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The Rise of the Papacy and the Rebuilding of Western Civilization

May 12, 2023 | 0 comments

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May 12, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Introduction

The papacy is the office of the pope and has the responsibility of the Catholics spiritual wellbeing. Papacy also denotes the central ecclesiastical system of government or the bishop of Rome of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholics believes that the popes are the successors of the of apostle peter. [1]The 6th century saw the rise of the Roman Catholic Church, which lasted up to 9th century because of careful leadership. The fall of the Roman Empire because of barbarian invasions which spread throughout Europe were some of the factors which the Roman Catholic Church to rise higher. Interestingly enough, the western civilization perseveration by the Western Europe owe their existence to the rise of the church. Hill[2] pointed out that had it not for the alliance of the barbarian royalty and the church, which resulted to methodical, careful literature and agriculture preservation in addition to being the conduit of learning, no dynasty or entity or civilization would have survived the middle ages.

 

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Why and how the Rome became the power center the way it did

There are several reasons why the Rome became the power centre the way it did. In Western Europe, the Bishops of Rome was one of the very important bishops until the reformation. Some of the factors for its centre of power include being the city which had the first martyr, peter. Similarly, Rome was a city that was very prestigious in the west of Mediterranean and therefore, the title of bishop of Rome was associated highly with Rome.[3] Another reason according to Eno[4] was because of the hearsay created that bishop of Rome had more power and authority over other bishops. Some of the hearsay was based on cultural, political realities and biblical passages. Being a bishop presiding over the most import city in Western Europe natural provided the stature and automatic prestige since there was no city which could rival it from the east.

Another reason was also that Rome was the city of the martyrs where peter himself, the apostle believed to have founded Christianity was martyred. Rome was the only city in western part of the empire while the eastern part had Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. Moreover, the five special authority diocese which acted as seats of the patriarchs were Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. While the western and the eastern regions become more culturally and politically advanced, the western part hard only Rome to be looked for when decisions were to be made while the eastern region had four cities. This led Rome to become the theological centre of the western region of the empire or Western Europe.[5] This was further propelled by the fact that Christians believed that Rome furthered their cause and was looked upon by both western and eastern regions when important decisions were to be made.

Additionally, this was further solidified by the fact that Rome offered the bishops a opportunity for appealing the decisions that had been made regarding their services and offices as men of faith. Some of these rulings were unjustified and therefore, they appealed their cases before the spiritual authority of the day, Rome.[6]

The church was in unprecedented position early in the century when Constantine assumed his authority over church affairs and doctrines. The actions of Constantine blurred the lines between the head of the church and the head of state. Similarly, the reciprocal effect was of raising the church’s political power. Therefore, since the 4th century, the Roman society was primed to regard the church as the highest power existing in the land.

According to Hill,[7] the inadequacy of the emperors of the day to defend their territories, the culmination of invasions by the Barbarians, and the great church’s popularity set the stage for the achievement of rise of power by the Rome’s Bishop. The 15th-century roman generals fought over who would be the ruler and ignored or did not guard their frontiers ad territories properly. This resulted in the creation of defensive gaps which eventually led to the falling of Rome. With Barbarians having authority over Rome, the church was left with the empire. Furthermore, having a great leader in authority like Pope Gregory enhanced immensely the influence of the organization. Pope Gregory was responsible for the papacy’s improved standing. Eno[8] pointed out that Pope Gregory took charge of Rome’s policing, food and water supply, and finances. He was also able to achieve peace with Lombards in addition to ransoming prisoners from the Lombards, who in the 6th century had invaded the Roman Empire. Additional, Pope Gregory was accredited for establishing a new church’s liturgy in addition to being a great theologian. He believed the papacy purpose was to aid the poor in the society hence establishing the pope’s title of “Servant of the servants of Christ.” Through these, he put a benevolence and integrity face on the once regarded self-seeking papacy.

Factors which contributed to its West Europe’s Dominance until the Reformation

According to Beet,[9] all of the Western Europe was being attacked by the invading Barbarians. Byzantine, Italy and Gaul Empire were plagued by vandalism and raids while the church continued remaining independent. Moreover, the empire was on the verge of dividing while the power of the church remained stable and undivided. Because of there was no strong leadership in Rome, the only ydefense in Rome against the Huns was Pope Leo II.

