INVESTITURE: In ecclesiastical language, the ceremony of inducting an abbot or bishop into his office. The subject is interesting mainly in connection with a long controversy between the papacy and secular rulers over the right of investiture, which constitutes an important chapter of medieval history.

The Earlier Practise.

Even before the fall of the Roman Empire there are evidences of imperial influence upon the nomination of bishops, going in some cases as far as direct nomination. In the Frankish kingdoms both the Merovingian and Carolingian rulers repeatedly named the bishops in their territories; and even when the election was made by the clergy and people, they either designated the acceptable candidate beforehand, or claimed the right to confirm the election. The influence of the secular power was still more distinctly felt in the case of abbeys erected after the Roman period; the idea of the jurisdiction of a landowner, raised to a higher power in the case of abbeys on royal land, brought it to pass that royal nomination of the abbots was the rule, election by the chapter the exception. To these powers the Othos and the Franconian dynasty held fast. The acquisition by bishops and abbots of large territories and extensive political rights, which reached its height in the tenth and eleventh centuries, created a spiritual aristocracy not less important than the secular, which it was necessary for the kings to keep in hand by retaining the decisive voice in the filling of the offices--a claim which was not then felt to involve any invasion of the essential rights of the Church. In older times the nomination and confirmation had been made by a royal edict; but under the later Carolingians, whether an election had taken place or not, the actual installation was made by a solemn and formal ceremony, including the giving of the sovereign's hand and the taking of an oath by the candidate. After Otho I. the most usual form was the giving to the new bishop or abbot of his predecessor's pastoral staff, to which Henry III. added the delivery of the episcopal ring. The whole ceremony resembled the investiture of a temporal vassal; and since it conveyed not only spiritual, but temporal, jurisdiction, it began in the eleventh century to be designated by the term investitura.

The Contest in Germany.

The first determined opposition to the system came from the ecclesiastical reformers of the eleventh century. It was directed primarily against simoniacal bargains, but soon went further. Cardinal Humbert, in his treatise Adversus simoniacos (1057-58), came out decisively against lay investiture. In 1059 and 1063 two Roman synods condemned the bestowal of the minor ecclesiastical offices by laymen; in 1060 synods at Vienne and Tours took the same position in regard to bishoprics and abbeys; and in 1068 the filling of the see of Milan gave occasion for these principles to be put into practise. But the first actual clash came when Gregory VIL, in the Lent synod of 1075, directly denied the right of the German king to grant investiture, and enforced his denial so vigorously that Henry IV. was obliged to take up the challenge by the attempt to depose Gregory at the Synod of Worms in 1076, thus opening a struggle which lasted for forty-six years. Gregory and his successors maintained their position. The Roman synod of 1080 laid down positive regulations, based upon primitive Christian practise, for the election of bishops by the clergy and people, giving the pope a deciding voice as to the validity of the election. Victor III., Urban II., and Paschal II. reiterated the same views, but had no better success than Gregory in enforcing them against Henry IV. and V. The ultimate solution of the difficulty was prepared rather by the literary discussions, in which a gradual perception appeared of the distinction between the spiritual office and the secular rights. This opened the way to attempts at accommodation. After some failures, efforts led in 1122 to the Concordat of Worms between Henry V. and Calixtus II., which ended the struggle and formed the basis of the later practise until the


downfall of the German empire (for provisions see CONCORDATS AND DELIMITING BULLS, I.). Episcopal and abbatial elections were to be conducted in Italy and Burgundy without any royal interference in Germany in the presence of the king, and with provision for his advisory assistance in contested elections. The agreement was not an unqualified victory for either side, but the papacy in the end profited most by it. After the contested imperial election of 1198 (see INNOCENT III.), the influence of the emperor on elections rapidly declined, while that of the popes, especially under the skilful management of Innocent Ill., increased in the same proportion.


In France during the eleventh century much the same conditions existed as in Germany; but when the conflict arose it was not made so much a question of principle or conducted with so much bitterness. The French bishops had not so much secular power, nor did they to the same extent constitute a spiritual aristocracy. Again, the king claimed to invest only a part of the bishops and abbots, while the majority were nominated and installed by the great vassals. Speaking generally, the right of nomination was abolished by the beginning of the twelfth century, and free election became the rule; but until the end of the century, and even longer, the kings and some of the local magnates still maintained the right of permitting and of confirming the election, and the kings and some great nobles still conferred secular rights and claimed the revenues of these temporalities during a vacancy.


