157. Pope St.Gregory VII 1073-1085

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Before he was Pope,Gregory VII(born Hildebrand of Sovana)was a major player behind the scenes of several Popes and in how they would be elected for the rest of time. When he became Pope he was a force to be reckoned with,asserting his supremacy over both Church and state matters. The majority of his Papacy was actually spent in a running feud with Holy Roman emperor Henry IV,who Gregory excommunicated three times. One of those times Henry appeared before the Pope in a hairshirt begging and crying for forgiveness……..then a few years later to turn around and try to remove Gregory by force and install his own Pope. Their major issue was known as The Investiture Controversy. This was a fight over whether secular rulers,such as Henry,had the right to install their own Bishops and Abbots in their own lands,which is something the Pope felt that they had no authority to do. The back and forth between Gregory and Henry peaked when Henry invaded Rome only to be forced back by Normans loyal to Gregory……and these guys unfortunately then sacked the city. The Romans felt betrayed by the Pope and ran him out of town,where he died in exile.

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