The Power of the Church

Describe the Church's structure and influence and its relationship with the Holy Roman Empire

Structure of The Church

The power that a person holds in a Church depends on its rank or status within the Church's system. The one that held the most power in the Church was the pope in Rome. The pope was basically the leader of the Church and had more authority over all the others, and controlled most of the activities related to the Church. In the medieval ages, the pope held considerable power and played important roles in most of Western Europe, such as crowning emperors, regulating disputes among secular rulers, and even struggling against the monarchs or rulers for power or state affairs. Below the pope were the bishops, who were able to settle disputes over Church teachings and practices, and they also oversaw or supervised the priests. The bishops were sometimes entrusted with a position of authority over certain activities of The Church. And them, the priest was the one that held the least power and lowest in rank, who administered common religious activities.

triregno.jpg The tiara of a pope, which was a symbol of his power.

The Church considers Jesus to be the ultimate head of the Catholic Church. The head of the Church organization and spiritual leader is the pope. Each pope is elected by the College of Cardinals. An elected pope must become a bishop before he can take the office. Roman Curia , civil service, assists the pope in the Church's administration. The Church is governed according to the set of rules in the Code of Canon Law. The Church community is made up of ordained men, such as bishops, priests and deacons, and the laity.

Holy Roman Empire

In order to be an Emperor, he had to be elected. German kings had been elected since the 9th century. The main dukes and bishops of the kingdom elected the King of the Romans. A candidate for election would be expected to offer land or money to the electors in order to secure their vote.
After being known the King of the Romans, he could claim the title of “Emperor" only if the Pope crowned him. The Emperor had to be a man of good character over 18 years. All four of his grandparents were expected to be of noble blood.

The Reichstag was the legislative body of the Holy Roman Empire and superior to the emperor. It was divided into three classes. The first class was the Council of Electors. The second class was the Council of Princes, and the third class was the Council of Imperial Cities.

Imperial courts
The Empire had two courts: the Reichshofrat, and the Reichskammergericht. In 1512, 4 more were added, later known as Imperial circle.


The spiritual influence of the western division of the church expanded simultaneously, in particular during the period (590-604) of Gregory I. As the political prestige of the Byzantine Empire was in decline, the papacy grew resentful of intervention by secular and ecclesiastical authorities at Constantinople in the jobs and practices of the Western church. The argument between the two divisions of the church accomplished critical points during the reign (717-41) of the Byzantine emperor Leo III, who wanted to abolish the use of images in Christian ceremonies.
On December 25, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor.This act gave the pope right to to select, crown, and even depose emperors, that was accepted for nearly 700 years. Otto I was an big friend of the Roman Catholic church. He appointed clerics to high office, he did missionary activities east of the Elbe River, his military campaigns with the instructions of Pope John XII, against Berengar II, king of Italy. In 962, in recognition of Otto's services, John XII awarded him the imperial crown and title.

The Church

The Roman Catholic Church was the only, largest unifying structure in medieval Europe. It touched everyone's life, no matter what their position or class or where they lived. With the exception of a small number of Jews; everyone in Europe was a Christian during the Middle Ages from the richest king down to the lowest serf. The head of the church was the Pope, he had a great amount of power to influence kings and their successors. If someone went against the Church, the Pope had the power to excommunicate or deny them.Since religion was so important during the Middle Ages, many people devoted and dedicated their whole lives to being closer to God and doing the Church's work.


The influence of the Catholic Church on the world culture and society have been vast, first and foremost in the development of European civilization from Greco-Roman times to the modern era. The official Church teaching[227] considers women and men to be equal, different, and complementary. The Catholic Church was the dominant influence on the development of Western art, at least up to the Protestant Reformation. Important contributions include its consistent opposition to Byzantine iconoclasm, its cultivation and patronage of individual artists, as well as development of the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles of art and architecture. Social structures at the dawn of Christianity in the Roman Empire held that women were inferior to men intellectually and physically and were "naturally dependent".

A Divided Church

The Great problem (is not realy a problem is like a debate or conflict) between the Western and Eastern Christian Churches was because in 1054 by Pope Leo IX by the authority over three of the seats in the Pentarchy in Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Since the mid eighth century the Byzantine Empire's borders had been shrinking in the face of Islamic expansion. Antioch had been wrested back into Byzantine control by 1045 but, the resurgent power of the Roman successors in the West claimed the right and a duty for the lost seats in Asia and Africa. Pope Leo provocked a further dispute by defending the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed which the West had adopted customarily. Eastern Orthodox today state that the 28th Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council explicitly proclaimed the equality of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople. The Orthodox also state that the Bishop of Rome has authority only over his own diocese and does not have any authority outside his diocese. There were other less significant catalysts for the Schism however, including variance over liturgical. The Schism of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox‎ followed centuries of estrangement between Latin and Greek worlds.
By: ELie

The Emperor Clashes with the Pope
The Church was mad that kings had taken control over clergy and their offices. Kings and nobles were appointing church officials, this practice is called lay investiture. The Church felt that they only had the power to do so and in 1075, Pope Gregory VII banned the practice being used by kings. A young German emperor, Henry IV, was very mad with this and held a metting of German bishops that he had appointed. He ordered that Gregory step down from being pope. Gregory then countered Henry by excommunicating him. After that encounter, German kings, princes, and bishops went on the pope's side in fear of being excommunicated. In an attempt to try and save his throne, Henry tried to get the pope's forgiveness. In january of 1077, Henry crossed the snowy Alps to the Italian town of Canossa. He walked up to the castle where the pope was staying. The is obligated to forgive any sinner who begged so humbly. After three days, the pope finally ended Henry's excommunication. Even after Gregory and Henry's confrontation, the kings and popes who followed them still fought over lay investiture until 1122. That year, the Church and emperor met in the German city of Worms where they reached an agreement known as the concordat of worms. It states that the Church alone can appoint a bishop, but that the emperor could veto his decision.

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