Post-classical history

Paschal II (d. 1118)

Pope (1099-1118); original name Rainerius.

A monk of an unknown monastery, perhaps in the Abruzzi Mountains southeast of Rome, he joined the Curia under Pope Gregory VII, became abbot of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome and after 1078 cardinal-priest of San Clemente. Elected pope on 13 August 1099 as successor to Urban II, Paschal II ended the schism in the papacy, as he was able to overcome the three imperialist successors who followed at brief intervals after the death of his rival Clement III (1100). The Romans and the leaders of the Papal States supported Paschal until 1116, but in 1111-1112 he was threatened with another schism when he agreed to a coerced settlement with Henry V, the Holy Roman Emperor, in the dispute over the right to invest bishops and abbots with the regalia of their offices. Faced with a revolt of reformers led by Guy, archbishop of Vienne (the future Pope Calixtus II), Paschal was forced to revoke his concessions to the emperor.

Paschal’s sophisticated legislation strongly built upon that of his predecessors, which appears especially clear in connection with the crusades. It is unlikely that Urban II heard of the conquest of Jerusalem (15 July 1099) before his death; it was Paschal who sent a jubilant letter of congratulations to Outremer in which he celebrated the achievements of the army of the First Crusade. An earlier letter from Paschal to the French clergy had urged them to send whatever aid they could to those who had remained in the Holy Land and stated that oaths sworn to go to Jerusalem should be fulfilled. After the failure of the Crusade of 1101, Paschal met Prince Bohemund I of Antioch at Rome (1105) and supported his efforts to gather a new army by granting him the flag of St. Peter and sending a cardinal legate, Bruno of Segni, to go with him to France. The question of whether Paschal also agreed to Bohemund’s anti-Byzantine plans has probably to be answered in the negative.

The often problematic relations between the Latin patriarchate and the monarchy of Jerusalem during the reign of King Baldwin I (1100-1118) meant that Paschal was obliged to send legations there under Maurice of Porto (1100), Gibelin of Arles (1107), and Berengar of Orange (1115), which all had a major influence on the organization of the Latin Church in Palestine. Paschal II also imposed a settlement concerning the archbishopric of Tyre, whose jurisdiction was disputed between the patriarchates of Jerusalem and Antioch. At the Council of Benevento in 1113, he confirmed an earlier ruling of Urban II that if any prince won provinces or towns from unbelievers, then the churches there should henceforth belong to those territories: this meant that in Outremer, ecclesiastical and political borders should coincide.

In general Paschal furthered crusading efforts when necessary or possible as pleasing to God, but only when asked to do so. He died on 21 January 1118.

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