Written by Vladimir Moss



    When we contemplate the extraordinary, all-devouring religious, political, economic and social phenomenon that is western civilization today, it is natural to ask: where and how did the whole tragic story begin? For the Orthodox Christian the answer is self-evident: when it broke away from the Orthodox Church of the East, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. But when did that take place? 

     There are several possible answers to that question. There is the year 754, when Pope Stephen anointed the first Carolingian king, making him, and not the Eastern emperor, the protector of the Roman see and thereby initiating a political schism between East and West. There is the year 800, when Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in defiance of the Eastern Roman Empire. There is the year 865, when Pope Nicholas I was anathematized by St. Photius the Great for his promulgation of the heretical Filioque. There is the year 1009, when Pope Sergius IV restored – permanently, this time - the heretical Filioque to the Roman Creed. There is the conventional date of 1054, when the Eastern and Western Churches anathematized each other. And finally there is the year 1204, when western crusading armies sacked Constantinople and created an abiding psychological barrier that made permanent reunion impossible thereafter.

The Last True Romans

     Each of these dates has their supporters, and each indeed has its real significance in the long process of the undermining of East-West relations. However, in this article I shall take the lesser-known date of 1002-03 as the starting point of my narrative, ending two centuries later with the sack of Constantinople. For before then the Roman-Byzantine relationship was looking as healthy, almost, as it had ever been; the partnership, even “symphony” between the decidedly pro-Byzantine Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (he was half-German and half-Greek) and the decidedly anti-papist Pope Sylvester II (who was a Frank) [1] – a collaboration “unique in medieval history”, according to J.B. Morrall[2] - looked on the point of restoring a true unity between the Old and the New Romes.

     It even looked as if Byzantinism might triumph in the West – or at any rate, in the old capital of the West. “But the Romans,” writes Richard Chamberlin, “rose against [Otto], drove him and his pope out of the city, and reverted to murderous anarchy. He died outside the city in January 1002, not quite twenty-two years of age.[3] Sylvester survived his brilliant protégé by barely sixteen months [he died on May 12, 2003]. His epitaph summed up the sorrow that afflicted all thoughtful men at the ending of a splendid vision: ‘The world, on the brink of triumph, in peace now departed, grew contorted in grief and the reeling Church forgot her rest.’ The failure of Otto III and Sylvester marked the effective end of the medieval dream of a single state in which an emperor ruled over the bodies of all Christian men, and a pope over their souls.”[4]

     The Holy Roman Empire of the Ottonians and their German and Spanish successor dynasties survived, amazingly, until 1806. Voltaire famously said it was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire”. But under Otto III it had been, briefly, all three, a not unworthy consort to its greater eastern neighbour…

     With the death of Otto III, the last Western ruler sympathetic to Byzantium, both the empire and the papacy began to lose their last links with the Eastern Church. The final decline began after the death of Pope Sylvester II in 1003, when “suddenly,” according to Aristides Papadakis, “the papacy was turned into a sort of imperial Eigenkirche or vicarage of the German crown. The pope was to be the instrument and even the pawn of the Germans, as opposed to the Romans.”[5]

     Not that the ethnically Roman Popes were paragons of virtue - the previous century had shown that they usually were far from that: but at least they were usually formally Orthodox. However, in 1009, as Patric Ranson and Laurent Motte write, “the last Roman Orthodox Pope, John XVIII, was chased away and a Germanic Pope usurped the Orthodox patriarchate of Rome: Sergius IV, an adulterer-bishop of Rome who, on ascending the episcopal throne, wrote to the four other patriarchs a letter of communion which confirmed the doctrine of the double procession [of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son – the Filioque heresy] and immediately provoked a break. The four Orthodox patriarchs then broke communion with the pope. Some years later [in 1014], Benedict VIII, who was close to the emperor of Germany Henry II, had the Filioque inserted into the Creed.”[6]

     According to Sir Steven Runciman, the popes’ addition of the Filioque was hateful to the Greeks for purely political reasons, since it represented the triumph of German influence in Rome.[7] However, the purely theological zeal of the Byzantines must not be underestimated…

     As for the native Romans, Fr. John Romanides has argued that they remained basically Orthodox (because they were actually Greek!) and only accepted the Filioque unwillingly, it being forced on them by the German emperors and their appointed, reformist popes. The cause of the West’s falling away lay exclusively, according to Romanides, in the Franks… However, contrary to this (essentially racist) theory, the Roman aristocratic families bore their own share of responsibility for the catastrophe, having made the city virtually ungovernable through their rivalries. The fact is that the whole of the West, both Latin and German, formed a single body that fell away from the Church together...

     Another point to remember its that while the German emperors may have appointed German popes in order to clean up the papacy, the papacy remained thoroughly unreformed until the middle of the century – that is, until the pontificate of Leo IX. Thus Lampryllos writes: “After the death of this pope [Benedict VIII], who was… the nephew of the Emperor Henry, another of his nephews, and brother of the last pope, was elevated by the imperialist party to the pontificate under the name of John XIX in 1024. Simple layman though he was, he ascended through all the degrees of the hierarchy in six days. He held the pontificate for nine years, but finally the national party, impatient with the excesses of his behaviour, expelled him from Rome. However, the Emperor Conrad II came down with an army into Italy and restored him; he died in the same year, and another Teuton, the nephew also of the Emperor Conrad, succeeded him under the name of Benedict IX. Henry III, then his son Henry IV, continued to get involved in successive elections of the popes, tipping the scales in favour of their candidates; almost until 1061 the popes were their creatures: they were those who go down in history under the name of the German Popes.”[8]

     The German ascendancy over the papacy came to a head in 1046, when there were no less than three men calling themselves the Pope of Rome. The Emperor Henry III summoned all three to Sutri, north of Rome, and deposed all of them, placing a fellow German, Clement II, in the Lateran. After his death the notorious Benedict IX returned for his third spell as Pope.

     Benedict IX was Pope from 1032 to 1044, again in 1045, and finally from 1047 to 1048, the only man to have served as Pope for three discontinuous periods. Benedict gave up his papacy for the first time in exchange for a large sum of money in 1044. He returned in 1045 to depose his replacement and reigned for one month, after which he left again, possibly to marry, and sold the papacy for a second time, to his Godfather (possibly for over 650 kg /1450 lb of gold). Two years later, Benedict retook Rome and reigned for an additional one year, until 1048. Poppo of Brixen (later to become Pope Damascus II) eventually forced him out of Rome. Benedict’s place and date of death are unknown, but some speculate that he made further attempts to regain the Papal Throne. St. Peter Damian described him as ‘feasting on immorality’ and ‘a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest’ in the Liber Gomorrhianus, a treatise on papal corruption and sex that accused Benedict IX of routine homosexuality and bestiality.”[9]

     Emperor Henry replaced Benedict with another German, and then, when he died, with yet another, Leo IX. However, though a distant cousin of the Emperor, Leo was no pawn of the German Reich. Indeed, it was his policies that, in Larry Siedentop’s words, “ would put an end to the Carolingian entente of church and empire, essentially creating bitter conflicts between the two”.[10] It was Leo IX who turned German caesaropapism turned into German papocaesarism, a political empire with ecclesiastical pretensions into an ecclesiastical one with political ones…

The Cluniac Movement 

     However, before discussing the fateful reign of Leo IX, we need to examine a monastic movement that had an enormous influence on the tenth- and eleventh-century Church in the West.

     Now we have spoken little in this history about monasticism - in spite of the fact that Basilian monasticism in the East from the fourth century, and Benedictine monasticism in the West from the sixth century, undoubtedly greatly influenced the evolution of their respective societies. But they had little direct impact on government or Church-State relations… That could not, however, be said of the movement of Frankish monasticism that arose in the tenth century and which is known as the Cluniac movement after the Burgundian monastery of Cluny.

     Cluny was founded by Duke William the Pious of Aquitaine in 910. Cluny and its dependencies were distinguished first of all by the fact that they were not Eigenkirchen, but “stavropegial” foundations independent of the control of any feudal lord. As such, they assumed the leadership of a powerful reform movement directed against the corruptions introduced into the Church by the feudal system, and had considerable success in this respect. For example, the founder of the movement, Abbot Odo of Cluny, succeeded in being  appointed archimandrite of Rome by Alberic with authority to reform all the monastic houses in the district.

     The Cluniacs, writes Jean Comby, “restored the main principles of the Benedictine Rule: the free election of the abbot, independence from princes and bishops. Moreover, the abbey affirmed its direct allegiance to the pope. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries it became the head of an Order which multiplied throughout Europe. In fact, unlike the old monasteries, all the new ones that were founded remained under the authority of the abbot of Cluny. In its heyday, the ‘state of Cluny’ comprised 50,000 monks.”[11]

    The determination of the Cluniacs to remain completely independent of secular control “led gradually,” according to Siedentop, “to the recasting of relationships in government in terms of the requirements of ‘souls’ rather than the traditional claims of lordship (dominium) and paterfamilias.

     “The new vision of how ‘the Christian people’ should be served would prove to be far more subversive than Charlemagne’s vision. For it no longer combined ancient and Christian moral impulses. Where Charlemagne and his clerical advisers had relied on aristocratic subordination and personal ties to promote unity in the empire and church, tenth-century Frankish reformers engaged in ‘purifying’ monastic life developed attitudes that would, in the next century, lead Pope Gregory VII to put forward what was virtually a constitution for Europe. Monastic reform thus generated a more aggressive, uncompromising ambition in the church, a political ambition…

     “[In this development] it would be difficult to exaggerate the influence, direct and indirect, of this Cluniac reform movement. The ”direct influence can be found not only in the way many older monasteries rapidly submitted to the disciplines of Cluny, but also in the frequent election of monks from Cluny to bishoprics, where they began to defend the principle that the church should choose its own leaders. These bishops sought to restore order to their dioceses, attacking the sale of offices, rooting out clerical immorality and trying to recover church property that had been alienated. They me with fierce resistance from secular lords.

     “The indirect influence of Cluny was perhaps even more important. It restored the prestige of monasticism as representing a truly Christian life, an ordered life of personal dignity, work and self-government. It laid emphasis on learning and prayer as well as physical labour. It offered, tacitly, a challenge to the church to exert itself in a society plagued by the warfare of minor aristocrats and knights, who were profiting from the disappearance of older forms of authority. Such knights went in for banditry and, in the words of one historian, ‘organising protection rackets’. Altogether, the Cluniac reform movement raised the sights of the church, inciting it to defend moral authority in a world apparently given over to mere power.

     “As the year 1000 approached, the fragmenting of secular power and castle-building by local lords in West Francia created an impression of anarchy – the ‘dissolution of all things’ – which some interpreted as the approach of the Antichrist. As a result, the Frankish church not only had an opportunity but felt an imperious need to stamp its own image on society. It alone now had a coherent conception of right rule. For the previous belief in an imperium – in an autocratic ‘Roman’ empire set over and regulating temporal lordships – no longer corresponded to social facts. It was up to the church to restore order. But how was it to begin?

     “In fact, movements sprang up almost simultaneously in a number of places towards the end of the tenth century. Stimulated by the abbot of Cluny, the clergy encouraged the expression of a new sensibility. In 975 the bishop of Le Puy convened a meeting of the knights and peasants of his diocese, eliciting from them an oath to respect the property both of the church and of paupers or the ‘powerless’. In 989 a church council in Burgundy went even further. It excommunicated ‘those who attacked bishop, priests, deacon or clerk, while at home or travelling; those who robbed a church; those who stole a beast from the poor or the tillers of soil.’ By the end of the century many other public meetings and church councils had extended this ‘Peace of God’, so that it included ‘pilgrims, women and children, labourers and the instruments of their work, monasteries and cemeteries.’ These were to be left ‘undisturbed and in perpetual peace’.

     “Such councils had first appeared in the south of France. But they soon spread to its northern regions as well. Indeed, the movement became an irresistibly popular one. ‘Peasants of every class, from the most prosperous, through the middling ranks, to the lowest of all’ flocked to the councils. The power of the movement was such that by 1017 it constrained the nobles and knights to accept a ‘truce of God’. They ‘swore to desist from all private warfare from noon on Saturday until prime on Monday.’ ‘This would allow due reverence to be paid to the Lord’s Day; those who broke this ‘truce of God’ would be cut off from the sacraments of the church and the society of the faithful in life; no priest might bury them, no man might pray for their soul. Those who swore to and observed the truce were assured of absolution from God.’

     “The movement was at the same time religious and secular. Contemporaries greeted it with such wonder and delight, almost as if it were the Second Coming. They had a sense that they were witnessing something of fundamental importance, that Christian moral beliefs were finally shaping society at large. The church was defending the defenceless. ‘The movement… depended upon and encouraged an outburst of religious fervor such as had not appeared in the written sources since the sixth century, if then.’”[12]

     The question that now arose was: “Could appeals to ‘God’s law’ be translated into practices more durable than the ‘Peace of God’ and ‘Truce of God’? If so, the monastic movement of reform would have to act outside the monasteries. And in order to do that, a fulcrum for action was required. There was only one fulcrum available: the papacy.

