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     Spread of Christianity to AD 325      Spread of Christianity to AD 600

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Ecumenical Councils

  1. The Third Ecumenical Council is that of Ephesus in 431, which affirmed that Mary is truly "Birth giver" or "Mother" of God (Theotokos), contrary to the teachings of Nestorius.
  2. The Fourth Ecumenical Council is that of Chalcedon in 451, which affirmed that Jesus is truly God and truly man, without mixture of the two natures, contrary to Monophysite teaching.
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First Council of Ephesus (431)

Theodosius II called the council to settle the Nestorian controversy. Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, opposed use of the term Theotokos (Greek Η Θεοτόκος, "God-bearer").[1] This term had long been used by orthodox writers, and it was gaining popularity along with devotion to Mary as Mother of God.[1] He reportedly taught that there were two separate persons in the incarnate Christ, though whether he actually taught this is disputed.[1]

The council deposed Nestorius, repudiated Nestorianism, proclaimed the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos.

After quoting the Nicene Creed in its original form, as at the First Council of Nicaea, without the alterations and additions made at the First Council of Constantinople, it declared it "unlawful for any man to bring forward, or to write, or to compose a different (ἑτέραν) Faith as a rival to that established by the holy Fathers assembled with the Holy Ghost in Nicæa."[2]

Before the council

In November 448, a synod at Constantinople condemned Eutyches for unorthodoxy.[3] Eutyches, archimandrite (abbot) of a large Constinapolitan monastery,[4] taught that Christ was not consubstantial with humanity.[5]

In 449, Theodosius II summoned a council at Ephesus, where Eutyches was exonerated and returned to his monastery.[3] This council was later overturned by the Council of Chalcedon and labeled "Latrocinium" (i.e., "Robber Council").[3]

Council of Chalcedon (451)

The council repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, described and delineated the "Hypostatic Union" and two natures of Christ, human and divine; adopted the Chalcedonian Creed. For those who accept it, it is the Fourth Ecumenical Council (calling the previous council, which was rejected by this council, the "Robber Synod" or "Robber Council").

The Council of Chalcedon was an ecumenical council that took place from October 8 to November 1, 451, at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor).

It is the fourth of the first seven Ecumenical Councils in Christianity, and is therefore recognized as infallible in its dogmatic definitions by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It repudiated the Eutychian doctrine of monophysitism, and set forth the Chalcedonian Creed, which describes the "full humanity and full divinity" of Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

Schism in the East

Nestorianism

Detail of the Nestorian stele

Nestorian churches are Eastern Christian churches that keep the faith of only the first two ecumenical councils, i.e., the First Council of Nicaea and the First Council of Constantinople. "Nestorian" is an outsider's term for a tradition that predated the influence of Nestorius. Thus, "Assyrian Church of the East" is a more neutral term.

The Nestorian Schism was the first major schism of the Eastern Churches and was addressed with the Third Ecumenical Council held in Ephesus in 431. This council established the tradition of Mary the mother of Jesus being referred to as Theotokos. Nestorianism taught that it was proper to call Mary the Christotokos because as Nestorian had taught Mary only gave birth to Jesus Christ the person not Jesus Christ as God. Cyril of Alexandria charged that this teaching of Nestorius implied that there had been in fact two Jesus Christs; one Christ was a man born of the virgin Mary and the other was divine and not born but also Jesus Christ.

Cyril of Alexandria regarded the embodiment of God in the person of Jesus Christ to be so mystically powerful that it spread out from the body of the God-man into the rest of the race, to reconstitute human nature into a graced and deified condition of the saints (Jesus Christ as the new Adam), one that promised immortality and transfiguration to believers (see theosis). Nestorius, on the other hand, saw the incarnation as primarily a moral and ethical example to the faithful, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Cyril repeatedly stressed the simple idea that it was God who walked the streets of Nazareth (hence Mary was Theotokos or Mother of God), and God who had appeared in a transfigured humanity (see the theophany). Nestorius spoke of the distinct 'Jesus the Man' and 'the divine Logos' in ways that Cyril thought were too dichotomous, widening the ontological gap between man and God in a way that would annihilate the person (hypostasis) of Christ a position termed dyophysite.[6]

Ecumenism between the Assyrian church and the Roman Catholic Church is an on-going process. On 11 November 1994, an historic meeting of Mar Dinkha IV and Roman Catholic Pope John Paul II took place in the Vatican and a Common Christological Declaration was signed. One side effect of this meeting was that the Assyrian Church's relationship to the Chaldean Catholic Church was improved.

In September 2006, Mar Dinkha IV paid a historic visit to Northern Iraq to give oversight to the churches there and to encourage the governor of the Kurdish region to open a Christian school as well as a library in Arbil.

Oriental Orthodoxy

The Coptic Cross

Eastern Orthodoxy strives to keep the faith of the seven Ecumenical Councils. In contrast, the term "Oriental Orthodoxy" refers to the churches of Eastern Christian traditions that keep the faith of only the first three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus — and rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon.

