Dictatus papae

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Dictatus papae

As Dictatus Papae is called a Latin document, located in the letter register Pope Gregory VII. Is (Vat Reg second.) Under the letters of March 1075; it is now kept in the Vatican Archives . The heading Dictatus Papae suggests that it was Gregory's own dictation. The text was probably not intended for publication outside the Curia. Even so, he had a major impact on the way Pope Gregory VII proceeded.

Each of the 27 short and concise sentences begins with quod ("that") and - apparently without any particular order - reflects Gregory's ideas about the position of the Pope within the Church and in relation to the Emperor. With guiding principles 8, 9 and 12 he even places himself above the emperor - according to the view of the time, appointed by God - and asserts his claim to rule over the secular state.

These principles “are characterized by a breathtaking audacity that is by no means always covered by legal tradition”, as Horst Fuhrmann puts it; in fact, most of the theses are based on the canonical tradition of the time, including the pseudoisidoric decretals .

Despite all objections (cf. episcopalism ), Gregory and his successors were able to prevail with their church demands. The First Vatican Council (1870) elevated the teaching and jurisdiction primacy of the Pope to dogma . The course of history has done away with the dictatus' claim to political power (sentences 8, 9, 12).

Text of the Dictatus Papae

Illustration of the first five sentences
1 Quod Romana ecclesia a solo Domino sit fundata. That the Roman Church was founded by the Lord alone.
2 Quod solus Romanus pontifex iure dicatur universalis. That only the Roman Pope is rightly called universal.
3 Quod seine solus possit deponere episcopos vel reconciliare. That he alone can remove and reinstall bishops.
4th Quod legatus eius omnibus episcopis presit in concilio etiam inferioris gradus et adversus eos sententiam depositionis possit dare. That his envoy has precedence over all bishops at a council, even if he has a lower degree of ordination, and that he can pass a deposition judgment against them.
5 Quod absentes papa possit deponere. That the Pope can depose those who are absent.
6th Quod cum excommunicatis from illo inter caetera nec in eadem domo debemus manere. That we are not allowed to stay in the same house with those who have been excommunicated by him.
7th Quod illi soli licet pro temporis necessitate novas leges condere, novas plebes congregare, de canonica abbatiam facere et e contra, divitem episcopatum dividere et inopes unire. That it alone is allowed to pass new laws, to form new parishes, to turn a canonical monastery into an abbey and vice versa, to divide a rich diocese and to unite the poor in accordance with the requirements of the times.
8th Quod solus possit uti imperialibus insigniis. That he alone can use the imperial emblems.
9 Quod solius papae pedes omnes principes deosculentur. That all princes only kiss the Pope's feet.
10 Quod illius solius noun in ecclesiis recitetur. That his name alone is mentioned in the churches.
11 Quod hoc unicum est noun in mundo. That this name is unique in the world.
12 Quod illi liceat imperatores deponere. That he is allowed to depose emperors.
13 Quod illi liceat de sede ad sedem necessitate cogente episcopos transmutare. That he is allowed to transfer bishops from one seat to another if there is an urgent need.
14th Quod de omni ecclesia quocunque voluerit clericum valeat ordinare. That he can ordain any cleric from any diocese.
15th Quod ab illo ordinatus alii ecclesiae preesse potest, sed non militare; et quod ab aliquo episcopo non debet superiorem gradum accipere. That someone who is consecrated by him may preside over another church but not serve it; and that he may not accept a higher degree of ordination from another bishop.
16 Quod nulla synodus absque precepto eius debet generalis vocari. That no synod can be called universal without his bidding.
17th Quod nullum capitulum nullusque liber canonicus habeatur absque illius auctoritate. That no legal sentence or book is canonical without its authorization.
18th Quod sententia illius a nullo debeat retractari et ipse omnium solus retractare possit. That his judgment may not be revoked by anyone and that he himself is the only one who can revoke the judgments of all.
19th Quod a nemine ipse iudicari debeat. That it shouldn't be judged by anyone.
20th Quod nullus audeat condemnare apostolicam sedem apellantem. That no one dares condemn anyone who appeals to the Apostolic See.
21st Quod maiores cause cuiuscunque ecclesiae ad eam referri debeant. That the important issues of every church must be transferred to him.
22nd Quod Romana ecclesia nunquam erravit nec imperpetuum scriptura testante errabit. That the Roman Church never fell into error and, according to the testimony of Scripture, will never err.
23 Quod Romanus pontifex, si canonice fuerit ordinatus, meritis beati Petri indubitanter efficitur sanctus testante sancto Ennodio Papiensi episcopo ei multis sanctis patribus faventibus, sicut in decretis beati Symachi pape continetur. That the Roman bishop, if he is canonically appointed, will undoubtedly become saint through the merits of St. Peter, according to the testimony of St. Ennodius of Pavia, to whom many holy fathers agree, as can be seen from the decrees of Pope Symmachus.
24 Quod illius precepto et licentia subiectis liceat accusare. That subordinates are allowed, at his behest and with his permission, to bring an action.
25th Quod absque synodali conventu possit episcopos deponere et reconciliare. That he can remove and reinstall bishops without a synod.
26th Quod catholicus non habeatur, qui non concordat Romanae ecclesiae. That does not apply to a Catholic who is not in agreement with the Roman Church.
27 Quod a fidelitate iniquorum subiectos potest graduate. That he can release subordinates from the oath of allegiance to sinners.


The document is one of one hundred selected by a commission to be exhibited in the exhibition Lux in Arcana - The Vatican Secret Archives unveiled from February 2012 in the Capitoline Museums .


  1. a b H. Mordek , Dictatus papae, in: Lexikon des Mittelalters , Vol. 3, Munich 1986, Sp. 978-981
  2. Vatican Information Service, VIS 20110705 (520) of July 5, 2011

Source editions


  • Horst Fuhrmann : "Quod catholicus non habeatur, qui non concordat Romanae ecclesiae". Notes on the Dictatus Papae . In: Kurt-Ulrich Jäschke, Reinhard Wenskus (ed.): Festschrift for Helmut Beumann on his 65th birthday . Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1977, ISBN 3-7995-7006-3 , p. 263ff.
  • Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy : Out of revolution. Autobiography of Western man . Morrow, New York NY 1938, (Also reprinted: Argo Books, Norwich VT 1969, and more often), (Dictatus Pape as the proclamation of the first European, the “Papal revolution” is “the greatest proclamation of his (Gregory VII) revolution”. ).
  • Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy: The European Revolutions. People's characters and state formation . Diederichs, Jena 1931, (later under the title: “The European Revolutions and the Character of Nations”).