He planned to remove what he considered were the Church’s evils: clerical union, simony and lay investiture. He directed a papal army to banish the Normans in 1053, and was caught by them and held captive for nine months. He died soon after he returned to Rome, on April 19, 1054. His father was Count Hugh of Egisheim, and his dad’s cousin was Emperor Conrad II. In the age of 5, Leo IX’s family sent their only son to Toul to be trained alongside other sons of noble birth. Well-liked, he thrived there and was a popular pupil. He was canonized, as well as in 1026, at age 25, was consecrated bishop.
Following the death of Damasus II, Leo IX was made pope by Emperor Henry III of Germany. Seeking the acceptance of the clergy as well as the citizens, he traveled to Rome, Italy, where he obtained the permission of the majorities. His need to hold synods, or church councils, and his journeys around Europe earned him the nickname “The Pilgrim Pope.”
In his need to possess the Roman Catholic Church become the heart of Christianity, Leo IX, leader of the Western Church, assembled others like himself who sought reform. Using their help, he succeeded in transforming the Roman papacy right into a global power.
The genuine split in the Eastern Church—which was headed by Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople—came about in part because of Leo IX’s military engagement. When the Normans, who endangered the papal state, invaded Italian regions in 1053, Leo IX—now without the help of Emperor Henry III, who’d pulled away—headed an army to banish them. The Normans conquered the papal military, yet, taking the pope prisoner in June 1053. He was held for nine months in Benevento, Italy. Even after his passing, Leo IX’s military and papal activities activated the final schism between the Eastern and Western Churches, called the Great Schism of 1054.