     “Only Rome could offer a central agency for general reform. The history of Western Europe from the mid-eleventh to the thirteenth century is the history of the papacy being recruited and transformed by the reform movement. Within a few decades the papacy became so central to the reform movement that some historians have doubted whether the Cluniac movement was as important as the ‘Gregorian’ reforms issuing from Rome. Cluny was not, indeed, the only source of pressure for reform. There were isolated movements for reform of the church in England, Flanders and Italy. But… it was from the new German empire that the first effective impetus for reform at the centre came. German emperors had renewed the Carolingian project of a ‘Christian empire’. A project of moral reform was embedded in their imperial system. So in the eleventh century German emperors began to prise the papacy away from the hold of Roman aristocratic families…”[13]

The Papist Heresies

     Let us briefly review the development of the papist heresy to this point…

     Until about 600, the development of Papism was inhibited by the fact that the Popes were subjects of the Byzantine Emperors, whose basic view of Church-State relations they shared, and whose confirmation they still required before they could be consecrated. In the seventh and eighth centuries, however, both the political and ecclesiastical bonds between the Popes and the Emperors became weaker as Byzantine power in Italy weakened and the Byzantine emperors fell into the heresies of Monothelitism and Iconoclasm. The estrangement from Byzantium was accompanied by a rapprochement with the new Carolingian empire in the north. This relationship was reinforced by the Pope’s double anointing of the first Carolingian, Pepin, the crowning of Charlemagne in Rome and the double anointing of his son, Louis the Pious, in 814. At the same time, the disintegration of the empire and the forgeries known as the Donation of Constantine and the Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals enabled the Popes to begin propagating the heresy of the unimpeachable power of the papacy over all bishops, and even over kings.[14] However, after the heresies of papal universal jurisdiction and the Filioque had been anathematized by the Council of Constantinople in 879-80, - which decisions were also signed by the legates of Pope John VIII, - the papacy went into a steep moral decline just as Byzantium reached its apogee.

     There was some recovery towards the end of the tenth century, during the Ottonian dynasty, but then decline set in again. This decline was indicated, not only by the moral decline of the popes, but also by their domination by the secular authority. As Francis Fukuyama writes: “Of the twenty-five popes who held office before 1059, twenty-one were appointed by emperors and five dismissed by them…”[15]

     Now the theory of papal infallibility was not expressed in a fully explicit manner until the middle of the eleventh century. Before then we have an accumulation of grandiloquent epithets, which were seen as no more than rhetorical devices by the majority of Christians. That they were not taken literally is evident from the fact that some Popes were condemned as heretics.

     Thus the Monothelite Pope Honorius I was anathematised by the Sixth Ecumenical Council[16], and this anathematisation was confirmed by later Popes. Moreover, towards the end of the sixth century Pope Gregory I forcefully rejected the title “universal bishop”. “Anyone who dares to call himself ‘universal bishop’,” he wrote to Patriarch Eulogius of Alexandria, “is a forerunner of the Antichrist” (Epistle 33).

     Although the heresies of universal jurisdiction and the Filioque were the earliest and most fundamental of the papist heresies, the final break between East and West was in fact elicited by two innovations in the Divine Liturgy: the replacement of leavened bread (artos) by unleavened bread (azymes), and the removal of the epiclesis, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, during the consecration.[17] Although these liturgical innovations would at first sight appear to be of less than fundamental importance than the Trinitarian and ecclesiological innovations, their symbolical importance was very great.

     First, since the leaven represented the soul of Christ, its removal by the Papists signified the replacement of the living Christ by a soulless corpse. And as the Monk Nicetas Stethatos, of the Studite monastery in Constantinople pointed out, the use of unleavened bread signified a return to the Old Testament: “Those who still participate in the feast of unleavened bread are under the shadow of the law and consume the feast of the Jews, not the spiritual and living food of God… How can you enter into communion with Christ, the living God, while eating the dead unleavened dough of the shadow of the law and not the yeast of the new covenant…?” [18]

     Secondly, in removing the invocation of the Holy Spirit, Who changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, the Popes invalidated their own sacrament. It was as if they were witnessing of themselves: “The Holy Spirit no longer descends upon our offerings, since we have presumed to speak in His name, and the Christ that lies on our altars is no longer the living Christ, since we have presumed to usurp his authority.”

Pope Leo IX

     Early in his pontificate (1049-1054), writes Siedentop, “Pope Leo IX gathered around him a group of reform-minded clergy. Leo worked closely with the German emperor, Henry III, a friend of abbot Hugh of Cluny, to promote reform by appointing men of outstanding ability as cardinals and advisers in the curia. Hildebrand [the future Pope Gregory VII] was only one of the group – including minds as different as the legalistic Cardinal Humbert [of Candida Silva] and the moralizing Peter Damian – who developed in this monastically inspired reformist atmosphere. Each of these cardinals had been a monk, and all shared a discontent with the condition of the church. Their influence ushered in a period when the popes themselves would be drawn from a monastic background. Leo IX’s pontificate thus saw a first crucial, if informal step towards what has been called the ‘papal revolution’, the creation of a clerical elite determined on systematic reform…”[19]

     “From the outset,” writes Papadakis, “the new pope was determined to make the papacy an instrument of spiritual and moral rejuvenation both in Rome itself and throughout Europe. To this end Pope Leo journeyed to central and south Italy, but also to France and Germany, crossing the Alps three times. Nearly four and a half years of his five-year pontificate were in fact spent on trips outside Rome. The numerous regional reforming synods held during these lengthy sojourns often had as their target the traffic in ecclesiastical offices and unchaste clergy. Their object above all was to rid the Church of these abused by restoring canonical discipline. The need to reassert both the validity and binding power of canon law for all clergy was repeatedly emphasized. In addition to the decrees against simony and sexual laxity promulgated by these local synods, however, simoniacal and concubinary clergy were examined and, when required, suspended, deposed and, even excommunicated. The object, in short, was to punish the offenders as well. Even if the synods were not always successful, no one was in doubt that Leo IX and his team of like-minded assistants were serious. The immediate impact of this flurry of activity was often extraordinary…

     “Overall, the progress of the new papal program was not all smooth sailing. Widespread protest, often accompanied by violent protest, was to continue for decades. Yet, all in all, by the end of the century the popular defenders of simony, of clerical marriage, and of the evils of the proprietary church had by and large vanished. The champions of reform at any rate proved more unyielding than their often more numerous adversaries. This was particularly evident in the skilful drive of the reformers to make celibacy an absolute prerequisite to ordination. This part of the Gregorian platform was reinforced by the monastic ideal, since many of the reformers were actually monks and had already embraced a continent life. Some, like the ascetic Peter Damian, cardinal-bishop of Ostia, were even eager to treat the problem as heresy and not as a matter of discipline. But the reformers were perhaps also uncompromising on this issue because they were convinced that compulsory clerical continence could advance the process of de-laicization – another more general item of their platform. A monasticized priesthood, quite simply, was viewed by reformers everywhere as a crucial corrective to clerical involvement in the world. If successful, the strategy, it was hoped, would provide the clergy with that sense of solidarity and corporate identity needed to distinguish them from the laity. In all essential respects, as one scholar has put it, the reforming initiatives of the popes were ‘an attempt by men trained in the monastic discipline to remodel Church and society according to monastic ideals… to train churchmen to rethink themselves as a distinct ‘order’ with a life-style totally different from that of laymen.’ Behind the campaign for celibacy, in sum, aside from the moral and canonical issues involved, was the desire to set all churchmen apart from and above the laity; the need to create a spiritual elite by the separation of the priest from the ordinary layman was an urgent priority. Doubtless, in the end, the Gregorian priesthood did achieve a certain libertas and even a sense of community, but only at the expense of a sharp opposition between itself and the rest of society.

     “By contrast, in the Christian East, as in primitive Christianity, a wholly celibate priesthood never became the norm…”[20]

     It sometimes happens that one important historical process going in one direction masks the presence of another going in precisely the opposite direction. The process of ecclesiastical reformation initiated by Pope Leo IX in 1049, which aimed at the liberation of the Church from secular control, was in many respects a laudable and necessary programme. But the increasing distance it placed between clergy and laity was fraught with danger. In particular, it threatened to undermine the traditional place in Christian society of the anointed kings, who occupied an intermediate position between the clergy and the laity. And in the hands of two ambitious northern clerics whom Leo brought with him to Rome, Bishop Humbert of Silva Candida and Archdeacon Hildebrand, it threatened simply to replace the caesaropapist variety of feudalism with a papocaesarist variety – that is, the subjection of the clergy to lay lords with the subjection of the laity, and even the kings, to clerical lords – or rather, to just one clerical lord, the Pope.For, as Ranson and Mott write, “in many respects, in its structure the papacy is nothing other than the religious form of feudalism…”[21]

     Indeed, on the eve of the papal revolution Church and State in the West were so deeply entangled with each other through feudalism that nobody could conceive of a return to the traditional system of the symphony of powers, which allowed for the relative independence of both powers within a single Christian society. The Church wished to be liberated from “lay investiture”; but she did not want to be deprived of the lands, vassals and political power that came with investiture. The only solution, therefore, from the Pope’s point of view, was to bring the whole of Christian society, including its kings and emperors, into vassalage to the papacy…

     But before undertaking this assault on the whole structure of Western Christendom, the papacy needed to secure its rear in the East, in the south of Italy. There an upstart, newly Christianized people, the Normans, had carved out a dominion for themselves that was independent both of the Byzantines and of the German Emperor. They had even encroached on some lands given to the papacy by the Emperor. Leo declared a holy war against the Normans, promising “an impunity for their crimes” to all who answered his call (those who died in the battle were declared to be martyrs), and set off with himself at the head of the papal army. But at Civitate he was roundly defeated. Since the German Emperor could not come south to help him, Leo now decided to try and forge an alliance with the Byzantines against the Normans, and sent Cardinal Humbert and two others to Constantinople as his envoys.

     This was always going to be a difficult mission, for there were tensions between Rome and Constantinople on ecclesiastical questions, especially that of the use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist. In 1053, Archbishop Leo of Ochrid, had criticized the Latins’ use of unleavened bread in a letter to Bishop John of Trania, and had asked the latter to convey his views to Pope Leo IX. In September the Pope replied[22]: “In prejudging the case of the highest See, the see on which no judgement may be passed by any man, you have received the anathema from all the Fathers of all the venerable Councils… You, beloved brother of ours, whom we still call in Christ and primate of Constantinople, with extraordinary presumption and unheard-of boldness have dared openly to condemn the apostolic and Latin Church – and for what? For the fact that she celebrates the commemoration of the sufferings of Christ on unleavened bread. That is your imprudent abuse, that is your unkind boasting, when you, supposing that your lips are in heaven, in actual fact with your tongue are crawling on the earth and striving by your human reasonings and thoughts to corrupt and shake the ancient faith. If you do not pull yourself together, you will be on the tail of the dragon [cf. Revelation 12], by which this dragon overthrew and cast to the earth a third of the stars of heaven. Almost 1200 years have passed since the Saviour suffered, and do you really think that only now must the Roman Church learn from you how to celebrate the Eucharist, as if it means nothing that here in Rome there lived, worked for a considerable period, taught and, finally, by his death glorified God he to whom the Lord said: ‘Blessed are thou, O Simon, son of Jonah’…”[23]

     “Then,” continues A.P. Lebedev, “the Pope explained in detail why the Roman Church could not tolerate any instructions from other Churches, but remained the leader of all the rest. ‘Think how senseless it would be to admit that the heavenly Father should conceal the rite of the visible sacrifice [of the Eucharist] from the prince of the apostles, Peter, to whom He had completely revealed the most hidden Divinity of His Son. The Lord promised to Peter, not through an angel, nor through a prophet, but with His own lips: ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16.16). But in the opinion of the Pope an important place in the question of the headship of the Roman high priest was occupied by the miracle-working power of Peter’s shadow. This argument of the Pope in his favour was so original that we cite it in full. ‘In Peter,’ said the Pope, ‘what is particularly remarkable is that the shadow of his body gave health to the infirm. Such power was given to none of the saints; even the Holy of holies Himself did not give the gift of healing from His own most holy body; but to His Peter alone He gave this privilege that the shadow from his body should heal the sick. Here is a great sign of the Church of the present and the future, that is, Peter has become the manager of both Churches and indicates their condition beforehand in himself: it is precisely the present Church which by the power of its visible sacraments and those that are still to come as it were by her shadow heals souls on earth, and presents to us an as yet invisible but firm image of truth and piety on earth.’ Or here is one more cunning papal interpretation of one saying with which the Lord addressed Peter, and interpretation whose aim was to prove the overwhelming significance of the Roman high priests among the other bishops of the whole Church. The Pope takes the saying of the Lord: ‘I have prayed for thee, O Peter, that thy faith should not fail, and when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren’ (Luke 22.32).

