither judged nor coerced by anyone, do clear and purge myself from these charges before you in the sight of God, who knows my secret thoughts, and of his holy angels, and of St. Peter, in whose church we now stand. I swear that I neither did these wicked and criminal things of which my enemies accuse me, nor ordered them to be done, and of this God is my witness, in whose presence we now stand and into whose judgment we shall come. And I do this in order to clear myself of these suspicions, and not because it is commanded in the canons, or because I desire to impose this practice as a precedent upon my successors or brothers and fellow-bishops.
The Oath of the Romans to Ludwig the Pious and Lothar, 824.
The emperor, Ludwig the Pious, intrusted the government of Italy to his oldest son, Lothar. In order to keep control of the papal elections, Lothar compelled the Romans to take the following oath:
I, (name), promise in the name of the omnipotent God and on the four holy gospels and on this cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and on the body of most blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that from this day I will be faithful to our lords, the emperors, Ludwig [the Pious] and Lothar, all my life, according to my strength and understanding, without any fraud or deceit, in so far as this shall not violate the oath of fidelity which I have sworn to the pope. And I promise that according to my strength and understanding I will not permit a papal election to take place in any way except canonically and legally, and that he who may be elected pope shall not with my consent be consecrated until, in the presence of the emperor’s ambassadors and of the people, he takes such an oath as pope Eugene1 did that he will rule without any change.
The Emperor Admits the Right of the Pope to Confer the Imperial Title. Passages from a Letter of Ludwig II, Emperor, to Basil, Emperor at Constantinople, 871.
Although the Greek emperor, Michael, recognized Karl the Great as emperor in the west (see nos. 13-14), some of his successors took a different view of the matter and declared the emperors in the west usurpers. Basil had written to Ludwig II saying that the latter was not emperor and therefore should not assume the title. Ludwig replied with some vigor, advancing various arguments in his own favor. The student should examine this letter to discover (1) the objections which Basil had made, and (2) the arguments by which Ludwig II refuted them.
Among other things, Ludwig said he had a right to the title of emperor:
Because all the patriarchs and all men of every rank, except you alone, have, of their own accord, addressed us as such whenever they have written to us. And besides, our uncles [Charles the Bald and Ludwig the German], glorious kings, willingly call us emperor. And they do so, not out of regard for our age, for they are older than we, but because of the anointing and consecration by which, with God’s will, we were advanced to this high office through the laying on of the hands of the pope, and because, at God’s command, we have the government of the Roman empire. . . .
We are much surprised that you should say we are laying claim to a title which is new to our family. For that cannot be a new title which was held by our grandfather. And he did not usurp it, as you say he did, but he received it at the command of God, by the decision of the church, and through the anointing and laying on of the hands of the pope. . . .
It is absurd that you should say I have not inherited the imperial name, and that my race is not worthy to have such a dignity. Even my grandfather inherited it from his father. Why is not my race worthy of producing an emperor, since emperors have been chosen from among the Spaniards and Isaurians and Khazars? For surely you cannot say that those nations are more renowned than the Franks either in religion or in courage. . . . To your statement that we do not rule over even all of France, here is a brief answer: We surely do rule over all France, since we certainly have what they have, with whom we are one in flesh and blood and one spirit through the Lord.
You wonder that we are called emperor of the Romans instead of emperor of the Franks. But you ought to know that if we were not emperor of the Romans we could not be emperor of the Franks. For we have received this name and dignity from the Romans, whose people and city, the mother of all the churches of God, we have received, in accordance with God’s will, to govern, to defend, and to exalt, and from her our family received the authority, first, to rule as kings, and, afterward, as emperors. For the rulers of the Franks were first called kings and afterward those who were anointed with holy oil by the popes to this office were called emperors. Karl the Great, our grand-grandfather, having been anointed in this way, because of his great piety, was the first of our race and family to be called emperor and to be the anointed of the Lord. How much greater right have we to the imperial title, therefore, than the many who have been made emperor without any religious ceremony or holy rite being performed by a pope, being elected only by the senate and people of Rome, who had no regard for such holy rites? And some have been made emperor by even less authority, being proclaimed by the army, and others by women, and others in still other ways.
