Pope Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII

When Pope Gregory VII was born, circa 1025, his family lived near Sovana (which was then part of the Papal States).  The child grew-up to hold the most important position in the Catholic Church—its Pope. 

At the time of his election in 1073, and before, he was known as "Hildebrand."

A man with significant power, Gregory deposed Emperor Henry IV (in favor of Henry V) while he was a crowned ruler.  Such an event—a religious leader deposing a civil leader—had never happened before.

Known as a mystic during his lifetime, Gregory was made a saint during the reign of Pope Paul V (during 1606). He died on the 25th of May, 1085, and today he is commemorated as one of the great popes of the medieval church. 

His annual feast day is the 25th of May.

Father Don Miller tells us more about the personal story of Gregory VII:

The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families.

In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. He was to become Gregory VII.

Three evils plagued the Church then: simony (the buying and selling of sacred offices and things), the unlawful marriage of the clergy, and lay investiture (kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials). To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer’s attention, first as counselor to the popes and later (1073-1085) as pope himself.

...He [Gregory] is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots.

Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore, I die in exile.”

Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture.

When he hear the words “Gregorian Reforms,” those words directly relate to this Pope. Father Miller continues with Gregory's personal story:

The Gregorian Reform, a milestone in the history of Christ’s Church, was named after this man [Gregory VII, formerly known as Hildebrand] who tried to extricate the papacy and the whole Church from undue control by civil rulers.

Against an unhealthy Church nationalism in some areas, Gregory reasserted the unity of the whole Church based on Christ and expressed in the bishop of Rome, the successor of Saint Peter.

Gregory was the 157th Roman Catholic Pope, serving in that role from 1073 to 1085.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 09, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Aug 27, 2018

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Image online, courtesy Vatican.


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"Pope Gregory VII" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 09, 2016. Dec 07, 2019.
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