Wood[10] elaborated that the barbarians who invaded the church converted, creating their motto that “converting the monarch and the population would follow eventually.” because of the missions sent by the early church that were successful, some barbarian invaders were already converted Christians. Most of the Western Europe’s Christianity were Roman Catholic Christianity. Therefore, the church could not look for help from the Eastern Europe, and hence they formed alliances with the barbarians which turned fruitful. Clovis became king in AD481 for the Franks, who had settled in Gaul.[11]

Wood[12] and other historians speculated that the marriage of Clovis to Catholic Clotilda and beautiful pious was arranged and inspired by the bishops, with an aim of converting her royal husband to the Catholic faith. It took another four centuries before all the barbarian people of Western Europe to be converted, but the project was already kicked off auspiciously.

Ulfilas, who was raised in Goth but born in Cappadocia also in 5th century, had a large impact on the Goths. Ulfilas was sent to be ambassador to Constantinople to the Goths but was crowned as a Bishop. He further translated the Bible into the language of Goth which further spread Christianity to the point that many of the Goths who had converted to Christianity were allowed to settle in the empire.

The negative and positive ramifications of the reality

Carolingian Renaissance.

Wood[13] asserted that during all these centuries, the Christian conversion and the church were to influence the government of the barbarians. The church had to offer its guidance to ensure that the conversion had been entrenched and also to guarantee that the faith would transform their way of life and government. Particularly, franks conversion directly led to Carolingian Renaissance during the reign of Charlemagne until his son Louis. Charlemagne trough the church’s influence encouraged education and transformed the barbarians to be civilized builders. In summary, the survival of the Western Europe is owed to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Carolingian education had seven liberal arts such as rhetoric, grammar, the trivium of logic, geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy.[14] This was foundation under which future development and intellectual progress would be based. Moreover, under the reign of Charlemagne, the legal system was started which was not in the barbarians courts. Other accomplishments were the Carolingian miniscule during the Carolingian renaissance. Miniscule introduced spaces between words, lower case letters and other scripts standards which made reading and writing much easier than before.

Monastic Ideal

Before the 6th century, the monastery and the associated lifestyle was very popular. Monasticism were the catalysts of education and kept all the literature under Charlemagne’s command where they copied all the literature.

The monks were also responsible for the practical arts growth and development including cattle breeding, agriculture, draining of swamps and deforestation. Monks loved the unattractive and hard labor since they felt that the more the task in unpleasant the more like Christ they became. Hill[15] indicated that the monasteries were permitted to keep one-fifth of their deforested kingdom land, and these lands would stay in the church’s ownerships forever.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Western civilization’s survival hangs upon the events which fastened the barbarians and the church. The rise to popularity by the papal fathers was because of several factors including the success of the Catholic Christianity spread, and the inability of the empires to defend themselves against the invasions from the barbarians. As the church remodeled and guided the barbarians, their heart and their government, the barbarians rebuilt Western Europe. Their union reeducated, revitalized and preserved western civilization.

Bibliography

Beet, William Ernest. The Rise of the Papacy: A.D. 385-461. London: C.H. Kelly, 1910.

Eno, Robert B. The Rise of the Papacy. Wilmington, Del: M. Glazier, 1990.

Hill, Jonathan. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006.

Woods, Thomas E. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub, 2005.

 

    1. Hill, Jonathan. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006

 

  • .Ibid
  • Eno, Robert B. The Rise of the Papacy. Wilmington, Del: M. Glazier, 1990
  • Ibid
  • Hill, Jonathan. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006
  • Eno, Robert B. The Rise of the Papacy. Wilmington, Del: M. Glazier, 1990.
  • Hill, Jonathan. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006.
  • Eno, Robert B. The Rise of the Papacy. Wilmington, Del: M. Glazier, 1990.
  • Beet, William Ernest. The Rise of the Papacy: A.D. 385-461. London: C.H. Kelly, 1910.
  • Woods, Thomas E. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub, 2005.
  • Ibid.,13
  • Ibid.,14
  • Woods, Thomas E. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub, 2005.
  • Ibid.,15
  • Hill, Jonathan. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006.

 

 

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