Now, if you blame the Roman bishop for what he did [in crowning Karl the Great], you must also blame Samuel, because, after anointing Saul, he rejected him and anointed David to be king. But it will be easy to answer anyone who shall make even one complaint against the pope [for having anointed Karl the Great as emperor]. If you will search the pages of the Greek annals and see what the bishops of Rome had to endure from their enemies, and yet received no protection from you, and even what they had to endure from you and your people, you will find many things which will prevent you from blaming them. But these external matters were of little importance compared with the efforts of the Greeks to destroy the church by their many heresies. So, very properly, the bishops of Rome deserted the apostate Greeks—for what concord hath Christ with Belial? [2 Cor. 6:15]—and joined a people which clung to God and brought forth the fruits of his kingdom. For “God is no respecter of persons,” as the great apostle said, “but in every nation he that feareth him is accepted with him” [Acts 10:34, 35]. Therefore, since this is so, why do you make it a reproach to us who have the imperial crown that we are born of the Franks, when in every nation he that feareth God is accepted with him? Theodosius the elder [379-395] and his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, and Theodosius the younger, son of Arcadius, were Spaniards, and yet we do not find that anyone blamed Theodosius or objected to him because he was a Spaniard, and not a Roman, or tried to prevent his sons from succeeding to the position and honor of their father, as you now try to do, as if the race of the Franks did not belong to that inheritance concerning which the Father speaks to the Son, saying: “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” [Ps. 2:8]. And in another place: “For them that honor me I will honor” [1 Sam. 2:30]. And there are many other such sayings.
Therefore, my dearest brother, cease to be contentious in this matter and to listen to flatterers. For the race of the Franks has brought forth the most abundant fruits to the Lord, not only in believing quickly, but also in converting others to the faith. But the Lord spoke of you when he said: “The kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” [Matt. 21:43]. For as God was able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham [Matt. 3:9], so from the hardness of the Franks he was able to raise up successors to the Roman emperors. . . . And as Christians, through faith in Christ, are the seed of Abraham, and the Jews, through lack of faith, ceased to be sons of Abraham, so also we, through our correct belief, that is, through our orthodoxy, received the government of the Roman empire, and the Greeks, because of their heresy, ceased to be emperors. They deserted not only the city which was the seat of the empire, but even the Roman people, and moved to other parts [that is, Constantinople], and have even lost the Latin tongue.
The Pope Enacts that Papal Elections must Take Place in the Presence of the Emperor’s Representatives. Enactment of a Roman Synod Held by John IX, 898.
The election of a pope was often attended with violence on the part of Roman factions, which, under the leadership of various noble families, sought to elect one of their own party. John IX recognized that the emperor was the only one who could prevent these abuses and so enacted that all papal elections should take place in the presence of the emperor’s representatives.
Since the holy Roman church, over which in accordance with God’s will we preside, on the death of a pope often suffers violence from many persons, because the pope is elected without the knowledge of the emperor, and hence the emperor does not send messengers, as canonical custom and practice require that he should, who may be present and prevent all disturbances during the election, we decree that when a pope is to be elected, the bishops1 and all the clergy shall come together and the election shall take place in the presence of the senate and people. And the one thus chosen shall be consecrated in the presence of the emperor’s messengers.
The Oath of Otto I to John XII, 961.
Although the pope needed the help of the king of the Germans, and was willing to confer upon him the title of emperor, yet he was afraid that Otto might assume too much authority and deprive the papal office of much of its power. He accordingly attempted to secure his position by demanding the following oath of Otto. It will be observed that Otto did not take the oath in person but sent his representative to take it for him. It was, nevertheless, binding on Otto. However, it did not prevent him from afterward deposing John and putting another pope in his place.
I, Otto, king, cause my representative to promise and swear to you, pope John, in my name, by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and by this piece of the life-giving cross and by these relics of the saints, that, if I shall come to Rome with the consent of God, I will exalt the holy Roman church and you, her ruler, to the best of my ability. And you shall never by my wish, advice, consent, or instigation, suffer any loss in life or in limb, or in the honor which you now have or which you shall have obtained from me. I will never make laws or rules in regard to the things which are under your jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of the Romans without your consent. I will restore to you all of the lands of St. Peter that shall have come into my hands; and I will cause the one to whom I shall have committed Italy to rule in my absence2 to swear to you that he will always aid you according to his ability in defending the lands of St. Peter.
Otto I Confirms the Pope in the Possession of his Lands, 962.
In order to secure his possessions, John XII persuaded Otto I to confirm his rights to them. In section 15 Otto reserves his imperial rights, thus furnishing another proof that he was sovereign over the lands which the pope held. By comparing this document with the donations of Pippin and of Karl the Great (nos. 45 and 46), the growth of the papal land claims will be apparent.
