The Papal Reform of the Eleventh Century

Lives of Pope Leo IX and Pope Gregory VII

Author: I. S. Robinson

The papal reform movement of the eleventh century is the best documented of a number of parallel movements dedicated to the reform of ecclesiastical institutions. The eleventh-century papal reform transformed western European Church and society and permanently altered the relations of Church and State in the west. The reform was inaugurated by Pope Leo IX and was given a controversial change of direction by Pope Gregory VII. This book is a collection of biographies and other narrative sources concerned principally with the lives of Leo IX and Gregory VII. These works were composed by intellectuals with markedly different ideas of reform, writing in different centres of learning. The anonymous author of the Life of Leo IX wrote in Lotharingia, perhaps in the abbey of St-Evre in the diocese of Toul, completing his work before 1061. Bishop Bonizo of Sutri wrote his polemical history of the Church, The Book to a Friend, in exile in Tuscany soon after the death of Gregory VII in 1085 and that pope is the central figure in the work. Paul of Bernried wrote his biography of Gregory VII in 1128, perhaps in Regensburg, drawing on a large collection of late eleventh-century Gregorian materials. Bishop Benzo of Alba completed his polemic addressed to Henry IV in 1085 in Lombardy. Finally Bishop Bruno of Segni composed his Sermon concerning Simoniacs probably in the later 1090s, when he was an active member of the papal curia.

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