January 24, 1076: Germany's Henry IV convenes the Synod of Worms to secure the deposition of Pope Gregory VII. The Synod charged the pope with serious crimes, called upon Rome to depose him, and issued other anti-papal statements. The pope quickly excommunicated Henry. One year later, Henry traveled to Canossa, Italy, and stood three days in the snow in an attempt to gain Gregory's forgiveness. Gregory granted it, but the two men soon fought again; Henry set up an antipope in Gregory's place.
January 24, 1573: English poet and preacher John Donne, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, is born. One of the most prominent preachers of his day and one of the greatest English poets, he is known for such famous lines as "No man is an island," "For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for thee," and "Death be not proud.
November 18, 1095: Pope Urban II opens the Council of Clermont to reform the Church and to plan the First Crusade. The 200 bishops attending the council decreed that those traveling to Jerusalem would be granted a plenary indulgence (see issue 40: The Crusades).
November 18, 1302: Pope Boniface VIII publishes "Unam Sanctam," declaring there is "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" outside of which there is "neither salvation nor remission of sins." Emphasizing the pope's position as Supreme Head ...