     “’By this the Lord showed,’ says the Pope, ‘that the faith of the other brethren will be subject to dangers, but the faith of Peter will remain without stumbling. Nobody can deny that just as the whole door is ruled by the hinge, so by Peter and his successors is defined the order and structure of the whole Church. And as the hinge opens and closes the door, while remaining itself unmoved, so Peter and his successors have the right freely to pronounce sentence on every Church, and nobody must disturb or shake their condition; for the highest see is not judged by anybody (summa sedes a nemine judicatur).’”[24]

      But the most interesting part of Leo’s pretensions was his claim to have royal as well as priestly power. Thus he not only tried, as Gilbert Dagron writes, “to impose obedience [on the Eastern Church] by multiplying the expected scriptural quotations…  He also added that the rebels of the East should content themselves with these witnesses ‘to the simultaneously earthly and heavenly power, or rather, to the royal priesthood of the Roman and apostolic see (de terreno et coelesti imperio, imo de regali sacerdotio romanae et apostolicae sedis).”[25]

     “Of much greater importance and interest in the given letter,” continues Lebedev, “are the very new papal ideas about his secular lordship, which are developed by the Pope in his letter to Cerularius and which rely on a false document – the so-called Donatio Constantini. Setting out his superior position among the other hierarchs of the Church, the Pope, in order to humiliate the Church of Constantinople – the aim of the letter – he develops the thought that the Popes are immeasurably superior to the representatives of all the other Churches since they are at one and the same time both first priests and emperors. In the East, it would seem, nothing of the sort had ever been heard; and for that reason it is understandable how such a novelty would affect the Church of Constantinople!

     “Since the time of Constantine the Great the Popes had become at the same time emperors, insinuated Leo to Cerularius. The Pope wrote: ‘So that there should remain no doubt about the earthly [secular] power of the Roman high priest, and so that nobody should think that the Roman Church is ascribing to herself an honour that does not belong to her, we shall cite the proofs of from that privileged deed which the Emperor Constantine with his own hands laid upon the holy tomb of the heavenly key-bearer [Peter], and that the truth should be manifest and vanity disappear.’ In this privileged deed Constantine, according to the words of the Pope, declared the following: ‘We have considered it necessary, we together with all our rulers, the Senate, the nobles and the people of Rome, that, just as St. Peter was the vicar of the Son of God on earth, so the high priests, the heirs of the prince of the apostles, should retain the power to rule – and to an even more complete extent than is given to the earthly imperial dignity. That is, we are decreeing that reverent honour should be accorded both to our earthly imperial might, and in exactly the same way to the most holy Roman Church, and, so as more fully to exalt the see above our own earthly throne, we ascribe to her a royal power, dignity and honour. Moreover, we decree that the see of Peter should have the headship over the four sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Constantinople and also over all the Church in the inhabited world; the high priest of this Roman see must be considered for all time to be higher and more glorious than all the priest of the whole world, and in relations to questions of Divine service and faith his judgement should rule over all.’ Then Pope Leo describes what precisely Constantine bestowed upon his contemporary, Pope Sylvester, so as to exalt the papal altar. In the opinion of the Pope, it turns out that Constantine bestowed upon the Pope first of all the palace in Rome. The privileged deed, according to the letter of Pope Leo, said the following about this: ‘We cede to the holy apostles themselves, the most blessed Peter and Paul, and through them to our father Pope Sylvester and all his successors who will be on the see of St. Peter to the end of the ages the Lateran palace, which is superior to all the palaces in the world.’ Then the Emperor Constantine adorns, as the Pope puts it, the person of the Roman high priest with royal regalia. The deed, according to the words of Pope Leo, said this about that: ‘We transfer to the Pope of Rome the diadem, that is the crown, from our own head, the garland that adorns the imperial neck, the purple chlamys, the scarlet tunic and all the other royal vestments. We entrust to him the imperial sceptre and all the other marks of distinction and the shoulder-belt – in a word, all the appurtenances of royal majesty.’ The letter even informs us that the Emperor with his own hands want to place his crown on the Pope’s head, but ‘the Pope did not want to use a crown of gold, and for that reason the Emperor placed on him with his own hands his Phrygian wreath (phrygium), shining white and signifying the Resurrection of Christ.’ In the words of Pope Leo, the Emperor Constantine, having adorned the Pope with royal regalia, in correspondence with this wanted to put the clergy who constituted his suite on a level with the royal courtiers. The deed, in the words of the letter, made the following legal ruling: ‘We raise the most honourable clergy of every rank in the service of the Roman Church to the same height of power and brilliance as our Senate, and decree that they should be adorned as our patricians and consuls are adorned. In a word, just as there are various kinds of servants attached to the imperial dignity – bed-makers, doormen and guards, so must it be with the holy Roman Church. And more than that: for the sake of the greater brilliance of the papal dignity let the clergy travel on horses adorned with the whitest of materials, and let them wear exactly the same shoes as are worn by the senators. And in this way let the heavenly [papal] power be adorned like the earthly [imperial], to the glory of God.’ In his concern for the person of the Pope and those close to him, according to the words of the Pope’s letter, Constantine bestowed on Sylvester and his heirs a broad, de facto royal power over a whole half of the Roman kingdom: the Roman high priest became the Roman emperor. In the words of the Pope, the deed said the following on this score: ‘So that the high priestly power should not decline, but should flourish more than the imperial power itself, we have decreed that besides the Lateran palace, the city of Rome, the provinces of Italy and all the western lands, and all the places and cities in them, should be transferred to our father Sylvester, so that he should have complete use of and dominion over them.”[26]

     In the letter Leo sent to the Patriarch with Cardinal Humbert he continued his assault: “We believe and firmly confess the following: the Roman Church is such that if any nation (Church) on earth should in its pride be in disagreement with her in anything, then such a Church ceases to be called and to be considered a Church – it is nothing. It will already be a conventicle of heretics, a collection of schismatics, a synagogue of Satan.”[27] This was hardly calculated to mollify the Byzantines, and things were made worse when Humbert called them pimps and disciples of Mohammed! Humbert made it clear where the first loyalties of all Christians should lie when he told the Byzantines: “All men have such reverence for the holder of the apostolic office of Rome that they prefer the holy commandments and the traditions from the mouth of the head of the Church than from the Holy Scriptures and patristic writings. [Thus the Pope] makes almost the whole world run after God with delight and enthusiasm.”[28] 

     As a consequence of these events, the Greeks refused to enter into negotiations with the papal legates about an alliance against the Normans…  Humbert claimed that the Patriarch had closed the churches of the westerners which served the Eucharist on unleavened bread. However, as Smith writes, “it is doubtful that the patriarch had actually committed himself to suppressing the Latin rite even on a local basis. For Humbert admits that he is only repeating a rumor that he has learned from some unidentified source. And he does not appear to have repeated the charge as the controversy progressed. For the church closings are not mentioned in the second papal letter to [Patriarch Michael] Cerularius or the note to [Emperor] Constantine Monomachus, complaining about the patriarch’s behavior. Nor was this made an issue in the debates with Nicetas [Stethatos] during his mission to Constantinople. Although Humbert does mention that before leaving the imperial city he brought the practice of certain churches – most likely those founded for Latins – into conformity with the standards of Rome, he does not claim that he found these churches actually closed. Therefore, it seems that the cardinal himself did not have certain evidence that Cerularius had actively persecuted Constantinople’s Latins before his arrival. But, in developing his reasons for excommunicating his opponent, he included the earlier report, though without claiming to have personally verified it…”[29]

     The climax came on July 16, 1054, when the papal legates marched into the cathedral of Hagia Sophia and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar, anathematizing the Church of Constantinople and accusing her of every possible heresy in a “fantastically ignorant” document.[30] Four days later, the Patriarch convened a Council that excommunicated the legatesumHH.  “O you who are Orthodox,” he said, “flee the fellowship of those who have accepted the heretical Latins and who regard them as the first Christians in the Catholic and Holy Church of God!” For “the Pope is a heretic.”[31] 

     Pope Leo IX had actually already died in April, 1054, so the papal anathema was technically invalid as not representing the will of a living Pope. In fact, the Byzantines seem to have regarded it as a forgery. However, although the next Pope, Stephen IX, wanted to send an embassy to Constantinople to repair the damage, he also died before the embassy could set off.

     “No further missions were sent,” writes Alexander Dvorkin. “Already, in the space of a few years, the mood in Rome had decisively shifted. What was at stake, many reformers had begun to accept, was nothing less than a fundamental point of principle. Cardinal Humbert had sounded out a trumpet blast on a truly decisive field of battle. The message that it sent to the rest of Christendom could hardly have been more ringing: no one, not even the Patriarch of the New Rome, could be permitted to defy the authority of the Pope…”[32]

The Severing of the Branch

     The other Eastern Churches were informed of Constantinople’s decision, and accepted it. And so 1054 has conventionally been taken as the date of the severing of the branch, the moment when the Western Church finally fell away from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. However, many have doubted that this was the real cut-off point. Thus a Byzantine council of 1089 acted as if the schism of 1054 had not taken place.[33] Again, Dvorkin writes that “the popular consciousness of that time in now way accepted the schism as final: nobody pronounced a ban on mutual communion, and concelebrations of priests and hierarchs of the two halves of Christianity continued even after 1054. The name of the pope of Rome was commemorated in the diptychs of other Eastern Churches (at any rate, sometimes). In our [Russian] lists of saints there were western saints who died after 1054.”[34]

     Nevertheless, the balance of evidence remains in favour of the traditional dating.[35] For after 1054, there is a sharp and noticeable change in the papacy’s policies and attitudes to dissidents in Church and State. The bloody destruction of Orthodox England in 1066-70 was followed by the less violent subjection of Churches throughout Western Europe. Then came the papal blessing of the Norman invasion of Greece in the 1080s and of the first of the crusades – which did so much damage to Eastern Orthodox Christendom - in 1095. Ironically in view of the semi-racist theory that it was the Germans who destroyed the papacy, the last powerful opponent of the new, “Reformed” papacy was the German Emperor Henry IV, who was anathematized and deprived of his crown by Pope Gregory VII – an Italian Jew…

     The momentous event of the Great Schism was heralded in the heavens by a huge explosion. “Arab and Chinese astronomers recorded the appearance of the bright Crab Supernova in [July] 1054. At X-ray and gamma-ray energies above 30 KeV, the Crab is generally the strongest persistent source in the sky today.”[36] From now on, the whole of the West would be steadily sucked into the great black hole formed through the apostasy of the Roman papacy - the explosion of the first star in the firmament of the Church on earth.

The Norman Invasion of England

     In 1059 Pope Nicholas II sealed the political break with Constantinople when he entered into alliance at Melfi with the Normans. This alliance was momentous because up to this moment the Popes had always turned for protection to the Christian Roman Emperor, whether of East Rome or of the “Holy Roman Empire” of the West. Indeed, the Pope had insisted on crowning the “Holy Roman Emperor” precisely because he was the papacy’s official guardian; for it was unheard of that the Church of Rome should recognize as her official guardian any other power than the Roman Emperor, from whom, according to the forged Donation of Constantine, she had herself received her quasi-imperial dignity and power.

     However, just as, in the middle of the eighth century, the Papacy had rejected the Byzantines in favour of the Franks, so now it rejected the Germans in favour of the Normans, a nation of Viking origin but French speech and culture that had recently seized a large swathe of German and Byzantine land in Southern Italy. The Pope legitimized this robbery in exchange for the Norman leaders Richard of Capua and Robert Guiscard becoming his feudal vassals and swearing to support the Papacy. In addition, Robert Guiscard specifically promised: “If you or your successors die before me, I will help to enforce the dominant wishes of the Cardinals and of the Roman clergy and laity in order that a pope may be chosen and established to the honour of St. Peter.”[37]

     “Thus after 1059 the Norman conquests were made progressively to subserve the restoration of the Latin rite and the extension of papal jurisdiction in southern Italy."[38] The losers here were both the German Emperor and the Emperor of New Rome. And in 1061 Guiscard’s younger brother Roger conquered Sicily from the Saracens, making sure to give a good share of the loot to the Pope. In exchange, Pope Alexander II granted Roger and his men “absolution for their sins”.[39]

     Even before entering into alliance with the Normans in Italy, the Papacy had begun to forge close bonds with the Normans in their homeland in Northern France, whence the papal assault on that other fortress of old-style Orthodox Autocracy, England, would soon be launched. Thus in 1055, the year after Duke William of Normandy seized effective control of his duchy by defeating a coalition led by his lord, King Henry I of France, the old-fashioned (that is, Orthodox) Archbishop Mauger was deposed to make way for the more forward-looking Maurilius. He introduced “a new and extraneous element”[40] – that is, an element more in keeping with the ideals of the heretical, “reformed papacy” – into the Norman Church. Then, in 1059, papal sanction for the marriage between Duke William and Matilda of Flanders, which had been withheld by Leo IX at the Council of Rheims in 1049, was finally obtained. This opened the way for full cooperation between the Normans and the Pope. Finally, William supported the candidacy of Alexander II to the throne as against that of Honorius II, who was supported by the German Empress Agnes.[41] The Pope now owed a debt of gratitude to the Normans which they were soon to call in…

     By the 1060s there were only two powers in the West that stood in the way of the complete triumph of the crude, militaristic ethos of feudalism: the Orthodox autocracies of England and Germany. By the end of the century both powers had been brought low – England by military conquest and its transformation into a feudal state under William of Normandy, and Germany by cunning dialectic and the fear of excommunication by the Pope. In England, after a period of rule by Danish Christian kings (1017-1042), the Old English dynasty of Alfred the Great was restored in the person of King Ethelred’s son Edward, known to later generations as “the Confessor”. In January, 1066, King Edward died, and his brother-in-law Harold Godwineson was consecrated king in his place. Now two years earlier, Harold had been a prisoner at the court of William in Normandy, and in order to gain his freedom had sworn over a box of holy relics to uphold William’s claim to the English throne. So when he broke his oath and became king himself, William decided to invade – with the Pope’s blessing.

