The Investiture Controversy’s

Today I would like to tell you about the Investiture Controversy’s. What are the Investiture Controversy’s? Investiture means, ‘The act of installing a person in an office, rank, and order’. In the Investiture Controversy’s it was a disagreement about who would appoint bishops to the church. When did the Investiture Controversy’s take place? The first disagreement took place in 1076, just ten years after the Norman invasion of England. The second one started in 1162 and happened in England.


The first one started in 1076 and never really had an ending. The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, appointed three bishops. But the Pope, Gregory VII at the time, only was allowed to appoint bishops. In 1076 Gregory wrote a letter to Henry asking him to repent. In retaliation, Henry IV, called a council, and the men decided to denounce the Pope and asked him to leave Rome. Gregory VII than turned and excommunicated Henry IV. This meant that he was no longer to be treated as Emperor. It was decided that Henry needed to go to the Pope and repent. Henry IV met Pope Gregory VII at Canossa, Italy. There Gregory lifted the Ban of Excommunication. But the conflict was far from over.In 1080 Henry IV besieged Rome and took it. Gregory fled. He died in Salerno, Italy.His last words were, ‘I loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.At last in 1122 an agreement was made, the Pope would appoint bishops and the Emperor would give the bishops blessing.


The second part of Investiture Controversy took place in England from 1162 to 1171. After the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry II needed to appoint a new archbishop. He turned to his good friend Thomas Becket. Thomas was born in 1118 and studied law in Paris. Thomas Becket was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury on June 2, 1162. But sadly Henry thought that by his friend at the top meant he could do whatever he wanted to do. Not the case. Thomas took his job very seriously. When Henry II tried to appoint his on bishops, Thomas said no. Henry tired to kill Becket but he fled to France. In 1170 Henry II and Becket resolved their dispute. Thomas returned to England and resumed his office of Bishop. But the troubles were far from over. While he had been in France, Becket had excommunicated two bishops who had supported King Henry II in his trying to appoint bishops. Henry, quite upset said, ‘who will rid me of this meddlesome priest.’ Four of Henry’s knights sailed to England and stormed Canterbury Cathedral. They found Becket saying his evening prayers. Thus on December 29, 1170 Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murder by and sword blow to the head.His last words were,’ For the Name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to die.’


This murder sent a tremor though Europe. Henry II later repented and Thomas was made a Saint. As a result of the Investiture Controversy’s the church and the state became more separate. This all paved the way for the Reformation.



Samuel Duarte


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