In the name of omnipotent God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We, Otto, by the grace of God emperor and Augustus, together with our glorious son, king Otto, promise and pledge to thee, St. Peter, prince of apostles and keeper of the keys of heaven, and through thee to thy vicar, pope John XII, the following possessions, as his predecessors have held and possessed them up to the present time; namely, (1) the city of Rome with its duchy, and its neighboring villages and territories, highland and lowland, shores and ports; (2) all the cities, towns, fortresses, and villages of Tuscany; that is, Porto, Civita Vecchia, Ceri, Bieda, Marturianum, Sutri, Nepi, Gallese, Orte, Polimartium, Ameria, Todi, Perugia, with its three islands, the larger and the smaller, and Pulvensis, Narni, and Otricoli, with all the territories belonging to the aforesaid cities; (3) the whole exarchate of Ravenna with all the cities, towns, and fortresses which our predecessors the most excellent emperors, Pippin and Karl, conferred on St. Peter and your predecessors by a deed of gift; namely, the city of Ravenna and the district of Emilia, including the following towns: Bobbio, Cesena, Forlimpopoli, Forli, Faenza, Imola, Bologna, Ferrara, Comacle, Adria, and Gabello, with all the territories and islands by land and sea which belong to the aforesaid cities; (4) likewise also the Pentapolis; that is, Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Sinigaglia, Ancona, Osimo, Humana, Iesi, Forum Sempronii, Montefeltre, Urbino, and the territory of Balneum, Cagli, Lucioli, and Gubbio, with all the territories belonging to the aforesaid cities; (5) likewise the whole Sabine territory as it was granted to St. Peter by our predecessor, emperor Karl, by a deed of gift; (6) likewise in Lombard Tuscany the fortress of Felicitas, and the towns of Orvieto, Bagnorea, Ferento, Viterbo, Orcle, Marca, Toscanella, Soana, Populonia, and Roselle, with all their suburbs and villages and all their territories, towns, and boundaries; (7) and likewise from Luna, with the island of Corsica, to Suriano, thence over the Apennines to Berceto, thence to Parma, thence to Reggio, thence to Mantua and Monselice, together with the provinces of Venetia and Istria and all the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, and the church of St. Christina which is situated on the Po about four miles from Pavia; (8) and likewise in Campania, Sora, Arce, Aquino, Arpino, Teano, Capua; (9) likewise the patrimonies under your power and sway, such as the patrimonies of Benevento, Naples, and upper and lower Calabria, and also of the island of Sicily, if God shall give it unto our hand; (10) likewise the cities of Gaeta and Fondi with all their belongings; (11) moreover we offer to thee, St. Peter, the apostle, and to thy vicar, pope John and his successors, for the salvation of our own soul and the souls of our son and our parents, the following cities and towns from our own lands; namely, Rieti, San Vittorino [on the Aterno], Furco, Norcia, Balua, Marsi, and besides the city of Teramne. (12) All the aforesaid provinces, cities, towns, fortresses, villages, territories, and patrimonies, we now grant to thee, St. Peter, and through thee to thy vicar, our spiritual father, pope John, and his successors to the end of the world, for the salvation of our own soul and the souls of our son, our parents, and our successors, and for the preservation of the whole Frankish people; and we grant them in such a way that the popes shall possess them in their own right and government and control. (13) Likewise, by this agreement we confirm all the gifts which king Pippin and emperor Karl voluntarily gave to St. Peter, the apostle, and also the rents and payments and taxes which were paid annually to the king of the Lombards from Tuscany and the duchy of Spoleto, as is contained in the aforesaid donation and as was agreed upon between pope Adrian of blessed memory and the emperor Karl, when the same pope surrendered to the emperor his claims on the provinces of Tuscany and Spoleto on condition that the aforesaid taxes should be paid each year to the church of St. Peter, the apostle. But in all this our authority over these provinces and their subjection to us and to our son are not in any way diminished. (14) We therefore confirm your possession of all the things mentioned above in this document; they shall remain in your right and ownership and control, and no one of our successors shall on any pretext take from you any part of the aforesaid provinces, cities, towns, fortresses, villages, dependencies, territories, patrimonies, or taxes, or lessen your authority over them. We will never do so, nor allow others to do so, but we will always defend the church of St. Peter and the popes who rule over that church in their possession of all these things, as far as in us lies, that the popes may be able to keep these things in their control to use, enjoy, and dispose of. (15) In all this there shall be no derogation of our power or of the power of our son and our successors.
Leo VIII Grants the Emperor the Right to Choose the Pope and Invest all Bishops, 963.
Otto I, after the rebellion of John XII, deposed him and caused a layman to be made pope, who took the title Leo VIII. The new pope then issued a decree, the essence of which is contained in the following document. It shows how determined Otto was to assert his imperial authority and is important as a statement of the imperial theory. Leo VIII is regarded as an anti-pope by the Roman church, because, according to the papal theory, Otto had no power to depose a pope. John XII was the legal pope and there could be no other until he died.
In the synod held at Rome in the Church of the Holy Saviour. Following the example of blessed pope Adrian, who granted to Karl, victorious king of the Franks and Lombards, the dignity of the patriciate and the right to ordain the pope and to invest bishops, we, Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with all the clergy and people of Rome, by our apostolic authority bestow upon lord Otto I, king of the Germans, and upon his successors in the kingdom of Italy forever, the right of choosing the successor of the pope, and of ordaining the pope and the archbishops and bishops, so that they shall receive their investiture and consecration from him, with the exception of those prelates whose investiture and consecration the emperor has conceded to the pope or the archbishops. No one, no matter what his dignity or ecclesiastical rank, shall have the authority to choose the patricius or to ordain the pope or any bishop without the consent of the emperor, and that without bribery; and the emperor shall be by right both king [of Italy] and patricius [of Rome]. But if anyone has been chosen bishop by the clergy and people, he shall not be consecrated unless he has been approved by the aforesaid king and has received his investiture from him. . . .
