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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

1073-1118 A.D.

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St. Gregory VII  : 1073-1085 A.D.

157. Born in Tuscany. Elected April 22 1073 - died May 25, 1085.

The council issued the "Dictatus Papae": only the Pope is universal; nobody can judge him; he is the only one who can release from oath.

Henry IV, who was excommunicated, went to Canossa wearing a frock and begged for forgiveness: after three days during which the repentant Henry IV walked barefoot along the walls of Canossa, the Pope said, "that's enough" and so he was forgiven.

He established that only the Supreme Hierarch could be called Pope.

Gregory VII is the Pope of Canossa.

He planned and promoted a transformation, which resulted in the Establishment of the "Licet de Vitanda", promulgated by Alexander III (170) according to which the election was reserved only to cardinals.

He was buried in the Church of St. Matteo in Salerno.

He was made saint in 1606.

His pontificate lasted 12 years and 1 month.

Bl. Victor III : 1086-1087 A.D.

158. Born in Montecassino. Elected May 24, 1086 - died September 16, 1087.

Four days after the election he looked for shelter in Montecassino.

He was then re-elected and forced to come back to Rome and be consecrated.

He excommunicated the Anti-pope Clemens III, and chose the fortified Tiberine island as his residence.

He is supposed to have ordered the building of the Borgo near St. Peter, which now bears the name Victor.

When he was a monk, S. Pier Damiani defined him: the Archangel of monks.

He was one of the most distinguished men of his era and is mentioned among the scholars of the time.

He was also very keen to sacred chants.

He is buried in Montecassino.

His pontificate lasted 1 year and 4 months.

Bl. Urban II : 1088-1099 A.D.

159. Born in France. Elected March 12, 1088 - died July 29, l099.

The Conclave was held in Velletri, because the anti-pope Clement III was settled in Rome.

He declared war to the unfaithful and proclaimed the first crusade. He established the "Cease fire of God".

A short break between battles to bury the dead.

Goffredo di Bugiione was appointed first commander; on July 15th the Christian army reached Jerusalem, and this event inspired Torquato Tasso in the composition of his poem entitled "Gerusalemme liberata": his scream "God wants it", was known allover Europe.

During the council of Clermont, the Angelus Domini was introduced.

He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes.

His pontificate lasted 11 years and 4 months.

Paschal II : 1099-1118 A.D.

160. Born in Bieda (Ravenna). Elected August 14, 1099 - died January 21,1118.

The struggle for the supremacy of the Pope or of the Emperor forced him to go to exile.

Henry V succeeded in being crowned with the right of investiture. S. Maria del Popolo was built in the place where people said it was possible to see the ghost of Nero.

In this church you might also find a Madonna attributed to St. Lucas, which would therefore date back to the same period of the famous polish "Black Madonna".

During his pontificate, and more specifically in 1110, the military group of the Knights of Rodi of the Sacred Order of Malta was created.

His body was buried in the Lateran.

His pontificate lasted about 17 years and 5 months.

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Index of Roman Pontiffs


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