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Pope Callixtus II, Guy of Burgundy

28th Paternal Great Uncle

Guy of Burgundy was a son of Count William I of Burgundy, one of wealthiest nobles in Europe. Born into one of the most aristocratic families in Europe, Guy was born circa 1065 and was 1 of 12 children born to Count William and his wife, Stephanie. His brother, Raymond, Count of Galacia (Spain), was my 28th Great Grandfather.

Guy first appears in early records when he became the Archbishop of Vienne in 1088. As Archbishop, Guy convened a group of French and Burgundian bishops and started proceedings to excommunicate King Henry V from the Catholic Church. Henry V had extorted Pope Paschal II to issue the Privilegium of 1111 which took away many of the Papal prerogatives previously claimed by Pope Gregory VII. On October 20th, 1112, Guy received approval for the excommunication of Henry V from Pope Paschal II.

After Pope Paschal II's death on January 21st, 1118 in Rome, the new Pope, Gelasius II, was elected in Rome. Henry V and Pope Gelasius II had a violent encounter which forced the new Pope to flee Rome and to be crowned at Gaeta in central Italy. He then went to Cluny Abbey, located in the Loire region of France. Pope Gelasius II died at Cluny Abbey on January 29, 1119.

On February 2nd, 1119, nine Cardinals elected Guy Pope at Cluny Abbey. On the 9th of February, 1119, Guy was crowned Pope Callixtus II at Vienne, France.

Pope Callixtus II at first appeared willing to negotiate with Henry V, who had installed the "antipope", Gregory VIII, in Rome. Pope Callixtus agreed to meet with Henry V at the Chateau de Mousson near Rheims, a town located 80 miles north-east of Paris. In October, 1119, Pope Callixtus II opened council at Rheims, a meeting attended by King Louis VI of France, most of the barons of France and over 400 bishops and abbots. 

Henry V was to have arrived at Mousson alone, but instead he showed up with a force of approximately 30,000 men. Pope Callixtus II, knowing Henry V was not about to negotiate a peaceful solution to their problem, refused to meet with him and instead busied himself with an attempt at a reconciliation between brothers King Henry I of England and the Duke of Normandy, Robert II. Callixtus also moved forward with excommunication of Henry V and antipope Gregory VIII.

Callixtus II then traveled to Italy where, from the many demonstrators who showed him their support, he soon had the upper hand against Gregory VIII. Gregory VIII, despite his protection by imperial forces, fled Rome to the fortress of Sutri, 31 miles away. There he was taken prisoner by supporters of Pope Callixtus II from the Kingdom of Sicily. Gregory VIII was then taken to Rome and imprisoned there. He was moved to various monasteries before he died at La Cava, Salerno sometime after August, 1137.

In 1120, Pope Callixtus II issued a papal bull, Sicut Judaeis, a document which formally set out the papal position regarding the treatment of Jews. The decree was to protect Jews and echoed Pope Gregory I's position that the Jews were entitled to "enjoy their lawful liberty". This bull forbade Christians from harming Jews, forcing them to convert to Christianity, harming them, taking their property, disrupting their festivals or interfering with their cemeteries, under threat of excommunication from the Catholic Church, a serious penalty for Christians. This same bull was reaffirmed by subsequent Popes through 1447.

As Pope Callixtus II, Guy also reopened negotiations with Henry V to settle the long-standing dispute between the German King and the Catholic Church. An agreement was finally reached on September 23rd, 1122 that returned many powers to the Church while retaining some of the King's powers in Germany. This agreement was known as the Concordat of Worms.

Pope Callixtus II died on December 13th, 1124. He was roughly 59 years old at the time of his death.

I find the fact that my family contains a Pope to be rather ironic, especially when one of my relatives was King Henry VIII of England, who replaced the Catholic religion in England with Anglicanism and, most importantly, placed himself as head of the Church in England, displacing the Pope and his authority in the "new" religion.