     How could the Pope bless the armed invasion of a Christian country led by an anointed king who posed no threat to its neighbours? In order to answer this question, we have to examine the new theory of Church-State relations being developed in Rome. The critical question then was: in a society whose aims are defined by the Christian faith, are the jurisdictions of the clergy and secular ruler strictly parallel, or do the clergy have the power to depose a king who, in their judgement, is not ruling in accordance with these spiritual aims – whose nature, of course, can only be defined by the clergy?

     Now up to the middle of the ninth century, no decisive test-case had yet appeared which would define whether the Church could, not simply confirm a royal deposition or change of dynasty, but actually initiate it. Pope Nicholas I was the first pope to take it upon himself to initiate the deposition of emperors and patriarchs as if all power in both Church and State were in his hands.

     However, in 865 Nicholas’ efforts were thwarted by the firm opposition both of the Eastern Church under St. Photius the Great and of Western hierarchs such as Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims. It was not before another two hundred years had passed that the papacy once again felt strong enough to challenge the power of the anointed kings. Its chance came on the death of King Edward the Confessor, when Harold Godwinesson took the throne of England with the consent of the leading men of England but without the consent of the man to whom he had once sworn allegiance, Duke William of Normandy.

     Douglas writes: “At some undetermined date within the first eight months of 1066 [Duke William] appealed to the papacy, and a mission was sent under the leadership of Gilbert, archdeacon of Lisieux, to ask for judgement in the duke’s favour from Alexander II. No records of the case as it was heard in Rome have survived, nor is there any evidence that Harold Godwinesson was ever summoned to appear in his own defence. On the other hand, the arguments used by the duke’s representatives may be confidently surmised. Foremost among them must have been an insistence on Harold’s oath, and its violation when the earl seized the throne… Archdeacon Hildebrand… came vigorously to the support of Duke William, and Alexander II was led publicly to proclaim his approval of Duke William’s enterprise.”[42]

     The Pope had his own reasons for supporting William. In 1052 Archbishop Robert of Canterbury, a Norman, had fled from England after the struggle between the English and Norman parties at the court had inclined in favour of the English. During his flight he forgot to take his pallium (omophorion), which with the agreement of the king was then handed over to Bishop Stigand of Winchester, who became archbishop of Canterbury in place of Robert. This elicited the wrath of the Pope, who labelled Stigand an anticanonical usurper. But the English refused to obey the Pope. And so, beginning from 1052 and continuing right up to the Stigand’s deposition by the legates of the Pope at the false council of Winchester in 1070, England remained in schism from, and under the ban of, the Roman Pope – who himself, from 1054, was in schism from, and under the ban of, the Great Church of Constantinople. To make matters worse, in 1058 Archbishop Stigand had had his position regularized by the “antipope” (i.e. enemy of the Hildebrandine reformers) Benedict IX. Here was the perfect excuse for blessing William’s invasion: the “schismatic” English had to be brought to heel and their Church purged of all secular influence. And if this “holy” aim was to be achieved by the most secular of means – armed invasion and the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Christians – so be it!

     According to Frank McLynn, it was Stigand’s supposed uncanonicity “that most interested [Pope] Alexander. William pitched his appeal to the papacy largely on his putative role as the leader of the religious and ecclesiastical reform movement in Normandy and as a man who could clean the Augean stables of church corruption in England; this weighed heavily with Alexander, who, as his joust with Harald Hardrada in 1061 demonstrated, thought the churches of northern Europe far too remote from papal control. It was the abiding dream of the new ‘reformist’ papacy to be universally accepted as the arbiter of thrones and their succession; William’s homage therefore constituted a valuable precedent. Not surprisingly, Alexander gave the proposed invasion of England his blessing. It has sometimes been queried why Harold did not send his own embassy to counter William’s arguments. Almost certainly, the answer is that he thought it a waste of time on two grounds: the method of electing a king in England had nothing to do with the pope and was not a proper area for his intervention; and, in any case, the pope was now the creature of the Normans in southern Italy and would ultimately do what they ordered him to do. Harold was right: Alexander II blessed all the Norman marauding expeditions of the 1060s.

     “But although papal sanction for William’s ‘enterprise of England’ was morally worthless, it was both a great propaganda and diplomatic triumph for the Normans. It was a propaganda victory because it allowed William to pose as the leader of crusaders in a holy war, obfuscating and mystifying the base, materialistic motives of his followers and mercenaries. It also gave the Normans a great psychological boost, for they could perceive themselves as God’s elect, and it is significant that none of William’s inner circle entertained doubts about the ultimate success of the English venture. Normandy now seemed the spearhead of a confident Christianity, on the offensive for the first time in centuries, whereas earlier [Western] Christendom had been beleagured by Vikings to the north, Hungarians to the east and Islam to the south. It was no accident that, with Hungary and Scandinavia recently Christianised, the Normans were the vanguard in the first Crusade, properly so called, against the Islamic heathens in the Holy Land.

     “Alexander’s fiat,” writes Frank McLynn, “was a diplomatic triumph, too, as papal endorsement for the Normans made it difficult for other powers to intervene on Harold’s side. William also pre-empted one of the potential sources of support for the Anglo-Saxons by sending an embassy to the emperor Henry IV; this, too, was notably successful, removing a possible barrier to a Europe-wide call for volunteers in the ‘crusade’.”[43]

     As long as King Edward had been alive, Hildebrand’s party had been restrained from attacking England both by the king’s Europe-wide renown as a wonderworker and by the lack of a military force suitable for the task in hand. But now that Edward was dead[44], William’s suit presented Hildebrand with the opportunity for the “holy war” he had wanted for so long.

     William and his army invaded the south of England in September, 1066. Meanwhile, King Harald Hardrada of Norway had invaded the north. On September 20 the English King Harold defeated the Norwegian army, and then marched south to meet the Normans with the minimum of rest and without waiting for reinforcements. The reason for this, David Howarth argues, is that Harold had now, for the first time, heard that he and his followers had been excommunicated by the Pope and that William was fighting with the pope's blessing and under a papal banner, with a tooth of St. Peter encrusted in gold around his neck.

     "This meant that he was not merely defying William, he was defying the Pope. It was doubtful whether the Church, the army and the people would support him in that defiance: at best, they would be bewildered and half-hearted. Therefore, since a battle had to be fought, it must be fought at once, without a day's delay, before the news leaked out. After that, if the battle was won, would be time to debate the Pope's decision, explain that the trial had been a travesty, query it, appeal against it, or simply continue to defy it.”[45]

     “At first,” writes François Neveux, “the new king hoped that he could win round his former adversaries. He considered that he had been quite within his rights to conquer the country, since he had been promised the throne by the previous king, Edward. ‘God’s judgement’ having favoured him, he assumed that the English would all rally to him without any problem. We know of one English reaction from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (version D). The anonymous author, who seems to be resigned to the inevitable, asserts that the English were punished for their sins. At first, William presented himself as the successor of the Anglo-Saxon kings, not only Edward, but Harold also. He drafted a number of documents in Old English, and made an effort to learn the language of his new people. Some this attitude may be glimpsed in the Bayeux Tapestry, which is one of the first testimonies we possess of these events. In it, Harold is referred to as ‘king’, just as he is in a number of charters. He is even singled out and praised for his bravery. The Latin commentary is very neutral, and may be read in both a pro-English and a pro-Norman light. This early line only last a few years, until it came up against the harsh reality of Anglo-Saxon rebellions.

     “The first rebellion broke out in Exeter, in the south-west of the kingdom, in 1067-8: it was easily quelled. The most serious rebellion took place in the north, in several stages, during 1069-70. It was harshly put down by the king, who systematically ravaged the region. The Fens, around the Isle of Ely, were the scene of a final rebellion, in 1070-1…”[46]

     During these rebellions, according to one source, every fifth Englishman was killed[47], and even if this figure is an exaggeration, Domesday Book (1086) shows that the North was a wasteland for a generation after the Conquest. So terrible was the slaughter, and the destruction of holy churches and relics, that the Norman bishops who took part in the campaign were required to do penance when they returned home. But the Pope who had blessed this unholy slaughter did no penance. Rather, he sent his legates to England, who, at the false council of Winchester in 1070, deposed Archbishop Stigand and most of the English bishops, thereby integrating the “rebellious” land into his religious empire. For the Norman Conquest was, in effect, the first crusade of the “reformed” Papacy against Orthodox Christendom.

     As Professor Douglas writes: “It is beyond doubt that the latter half of the eleventh century witnessed a turning-point in the history of Western Christendom, and beyond doubt Normandy and the Normans played a dominant part in the transformation which then occurred… They assisted the papacy to rise to a new political domination, and they became closely associated with the reforming movement in the Church which the papacy came to direct. They contributed also to a radical modification of the relations between Eastern and Western Europe with results that still survive. The Norman Conquest of England may thus in one sense be regarded as but part of a far-flung endeavour…”[48]

     It follows that if William had lost, then, as John Hudson writes, “the reformers in the papacy, who had backed William in his quest for the English throne, might have lost their momentum. Normandy would have been greatly weakened…”[49] In other words, the whole course of European history might have been changed…

     All William’s barons and bishops owned their land as his vassals; and when, on August 1, 1086, William summoned all the free tenants of England to an assembly at Salisbury and imposed upon them an oath of loyalty directly to himself, he became in effect the sole landowner of England – that is, the owner of all its land.

     Thus was born the feudal monarchy, a new kind of despotism. As R.H.C. Davis explains, this feudal monarchy was in fact “a New Leviathan, the medieval equivalent of a socialist state. In a socialist state, the community owns, or should own, the means of production. In a feudal monarchy, the king did own all the land – which in the terms of medieval economy might fairly be equated with the means of production.

     “The best and simplest example of a feudal monarchy is to be found in England after the Norman Conquest. When William the Conqueror defeated Harold Godwineson at the battle of Hastings (1066), he claimed to have established his legitimate right to succeed Edward the Confessor as King of England, but, owing to Harold’s resistance, he was also able to claim that he had won the whole country by right of conquest. Henceforward, every inch of land was to be his, and he would dispose of it as he thought fit.”[50]

     As we have seen, William had conquered England with the blessing of Archdeacon Hildebrand. And shortly after his bloody pacification of the country he imposed the new canon law of the reformed papacy upon the English Church. This pleased Hildebrand, now Pope Gregory VII, who was therefore prepared to overlook the fact that William considered that he owed his kingdom to his sword and God alone: "The king of the English, although in certain matters he does not comport himself as devoutly as we might hope, nevertheless in that he has neither destroyed nor sold the Churches of God [!]; that he has taken pains to govern his subjects in peace and justice [!!]; that he has refused his assent to anything detrimental to the apostolic see, even when solicited by certain enemies of the cross of Christ; and that he has compelled priests on oath to put away their wives and laity to forward the tithes they were withholding from us - in all these respects he has shown himself more worthy of approbation and honour than other kings..."

     The "other kings" Gregory was referring to included, first of all, the Emperor Henry IV of Germany, who, unlike William, did not support the Pope's “reforms”. If William had acted like Henry, then there is no doubt that Pope Gregory would have excommunicated him, too. And if William had refused to co-operate with the papacy, then there is equally no doubt that the Pope would have incited his subjects to wage a "holy war" against him, as he did against Henry.

     But William, by dint of brute force within and subtle diplomacy without, managed to achieve complete control over both Church and State, while at the same time paradoxically managing to remain on relatively good terms with the most autocratic Pope in history. For totalitarian rulers only respect rivals of the same spirit. Thus did the papocaesarist totalitarianism of Hildebrand beget the caesaropapist totalitarianism of William the Bastard…

     The absolute nature of William's control of the Church was vividly expressed by Edmer of Canterbury: "Now, it was the policy of King William to maintain in England the usages and laws which he and his fathers before him were accustomed to have in Normandy. Accordingly he made bishops, abbots and other nobles throughout the whole country of persons of whom (since everyone knew who they were, from what estate they had been raised and to what they had been promoted) it would be considered shameful ingratitude if they did not implicitly obey his laws, subordinating to this every other consideration; or if any one of them presuming upon the power conferred by any temporal dignity dared raise his head against him. Consequently, all things, spiritual and temporal alike, waited upon the nod of the King... He would not, for instance, allow anyone in all his dominion, except on his instructions, to recognize the established Pontiff of the City of Rome or under any circumstance to accept any letter from him, if it had not first been submitted to the King himself. Also he would not let the primate of his kingdom, by which I mean the Archbishop of Canterbury, otherwise Dobernia, if he were presiding over a general council of bishops, lay down any ordinance or prohibition unless these were agreeable to the King's wishes and had been first settled by him. Then again he would not allow any one of his bishops, except on his express instructions, to proceed against or excommunicate one of his barons or officers for incest or adultery or any other cardinal offence, even when notoriously guilty, or to lay upon him any punishment of ecclesiastical discipline."[51]

     Again, in a letter to the Pope in reply to the latter's demand for fealty, William wrote: "I have not consented to pay fealty, nor will I now, because I never promised it, nor do I find that any of my predecessors ever paid it to your predecessors."[52] In the same letter he pointedly called Archbishop Lanfranc "my vassal" – that is, not the Pope’s! Here we see the way in which the language of feudalism, of the mutual rights and obligations of lords and vassals, had crept into the language of Church-State relations at the highest level…

     The Popes therefore had to wait until William's death before gradually asserting their personal control over the English Church…

The Gregorian Revolution

     One of the aims of the papal reform programme, as we have seen, was the enforcement of celibacy on the priesthood. In 1057 street fights broke out between the supporters of Archbishop Guy of Milan, who allowed married priests, and the so-called “Patarenes”, who rejected it and threatened married priests with death. The papacy sent legates to investigate the matter: Cardinal Peter Damian and Bishop Alexander, the future Pope Alexander II, both advocates of priestly celibacy.[53] 

     Hieromonk Enoch writes: “Four years after the Schism of Old Rome and Constantinople (New Rome), we find the increased activity on the part of the Vatican to consolidate its influence.