The Pope Confers the Royal Title. A Letter of Pope Sylvester II to Stephen of Hungary, 1000.
Previous to this time, it was considered the emperor’s right to confer the royal title and to elevate a person to the rank of king. Here, for the first time in the history of the papacy, a pope confers the royal title, thereby intrenching on the imperial prerogative. Otto III, who was then emperor, did not resist this papal infringement of his rights. Later popes were not slow to see the value of this act as a precedent (see nos. 69, 72, 128), and exercised the right to confer titles and dignities as they pleased. This act of Sylvester II is, therefore, an important milestone in the history of the development of the papal prerogatives.
Sylvester, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Stephen, king of the Hungarians, greeting and apostolic benediction. Your ambassadors, especially our dear brother, Astricus, bishop of Colocza, were received by us with the greater joy and accomplished their mission with the greater ease, because we had been divinely forewarned to expect an embassy from a nation still unknown to us. . . . Surely, according to the apostle: “It is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” [Rom. 9:16]; and according to the testimony of Daniel: “He changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings and setteth up kings; he revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness” [Dan. 2:21, 22]; for in him is that light which, as John teaches, “lighteth every man that cometh into the world” [John 1:9]. Therefore we first give thanks to God the Father, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, because he has found in our time another David, and has again raised up a man after his own heart to feed his people Israel, that is, the chosen race of the Hungarians. Secondly, we praise you for your piety toward God and for your reverence for this apostolic see, over which, not by our own merits, but by the mercy of God, we now preside. Finally, we commend the liberality you have shown in offering to St. Peter yourself and your people and your kingdom and possessions by the same ambassadors and letters. For by this deed you have clearly demonstrated that you already are what you have asked us to declare you [i.e., a king]. But enough of this; it is not necessary to commend him whom God himself has commended and whose deeds openly proclaim to be worthy of all commendation. Now therefore, glorious son, by the authority of omnipotent God and of St. Peter, the prince of apostles, we freely grant, concede, and bestow with our apostolic benediction all that you have sought from us and from the apostolic see; namely, the royal crown and name, the creation of the metropolitanate of Gran, and of the other bishoprics. Moreover, we receive under the protection of the holy church the kingdom which you have surrendered to St. Peter, together with yourself and your people, the Hungarian nation; and we now give it back to you and to your heirs and successors to be held, possessed, ruled, and governed. And your heirs and successors, who shall have been legally elected by the nobles, shall duly offer obedience and reverence to us and to our successors in their own persons or by ambassadors, and shall confess themselves the subjects of the Roman church, who does not hold her subjects as slaves, but receives them all as children. They shall persevere in the catholic faith and the religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and strive always to promote it. And because you have fulfilled the office of the apostles in preaching Christ and propagating his faith, and have tried to do in your realm the work of us and of our clergy, and because you have honored the same prince of apostles above all others, therefore by this privilege we grant you and your successors, who shall have been legally elected and approved by the apostolic see, the right to have the cross borne before you as a sign of apostleship,1 after you have been crowned with the crown which we send and according to the ceremony which we have committed to your ambassadors. And we likewise give you full power by our apostolic authority to control and manage all the churches of your realm, both present and future, as divine grace may guide you, as representing us and our successors. All these things are contained more fully and explicitly in that general letter which we have sent by our messenger to you and to your nobles and faithful subjects. And we pray that omnipotent God, who called you even from your mother’s womb to the kingdom and crown, and who has commanded us to give you the crown which we had prepared for the duke of Poland, may increase continually the fruits of your good works, and sprinkle with the dew of his benediction this young plant of your kingdom, and preserve you and your realm and protect you from all enemies, visible and invisible, and, after the trials of the earthly kingship are past, crown you with an eternal crown in the kingdom of heaven. Given at Rome, March 27, in the thirteenth indiction [the year 1000].
The Emperor, Henry III, Deposes and Creates Popes, 1048.
The papacy having again fallen under the control of Roman factions, there were three men claiming to be pope. The emperor regarded it as his duty as well as his right to decide who was the true pope, and came to Italy for that purpose. He not only deposed the three contesting popes and named another, but so long as he lived he controlled the papal elections.
