Pope Gregory VII
Pope Gregory VII reigned from 1073 to 1085.
He is known for ending the control of the western church by the secular (non-church) rulers, particularly by abolishing lay investiture, by which lay lords had control over the choice of bishops, abbots and other church officials. Pope Gregory excommunicated the German King Henry IV for insisting on installing bishops, and Henry IV even crossed the Alps in wintertime to seek forgiveness and absolution from the pope in the Canossa incident in 1077. Historians today view the incident as an example of humiliation of a king by a religious leader. Pope Gregory forgave him, but then Henry IV continued to demand control and even removal of Pope Gregory, ultimately causing him to flee Rome in 1084 to survive. Pope Gregory died a year later, while Henry IV lived on for another 20 years.