      “In this year, representatives of Pope Stephen IX were sent to the Church of Milan to instruct its Bishop, clergy, and all dependents that it was to be subject completely to Rome in all matters. Caesar Baronius, the well-known Ultramontanist writers, states the clergy and people rose up in great discord against such a suggestion, with the clergy of Milan saying, ‘that the Ambrosian Church ought not to be subject to the laws of Rome; that the Pope had no power of judging or ordering matters in that See; and that it would be a great indignity if that Church, which under their ancestors had been always free, should now, to their extreme reproach (which God forbid), become subject to another Church.’

      “So great was the anger at what was trying to be done that Baronius states: ‘the clamour increased; the people grew into a higher ferment; the bells were rung; the episcopal palace beset; the legate threatened with death.' (Annals, t. xi., p. 262, A.D. 1059, n. 43).”[54]

     In 1059 a quasi-royal coronation was introduced into the rite of the inauguration of the new Pope, Nicholas II. Then he decreed that the Popes should be elected by the cardinal-bishops alone, without the participation of the people – or the emperor. “The role of the Roman clergy and people,” writes Joseph Canning, “was reduced to one of mere assent to the choice. The historical participation of the emperor was by-passed with the formula ‘saving the honour and reverence due to our beloved son Henry [IV] who is for the present regarded as king and who, it is hoped, is going to be emperor with God’s grace, inasmuch as we have now conceded this to him and to his successors who shall personally obtain this right from the apostolic see’.”[55]

     This new method of election, having strengthened the reformers against the Emperor, now encouraged them to return to the struggle against his appointee in Milan. In 1065 Archdeacon Hildebrand, later Pope Gregory VII and the real power behind the papal throne, gave a knight called Erlembald a papal banner, “the battle-flag of St. Peter”, under which he was to renew the struggle against the married priests in Milan. “Whether as a consequence of this or not, victory marked all his efforts. ‘He subdued the city by the sword and also by gold, and by many and diverse oaths; none of the nobles could withstand him.’ Indeed, by 1071, such was the scale of Erlembald’s success that the wretched Archbishop Guy, holed up in his cathedral, and in increasingly poor health, had resolved on clandestine resignation…”[56]

     Also in 1071, Byzantine Bari in South Italy fell to the Normans, who soon created another absolutist kingdom “of Sicily and Italy” that served as the launch-pad for several invasions of the Byzantine Empire. In the same year the Byzantines suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Seljuk Turks at Manzikert, as a result of which most of Anatolia was conceded to the Turks. As Orthodoxy reeled under these hammer blows, - the loss of England, of Southern Italy and of Eastern Anatolia – the worst hammer blow of all, the implosion of the Western Patriarchate, was about to take place…

     By 1072 there were two archbishops of Milan – Godfrey, chosen by the Emperor, and Atto, chosen by the reformers. But Godfrey was under siege by Patarene thugs, and Atto, after a beating up himself, had sworn not to interfere in the affairs of the bishopric. “A shocking state of affairs, to be sure – and yet barely hinting at the full scale of the crisis yet to come. In the summer of 1072, Pope Alexander II, at a formal synod of the Roman Church, pronounced that Atto was not bound by the oath he had given his assailants – and was therefore the rightful Archbishop of Milan. A few months later, in early 1073, Henry IV leaned on the bishops of Lombardy to stand as Godfrey’s patrons at his consecration. Alexander’s response was to excommunicate not only Godfrey himself, not only the Lombard bishops, but, just for good measure, some of Henry’s own closest advisers. Only once they had all been dismissed, the Pope declared, would he re-establish contact with the king: until that moment, he was to be regarded as ’outside the communion of the Church’. Almost without anyone quite understanding how it had happened, papacy and empire, those twin pillars of Christendom, were at open loggerheads…”[57]

     In April, 1073, Pope Alexander II died. “The people of Rome, rather than wait for the cardinals to nominate a successor, were soon taking the law into their own hands. They knew precisely whom they wanted as their new pope: ‘Hildebrand for bishop!’ Even as Alexander was being laid to rest in the Lateran, the cry went up across the whole city.”[58] So a democratic revolution in the Church brought to power one of the greatest despots in history…

     Hildebrand – Hőllenbrand, or “Hellfire”, as Luther called him, or “my holy Satan”, in the words of one of his associates[59] - was a midget in physical size. But having been elected to the papacy “by the will of St. Peter”, he set about ensuring that no ruler on earth would rival him in “spiritual” grandeur. Having witnessed, in 1046, the Emperor Henry III’s deposition of Pope Gregory VI, with whom he went into exile, he took the name Gregory VII in order to emphasize a unique mission. For, as Peter de Rosa writes, “he had seen an emperor dethrone a pope; he would dethrone an emperor regardless.

     “Had he put an emperor in his place, he would have been beyond reproach. He did far more. By introducing a mischievous and heretical doctrine [of Church-State relations], he put himself in place of the emperor… He claimed to be not only Bishop of bishops but King of kings. In a parody of the gospels, the devil took him up to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and Gregory VII exclaimed: These are all mine.

     “As that most objective of historians, Henry Charles Lea, wrote in The Inquisition in the Middle Ages: ‘To the realization of this ideal [of papal supremacy], he devoted his life with a fiery zeal and unshaken purpose that shrank from no obstacle, and to it he was ready to sacrifice not only the men who stood in his path but also the immutable principles of truth and justice.’

     “… The Bishop of Trier saw the danger. He charged Gregory with destroying the unity of the Church. The Bishop of Verdun said that the pope was mistaken in his unheard-of arrogance. Belief belongs to one’s church, the heart belongs to one’s country. The pope, he said, must not filch the heart’s allegiance. This was precisely what Gregory did. He wanted all; he left emperors and princes nothing. The papacy, as he fashioned it, by undermining patriotism, undermined the authority of secular rulers; they felt threatened by the Altar. At the Reformation, in England and elsewhere, rulers felt obliged to exclude Catholicism from their lands in order to feel secure…

     “The changes Gregory brought about were reflected in language. Before him, the pope’s traditional title was Vicar of St. Peter. After him, it was Vicar of Christ. Only ‘Vicar of Christ’ could justify his absolutist pretensions, which his successors inherited in reality not from Peter or from Jesus but from him.”[60]

     Canning writes: “The impact of Gregory VII’s pontificate was enormous: for the church nothing was to be the same again. From his active lifetime can be traced the settling of the church in its long-term direction as a body of power and coercion; the character of the papacy as a jurisdictional and governmental institution… There arises the intrusive thought, out of bounds for the historian: this was the moment of the great wrong direction taken by the papacy, one which was to outlast the Middle Ages and survive into our own day. From the time of Gregory can be dated the deliberate clericalisation of the church based on the notion that the clergy, being morally purer, were superior to the laity and constituted a church which was catholic, chaste and free. There was a deep connection between power and a celibacy which helped distinguish the clergy as a separate and superior caste, distanced in the most profound psychological sense from the family concerns of the laity beneath them. At the time of the reform papacy the church became stamped with characteristics which have remained those of the Roman Catholic church: it became papally centred, legalistic, coercive and clerical. The Roman church was, in Gregory’s words, the ‘mother and mistress’ (mater et magistra) of all churches.’”[61]

     Gregory’s position was based on a forged collection of canons and a false interpretation of two Gospel passages: Matthew 16.18-19 and John 21.15-17. According to the first passage, in Gregory’s interpretation, he was the successor of Peter, upon whom the Church had been founded, and had plenary power to bind and to loose. And according to the second, the flock of Peter over which he had jurisdiction included all Christians, not excluding emperors. As he wrote: “Perhaps [the supporters of the emperor] imagine that when God commended His Church to Peter three times, saying, ‘Feed My sheep’, He made an exception of kings? Why do they not consider, or rather confess with shame that when God gave Peter, as the ruler, the power of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth, he excepted no-one and withheld nothing from his power?”

     For “who could doubt that the priests of Christ are considered the fathers and masters of kings, princes and all the faithful?” This meant that he had power both to excommunicate and depose the emperor. Nor did the emperor’s anointing give him any authority in Gregory’s eyes. For “greater power is conceded to an exorcist, when he is made a spiritual emperor for expelling demons, than could be given to any layman for secular domination”. Indeed, “who would not know that kings and dukes took their origin from those who, ignorant of God, through pride, rapine, perfidy, murders and, finally, almost any kind of crime, at the instigation of the devil, the prince of this world, sought with blind desire and unbearable presumption to dominate their equals, namely other men?”[62]

     Hildebrand’s attitude to political power was Manichaean in its negative intensity. It was Manichaean insofar as it saw the relationship between the Church and the State as a dualistic struggle between good and evil, light and darkness. Just as the Manichaeans (like all heresies of the Gnostic type) tried to free themselves from the flesh and physical nature as from something defiling in essence, so the Gregorians tried to free themselves from the state as from something evil in essence. For them there could be no really good king: kingship should be in the hands of the only good ones, the priests. Indeed, as de Rosa writes of a later Pope who faithfully followed Hildebrand’s teaching, “this was Manicheeism applied to relations between church and state. The church, spiritual, was good; the state, material, was essentially the work of the devil. This naked political absolutism undermined the authority of kings. Taken seriously, his theories would lead to anarchy”.[63]

     Of course, the idea that the priesthood was in essence higher than the kingship was not in itself heretical, and could find support in the Holy Fathers. However, the Fathers always allowed that kings had supremacy of jurisdiction in their own sphere, for the power of secular rulers comes from God and is worthy of the honour that befits every God-established institution. Índeed, Gregory’s colleague and fellow-reformer Peter Damian had written: “In the king Christ is truly recognized as reigning”.[64] What was new, shocking and completely unpatristic in Gregory’s words was his disrespect for the kingship, his refusal to allow it any dignity or holiness, his denial to Caesar of the things that are Caesar’s – because he considered himself to be Caesar! In Gregory’s view rulers had no right to rule unless he gave it them.

     The corollary of this was that the only rightful ruler was the Pope. For “if the holy apostolic see, through the princely power divinely conferred upon it, has jurisdiction over spiritual things, why not also over secular things?”  Thus to the Spanish kings Gregory wrote in 1077 that the kingdom of Spain belonged to St. Peter and the Roman Church “in rightful ownership”. And to the secular rulers of Sardinia he wrote in 1073 that the Roman Church exerted “a special and individual care” over them - which meant, as a later letter of 1080 demonstrated, that they would face armed invasion if they did not submit to the pope’s terms. Again, in 1075 he threatened King Philip of France with excommunication, having warned the French episcopate that if the king did not amend his ways he would place France under interdict, adding: “Do not doubt that we shall, with God’s help, make every possible effort to snatch the kingdom of France from his possession.”[65]But this would have remained just words, if Gregory had not had the ability to compel submission. He demonstrated this ability when wrote to one of King Philip’ vassals, Duke William of Aquitaine, and invited him to threaten the king. The king backed down…

     The Gregorians were amazing in their ability to twist Holy Scripture to their purpose. One of the main passages supporting the inviolability of the king’s power was Romans 13.1-7, which declares that political authorities are from God, that they are ministers of God and do not wield the sword in vain. As I.S. Robinson writes, “Early medieval commentators underlined the apostle’s insistence on the Christian’s duty of submission to the divinely ordained secular power, placing particular emphasis on St. Paul’s warning: ‘those who resist [the political power] incur damnation’. So, for example, Atto of Vercelli wrote c. 940 that it was sacrilegious to resist the regnum, even if the ruler was an enemy of the Christian faith. A mala potestas was imposed by God ‘so that the good may be tested in the virtue of patience’: hence the word of Job 34.30, ‘He makes the hypocrite reign because of the sins of the people’. The eleventh-century reformers concentrated in their interpretation of the Pauline text not on the impossibility of resistance to the king, but rather on the description of kingship as ministerium. From the king’s role of minister they were able to deduce that a mala potestas could after all be resisted. The argument is first found in a letter of Peter Damian of 1065, instructing Henry IV of Germany in his duties. The king ‘bears the sword in vain’ if he does not punish those who resist God; he is not ‘the servant of God to execute his wrath on the evildoer’ if he does not punish the enemies of the Church. A king who shows by his protection of the Church that he reveres God must be obeyed: a king who opposes the divine commandments is no minister Dei and is held in contempt by his subjects.