Now when the report of this incredible controversy had reached the ears of Henry, by the grace of God most invincible emperor, he set out for Italy with a great force and an immense army. And when he came to the city called Sutri, he called to him pope Gregory and the clergy of Rome and decreed that a great synod should be held in the holy church of Sutri. And after he had tried the case canonically and justly and had made the rights of the matter plain to the holy and religious bishops according to the canons, he condemned with perpetual anathema John, bishop of Sabina, to whom they had given the name Silvester, John the archpresbyter, whom they called Gregory, and the aforesaid pope Benedict. Then he proceeded to Rome with so great a following that the city could not hold it. Henry, by the grace of God pious and benign king, called together the multitude of the Roman people and the bishops and abbots and the whole Roman clergy in the basilica of St. Peter, and held there a holy and glorious synod; and on the day before Christmas he appointed an excellent, holy, and benign pope, who took the name of Clement. And on Christmas day the aforesaid king was crowned by the holy and benign pope, and the whole city of Rome rejoiced and the holy Roman church was exalted and glorified because so dangerous a schism had at length by the mercy of God been ended. And then the most serene emperor, perceiving the desire of the whole Roman people, as they had expressed it to him, placed on his own head the band with which the Romans from of old had been wont to crown their patricii. And the pope and the clergy and the Romans granted him the right to create popes and such bishops as have regalian rights; and it was further agreed that no bishop should be consecrated until he had received his investiture from the hand of the king. And just as pope Adrian had confirmed these things by a charter, so also they, by a charter, gave, confirmed, and put in the power of Henry and his successors the patriciate and the other rights as stated above.1
Now after the king had returned to his own realm, pope Clement sat upon the apostolic throne nine months and sixteen days, and then left the terrestrial for the celestial kingdom.
Then the Roman people, assembled together, sent messengers to king Henry with a letter beseeching him, as servants beseech their lord, or children their father, to appoint for them a chaste and benign man of godly life as shepherd of the holy Roman church and of the whole world. Now when Benedict, the former pope, learned of the death of Clement (for he was staying at Tusculum), he succeeded in winning over a part of the Roman people by bribery and again usurped the pontificate. But when the ambassadors of the Romans came to the king, he received them in his palace with great honor and gave them many gifts; then, calling together a great assembly of bishops, abbots, counts, margraves, and other princes, according to the decrees of the holy fathers, he chose a pope who should be pleasing to God and the whole people.
The ambassadors of the Romans returned to Rome, preceding the new pope, Damasus. But the good pope himself changed his route and betook himself to Italy. Now when he had come to the margrave Boniface, who had assisted the aforesaid pope Benedict to seize the papal throne, the margrave addressed him in these cunning words: “I cannot go on to Rome with you, because the Romans have restored the former pope, and he has regained the power which he had formerly, and has made peace with them. Therefore I cannot go to Rome, especially as I am now an old man.” When the holy pope heard this, he returned and told all these things to the emperor. When the king heard it, he recognized the shrewdness and cunning of the margrave, and addressed him by letter, as follows: “Since you have restored to the pontificate a pope who was canonically deposed, and have been led by your love of gain to hold our empire in contempt, understand now that, unless you mend your ways, I will come quickly and make you mend against your will, and I will give the Roman people a pope worthy in the sight of God.” Then Boniface, seeing that his rebellion would profit him nothing, drove Benedict from the papal throne by his ambassador and went to Rome with pope Damasus. . . . And Damasus held the pontificate twenty-three days and then died, and Leo was enthroned in the Roman see by the emperor and his nobles.
The Pope Becomes the Feudal Lord of Southern Italy and Sicily, 1059. The Oaths of Robert Guiscard to Pope Nicholas II, 1059.
Southern Italy and Sicily had been allowed to take care of themselves. The Greek emperor had not been able to retain his hold on them, and the German emperor, while claiming them, had never succeeded in extending his power over them. A handful of adventurous Normans had established themselves on the mainland and had assumed the title of counts. Their ambition grew with their fortune; they desired a higher title than count and wished to increase their possessions. So they turned to the pope and asked him to confer upon them the title of duke, and to give them his blessing in their proposed conquest of Sicily, which was in the hands of the Mohammedans. In granting the request of these Normans, the pope assumed the lordship over southern Italy and Sicily, to which he had no right, and thereby put forth claims which conflicted with those of both emperors. For more than two centuries the possession of southern Italy and Sicily was the ground for a bitter struggle between the popes and the German emperors.
The importance of this event is seen when we consider that the long struggle between the papacy and the empire was about to begin. The pope had little besides his spiritual weapons (excommunication, interdict) with which to oppose the emperor. But in Robert Guiscard he secured a powerful vassal who was to render him great military aid against the emperor.
§ 70. I, Robert, by the grace of God and of St. Peter duke of Apulia and Calabria, and with their aid to be duke of Sicily [that is, when I shall have conquered it], in confirmation of the gift and in recognition of my oath of fidelity, promise that from all the lands which I hold under my own sway, and which I have never conceded that anyone from beyond the mountains1 [Alps, that is, Germany] holds, I will pay annually for each yoke of oxen 12 denarii of the mint of Pavia to you, my lord, Nicholas, pope, and to all your successors, or to your or their legates. And this payment shall be made at the end of the year on easter day. I bind myself and my heirs and my successors to pay this sum to my lord, Nicholas, pope, and to your successors. So help me God and these holy gospels.
