I. Christianity is strong in North Africa in the 300’s and will continue there until the Muslim invasion in the 600’s.
A. Christianity is present in Persia (Iran)
B. Christianity is strongly present in Nubia, kingdom south of Egypt, Sudan/Ethiopia, until the 1400’s.
II. The Christian church is functionally divided by rivalries and differences of Rome/Constantinople, west/east
THE RISE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
The history of the Roman Catholic Church, prior to the reformation (1500’s)
is our history.
I. Bishops Gain Authority
As the church becomes the size of an empire it organizes itself like an empire.
Bishops begin to rule churches in cities
AD 95 –Clement, Bishop of Rome: bishops are to be obeyed because they are the successors of the Apostles. Matthew 16:18-19
107 - Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch,
“Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God.
By 180 Apostolic Succession is the accepted belief.
250 Cyprian of Carthage, ,
[after quoting Matthew 16:18f]...From that time the ordination of bishops and the plan of the Church flows on through the changes of times and successions; for the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers.
“Outside the church there is no salvation…he who does not have the Church as his mother cannot have God as his father… ‘
This will be a major component of the Pope’s (church’s) authority and power.
390 Bishop Ambrose of Milan versus Emperor Theodosius
Theodosius kills 7,000 in Thessalonica.
Ambrose condemns this and demands Theodosius do penance.
Ambrose denies him communion
Theodosius publically repents
319 Constantine exempts clergy from taxes, giving
-clergy is only to be for those of “small fortune”.
Emperor Valerian III, 452, forbids clergy from engaging in worldy/gainful occupation.
-Pope Simplicius (468-483) Gifts (especially from wealthy) are to be disbursed –
¼ each to bishop, clergy, upkeep, poor.
II. Bishop of Rome Gains Prestige and Authority
A. Because he is in Rome
1. Center of Roman Empire
2. Tradition says Peter and Paul martyred in Rome
B. The church in Rome
1. Endured and overcame persecution.
2. Led fight against heresies
3. Has great size and wealth which means prestige and power-
Bishop Cornelius of Rome in a letter written in 251 lists-
7 deacons (care for poor, finances)
52 exorcists, lectors, doorkeepers
1,500 dependents supported by the church
About 30,000 adherents
C. Decline and fall of Roman empire leaves Bishop of Rome (pope) as the dominant organizational authority and influence.
III. Bishop/Pope Leo I (The Great) 440-46
A. Asserts Bishop of Rome primacy. Has the Emperor of west, Valentinian III order all bishops to obey the Roman bishop because he has the “primacy of St. Peter”.
B. First to be called Pope. (Latin “papa”, father).
C. Assists in (is responsible for?) the defense of Rome against the Huns (Attila) in 451and the Vandals (Guiseric) in 455.
D. But the Council of Chalcedon, 451, declared Rome and Constantinople to be equal.
IV. Pope Gregory I (The Great) 590-604
A. First monk to become Pope.
B. Organized/financed the defense of Rome against the invading Lombards using resources of the church (1,800 square miles of papal estates)
C. Organized emphasized doctrines and practices that would shape the church.
1. Baptism grants God’s forgiving grace but after that atonement for sin must be made by penance, self punishment.
2. Sinners can call upon the saints for help.
3. Encourage the collection and veneration of holy remains, aka relics.
4. Those in purgatory could be helped by the good works, especially the saying of masses, of the living.
V. Three Tools/Sources of Papal Power
A. Excommunication: Expelling an individual from church and therefore could not receive communion, baptism, last rites, forgiveness of sins, marriage, etc.
B. Interdiction: Excommunication applied to a city, region, or country.
C. Indulgences: The ability to grant forgiveness in exchange for good works. Indulgences came from the “extra” grace earned by Christ and saints.
They were particularly applied to purgatory as a kind of “early release” program.
V. The Rise of “Christendom”
A. Definition: A society in which the church has influence or control over every aspect of life.
1. Salvation is the most important reality.
2. Salvation is through the sacraments.
3. The church is the only mediator/keeper/dispenser of the sacraments.
4. Therefore all other aspects of life must aid and be subservient to the church as it provides salvation, the most important reality.
VI. One Symbolic Act
December 25,800, Charles the Great (Charlemagne) king of the Franks (modern France and much of Germany) is crowned by Pope Leo III and declared to be “Charles Augustus, crowned by God, great and peace-loving emperor of the Roman Empire.”
Charlemagne did not want or even anticipate this action. But Leo sees it as the making/appointing/validating the one who is the emperor.
For hundreds of years to come, basically the middle ages, kings and Popes will wrestle over power.