     “This was the attitude to kingship which determined the actions of Gregory VII. He would countenance only ‘a suitable king for the honour of holy church’, ‘a fitting defender and ruler’: ‘unless he is obedient, humbly devoted and useful to holy Church, as a Christian king ought to be... then without a doubt holy Church will not only not favour him, but will oppose him’. Ideally the king should be the vassal (fidelis) of St. Peter and of his vicar, the pope. Gregory VII gave lectures on Christian kingship to the rulers of the ‘new’ kingdoms on the edge of Christendom; he sat in judgement on the conduct of the rulers of the older kingdoms, summoning their vassals to enforce his decisions. If a king did not prove to be ‘useful to holy Church’, he was to be excommunicated and deposed, and replaced by a more suitable candidate. The removal of the last Merovingian and the installation of the Arnulfing major of the palace as king of the Franks in 751 provided Gregory VII with his most important exemplum.”[66]

     All this came to a head in his famous dispute with Emperor Henry IV. It began, as we have seen, with a quarrel between Gregory’s predecessor, Alexander II, and the Emperor over who should succeed to the see of Milan. Gregory, following the line of his predecessor (which he had probably inspired), expected Henry to back down as King Philip had done. And he did, temporarily – not because he recognized Gregory’s right, but because from the summer of 1073 he had to face a rebellion in Saxony. “So it was that, rather than rise the slightest papal sanction being granted to his enemies’ slurs, he brought himself to grovel – even going so far as to acknowledge that he might possibly have backed the wrong horse in Milan. ‘Full of pleasantness and obedience’, a delighted Gregory described the royal tone to Erlembald. The likelier alternative, that the king might be stringing him along and playing for time, appeared not to have crossed the papal mind…”[67]

     And sure enough, having subdued the rebellion in Saxony, Henry prepared to hit back. He was helped by the fact that many German bishops “had developed an active stake in thinking the worst of the new pope. ‘The man is a menace!’ sniffed one archbishop. ‘He presumes to boss us around as though we were his bailiffs!’ Others, recoiling from Gregory’s brusque demands that priests be obliged to abandon their wives, demanded to know whether he planned to staff the Church with angels. Such a show of sarcasm had absolutely zero effect on Gregory himself. Indeed, by 1075, his prescriptions against married priests, and simony too, were attaining a new level of peremptoriness. In February, four bishops were suspended for disobedience. Then, in July, one of them, a particularly inveterate simonist, was deposed. Finally, as the year drew to its close, Gregory unleashed against the sullen and recalcitrant imperial Church the reformers’ most devastating weapon of all. ‘We have heard,’ he wrote in an open letter to King Henry’s subject, ‘that certain of the bishops who dwell in your parts either condone, or fail to take notice of, the keeping of women by priests.’ Such men, rebels against the authority of St. Peter, he now summoned to the court of popular opinion. ‘We charge you,’ Gregory instructed the peoples of the Reich, ‘in no way to obey these bishops.’”[68]

     To add insult to injury, in February by a formal synod of the Roman Church the King’s right to confer bishoprics was prohibited. This directly threatened Henry’s power-base, since the bishops of the Reich were also important imperial lieutenants and administrators. Finally, a letter came from the Pope demanding that Henry repent of his offences and do penance for them, or else “not only would he be excommunicated until he had made due restitution, but he would also be deprived of his entire dignity as king without hope of recovery”.

     In January, 1076, Henry convened a Synod of Bishops at Worms. First he defended the legitimacy of his own kingship: “Henry, King not by usurpation, but by the pious ordination of God, to Hildebrand, now not Pope, but false monk”. Henry asserted that he could be “judged by God alone, and am not to be deposed for any crime unless – may it never happen! – I should deviate from the faith.”

     Then the bishops, addressing Gregory as “brother Hildebrand”, demonstrated that his despotism had introduced mob rule into the Church, and refused all obedience to him: “Since, as thou didst publicly proclaim, none of us has been to thee a bishop, so henceforth thou shalt be Pope to none of us”.[69] The bishops said that the Pope had “introduced worldliness into the Church”; “the bishops have been deprived of their divine authority”; “the Church of God is in danger of destruction”.

     Henry himself declared: “Let another sit upon Peter’s throne, one who will not cloak violence with a pretence of religion, but will teach the pure doctrine of St. Peter. I, Henry, by God’s grace king, with all our bishops say to you: come down, come down.”[70]

     Gregory retaliated in a revolutionary way. In a Synod in Rome he declared the emperor deposed. Addressing St. Peter, he said: “I withdraw the whole kingdom of the Germans and of Italy from Henry the King, son of Henry the Emperor. For he has risen up against thy Church with unheard of arrogance. And I absolve all Christians from the bond of the oath which they have made to him or shall make. And I forbid anyone to serve him as King.”[71]

     By absolving subjects of their allegiance to their king, Gregory “effectively,” as Robinson writes, “sanctioned rebellion against the royal power…”[72]Such a step was truly unprecedented. For “it is new and unheard-of throughout the centuries,” wrote Wenrich of Trier, “that the popes should wish… to change the Lord’s anointed by popular vote as often as they choose, as though kings were village-bailiffs.”[73]

     Anonymous of Hersfeld wrote: “See how Hildebrand and his bishops.... resisting God’s ordination, uproot and bring to nothing these two principal powers [regnum and sacerdotium] by which the world is ruled, desiring all other bishops to be like themselves, who are not truly bishops, and desiring to have kings whom they themselves can command with royal licence.”[74]

     In effect, this was power politics in the guise of the execution of the priestly office. Or rather, it was the Church assuming to herself the role of a State. The “empire within the empire” had become the “empire above the empire”.

     As Fyodor Dostoyevsky put it many centuries later, “The Western Church distorted the image of Christ, changing herself from a Church into a Roman State, and again incarnating the State in the form of the Papacy.”[75]

     Gregory followed this up with his famously megalomaniac Dictatus Papae: "The Pope can be judged by no one; the Roman church has never erred and never will err till the end of time; the Roman Church was founded by Christ alone; the Pope alone can depose bishops and restore bishops; he alone can make new laws, set up new bishoprics, and divide old ones; he alone can translate bishops; he alone can call general councils and authorize canon law; he alone can revise his own judgements; he alone can use the imperial insignia; he can depose emperors; he can absolve subjects from their allegiance; all princes should kiss his feet; his legates, even though in inferior orders, have precedence over all bishops; an appeal to the papal court inhibits judgement by all inferior courts; a duly ordained Pope is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter."[76]

     Robinson continues: “The confusion of the spiritual and the secular in Gregory VII’s thinking is most marked in the terminology he used to describe the laymen whom he recruited to further his political aims. His letters are littered with the terms ‘the warfare of Christ’, ‘the service of St. Peter’, ‘the vassals of St. Peter’…, Military terminology is, of course, commonly found in patristic writings.. St. Paul had evoked the image of the soldier of Christ who waged an entirely spiritual war… In the letters of Gregory VII, the traditional metaphor shades into literal actuality… For Gregory, the ‘warfare of Christ’ and the ‘warfare of St. Peter’ came to mean, not the spiritual struggles of the faithful, nor the duties of the secular clergy, nor the ceaseless devotions of the monks; but rather the armed clashes of feudal knights on the battlefields of Christendom…”[77]

     Henry began to lose support, and in the summer the Saxons rebelled again – this time with the support of Duke Rudolf of Swabia. In October a letter from Gregory was read out to a group of rebellious princes in Tribur suggesting that they elect a new king. Desperate, the king with his wife and child was forced to march across the Alps in deepest winter and do penance before Gregory, standing for three days almost naked in the snow outside the castle of Canossa. Gregory restored him to communion, but not to his kingship… On March 13, in Franconia, some of the German nobles elected Rudolf of Swabia as king. However, the next month Henry had returned from Italy, and civil war erupted in Germany. The rebels considered that they had heaven on their side, that those who died in their cause were martyrs for Christ and that Henry himself was “a limb of the Antichrist”.[78]

     For some years, Gregory hesitated to come down completely against the anti-king. But then, at Pascha, 1080, he definitely deposed Henry, freed his subjects from their allegiance to him and declared that the kingship was conceded to Rudolf. From that time, as an anonymous monk of Hersfeld wrote, the Gregorians said that “it is a matter of the faith and it is the duty of the faithful in the Church to kill and to persecute those who communicate with, or support the excommunicated King Henry and refuse to promote the efforts of [the Gregorian] party."[79]However, Henry recovered, convened a Synod of bishops that declared Gregory deposed and then convened another Synod that elected an anti-pope, Wibert of Ravenna. In October, 1080, Rudolf died in battle. Then in 1083 Henry and Wibert marched on Rome; the next year Wibert was consecrated Pope Clement III and in turn crowned Henry as emperor.

     It looked as if Gregory had failed, but his ideas endured - as did the conflict between papacy and empire, which rumbled on for centuries. Both sides in the conflict adopted extreme positions, showing that the balanced Orthodox understanding of the symphony of powers had been lost in the West. Thus Joseph Canning writes: “Consideration of the issues which the Investiture Contest raised concerning the relationship between temporal and spiritual power was not confined to Germany and Italy, but was evident in France from the 1090s and in England from the turn of the century. Indeed, the most radical treatment was contained in a tract produced in the Anglo-Norman lands. The writer, who was originally known to modern scholars as the Anonymous of York, but following the research of George H. Williams, is now commonly called The Norman Anonymous, produced in his work on the Continent, perhaps at Rouen in c. 1100. He expressed the traditional view that royal and sacerdotal powers were combined in Christ; but the author’s independence of mind was revealed in his development of his argument. He held that Christ was king by virtue of his divine nature and priest by that of his human, with the result that kingship was superior to priesthood within both Christ and his vicar, the king. Whereas, however, Christ was divine by nature, the king was God and Christ through grace, that is through unction: the king, therefore, had a dual personality – ‘in one by nature an individual man, in the other by grace a christus, that is a God-man’. The anointed king as the ‘figure and image of Christ and God (figura et imago Christi et Dei) reigned together with Christ. As a result, ‘It is clear that kings have the sacred power of ecclesiastical rule even over the priests of God themselves and dominion over them, so that they too may themselves rule holy church in piety and faith.’ The priesthood was subject to the king, as to Christ. The king could in consequence appoint and invest bishops. Behind the Anonymous’s statements lay the view that jurisdiction was superior to sacramental power, a notion common both to Gregorians and their royalist opponents. But he reversed the papalist position by denying governmental powers to the priesthood and reserving them solely to the king. He did not consider, incidentally, that the fact that bishops consecrated kings made them in any sense superior, because there were many examples of lesser powers elevating superior ones to office.

     “Of all the issues treated in the publicistic literature of the Investiture Contest the crux was clearly whether the pope in fact had the authority to free subjects from their oaths of allegiance and depose kings. The papacy was here on its most insecure ground and its claims most shocking, indeed no less than a sign of contradiction to the presuppositions of lay society. Fundamental questions concerning obedience to authority and the justifiability of rebellion were at issue. Both sides accepted that kingship was an office in the tradition of the ideas of Gregory I and thus limited by its function; but whereas the Henricians followed that pope in leaving an errant king solely to God’s judgement, the followers of Gregory VII interpreted the notion of royal office as justifying human action to remove a ruler who was perceived to have failed in his duties; they thereby contributed further to the desacralisation of kingship. Their main focus was on the pope’s role in this respect. Manegold of Lautenbach, however, went further by saying that a king (a name not of nature, but of office), who was unjust or tyrannical had broken the pact (pactum) with his people by which he had been constituted, and that as a result of his severing the bond of faith his people were already free from its oath of allegiance…”[80]

     In 1122, at Worms, the papacy and the empire worked out a concordat in which “the emperor largely gave up the right of investiture, while the church recognized the emperor’s authority in a range of temporal matters”.[81] This was a compromise, not a solution, and the conflict between the two parties still had a long time to run. The problem was that they could not agree on the ultimate authority in Christian society.

     The solution, if they only had known it, lay in the Emperor Justinian’s doctrine of the harmony or “symphony of powers” between Church and State that still existed in the Orthodox East, and which had existed in the monarchies of the West until the schism, but which the papacy under Gregory VII had destroyed. According to this doctrine, both Church and State owed their origin to God; each was autonomous in its own sphere – the Church in the spiritual sphere, the State in the political; and both were subject ultimately to the Law of God as incarnate in the whole of the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. However, the papacy did not see God’s Law as above itself, to which it was itself subject, but rather as something that the papacy itself discovered - or rather, invented - in a creative manner over time. As a result, it sought to subject the State to itself in a totalitarian manner, to which the State reacted by assigning to itself – not so much in the medieval period (if we exclude the Norman kings) but certainly in the early modern period - quasi-totalitarian, absolutist powers.

     It can easily be seen how the ideas raised by the Gregorian revolution and the Investiture Contest could lead, in Siedentop’s words, to “the emergence of constitutionalism in Europe” and of “the idea of the state endowed with a ‘sovereign’ authority”[82]. The Russian poet and diplomat F.I. Tiutchev went further. In 1849 he linked the Gregorian revolution with the whole further revolutionary development of Western civilization: “The revolution, which is nothing other than the apotheosis of that same human I having attained its fullest flowering, was not slow to recognise as its own, and to welcome as two of its glorious ancestors – both Gregory VII and Luther. Kinship of blood began to speak in it, and it accepted the one, in spite of his Christian beliefs, and almost deified the other, although he was a pope.