§ 71. I, Robert, by the grace of God and St. Peter duke of Apulia and Calabria, and by the aid of both to be duke of Sicily, from this hour forth will be faithful to the holy Roman church and to you, my lord, Nicholas, pope. I will have no share in any counsel or act intended to deprive you of life or limb, or to capture you by any fraud. Any secret plan which you may reveal to me with the command not to tell it I will not wittingly publish to your hurt. I will always aid with all my might the holy Roman church to acquire the regalia and possessions of St. Peter, and to hold them against all men. I will aid you to hold in security and honor the papal office, the land of St. Peter, and the government. I will not try either to usurp or to seize it, nor will I devastate it without your permission or that of your successors, except only that land which you or your successors may give me. I will earnestly strive to pay at the appointed time the sum agreed on from the land of St. Peter which I may hold. I put all the churches, with their possessions, which are in my lands, under your authority, and I will defend them according to my oath of fidelity to the holy Roman church. And if you or your successors shall die before I do, according as I shall have been advised by the better cardinals, the clergy of Rome, and the laity, I will do all that I can that a pope may be elected and ordained to the honor of St. Peter. All the above written things I will observe with true faithfulness to the holy Roman church and to you. And this oath of fidelity I will observe to those of your successors who may confirm to me the investiture which you have granted me. So help me God and these holy gospels.
The Papal Election Decree of Nicholas II, 1059.
Henry III (1039-56) deposed and appointed popes as he pleased (see no. 57). But with the spread of Cluniac ideas, there grew up a party in the church which strove with increasing energy and clearness of purpose to make the church self-governing and independent of all lay influence. Its aim was to unify and organize the government of the church by putting all ecclesiastical power in the hands of the pope, who should rule the church through a hierarchy of archbishops and bishops. Of this party, which was called hierarchical, the archdeacon, Hildebrand, was the head. It took advantage of the opportunity offered by the youth of Henry IV and the weak rule of the regent, his mother Agnes, to establish a way by which the pope might be elected by the clergy instead of being appointed by the emperor. The document by which this was done is know as the election decree of Nicholas II (1059-61) and was enacted in a council at Rome in 1059. Since 1048 Hildebrand had been the power behind the papal throne, and with rare skill he had directed the policy of each successive pope. He had been able to do much toward accomplishing the purpose of this party. But at the death of Stephen IX in 1058 a faction of the Roman nobility, known as the Tusculan party, threatened to overturn all that the hierarchical party had accomplished. While Hildebrand was absent from Rome on a mission to Germany, Stephen IX died and the Tusculan party set up one of its own members as pope, who called himself Benedict X. The cardinals who attempted to resist this election were persecuted and compelled to flee. When Hildebrand heard of this he hastened to call a council at Siena. This council, which was composed chiefly of five cardinal bishops, deposed Benedict X and elected Gerhard, bishop of Florence, pope, who assumed the name of Nicholas II.
According to this decree the election of a pope consisted of the five following parts: (1) The seven cardinal bishops chose the pope. Although their choice was supposed to be final it must (2) be confirmed by the other cardinal clergy. (3) Then the rest of the clergy and the people of Rome must express their consent. (4) The election was then reported to the emperor, who was expected to confirm it, and then (5) the pope elect was consecrated as pope and enthroned in the chair of St. Peter by the cardinal bishops. This latter part of the ceremony must, of course, take place at Rome. The decree does not say what shall be done if the other clergy or the emperor should refuse to confirm the choice of the cardinal bishops.
There were those who demanded that the emperor be permitted to approve or reject the candidate before the election took place. As precedents in favor of this they referred to the long list of popes who had been either nominated or appointed by various emperors. The part which the emperor was to have in the election of a pope is not stated in the decree, but section 4 shows plainly that Nicholas and Henry had come to an agreement on that subject, and from other sources we know what its terms were. This agreement was limited to Henry alone, for each of his successors must secure his share in the papal election by demanding it of the pope.
This decree seems to justify certain irregularities or peculiarities in the election of Nicholas himself and hence may be said to have an apologetic character. (1) His election took place not in Rome, but in Siena. (2) He was not a member of the church in Rome, but was bishop of Florence. (3) It was chiefly the cardinal bishops who elected him. (4) Since the Tusculan party held Rome it was some time before he could be consecrated and enthroned, but in the meanwhile he exercised papal authority.
