Temporal power of the Holy See

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The temporal power or jurisdiction of the Holy See designates the political and secular influence of the Holy See, that is jurisdiction of the pope of the Catholic Church, as distinguished from spiritual and pastoral activity.


Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) in his papal tiara, which he claimed as signifying both his spiritual and temporal power.

Pope Gregory II's defiance of the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian as a result of the first iconoclastic controversy (726 AD) in the Eastern Empire, prepared the way for a long series of revolts, schisms and civil wars that eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the popes.

For over a thousand years popes ruled as sovereign over an amalgam of territories on the Italian peninsula known as the Papal States, from the capital, Rome.

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