     “But if the evident similarity uniting the three members of this row constitutes the basis of the historical life of the West, the starting-point of this link must necessarily be recognized to be precisely that profound distortion to which the Christian principle was subjected by the order imposed on it by Rome. In the course of the centuries the Western Church, under the shadow of Rome, almost completely lost the appearance of the originating principle pointed out by her. She ceased to be, amidst the great society of men, the society of believers, freely united in spirit and truth under the law of Christ; she was turned into a political institution, a political force, a state within the state. It would be true to say that throughout the whole course of the Middle Ages, the Church in the West was nothing other than a Roman colony planted in a conquered land…”[83]

     Indeed, it was at Canossa, as Tom Holland writes, that “the foundations of the modern Western state were laid, foundations largely bled of any religious dimension. A piquant irony: that the very concept of a secular society should ultimately have been due to the papacy. Voltaire and the First Amendment, multiculturalism and gay weddings: all have served as waymarks on the road from Canossa…”[84]

The Crusades

     Gregory fled from Rome with his Norman allies and died in Salerno in 1085. When he was lying on his death-bed, he said: “I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.” But a monk who waited on him replied: “In exile thou canst not be, for God hath given thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession (Psalm 2.8).”

     The papist claim to lordship over the whole world, including the heathen, was demonstrated especially during the Crusades, which were the manifestation to the Orthodox Christian and Muslim worlds, of the mystery of iniquity that was taking place within the Western world. The West – especially England, Germany and Italy – had already felt the mailed fist of the Pope. Now it was the turn of the North (the Baltic lands), the South (Spain) and the East (Byzantium, the Levant and the Holy Land).

     First, the Pope’s vassals, the Normans, having conquered Sicily and Bari, invaded Greece; Emperor Alexis I only just succeeded in containing them with the help of English warrior-exiles. Then, in 1085, King Alfonso VI of Castile-Leon captured the Muslim city of Toledo for the Pope; within a few years, his champion, the famous El Cid, had entered Valencia. Most importantly, in 1095, at a synod in Clermont, Pope Urban II, a Cluny monk, appealed to all Christians to free Jerusalem from the Saracens, and placed his own legate, a bishop, at the head of the Christian forces.

     Urban’s main motivation was to shore up his own position in his struggle with the Holy Roman Empire in the Investiture Contest. As Christopher Tyerman writes, “The background to the First Crusade lay in this conflict, as Urban II sought to use the mobilization of the expedition as a cover the reclaim the pope’s position in Italy and demonstrate his practical leadership of Christendom, independent of secular monarchs. The slogan of the papal reformers was ‘libertas ecclesiae’, ‘church freedom/liberty/rights’. This provided the central appeal of Urban II’s summons of 1095, when called on the faithful to go to ‘liberate’ the churches of the east and Jerusalem. The crusade is impossible to understand outside the context of more general church and papal reform.”[85]

     At the same time, the pope saw the crusades as a “Christian” solution to problems thrown up by the new feudal, militaristic pattern of life in the West. He made it clear, writes Barbara Ehrenreich, “that a major purpose of the crusade was to deflect the knights’ predatory impulses away from Europe itself:

     “’Oh race of the Franks, we learn that in some of your provinces no one can venture on the road by day or by night without injury or attack by highwaymen, and no one is secure even at home.’

     “We know he is not talking about common, or lowborn, criminals because it emerges in the next sentence that the solution to this problem is a re-enactment of the ‘Truce of God’, meaning voluntary restraint on the part of the knights, whose energies are now to be directed outward towards the infidels:

     “’Let all hatred depart from among you, all quarrels end, all wars cease. Start upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre to wrest that land from the wicked race and subject it to yourselves.’

     “Militarily, the Crusades were largely a disaster for the Christians, but they did serve to cement the fusion of the cross and the sword. The church’s concept of the ‘just war’ had always been something of a grudging concession to reality. Here, though, was a war that was not only ‘just’ but necessary and holy in the eyes of God, Christendom’s first jihad. Those who participated in Europe’s internal wars were often required to do penance for the sin of killing; but participation in a crusade had the opposite effect, cleansing a man from prior sin and guaranteeing his admission to heaven. It was the Crusades, too, that led to the emergence of a new kind of warrior: the warrior-monk, pledged to lifelong chastity as well as to war. In the military monastic orders of the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitalers, any lingering Christian hesitations about violence were dissolved. The way of the knight – or at least of the chaste and chivalrous knight – became every bit as holy as that of the cloistered monk.”[86]

     It may be argued that the crusades borrowed some of their characteristics from their main opponents, the Muslims. And indeed, they could be compared with the Muslim jihads, with the Pope taking the place of the Caliph. Now Jihad is “the sixth pillar of Islam, the perpetual collective and sometimes individual obligation on all the faithful to struggle (jihad) spiritually against unbelief in themselves (al-jihad al-akbar, the greater jihad) and physically against unbelievers (al-jihad al-asghar, the lesser jihad).”[87] In the era of the Crusades, we see the lesser jihad, the physical struggle against unbelievers, becoming increasingly important in the thought and practice of the Catholic West, which in turn stimulated its revival among the Muslims. Traditional peaceful missionary work had no place in this Christian jihad; the aim was not the conversion of the infidel enemy, but his extermination

     The evil consequences were not slow to reveal themselves. First, the Crusades were wars of sadistic cruelty that often reveledin their cruelty. It has been observed that when a Christian people falls away from the true faith, during the first two or three generations after their apostasy they display a cruelty that would not have seemed possible before the apostasy. We can say that of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and of the Russians after 1917. It now became true of the Western European peoples after the fall of the Roman Church in 1054, being displayed most clearly in the First Crusade of 1098-99. For in the course of recapturing Jerusalem, the crusaders exterminated most of the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of the Holy City in a terrible and wholly unjustified bloodbath. In the Temple,” wrote an eye-witness, “[the Crusaders] rode in blood up to their bridles. Indeed it was a just and splendid judgement of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers.”[88] Again, in a later crusade King Richard “the Lionheart” of England “massacred thousands of Muslim prisoners in cold blood outside Acre and, on another occasion, arranged the heads of executed Muslims around his tent…”[89]

     Nor was this cruelty confined to the crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean. Those against the pagan Slavs and Balts of the Baltic Sea coast were similarly savage. Thus Albert, Margrave of Brandenburg is described as having colonized the lands of the Slavic Wends in the mid-twelfth century as follows: “Because God gave plentiful aid and victory to our leader and the other princes, the Slavs have been everywhere crushed and driven out. A people strong and without number have come from the bounds of the ocean and taken possession of the territories of the Slavs. They have built cities and churches and have grown in riches beyond all estimation.”[90]

     Again, Bernard of Clairvaux said about the Wendish crusade of 1147: “We expressly forbid that for any reason whatsoever they should make a truce with those peoples, whether for money or for tribute, until such time as, with God’s help, either their religion or their nation be destroyed.”[91] For “the knight of Christ need fear no sin in killing the foe, he is a minister of God for the punishment of the wicked. In the death of a pagan a Christian is glorified, because Christ is glorified… [He] who kills for religion commits no evil but rather does good, for his people and himself. If he dies in battle, he gains heaven; if he kills his opponents, he avenges Christ. Either way, God is pleased.”[92]

     Even the Orthodox Russians were considered to be in need of forcible conversion. Thus Bishop Matthew of Crakow wrote to Bernard in 1150, asking him to “exterminate the godless rites and customs of the Ruthenians”.[93]

     A vivid witness to the destructiveness and anti-Orthodoxy of these Crusaders in the Baltic is provided by the city of Vineta on the Oder, whose under-sea remains are now being excavated by German archaeologists. Tony Paterson writes: “Medieval chroniclers such as Adam of Bremen, a German monk, referred to Vineta as ‘the biggest city in all of Europe’. He wrote: ‘It is filled with the wares of all the peoples of the north. Nothing desirable or rare is missing.’ He remarked that the city’s inhabitants, including Saxons, Slavs and ‘Greeks and Barbarians’ were so wealthy that its church bells were made of silver and mothers wiped their babies’ bottoms with bread rolls.…

     “A century later, another German chronicler, Helmold von Bosau, referred to Vineta, but this time in the past tense. He said it had been destroyed: ‘A Danish king with a very big fleet of ships is said to have attacked and completely destroyed this most wealthy place. The remains are still there,’ he wrote in 1170… Vineta was most likely inhabited by resident Slavs and Saxons as well as ‘Greeks and Barbarian’ merchants from Byzantium who plied a trade between the Baltic and the Black Sea via the rivers of western Russia. Dr. Goldmann said that the majority of Vineta’s estimated 20,000 to 30,000 population were probably Greek Orthodox Christians…’After the great schism of 1054, the Orthodox believers were regarded as threat by the Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. Vineta was almost certainly a victim of a campaign to crush the Orthodox faith,’ he said. Its demise is therefore likely to have occurred when the chronicler von Bosau said it did: towards the end of the 12th century when the Crusaders launched a never fully explained campaign in northern Europe…”[94]

     Secondly, in the long run the Crusades failed in their aim, the reconquest of the Holy Land from the Muslims. Most of the Crusader kingdoms carved out of Syria and Palestine had been reconquered by the Muslims by the late thirteenth century. So if that, too, was the “just and splendid judgement of God”, it did not speak well for the justice or holiness of the Crusader wars.

     And thirdly, while at first claiming to help “liberate” the Eastern Churches, the Crusades ended up by destroying Orthodoxy in large parts of the Balkans and Middle East. Already before the Second Crusade Bernard of Clairvaux had expressed “bloodthirsty anti-Greek fulminations”, in Sir Steven Runciman’s phrase.[95] But the climax of the anti-Greek campaign was undoubtedly the Fourth Crusade of 1204, as a result of which Constantinople was sacked in a frenzy of barbarism, and a Latin emperor and patriarch were placed on the thrones of Hagia Sophia. And so the project that had begun as a mission to liberate the Eastern Churches at the request of the Byzantine emperor ended up by destroying the empire (temporarily) and attempting to subject all the Orthodox Churches to Rome. Even Pope Innocent III disapproved. The Greek Church, he said, “now, and with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs”.[96]

     However, this did not prevent the Pope from profiting from the crusaders’ evil. Latin kingdoms with Latin patriarchs were established over Orthodox populations in Jerusalem, Antioch, Cyprus and Constantinople. In general, therefore, the thirteenth century represented a nadir for Orthodoxy and the zenith of Papism. Nevertheless, the Orthodox held out in these conquered lands. In Cyprus, for example, which had been conquered by King Richard of England and then handed over to the Knights Templar, the local population refused to adopt the faith of their Latin metropolitan. They were instructed and inspired by the great hermit St. Neophytus the Enclosed of Cyprus (+1219), who once said of a Latin attempt to reconquer Jerusalem: “It is similar to the wolves coming to chase away the dogs...”[97]

     The crusades were rightly called “the Roman war” because they were waged by the Pope of Rome. Although the actual fighting was undertaken by emperors and kings, who sometimes displayed megalomaniac tendencies on a par with the Pope’s – as when Emperor Frederick Barbarossa once wrote to Saladin claiming, like the most powerful Roman emperors, to have dominion over the whole of the Middle East and Africa as far as Ethiopia![98], - it was the Popes who propelled the crusaders eastward; and they frequently excommunicated rulers who were tardy in fulfilling their vows to take up the cross. Thus the crusades completed the transformation of the papacy from a spiritual power into a worldly, political and military one, placing a permanently expansionist and violent seal on western civilization.


July 21 / August 3, 2016.



[1] See Pope Sylvester, Letter 192, in Fr. Andrew Phllips, “The Three Temptations of Christ and the Mystical Sense of English History”, Orthodox England, vol. I, N 2, December, 1997, p. 6.

[2] Morrall, “Otto III: an Imperial Ideal”, History Today, 14 January, 2011.

[3] He died of smallpox. See Richard Cavendish, “The Death of Emperor Otto III”, History Today, 13 December, 2001. (V.M.)

[4] Chamberlin, “The Ideal of Unity”, History Today, vol. 53 (11), November, 2003, p. 62.

[5] Papadakis, The Orthodox East and the Rise of the Papacy, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1994, p. 28. However, Papadakis dates this transformation to 962 rather than 1002, on the grounds that “during the century following the revival of the empire [in 962], twenty-one popes from a total of twenty-five were virtually hand-picked by the German crown” (p. 29).

[6] Ranson and Motte, introduction to Cyriaque Lampryllos, La Mystification Fatale, Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme, 1987, p. 14.

[7] Runciman, The Eastern Schism, Oxford, 1955, p. 161.

[8] Lampryllos, op. cit., pp. 65-66.


[10] Larry Siedentop, Inventing the Individual, London: Penguin, 2010, p. 196.

[11] Comby, How to Read Church History, London: SCM Press, 1985, vol. 1, pp. 140-141.

[12] Siedentop, op. cit., p. 184.

