Paschal II, né Ranierius (d. January 21, 1118), pope from August 13, 1099 until his death, was a native of Bieda, near Viterbo, and a monk of the Cluniac order. He was created cardinal priest of San Clemente by Pope Gregory VII. about 1076, and was consecrated pope in succession to Pope Urban II. on August 19, 1099.
In the long struggle with the emperors over investiture, he zealously carried on the Hildebrandine policy, but with only partial success. In 1104 Paschal succeeded in instigating the emperor's second son to rebel against his father, but soon found Henry V even more persistent in maintaining the right of investiture than Henry IV had been. The imperial Diet at Mainz invited (Jan. 1106) Paschal to visit Germany and settle the trouble, but the pope in the Council of Guastalla (Oct. 1106) simply renewed the prohibition of investiture. In the same year he brought to an end the investiture struggle in England, in which Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, had been engaged with King Henry I of England, by retaining himself exclusive right to invest with the ring and crozier, but recognizing the royal nomination to vacate benefices and oath of fealty for temporal domains. He went to France at the close of 1106 to seek the mediation of King Philip I of France and Prince Louis in the imperial struggle, but, his negotiations remaining without result, he returned to Italy in September 1107. When Henry V. advanced with an army into Italy in order to be crowned, the pope agreed to a compact (Feb. 1111), by the terms of which the Church should surrender all the possessions and royalties it had received of the empire and kingdom of Italy since the days of Charlemagne, while Henry on his side should renounce lay investiture. Preparations were made for the coronation on the 12th of February 1111, but the Romans rose in revolt against the compact, and Henry retired taking with him pope and curia.
After sixty-one days of harsh imprisonment, Paschal yielded and guaranteed investiture to the emperor. Henry was then crowned in St Peter's on the 13th of April, and after exacting a promise that no revenge would be taken for what had passed withdrew beyond the Alps. The Hildebrandine party was aroused to action, however; a Lateran council of March 1112 declared null and void the concessions extorted by violence; a council held at Vienna in October actually excommunicated the emperor, and Paschal sanctioned the proceeding. Towards the end of the pontificate trouble began anew in England, Paschal complaining (1115) that councils were held and bishops translated without his authorization, and threatening Henry I. with excommunication. On the death of the countess Matilda, who had bequeathed all her territories to the Church (1115), the emperor at once laid claim to them as imperial fiefs and forced the pope to flee from Rome. Paschal returned after the emperor's withdrawal at the beginning of 1118, but died within a few days on January 21, 1118.