2.28 What was the relationship between king and pope during the Middle Ages?
The spreading of Christianity often started with the conversion of a tribal chief or king. In 754 AD, the pope anointed Pepin the Short as king of the Franks. This king helped the pope when Rome was besieged by the Lombards.
The son of Pepin, Emperor Charlemagne, contributed to reforms in the Church and in society. After his reign, the empire was divided and tensions between the pope and the emperor increased. Therefore, from 1073 onwards Pope Gregory VII introduced reforms in the governance of the Church and her relationship with the civil government.
[We celebrate] the 1,200th anniversary of the imperial coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III on Christmas in the year 800… The great historical figure of the Emperor Charlemagne calls to mind the Christian roots of Europe. Whoever studies him is taken back to an era - despite ever present human limitations - which was marked by an impressive cultural flourishing in almost all fields of experience. In search of its identity, Europe cannot fail to consider making an energetic effort to recover the cultural heritage left by Charlemagne and preserved for over a millennium. [Pope John Paul II, Message to Card. Javierre, 14 Dec. 2000]