The cardinal bishops had already acquired certain prerogatives over the other cardinal clergy. They alone, besides the pope, could say mass at the high altar in St. John’s in Lateran; they represented the pope during his absence from Rome; they consecrated and enthroned the pope; they assisted the pope in anointing and crowning the emperor; and without their consent the pope could not bestow the pallium upon an archbishop. By this decree they now acquire the new and important right of nominating the pope. But this high prerogative they were not able to retain permanently. From 1050 to 1100 they succeeded in depriving the other cardinal clergy of much of their power and influence. They were the chief advisers of the popes. In accordance with the terms of this decree they elected Alexander II (1061-73) (the election of Gregory VII (1073-85) was somewhat irregular), Victor III (1086-87), and Urban II (1087-99). But the other cardinal clergy were not content to be thus thrust down; they struggled successfully against the growing power of the cardinal bishops and finally regained the right which had once been theirs. The election of Paschal II (1099-1118) was made by all the cardinal clergy, not by the cardinal bishops alone, and afterward the election of a pope was the concern of all the cardinal clergy.
The original of this decree is lost and the copy which has come down to us is slightly imperfect, as there are omissions in it. Some one representing the imperial party, not satisfied with the share which it gave the emperor in the papal election, changed it to suit the demands of his party. It is now known that this imperial form of the decree is a forgery.
In section 2 the quotation from Leo I (440-461) is meant in a general way to justify the prerogative here attributed to the cardinal bishops, and especially their right to consecrate and enthrone the pope.
In the name of the Lord God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, in the 1059th year from his incarnation, in the month of April, in the 12th indiction, in the presence of the holy gospels, the most reverend and blessed apostolic pope Nicholas presiding in the Lateran patriarchal basilica which is called the church of Constantine, the most reverend archbishops, bishops, and abbots, and the venerable presbyters and deacons also being present, the same venerable pontiff by his apostolic authority decreed thus concerning the election of the pope: “Most beloved brothers and fellow-bishops, you know, since it is not hidden even from the humbler members, how after the death of our predecessor, Stephen of blessed memory, this apostolic seat, which by the will of God I now serve, suffered many evils, how indeed it was subjected to many serious attacks from the simoniacal money-changers, so that the column of the living God seemed about to topple, and the skiff of the supreme fisherman [Peter] was nearly wrecked by the tumultuous storms. Therefore, if it pleases you, we ought now, with the aid of God, prudently to take measures to prevent future misfortunes, and to provide for the state of the church in the future, lest those evils, again appearing, which God forbid, should prevail against it. Therefore, fortified by the authority of our predecessors and the other holy fathers, we decide and declare:
“1. On the death of a pontiff of the universal Roman church, first, the cardinal bishops,1 with the most diligent consideration, shall elect a successor; then they shall call in the other cardinal clergy [to ratify their choice], and finally the rest of the clergy and the people shall express their consent to the new election.
“2. In order that the disease of venality may not have any opportunity to spread, the devout clergy shall be the leaders in electing the pontiff, and the others shall acquiesce. And surely this order of election is right and lawful, if we consider either the rules or the practice of various fathers, or if we recall that decree of our predecessor, St. Leo, for he says: ‘By no means can it be allowed that those should be ranked as bishops who have not been elected by the clergy, and demanded by the people, and consecrated by their fellow-bishops of the province with the consent of the metropolitan.’ But since the apostolic seat is above all the churches in the earth, and therefore can have no metropolitan over it, without doubt the cardinal bishops perform in it the office of the metropolitan, in that they advance the elected prelate to the apostolic dignity [that is, choose, consecrate, and enthrone him].
“3. The pope shall be elected from the church in Rome, if a suitable person can be found in it, but if not, he is to be taken from another church.
“4. In the papal election—in accordance with the right which we have already conceded to Henry and to those of his successors who may obtain the same right from the apostolic see—due honor and reverence shall be shown our beloved son, Henry, king and emperor elect [that is, the rights of Henry shall be respected].
“5. But if the wickedness of depraved and iniquitous men shall so prevail that a pure, genuine, and free election cannot be held in this city, the cardinal bishops with the clergy and a few laymen shall have the right to elect the pontiff wherever they shall deem most fitting.
“6. But if after an election any disturbance of war or any malicious attempt of men shall prevail so that he who is elected cannot be enthroned according to custom in the papal chair, the pope elect shall nevertheless exercise the right of ruling the holy Roman church, and of disposing of all its revenues, as we know St. Gregory did before his consecration.
