Count William I of Burgundy
Pope Callixtus II
(Abt 1065-1124)


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Pope Callixtus II

  • Born: Abt 1065, Quingey, France
  • Died: 13 Dec 1124 about age 59

   Another name for Callixtus was Guido of Vienne.

  General Notes:

Blessed Pope Callixtus II (or Calistus II) (died December 13, 1124), born Guido of Vienne, the son of William I, Count of Burgundy (1057\endash 87), was elected Pope on February 1, 1119, after the death of Pope Gelasius II (1118\endash 19). His pontificate was shaped by the Investiture Controversy, which he was able to settle through the Concordat of Worms (in 1122).

Early life

He was a member of the highest aristocracy. One sister, Gisela, was married to Humbert II of Savoy (1080\endash 1103) and then Renier I of Montferrat; another, Maud to Eudes I of Burgundy (1079\endash 1103). His brother Raymond was married to Urraca, the heiress of Castille. His brother Hugh had been appointed Archbishop of Besançon.

Church career

Archbishop of Vienne

Investiture Controversy

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 in France by Pope Paschal II (1099\endash 1118) during the time that Paschal II, yielding to pressure from Emperor Henry V (1105\endash 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\endash 85) in the Gregorian Reforms. Guido, 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 convoked an assembly of French and Burgundian bishops at Vienne, where the imperial claim to 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 violence. These decrees were sent to Paschal II with a request for confirmation, which they received, in general terms, for Paschal II had proved loath to take this step, October 20, 1112.


Guido was apparently made cardinal by Paschal II, who died 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, January 29, 1119. Within four days Guido 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 he opened the council at Rheims attended by Louis VI of France (1108\endash 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 \emdash 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 at Mousson to extract from him prejudicial concessions, remained at Rheims. There, while Calixtus II busied himself ineffectively with attempting a reconciliation between the brothers Henry I of England (1100\endash 35) and Robert II, Duke of Normandy (1087\endash 1106), and after the council had busied itself 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\endash 21) was supported in Rome by imperial forces and Italian allies of the emperor, Calixtus II managed to gain the upper hand amid clear popular demonstrations and 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 where 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, he 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 \emdash 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; 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 concordat 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 convoked 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 \endash with the aid of some forgeries (CE) \endash 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. His feast day is celebrated on 12 December.

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