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Blessed Calixtus II
Calixtus II.jpg
Papacy began February 1, 1119
Papacy ended December 13, 1124
Predecessor Gelasius II
Successor Honorius II
Personal details
Birth name Guy de Vienne
Born c. 1065?
Quingey, County of Burgundy, Holy Roman Empire
Died December 13, 1124
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other Popes named Callixtus

Blessed Pope Callixtus II (or Calistus II) (died December 13, 1124), born Guy de Vienne, the fourth son of William I, Count of Burgundy (1057–87), was elected Pope on February 1, 1119, after the death of Pope Gelasius II (1118–19). His pontificate was shaped by the Investiture Controversy, which he was able to settle through the Concordat of Worms (in 1122). Although his birth date is not known, his eldest brother was born in 1061, therefore we can assume that Guy himself was born between 1065 and 1068.


Early life

Guy was a member of the highest aristocracy. The fourth son of one of the wealthiest families in Europe, he was part of a network of noble alliances. One sister, Gisela, was married to Humbert II, Count of Savoy (1080–1103) and then to Renier I of Montferrat; another sister, Maud, was the wife of Eudes I of Burgundy (1079–1103). His brother Raymond was married to Urraca, the heiress of León; they became the parents of Alfonso VII of León. His brother Hugh had been appointed Archbishop of Besançon. His distant cousin Henry was married to Theresa, the heiress of Portugal, parents of Afonso I of Portugal.

Church career


Archbishop of Vienne

Guy first appeared in contemporary records when, in 1088, he became the Archbishop of Vienne. He held strong pro-Papal views about the Investiture Controversy. As archbishop, he was appointed papal legate to France by Pope Paschal II (1099–1118); this was during the time that Paschal II, yielding to pressure from Emperor Henry V (1105–25), was induced to issue the Privilegium of 1111, by which he yielded much of the papal prerogatives that had been so forcefully claimed by Pope Gregory VII (1073–85) in the Gregorian Reforms. Guy, with kin both in Burgundy and the Franche Comté (that is, within the Emperor's jurisdiction and bordering it) led the pro-Papal opposition at the synod called at the Lateran in 1112; on his return to France he immediately convened an assembly of French and Burgundian bishops at Vienne, where the imperial claim to a traditional lay investiture of the clergy was denounced as heretical, and a sentence of excommunication was now pronounced against Henry V, on the grounds that he had extorted the Privilegium from Paschal II by a violence. These decrees were sent to Paschal II with a request for a confirmation, which they received, in general terms, for Paschal II had proved loath to take this step, October 20, 1112.


Guy (or Guido) was apparently made cardinal by Paschal II, who died on January 21, 1118.


During the violent confrontations between Henry V and Paschal II's successor, Pope Gelasius II, the Pope was forced to flee from Rome, first to Gaeta, where he was crowned, then to the Abbey of Cluny, where he died on January 29, 1119. Within four days Guy was elected Pope and was crowned at Vienne as Calixtus II. At the outset, it appeared that the new Pope was willing to negotiate with Henry V, who received the papal embassy at Strasburg, and withdrew his support from the antipope he had proclaimed at Rome. It was agreed that pope and emperor should meet at the château de Mousson, near Rheims, and in October the new Pope opened the council at Rheims attended by Louis VI of France (1108–37), with most of the barons of France and more than four hundred bishops and abbots. Henry V arrived for his personal conference at Mousson — not alone, as had been anticipated, but with an army of over thirty thousand men. Calixtus II, fearing that force was likely to be used to extract prejudicial concessions, remained at Rheims. There, Calixtus II busied himself ineffectively with attempting a reconciliation between the brothers Henry I of England (1100–35) and Robert II, Duke of Normandy (1087–1106), and the council dealt with disciplinary regulations and decrees against lay investiture, simony, and clerical concubines; there being no compromise coming from Henry V, it was determined that the Emperor and his antipope should be solemnly excommunicated, 30 October 1119.

Returning to Italy, where antipope Gregory VIII (1118–21) was supported in Rome by imperial forces and Italian allies of the emperor, Calixtus II managed to gain the upper hand amid clear demonstrations of popular support. The Imperial candidate was obliged to flee to the fortress of Sutri, where he was taken prisoner through the intervention of Norman support from the Kingdom of Naples; he was transferred from prison to prison and died at a stronghold near Salerno. The imperial allies in Rome soon disbanded.

Concordat of Worms

Having established his power in Italy, the Pope resolved to reopen negotiations with Henry V on the question of investiture. Henry V was anxious to put an end to a controversy which had reduced imperial authority in Germany — terminally so, as it appeared in the long run. An embassy of three cardinals was sent by Calixtus II to Germany, and negotiations for a permanent settlement of the investiture struggle were begun in October 1121 at Würzburg where it was agreed that a general truce should be proclaimed in Germany, that the Church should have free use of its possessions, and that the lands of those in rebellion should be restored. These decrees were communicated to Calixtus II, who despatched a legate Lambert to assist at the synod that had been convoked at Worms, where, on 23 September 1122, the agreement known as the Concordat of Worms was concluded. On his side the emperor abandoned his claim to investiture with ring and crosier, and granted freedom of election to episcopal sees; on the other hand, it was conceded that the bishops should receive investiture with the sceptre, that the episcopal elections should be held in the presence of the Emperor or his representatives, that in case of disputed elections the emperor should, after the decision of the metropolitan and the suffragan bishops, confirm the rightfully elected candidate, and lastly, that the imperial investiture of the temporal properties connected to the sees should take place in Germany before the consecration, in Burgundy and in Italy after this ceremony, while in the Papal States the pope alone had the right of investiture, without any interference on the part of the Emperor. As a result of this Concordat, the Emperor still retained in his hands the controlling influence in the election of the bishops in Germany, though he had abandoned much in regard to episcopal elections in Italy and Burgundy.

First Lateran Council

To secure the confirmation of this Concordat of Worms, Calixtus II convened the First Lateran Council, 18 March 1123, which solemnly confirmed the concordat and passed several disciplinary decrees, such as those against simony and concubinage among the clergy. Decrees were also passed against violators of the Truce of God, church-robbers, and forgers of ecclesiastical documents. The indulgences already granted to the crusaders were renewed, and the jurisdiction of the bishops over the clergy, both secular and regular, was more clearly defined.

Later life and death

Calixtus II devoted his last few years to reestablishing Papal control over the Campagna and establishing – with the aid of some forgeries (CE) – the primacy of his see of Vienne over the see of Arles, an ancient conflict. He rebuilt the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, in Rome.

Calixtus II died 13 December 1124.

See also


External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Gelasius II
Succeeded by
Honorius II


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