“But if anyone, actuated by rebellion or presumption or any other motive, shall be elected or ordained or enthroned in a manner contrary to this our decree, promulgated by the authority of the synod, he with his counsellors, supporters, and followers shall be expelled from the holy church of God by the authority of God and the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and shall be subjected to perpetual anathema as Antichrist and the enemy and destroyer of all Christianity; nor shall he ever be granted a further hearing in the case, but he shall be deposed without appeal from every ecclesiastical rank which he may have held formerly. Whoever shall adhere to him or shall show him any reverence as if he were pope, or shall aid him in any way, shall be subject to like sentence. Moreover, if any rash person shall oppose this our decree and shall try to confound and disturb the Roman church by his presumption contrary to this decree, let him be cursed with perpetual anathema and excommunication, and let him be numbered with the wicked who shall not arise on the day of judgment. Let him feel upon him the weight of the wrath of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and let him experience in this life and the next the anger of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, whose church he has presumed to confound. Let his habitation be desolate and let none dwell in his tents [Ps. 69:25]. Let his children be orphans and his wife a widow. Let him be driven forth and let his sons beg and be cast out from their habitations. Let the usurer take all his substance and let others reap the fruit of his labors. Let the whole earth fight against him and let all the elements be hostile to him, and let the powers of all the saints in heaven confound him and show upon him in this life their evident vengeance. But may the grace of omnipotent God protect those who observe this decree and free them from the bonds of all their sins by the authority of the holy apostles Peter and Paul.”
I, Nicholas, bishop of the holy Catholic and apostolic church, have subscribed this decree which has been promulgated by us, as said above. I, Boniface, by the grace of God bishop of Albano, have subscribed. I, Humbert, bishop of the holy church of Silva Candida, have subscribed. I, Peter, bishop of the church of Ostia, have subscribed. And other bishops to the number of seventy-six, with priests and deacons.
[1 ] The grades are given as follows in the Cor. Jur. Can., Dist. LXXVII, c. i. The candidate for the office of bishop must first have been doorkeeper (ostiarius), then reader (lector), then exorcist (exorcista), then consecrated as an acolyte (acolythus), then subdeacon (subdiaconus), then deacon (diaconus), then priest (presbyter), and then if he is elected he may be ordained bishop. The law expressed in chap. iii, so thoroughly in the interests of the ambitious clergy of Rome, was not long observed, for it frequently happened that the bishop of some other city was chosen pope. But it was in accord with previous legislation. The church had early declared against the removal of a clergyman from one congregation to another. Thus the council of Nicæa, 325, in its fifteenth canon (cf. Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, I, pp. 418 f), “forbids bishops, priests, and deacons to move from one town (congregation) to another, because such a practice is against the rule of the church and has often caused disturbances and divisions between congregations. If any bishop, priest, or deacon disobeys this command and removes to another congregation, his action shall be illegal, and he shall be sent back to the congregation which he was serving.”
[1 ] Note the plain statement that the emperor has no authority in ecclesiastical matters. Observe also the general tone of the whole letter.
[2 ] This is equivalent to the excommunication of the emperor. But as Gregory’s authority was not recognized in Constantinople, his excommunication of the emperor would not be observed.
[3 ] The first six general councils of the church here referred to were (1) Nicæa, 325; (2) Constantinople, 381; (3) Ephesus, 431; (4) Chalcedon, 451; (5) Constantinople, 553; (6) Constantinople, 681.
[4 ] The text of this passage, as Migne has it, is perhaps corrupt; its meaning, at any rate, is obscure. We have given the only reasonable interpretation that seemed possible. Apparently the pope agrees to assume the responsibility for the destruction of images in the past, if only the emperor will accept the papal view and cease from his opposition to images in the future.
[1 ] Rome is evidently regarded as the possession of St. Peter. In that case the administration of its government is in the hands of the pope, who is the vicar of St. Peter on earth.
[2 ] The meeting at Kiersy took place April 14, 754.
[1 ] The grave of St. Peter is under the high altar of St. Peter’s in Rome. In front of the grave and on the same level with it is a large open space to which one descends by a flight of steps. This open space in front of the tomb is called the “confession of St. Peter.”
[1 ] Eugene II (824-827) was then pope. The text of the oath which he had sworn to Lothar is not preserved. But we may infer its contents from the expression “that he will rule without any change.”
[1 ] More than thirty bishops took part in the election of Stephen VI, 896, although there were but seven cardinal bishops. Hence this probably means all the bishops of the whole diocese of Rome, not simply the seven cardinal bishops. It is apparent therefore that in the ninth century the cardinal clergy had not yet secured any special prerogative in the election of a pope. Many think that this enactment was made in 816 instead of 898.
[2 ] In accordance with imperial theory, Otto, as emperor, would rule over Italy. He agrees to protect the pope “in the things which are under his jurisdiction,” but that does not mean that the pope had jurisdiction in all things. The supreme authority is the emperor, to whom the pope, as well as all other bishops and princes of Italy, are subject.
[1 ] The title “apostolic king of Hungary” is still used by the emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
[1 ] Apparently this was a reënactment of the grant of Leo VIII to Otto I, 963. See no. 55.
[1 ] Robert here denies that the German emperor has any right to Sicily and southern Italy. He had never held them, and hence they were not a part of his empire.
[1 ] The seven cardinal bishops were those of Palæstrina, Porto, Ostia, Tusculum, Silva Candida, Albano, and Sabina.