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The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West$
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Susan Wood

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206972.001.0001

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Gregorian reform and the proprietary church

Gregorian reform and the proprietary church

(p.851) 24 Gregorian reform and the proprietary church
The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West

Susan Wood

Oxford University Press

Under Gregory VII and his successors, the longstanding practice of lay lords to put clerics into possession of their churches by handing them the symbols of office became an aspect and later the focus of conflict and negotiation with emperors and kings, and of polemical argument about right order in Christian society. This chapter examines three questions: how the investiture decrees bore on lesser churches, and with what intention; whether applying them to great churches was seen as freeing these from proprietary lordship; and whether Gregorian reform was an attack on the proprietary church. The reformers' objection to lay investiture reflected their concern with the hold that rulers had on great churches, and the simony often resulting from this or indeed built into it. However, almost all the decrees against lay investiture were drafted in such a way that they were also applicable to lesser churches.

Keywords:   proprietary church, investiture, Gregorian reform, donations, bishops, property, lesser churches, church decrees

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