The reforming party had less success in England. Under the Anglo-Saxon and Danish kings the appointment to bishoprics and the great abbeys was in the king's hands; the Normans introduced investiture and the oath of allegiance. The prohibition of lay investiture by Gregory VII. was inoperative here. It was not until Anselm, in 1101, came back to England a confirmed Gregorian and refused the oath of allegiance that there was any real investiture controveray there. It ended in 1107 by the king's renouncing the formality of investiture with ring and staff, but retaining the oath of allegiance and the other rights of his predecessors. In spite of Stephen's promise that bishops and abbots should be canonically elected, the assent of the English kings continued the decisive factor. The English clergy did not win the right of absolutely free election even at a later period, while Innocent III. (q.v.) forced King John to allow the papacy to share the royal influence.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: For Germany consult: F. A. Staudenmaier, Geschichte der Bischofswahlen, Mainz, 1830; H. Gerdes , Die Bischofswahlen in Deutschland, Göttingen, 1878; P. Hinschius, Kirchenrecht, ii, 530 sqq, Berlin, 1878; F. Franziss, Der deutsche Episcopat . . . 1039-56, Regensburg, 1879-80; R. Reese, Die staatsrechtliche Stellung der Bischöfe Burgunds und Italiens unter Friedrich I., Göttingen, 1885; C. Mirbt, Die Publizistik im Zeitalter Gregors VII., pp. 463 sqq., Leipsic, 1894; E. Friedberg, Kirchenrecht; pp. 312 sqq., ib. 1895; C. Willing, Zur Geschichte des Investiturstreits, Liegnitz, 1896. A. Hauck, KD vol. iii. For France: A. Cauchie, Louvain, 1890-91; P. Imbart de la Tour, Les Élections épiscopales . . . ix.- xii. siècles, Paris, 1891; A. Luchaire, Hist. des institutions monarchiques de la France . . . (987-1180), ii. 68 sqq., ib. 1891; P. Viollet, Hist. des institutions politiques et administratives de la France, ii. 317 sqq., Paris, 1898. For England: E. A. Freeman, Reign of William Rufus, London, 1882; M. Schmitz, Der englische Investiturstreit; Innsbruck, 1884; W. Hunt, The English Church . . . (597-1066), London, 1899; W. R. W. Stephens, The English Church . . . (1066-1272), pp. 119-131 et passim, ib. 1901; J. Drehmann, Papst Leo. IX. und die Simonie. Beitrag zur Untersuchung der Vorgeschichte des Investiturstreits Leipsic, 1908. Consult also W. E. Addis, Catholic Dictionary, pp. 497-498, London, 1903; KL, vi. 844-863; and the literature under the articles on the popes named in the text and under ANSELM.

IONA: An island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, separated from the Rose of Mull by Iona Sound. It forms a part of Argyllshire, and lies from 35 to 40 miles to the westward of Oban, from which it is reached by steamer. The name should be Ioua, the form with n having arisen from a mistaken reading of u. In Irish it occurs as I-Columcille, "the Island of Columba." The popular name at present is Eecholuim-cille. The island is about three and a half miles long from northeast to southwest, and from a mile to a mile and a half in breadth. It is rocky and sandy, with boggy hollows between the hills, the highest of which rises to 330 feet. Its area is estimated at from 1,600 to 2,000 acres, less than half of it arable, and not more than a third actually under cultivation. The pastures on the aides of the knolls and ravines support a few hundred sheep and a smaller number of cattle. The population in 1901 was 213, engaged in agriculture and fishing.

Iona owes its fame to its association with Columba and the monastery founded there by him in 563. The Irish annals state that the island was given to him by his kinsman, Conall, king of the Dalriad Scots. Bede, however, says he received it from the Picts as a result of his successful missionary labor among them. Bede's statement is the more probable, but possibly both accounts are true, as Iona was debatable ground between the Scots and the Picts. For Columba's work there and the earlier history of the monastery, see the articles COLUMBA; CELTIC CHURCH IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND; ADAMNAN. The island was repeatedly ravaged by the Danes during the ninth and tenth centuries; on one of these occasions (806) sixty-eight monks suffered martyrdom. The ruined buildings were restored again and again with remarkable pertinacity. Between 814 and 831 the monastery was rebuilt with stone and a shrine was erected to St. Columba. In 878 the shrine and relics were taken to Ireland. Queen Margaret rebuilt the monastery between 1059 and 1093. A Benedictine abbey and nunnery were established in the island in 1203. The remains still existing date mostly from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries although the chapel of St. Oran (Odhrain) may be of the time of Queen Margaret. It is of red granite, and has as its western doorway a Norman arch with beak-headed ornament, and stands in the Reilig Odhrain, the ancient burial-place of the Monastery, said also to have been the burial-place of the Scottish and Pictish kings till the time of Malcolm III, (d. 1093), as well as of certain English, Irish, and Norwegian kings. North of this cemetery are the remains of the thirteenth-century Benedictine abbey. In connection


RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA with the cloisters is a Norman arcade of somewhat older date. The Church of St. Mary, commonly called the Cathedral, dates probably from the thirteenth century. It is built of red granite, in cruciform shape, with nave, transept, and choir, and has a central tower seventy-five feet in height.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Besides the authorities mentioned under COLUMBA, CULDEES, especially Reeves (1857), pp. 334-369, 413-433, consult: L. Maclean, A Historical Account of Iona, Edinburgh, 1833; C. A. and J. C. Buckless, The Cathedral or Abbey Church of Iona, London, 1866 (drawings with descriptive letterpress and an account of the early Celtic Church and the mission of St. Columba by A. Ewing, Bishop of Iona and the Isles); the Duke of Argyll, Iona, London, 1870; J. Drummond, Sculptured Monuments in Iona and the West Highlands, Edinburgh, 1881; J. Healy, Insula Sanctorum, pp. 291-363, Dublin, 1890; W. Bright, Chapters of Early English Church History, passim, Oxford, 1897; A. Macmillan, lona, its History and Antiquities, London, 1898.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely