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§ 21. The Concordat of Worms. 1122.

Ekkehardus Uraugiensis: Chronica (best ed. by Waiz in Mon. Germ. Script., VI. 260).—Ul. Robert: Étude sur les actes du pape Calixte II. Paris, 1874.—E. Bernheim: Zur Geschichte des Wormser Concordats. Göttingen, 1878.—M. Maurer: Papst Calixt II. München, 1886.—Giesebrecht, III. 931–959.—Ranke, VIII. 111–126.—Hefele-Knöpfler, V. 311–384; Bullaire et histoire de Calixte II. Paris, 1891.—D. Schafer: Zur Beurtheilung des Wormser Konkordats. Berlin, 1905.

The Gregorian party elected Gelasius a cardinal-deacon, far advanced in age. His short reign of a year and four days was a series of pitiable misfortunes. He had scarcely been elected when he was grossly insulted by a mob led by Cencius Frangipani and cast into a dungeon. Freed by the fickle Romans, he was thrown into a panic by the sudden appearance of Henry V. at the gates, and fled the city, attempting to escape by sea. The Normans came to his rescue and he was led back to Rome, where he found St. Peter’s in the hands of the anti-pope. A wild riot again forced him to flee and when he was found he was sitting in a field near St. Paul’s, with no companions but some women as his comforters. He then escaped to Pisa and by way of Genoa to France, where he died at Cluny, 1119. The imperialist party had elected an anti-pope, Gregory VIII., who was consecrated at Rome in the presence of Henry V., and ruled till 1121, but was taken captive by the Normans, mounted on a camel, paraded before Calixtus amid the insults and mockeries of the Roman mob, covered with dust and filth, and consigned to a dungeon. He died in an obscure monastery, in 1125, "still persevering in his rebellion." Such was the state of society in Rome.

Calixtus II., the successor of Gelasius, 1119–1124, was elected at Cluny and consecrated at Vienne. He began his rule by renewing the sentence of excommunication against Henry; and in him the emperor found his match. After holding the Synod of Rheims, which ratified the prohibition of lay investiture, he reached Rome, 1120. Both parties, emperor and pope, were weary of the long struggle of fifty years, which had, like the Thirty Years’ War five centuries later, kept Central Europe in a state of turmoil and war. At the Diet of Würzburg, 1121, the men of peace were in the majority and demanded a cessation of the conflict and the calling of a council.

Calixtus found it best to comply, however reluctantly, with the resolution of the German Diet, and instructed his legates to convoke a general council of all the bishops of France and Germany at Mainz for the purpose of restoring concord between the holy see and the empire. The assembly adjourned from Mainz to Worms, the city which became afterwards so famous for the protest of Luther. An immense multitude crowded to the place to witness the restoration of peace. The sessions lasted more than a week, and closed with a solemn mass and the Te Deum by the cardinal-bishop of Ostia, who gave the kiss of peace to the emperor.

The Concordat of Worms was signed, Sept. 23, 1122. It was a compromise between the contending parties. It is the first of the many concordats which the popes have since that time concluded with various sovereigns and governments, and in which they usually make some concession to the civil power. If they cannot carry out their principle, they agree to a modus vivendi.

The pope gained the chief point, namely, the right of investiture by delivery of the ring and crosier (the symbols of the spiritual power) in all the churches of the empire, and also the restoration of the properties and temporalities of the blessed Peter which had passed out of the possession of the holy see during the late civil wars.

On the other hand, the pope granted to the emperor that the elections to all bishoprics and abbeys of the empire should be made in the emperor’s presence, without simony or any kind of corruption; that in cases of dispute the emperor should be at liberty to decide in favor of the person who, in his judgment, had the best claim; and that the candidate thus elected should receive from the emperor the temporalities of his see or abbey by the delivery of a rod or sceptre (the symbol of the temporal power), but without bargain or valuable consideration of any kind, and ever after render unto the sovereign all such duties and services as by law he was bound to render. But the temporalities belonging to the Roman see were exempt from these stipulations.

