History of the Christian Church, Volume V: The Middle Ages. A.D. 1049-1294

§ 30. The Peace of Venice. 1177.

 

The peace was ratified by one of the most solemn congresses of the Middle Ages. Absolved from the ban, and after eighteen years of conflict, the emperor met the pope in front of St. Mark’s on July 24, 1177. A vast multitude filled the public square. The pope in his pontifical dress sitting upon a throne in front of the portal of the cathedral must have had mingled feelings of satisfaction and reminiscences of his painful fortunes since the time he was elected to the tiara... On the next day, being the feast of St. James, the pope, at the emperor’s request, celebrated high mass, and preached a sermon which he ordered the patriarch of Aquileia to translate at once into German. The emperor accompanied him from the altar to the door, and paid him the customary homage of holding the stirrup...

Delegates and letters were sent to all parts of Christendom with the glad tidings of peace. The emperor left Venice toward the end of September for Germany by a roundabout way, and the pope for Anagni on the 15th of October. After an exile of ten years, Alexander made a triumphal entry into Rome, March 12, 1178. He convened, according to previous agreement with the emperor, a synod to ratify the pacification of Christendom, and to remove certain evils which had multiplied during the schism... The papal court was very consistent in its principles and aims, but as to the choice of means for its end it was subject to the same charge of avarice and venality, whether at Rome or in exile. Even Thomas Becket, the staunchest adherent of Alexander III., indignantly rebuked the cardinals for their love of gold.

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