[13]Siedentop, op. cit., p. 195.

[14] Not only the pope, but also the episcopate as a whole became more powerful in relation to the Carolingian kings in the ninth century. Thus in 859 the Council of Savonnières pronounced: “Bishops, according to their ministry and sacred authority, are to be united and by mutual aid and counsel are to rule and correct kings, the magnates of their kingdoms and the people committed to them” (in I.S. Robinson, “Church and Papacy”, The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought, c. 350 – c. 1450, Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 298).

[15] Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order, London: Profile, 2012, pp. 263-264.

[16]Session XIII: "The holy council said: After we had reconsidered, according to the promise which we had made to your highness, the doctrinal letters of Sergius, at one time patriarch of this royal God protected city to Cyrus, who was then bishop of Phasius and to Honorius some time Pope of Old Rome, as well as the letter of the latter to the same Sergius, we find that these documents are quite foreign to the apostolic dogmas, to the declarations of the holy Councils, and to all the accepted Fathers, and that they follow the false teachings of the heretics...And with these [Sergius, Pyrrhus, Cyrus, etc.] we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by Honorius to Sergius, that in all respects Honorius followed Sergius’ view and Honorius confirmed his impious doctrines."
Session XVI: To Theodore of Pharan, the heretic, anathema! To Sergius, the heretic, anathema! To Cyrus, the heretic, anathema! To Honorius, the heretic, anathema!...

[17] As even the Roman Catholics admit, the epiclesis was present in all the ancient liturgies. See

[18] Stethatos, in Jean Comby, How to Read Church History, London: SCM Press, 1985, vol. 1, p. 132.

[19]Siedentop, op. cit., p. 196.

[20] Papadakis, op. cit., pp. 34, 36-37. Peter de Rosa (Vicars of Christ, London: Bantam Press, 1988, p. 420) agrees with this estimate: “The chief reason for maintaining the discipline [of clerical celibacy] was the one dearest to the heart of Gregory VII: a celibate priest owed total allegiance not to wife and children but to the institution. He was a creature of the institution. The Roman system was absolutist and hierarchical. For such a system to work, it needed operatives completely at the beck and call of superiors. The conservatives at Trent [the papist council of 1545] were quite frank about this. They actually said that without celibacy the pope be nothing more than the Bishop of Rome. In brief, the papal system would collapse without the unqualified allegiance of the clergy. Celibacy, on Trent’s own admission, was not and never was primarily a matter of chastity, but of control…”

[21] Ranson and Motte, in Lampryllos, op. cit., p. 14.

[22] Some scholars, such as Anton Michel, believe on stylistic grounds that these letters of Leo IX were in fact written by Cardinal Humbert. However, we shall continue to ascribe them to the man in whose name they were written. See Mahlon Smith III, And Taking Bread: The Development of the Azyme Controversy, Paris: Beauchesne, 1978, p. 81.

[23] Henry Bettenson and Christopher Maunder, Documents of the Christian Church, London: SPCK, 1999, p. 106.

[24] Lebedev, “Vek odinnadtsatij – Okonchatelnoe razdelenie Tserkvej (1053-1054gg.)” (“The 11th Century – the Final Division of the Churches”),, pp. 23.

[25] Dagron, Empereur et Prêtre (Emperor and Priest), Paris : Éditions Gallimard, 1996, p. 247.

[26] Lebedev, op. cit., pp. 3-5.

[27] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 7.

[28] Humbert, in Heather, op. cit., p. 384.

[29] Smith, op. cit., pp. 130-131.

[30] Alexander Dvorkin, Ocherki po Istorii Vselenskoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi (Sketches on the History of the Universal Orthodox Church),Nizhni-Novgorod, 2006, p. 618. Humbert wrote: “May Michael the neophyte…and all those who follow him… fall under the anathema, Maranatha…” Comby (op. cit., p. 133) supposes that “he did not know that Maranatha means ‘Come, Lord’, and is not a condemnation”. But was he simply quoting I Corinthians 16.22?

[31] The Lives of the Pillars of Orthodoxy, Buena Vista, CO: Holy Apostles Convent, 1990, p. 155.

[32] Tom Holland, Millenium, London: Abacus Books, 2009, p. 280.

[33]Papadakis, op. cit., pp. 76-77.

[34] Dvorkin, op. cit., p. 619.

[35]Cf. O. Barmin, “Sovremennaia istoriografia o datirovke tserkovnoj skhizmy mezhdu Zapadom i Vostokom khristianskoj ekumeny” (“Contemporary Historiography on the Dating of the Church Schism between the West and the East of the Christian Oikumene”), in D.E. Afinogenov, A.V. Muraviev, Traditsii i Nasledie Khristianskogo Vostoka (The Traditions and Heritage of the Christian East), Moscow: “Indrik”, 1996, pp. 117-126.

[36] Dr. Jerjis Alajaji, personal communication, March 22, 2010.

[37] Quoted in Professor David C. Douglas, The Norman Achievement, 1050-1100, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1969, p. 132.

[38] Douglas, op. cit., p. 155.

[39] Holland, op. cit., p. 356.

[40] Douglas, William the Conqueror, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1964, p. 121.

[41] Jean-Paul Allard, “Byzance et le Saint Empire: Theophano, Otton III, Benzon d’Albe” (“Byzantium and the Holy Empire: Theophano, Otto II and Benzon of Alba”), in Germain Ivanov-Trinadtsaty, Regards sur l’Órthodoxie (Points of View on Orthodoxy), Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme, 1997, p. 55.

[42] Douglas, William the Conqueror, op. cit., p. 187. Hildebrand was almost certainly reminding William of his support for him at this point when he wrote, on April 24, 1080: “I believe it is known to you, most excellent son, how great was the love I ever bore you, even before I ascended the papal throne, and how active I have shown myself in your affairs; above all how diligently I laboured for your advancement to royal rank. In consequence I suffered dire calumny through certain brethren insinuating that by such partisanship I gave sanction for the perpetration of great slaughter. But God was witness to my conscience that I did so with a right mind, trusting in God’s grace and, not in vain, in the virtues you possessed” (in Harriet Harvey Wood, The Battle of Hastings, London: Atlantic Books, 2008, p. 139).

[43] McLynn, 1066: The Year of the Three Battles, London: Jonathan Cape, 1998,  pp. 182-183.

[44] He prophesied on his deathbed that England was under God’s curse and would soon be invaded by demons (Anonymous, Vita Aedwardi Regis (The Life of Edward the King),edited by Frank Barlow, Nelson’s Medieval Texts, 1962).

[45] David Howarth, 1066: The Year of the Conquest, Milton Keynes: Robin Clark, 1977, p. 164.

[46] Neveux, The Normans, Philadelphia: Running Press, 2008, p. 139.

[47] Fr. Andrew Phillips, Orthodox Christianity and the Old English Church, English Orthodox Trust, 1996, p. 27.

[48] Douglas, William the Conqueror, pp. 6-7.

[49] Hudson, “The Norman Conquest”, BBC History Magazine, vol. 4, N 1, January, 2003, p. 23.

[50] R.H.C. Davis,  A History of Medieval Europe, Harlow: Longman, pp. 284, 285.

[51] Edmer, Istoria Novorum in Anglia (A History of the New Things in England); translated by Geoffrey Bosanquet, London: Cresset Press.

[52] Quoted in Douglas & Greenway, English Historical Documents, Eyre & Spottiswoode, p. 647.

[53] The matter was complicated by the fact that Archbishop Guy had been invested by Emperor Henry III. Another complication was the fact that Milan was a see with very un-papist attitudes. This could be traced back to the fact that its most famous incumbent, St. Ambrose, had declared that Rome had only “a primacy of confession, not of honour” (Liber de incarnationis Dominicae Sacramento (Book on the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord),4, 32). St. Ambrose, like the medieval popes, was very bold in relation to the secular authorities, having excommunicated the Emperor Theodosius I. However, unlike the papal reformers from Gregory VII onwards, he did not attempt to remove the authorities from power, nor exalt the role of the Roman papacy.

[54] Hieromonk Enoch, facebook communication, September, 2015.

[55] Canning, A History of Western Political Thought, 300-1450, London and New York: Routledge, 1996, pp. 86-87. “The decree of 1059 was thus, in the words of an eminent medievalist, a ‘declaration of independence’” (Siedentop, op. cit., p. 202).

[56] Holland, op. cit.. p. 345. A similar campaign against married priests was being waged at this time in Norman-conquered England by Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester: "The sin of incontinence he abhorred, and approved continence in all men, and especially in clerks in holy orders. If he found one wholly given to chastity he took him to himself and loved him as a son. Wedded priests he brought under one edict, commanding them to renounce their fleshly desires or their churches. If they loved chastity, they would remain and be welcome: if they were the servants of bodily pleasures, they must go forth in disgrace. Some there were who chose rather to go without their churches than their women: and of these some wandered about till they starved; others sought and at last found some other provision..." (William of Malmesbury, Vita Wulfstani)

[57]Holland, op. cit.. p. 347.

[58]Holland, op. cit.. pp. 348-349.

[59] Fukuyama, op. cit., p. 265.

[60] De Rosa, op. cit., pp. 65, 66.

[61] Canning, op. cit., pp. 96, 97.

[62] Gregory VII, in Canning, op. cit., pp. 91-93.

[63] De Rosa, op. cit., p. 69.

[64] Peter Damian, Letter 8, 2, P.L. 144, 436.

[65] I.S. Robinson, “Gregory VII and the Soldiers of Christ”, History, vol. 58, N 193, June, 1973, pp. 174-175.

[66] Robinson, “Church and Papacy”, pp. 300-301.

[67] Holland, op. cit., p. 362.

[68]Holland, op. cit., p. 365.

[69] Bettenson and Maunder,op. cit., p. 113.

[70]Holland, op. cit., p. 368.

[71] Bettenson and Maunder, op. cit., p. 114.

[72] Robinson, “Gregory VII and the Soldiers of Christ”, p. 175.

[73]Wenrich of Trier, Epistola Hilthebrando papae (1081).

[74] Anonymous of Hersfeld, Liber de unitate ecclesiae conservanda, II, 15.

[75] F.M. Dostoevsky, The Diary of a Writer (August, 1880).

[76] R.W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages, London: Penguin, 1970, p. 102.

[77] Robinson,“Gregory VII and the Soldiers of Christ”, pp. 177, 178.

[78]Holland, op. cit., p. 376.

[79] Quoted in Robinson, “Gregory VII and the Soldiers of Christ”, p. 177.

[80] Canning, op. cit., pp. 104-105. “For the people,” wrote Manegold, “do not exalt him above themselves so as to concede to him an unlimited power of tyrannizing over them, but to defend themselves against the tyranny and wickedness of others. However, when he who is chosen to repress evil doers and defend the just begins to cherish evil in himself, to oppress good men, to exercise over his subjects the cruel tyranny that he ought to ward off from them, is it not clear that he deservedly falls from his lordship and from subjection to him since it is evident that he first broke the compact by virtue of which he was appointed” (in Siedentop, op. cit., p. 249).

[81] Fukuyama, op. cit., p. 266.

[82]Siedentop, op. cit., p. 197.

[83] Tiutchev, “Papstvo i Rimskij Vopros” (“The Papacy and the Roman Question”), in Politicheskie Stat’i (Political Articles), Paris: YMCA Press, 1976, pp. 57-58.

[84]Holland, op. cit., p. xxii.

[85] Tyerman, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades, London: Penguin, 2006, p. 7.

[86] Ehrenreich, Blood Rites, London: Virago Press, 1998, pp. 171-172.

[87]Tyerman, op. cit., p. 269.

[88]Raymond of Aguilers, the Count of Toulouse’s chaplain, in Simon Sebag Montefiore, Jerusalem: The Biography, London: Phoenix, 2012, p. 253. Simon Sebag Montefiore writes: “The massacre of Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem was a terrible crime but it was certainly vastly exaggerated: Muslim historians claimed that 70,000 or even 100,000 died in the slaughter but it is likely that there were not more than 30,000 inside the city and the latest research from contemporary Arab source el-Arabi suggests the number may be closer to between 3,000 and 10,000. Crusader brutality demonstrates the evil of intolerance but the Christians were scarcely alone in this: when the crusader cities of Edessa and Acre later fell, the slaughter by Muslim conquerors was much greater” (Titans of History, London: Quercus, 2012, p. 126).

[89] Montefiore, Titans of History, p. 135.

[90] Helmold of Bosau, inRichard Fletcher, The Conversion of Europe, London: HarperCollins, 1997, p. 484.

[91] Bernard, in Fletcher, op. cit., pp. 487-488.

[92] Bernard, De Laude Novae Militiae Ad Milites Templi.

[93] Wil van den Bercken, Holy Russia and Christian Europe, London: SCM Press, 1999, p. 125.

[94] Paterson, “Sonar ship homes in on Atlantis of North”, Sunday Telegraph (London), September 26, 1999, p. 39.

[95] Runciman, The Eastern Schism, Oxford, 1955, p. 100.

[96]Tyerman, op. cit., p. 538.

[97] Fr. Panagiotes Carras, “Saint Neophytos of Cyprus and the Crusades”,

[98] R.H.C. Davis, op. cit., p. 309.

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