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The Medieval English Church and the Primacy Dispute (Part I)
After the Norman Conquest, Lanfranc was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1070. With William the Conqueror' s support, he started reorganizing the English Church. Lanfranc initiated the policy of requiring professions of obedience from all the bishops. He demanded the same from Thomas I, Archbishop of York. But, Thomas insisted that both Archbishops were equal as metropolitans and that the precedence was placed to the one of earlier consecration. Thus, the Primacy Dispute focussed on primarily the problem of the profession of obedience which was demanded by Canterbury to York. Involving English kings and Roman popes, it lasted for half a century (1070s-1120s).
In this paper (Part I), chapter 1 pointed out three necessary viewpoints to be considered in order to clarify the characteristics of the Dispute : 1) personal character of each archbishop, 2) the relationship between each archbishop and his cathedral chapter, 3) personal relationship between each archibishop and the king / the pope. Then, chapter 2 analyzed the arguments and behaviors of archbishops and traced briefly the process of the Dispute.
In the next paper (Part II), chapter 3 will focuss on the reign of Thurstan, Archbishop of York, who managed successfuly to reject the profession of obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Chapter 4 will ask the historical significance of the Primacy Dispute in the Medieval English Church History.