chapter  10
The Age of Innocent III
Pages 18

The history of the church is not the history of the papacy. The Christian church was more than its institutional framework, and, even as an institution, the church was more than the papacy. Yet to relegate the papacy to a side-show would be to distort grossly the nature of the church in the high Middle Ages. If any medieval pope dominated the church in the age in which he lived, it was Pope Innocent III (1198-1216). The period at the end of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth century tested the advances and reforms of the previous century. There were new challenges and new responses, but these were in the context of a reformed papacy, new religious orders, an increasingly urban population and, in the chair of St Peter, the commanding figure of Innocent III.