Saint Gregory VII

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Gregory VII, St (c.1020–85). Originally Hildebrand, Christian pope who provoked the Investiture Controversy. His Dictatus Papae (1075) not only emphasized the holiness of the pope in succession from Peter, but also asserted the right of the pope to depose princes. He prohibited lay investiture (i.e. the right of laity to make appointments to certain church offices), which in effect envisaged the abolition of the royal control over bishops. Considerable unrest ensued, especially in France, England, and Germany. Henry IV continued to nominate bishops, convening a synod of German bishops at Worms and Piacenza in 1076 which deposed the pope. Gregory responded by excommunicating Henry and releasing his subjects from allegiance. Seeing the threat, Henry capitulated and sought absolution in penitent's attire at Canossa, near Reggio, in 1077. But this was the beginning, not the end, of conflict. When Henry seized Rome in 1084, Gregory fled to Monte Cassino, thence to Salerno where he died. He was canonized in 1606: feast day 25 May.

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Gregory VII, Saint (1020–85) Pope (1073–85), b. Hildebrand. He condemned lay investiture, simony and clerical marriage. Emperor Henry IV opposed the reforms and deposed Gregory (1076). Gregory responded by excommunicating Henry. Gregory failed to establish the independence of the papacy, but his example inspired the Concordat of Worms (1122). His feast day is May 25.

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Saint Gregory VII