Investiture (from Latin vestire " clothe " ) refers to the practice of instruction in an office or title to real property. Decisive for the investiture is the use of symbols, which are presented in the corresponding act. The dispute over the ecclesiastical investiture, or training of clerics, resulted in the Investiture Controversy (about 1075-1122 ). As a secular term investiture rarely finds more use for the outfitting of higher office in aristocracy and polity as well as the inaugurations of pastors of Protestant churches in Baden and Württemberg.


Investiture (literally " garment ", where vestitus rather the " costume ") is referred to the office clothes and was created as a counter-concept to revestire, in church life for a lawful return. Around the first millennium appeared sporadically on the verb investire; the nominalized positive term investitura built around 1065th


The investiture practice stems from the Germanic area, where it was common practice to get a briefing of the previous owner after the purchase of the property. About Handed symbols for those practices were, for example, stem or branch. With increasing distance selling also the investiture from the exclusive property reference solved. According symbols were also presented at the briefing in the proprietary church system or in low- churches such as altar cloth, book or church bell rope. In return, the landowners of the church was told to ensure regular cast members of the Office and compliance with the fairs.

Investiture in the Investiture Controversy

Investiture entitled to Hochkirchen

With the domination of a landowner, the king arose, of course, claim to be the right of investiture. So the proprietary church system was seen as justification. However, influence on episcopal elections already took kings before there was the investiture term or proprietary church system. In addition to relying on the private church law, the sacred dignity of the king was a status to which he could appeal further. Even the Merovingian invested bishops, but it was the Carolingian presented here the ( Krumm ) wand (the shepherds symbol ), an imitation ( and provocation? ) The episcopal ordination. Since Otto I, this transfer was the norm. Increased this provocation by the additional presentation of the teaching symbol, also a sacred power, by Henry III. The ring.

Criticism within the church reforms

Criticism of the investiture as such was relatively late in the period of the Investiture Controversy Church reforms during the 11th century. The focus was mainly to 1078 simony and Nicolaitism. So criticized were the side effects of the influence of secular powers to ecclesiastical offices ( lay investiture ), but not the practice itself This is reflected in terms of synodical decisions and the dating of the first actually quite capable investiture ban for laymen: 1078, ie after the Walk to Canossa. As part of the intentions of the reform of the Church is to front office expansion and securing the supremacy of Rome in the Christian world. The eradication simoni genetic practices therefore had to be the first step because it could solve such a feudal bonds and reconnect with Rome. To relieve Practice bishops and new, this time in the grace of Rome, use was more common.

The canonical choice

Renewal of the canonical choice, so the election by the people and clergy, especially after 1059, as was mitigated by the papal election decree of the influence of the king to the pope, a great way for the Pope was to produce its own influence. In fact, the king continued to invest, with his Simonian benefits: financial support and submission, were continually withdrawn and he had to wait from now on the approval of Rome by the Metropolitan.

Prohibitions of the investiture of laymen

Is to distinguish the question of lay investiture:

  • Investiture by a layman (king) on a cleric ( Reich Bishop )
  • Investiture by a cleric to a layman (eg the purchase of a teaching position in the monastery )

It must also be distinguished ie whether the ban

  • An investing laity,
  • A cleric who invested a layman,
  • A lay person, who receives the investiture, or
  • A cleric who receives the investiture from a layman

Directed. As of 1078 ( thus after the Walk to Canossa ) the clergy was at a synod in France ( Poitiers) explicitly prohibited by laymen to be invested, so it was the fourth case. Whether incorporated prohibition of investiture addressed directly and explicitly to the investing laity ( implicitly: the king ), Case No. 1, it rose only from 1080 to the then Lenten synod. The significant difference is that the Pope in 1078 turned to clergy, so the group over which it has legal authority. 1080, however, he turned to the laity, which he intervened in the secular sphere.

Emperor Henry V. accepted at the Concordat of Worms, the Pope's claim to the right of investiture and renounced investiture with ring and staff. In return, Pope Calixtus II acknowledged that the choice of the German bishops and abbots negotiated in the presence of imperial deputy, the person elected should be but, invested with the regalia, which were connected with his spiritual office by the emperor by the scepter. Emperor Lothar III. also recognized the Church a right to give first ring and staff, whereby the influence of the emperor on the appointment of bishops was practically lost. ( From the article " crook " )

Lehnsrechtliche investiture

After the investiture controversy, the term investiture application was strengthened on lehnsrechtlicher level. This means, with the investiture the Lehnsbindung of a vassal to his lord was verbildlicht. The corresponding procedure could vary, mention may be made oath of allegiance, hand gear or the insertion of the folded hands in the lord. The investiture of higher worldly was such a king called investiture. The World Encyclopedia of J. G. Krünitz (1773-1858) writes: "In living things, called investiture actually the feyerliche Actus, thereby bescheiniget and strengthened himself that the Collator of quaest on the subject. had granted sinecure the right to occupy this benefice. "

Investiture today

  • The word " investiture " appears in the entire Code of Canon Law, not a single time, so it is not in the Catholic context of use. One important exception is the both ecclesiastical and secular orders of knighthood, in which the absorption of new Knights of the Order takes place in the form of investiture.
  • In the Protestant church investiture exists in the form that a / e pastor / is recognized in after ordination by the church. This is done in an investiture service and is often associated with the transfer of symbols.
  • In the secular realm is V.A. the introduction of a rector in his office referred to a university investiture. This is done in a ceremony, and usually ministerial representatives in presence.
  • The Basic Law (Art. 140 GG, WV 137.3 ) is the participation in the actual election, as happened in the Middle Ages, explicitly prohibited.
  • In the secular English usage is " investiture " is often used for the establishment of American judges in the Supreme Court of the United States.