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Ban on Lay Investitures, 1078


(Doeberl: 11 Mon-umenta Germaniae selecta," pp. 16-48.)

1. Decree of Nov. 19th, 1078, forbidding lay Investiture

Inasmuch as we have learned that, contrary to the establishments of the holy fathers, the investiture with churches is, in many places, performed by lay persons; and that from this cause many disturbances arise in the church by which the Christian religion is trodden underfoot: we decree that no one of the clergy shall receive the investiture with a bishopric or abbey or church from the hand of an emperor or king or of any lay person, male or female. But if he shall presume to do so he shall clearly know that such investiture is bereft of apostolic authority, and that he himself shall lie under excommunication until fitting satisfaction shall have been rendered.

 

2. Decree of March 7th, 1080, forbidding the same.

Following the statutes of the holy fathers, as, in the former councils which by the mercy of God we have held, we decreed concerning the ordering of ecclesiastical dignities, so also now we decree and confirm : that, if any one henceforth shall receive a bishopric or abbey from the hand of any lay person, he shall by no means be considered as among the number of the bishops or abbots; nor shall any hearing be granted him as bishop or abbot. Moreover do the we further deny to him the favour of St. Peter and the entry to the Church until, coming to his senses, he shall desert the place that he has taken by the crime of ambition as well as by that of disobedience - which is the sine of idolatry. In a like manner also we decree concerning the inferior ecclesiastical dignities.

Likewise if any emperor, king, duke, margrave, count or any one at all of the secular powers or persons shall presume to perform the investiture with bishoprics or with any ecclesiastical dignity, - he shall be bound by the bonds of the same condemnation. And, moreover, unless he come to his senses and relinquish to the Church her own prerogative, he shall feel in this present life, the divine displeasure as well with regard to his body as to his other belongings: in order that, at the coming of the Lord, his soul may be saved.

 

from Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pp. 365-366

 

 


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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(c)Paul Halsall Mar 1996
halsall@murray.fordham.edu