There are some ambiguities and uncertainties in this treaty which opened the way for future contention. The emperor surrenders the right of investiture (with ring and crosier), and yet takes it back again in a milder form (with the sceptre). The question whether consecration is to precede or to follow investiture was left undecided, except outside of Germany, i.e. in Italy and Burgundy, where investiture with the regalia by the sceptre was to take place within six months after the consecration. Nothing is said about heirs and successors. Hence the concordat might be understood simply as a treaty between Calixtus and Henry, a temporary expedient, an armistice after half a century of discord between Church and State. After their deaths both the papal tiara and the imperial crown became again apples of discord.

The Concordat of Worms was confirmed by the Ninth Oecumenical Synod (according to the Roman counting), or First Oecumenical Council of the West, held in the Lateran from March 18 to April 6, 1123. It is also called the First Lateran Council. Over three hundred bishops and abbots were present, or, according to other reports, five hundred or even nine hundred and ninety-seven. The documents of Worms were read, approved by all, and deposited in the archives of the Roman Church.


The text of the Concordatum Wormatiense or Pactum Calixtinum is preserved in the Vatican, and in the Chronicle of Ekkehard (abbot of Aura, near Kissingen, from 1108 to 1125). It has been repeatedly published by Baronius, Annales; Goldast, Constitutiones Imperiales; Leibnitz, Corpus juris diplomaticum; in Gieseler’s Church History; in German translation, by Hefele-Knöpfler, Conciliengesch. V. 373; and also by Pertz, in the Monumenta Germaniae Legum, II. 75 sq. (who gives the various readings from seven MSS. of Ekkehard’s Chronica), and Mirbt, Quellen, 115, 116. It is as follows:—

"In nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis.

"Ego Heinricus Dei gratia Romanorum Imperator Augustus pro amore Dei et s. Romanae Ecclesiae et domini P. Calixti, et pro remedio animae meae, dimitto Deo et ss. ejus Apostolis Petro et Paulo, sanctaeque catholicae Ecclesiae omnem investituram per annulum et baculum, et concedo, in omnibus Ecclesiis canonicam fieri electionem et liberam consecrationem. Possessiones et regalia b. Petri, quae a principio hujus discordiae usque ad hodiernam diem, sive patris mei tempore, sive etiam meo, ablata sunt, quae habeo, s. Romanae Ecclesiae restituo, quae autem non habeo, ut, restituantur, fideliter juvabo. Possessiones etiam omnium Ecclesiarum aliarum, et Principum, et aliorum tam clericorum quam laicorum, quae in guerra ista amissae sunt, consilio Principum, vel justitia, quas habeo, reddam, quas non habeo, ut reddantur, fideliter juvabo. Et do veram pacem domino Papae Calixto, sanctaeque Romanae Ecclesiae, et omnibus, qui in parte ipsius sunt vel fuerunt. Et in quibus s. Romana Ecclesia mihi auxilium postulaverit, fideliter juvabo; et de quibus mihi fecerit querimoniam, debitam sibi faciam justitiam.

"Ego Calixtus Episcopus, servus servorum Dei, tibi dilecto filio Heinrico, Dei gratia Romanorum Imperatori Augusto, concedo, electiones Episcoporum et Abbatum Teutonici regni, qui ad regnum pertinent, in praesentia tua fieri absque simonia et aliqua violentia; ut si qua inter partes discordia emerserit, Metropolitani et Comprovincialum consilio vel judicio, saniori parti assensum et auxilium praebeas. Electus autem regalia per sceptrum a te recipiat, et quae ex his jure tibi debet, faciat. Ex aliis vero partibus Imperii consecratus infra sex menses regalia per sceptrum a te recipiat, et quae ex his jure tibi debet, faciat, exceptis omnibus, quae ad Romanam Ecclesiam pertinere noscuntur. De quibus vero querimoniam mihi feceris, secundum officii mei debitum auxilium tibi praestabo. Do tibi veram pacem et omnibus, qui in parte tua sunt, aut fuerunt tempore hujus discordiae. Data anno dominicae Incarnationis MCXXII. IX Kal. Octobr."

Then follow the signatures.

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