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This week in Christian history: Protestant reformer dies, Augustine converts to Christianity, Pope Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII elected - April 22, 1073

Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII (1025-1085), a former papal adviser who later became head of the Roman Catholic Church and exerted lasting influence on the institution. |

This week marks the anniversary of when a papal advisor named Hildebrand was elected pope soon after the death of his predecessor and became Gregory VII.

Considered a reforming pope, Gregory VII advocated for the superiority of the Church over secular governments and was the first pontiff to depose a monarch, specifically Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV.

“His staunch advocacy of clerical celibacy and repudiation of simony reshaped the church and helped establish the ideals of the reformers as the standard for the church,” explained Britannica.

“Moreover, papal primacy cannot be imagined without Gregory … Concepts that he grasped intuitively were elaborated on legally and theoretically in the 12th and 13th centuries and resulted in what is known as the papal monarchy.”

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