Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Barefoot in the Snow

Matilda of Canossa and the stand-off with Henry IV. (Via Joshua Snyder)
Canossa was simply one episode in a centuries-long journey strewn with victories and defeats. Gregory VII himself soon experienced the emperor's vengeance. Stripped of power, replaced by an antipope, and forced to flee, he died in exile in Salerno in 1085. But by this time, the principle for which Pope Gregory and Matilda fought had entered into history. The Church's autonomy from political power was asserted gradually and painstakingly, but irreversibly, despite the recurring waves of caesaropapism, fundamentalism, and anticlericalism, becoming one of the main pillars of modern Western civilization.

No comments: