Middle Ages
The Church
Wields Power
The Power of the Church
• Popes could crown kings, choose
Clergy, & sought to control politics
• Clergy: religious officials
–enforced Canon law: religious laws
that all had to obey
–Provided Sacraments: ceremonies
needed to go to heaven
• It was a stable, unifying
force in an age of chaos.
• Commoners & kings
feared excommunication
& eternal damnation
The Holy Roman Empire
• Patchwork of German & Italian feudal
principalities which elected a German
emperor who was approved by the Pope.
• Emperors were in constant conflict with
local princes, bishops, and the pope.
• As a result, Germany & Italy did not unite as
nations until the mid-1800s.
Otto the Great : 1st true Holy
Roman Emperor
• Controlled church in
Germany = appointed
• Claimed emperors could
approve new popes
• Italian Nobles resented
German Emperors &
Popes came to fear them
Lay Investiture Controversy
• Greatest conflict between church &
state in the Middle Ages
• Holy Roman Emperors & Popes fought
over who got to appoint Clergy ($$$)
• 1075, Pope Gregory VII banned Lay
• Emperor Henry IV
demanded that the
Pope resign
• Pope had him
• German princes &
bishops abandoned
the Emperor
Henry Begged
• Showed the power
Popes had over
• And Germany
remained divided
Frederick Barbarossa
• Tried gaining power
over Italy & the
Church by invasion
• Italian nobles & the
Pope allied against
• 1176, They defeated
his forces & Italy freed
itself of German

The European Middle Ages 13.4 pp