Sometimes called the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. In Egypt, members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate were also called Melkite, because they remained in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Since the schism occurring as a result of the political and Christological controversies at the Council of Chalcedon (451), the Greek Orthodox Church of Egypt in Alexandria have liturgically been Greek-speaking.

Those who disagreed with the Council of Chalcedon are sometimes called "Oriental Orthodox" to distinguish them from the Eastern Orthodox, who accepted the Council of Chalcedon. Oriental Orthodox are also sometimes referred to as "monophysites", "non-Chalcedonians", or "anti-Chalcedonians", although today the Oriental Orthodox Church denies that it is monophysite and prefers the term "miaphysite", to denote the "joined" nature of Jesus. The council of Chalcedonia was held to clarify that the opposite of Nestorian's heresy was not established. Nestorianism did not necessarily oppose the divinity of Christ, but it did assert that the divinity of Christ was separate from the person born of Mary. In the case of the council of Chalcedon, Jesus Christ's existence (one hypostasis) was established to have both a human and a divine will. The difference was that the Eastern Orthodox insisted that Christ be expressed as having both human and divine natures (physis) that are separate from one another and did not mix, yet are in one existence or reality (hypostasis) called the hypostatic union. The dogma chosen by the Oriental Orthodox was interpreted to express that Jesus Christ had two natures (both human and divine) that were mixed into a one single nature (physis). This was interpreted from the Byzantine position to be an argument that greatly diminished the human reality of Christ, by also making the human will of Christ one not of freewill.[7][8][9]

The Church in Egypt or the Coptic church and the (Patriarchate of Alexandria) split into two groups following the Council of Chalcedon (451). Eventually this led to each group (Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox) having its own Patriarch (Pope) established in Alexandria. Those that remained in communion with the other patriarchs (those who accepted the Council of Chalcedon) were called "Melkites" (the king's men, because Constantinople was the city of the emperors) [not to be confused with the Melkite Catholics of Antioch], and are today known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, currently led by Patriarch Theodore II. Those who disagreed with the findings of the Council of Chalcedon are today known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. This included the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Armenian Orthodox church. There was a similar split in Syria (Patriarchate of Antioch) into the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Syriac Orthodox Church.

Both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches formally believe themselves to be the continuation of the true church and the other to have fallen into schism, although in the past 20 years much work had been done toward ecumenism or reconciliation between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches. There has been an attempt to achieve ecumenism (Russian: sobornost) between the Antiochian and Oriental Orthodox churches. At Chambesy in Switzerland, plenary talks were held resulting in agreements in 1989, 1990 and 1993.[10] All official representatives of the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox reached agreement in these dialogues that the Christological differences between the two communions are more a matter of emphasis than of substance. Although elements in a number of the Eastern Orthodox Churches have criticized the apparent consensus reached by the representatives at Chambesy, the patriarch and holy synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church welcomed the agreements as positive moves towards a sharing in the Love of God, and a rejection of the hatred of insubstantial division. As recommended in the Second Chambesy Agreement of 1990, the Antiochian (Eastern) Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV formally met with the Syriac (Oriental) Orthodox Patriarch, Ignatius Zakka I, on 22 July 1991.[11] At that meeting, the two patriarchs signed a pastoral agreement which called for "complete and mutual respect between the two churches. ""Antiochian Orthodox Archidioces of Australia & New Zealand". http://www.antiochian.org.au/content/view/143/21.   It also prohibited the passing of faithful from one church to the other, envisaged joint meetings of the two holy synods when appropriate, and provided for future guidelines for inter-communion of the faithful and Eucharistic concelebration by the clergy of the two churches. The Church of Antioch expects these guidelines to be issued when the faithful of both churches are ready, but not before. Patriarch Ignatius has also overseen participation in a bilateral commission with the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which is exploring ways of healing the 18th century schism between the Melkite Catholics and the Antiochian Orthodox. In an unprecedented event, Melkite Patriarch Maximos V addressed a meeting of the Orthodox holy synod in October 1996. The members of the holy synod of Antioch continue to explore greater communication and more friendly meetings with their Syriac, Melkite, and Maronite brothers and sisters, who all share a common heritage. [12]

Post-Nicene Fathers

The early Church Fathers have already been mentioned above; however, Late Antique Christianity produced a great many renowned Fathers who wrote volumes of theological texts, including SS. Augustine, Gregory Nazianzus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, and others. What resulted was a golden age of literary and scholarly activity unmatched since the days of Virgil and Horace. Some of these fathers, such as John Chrysostom and Athanasius, suffered exile, persecution, or martyrdom from heretical Byzantine Emperors. Many of their writings are translated into English in the compilations of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, or Fathers of the Church are the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian Church, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. The term is used of writers and teachers of the Church, not necessarily saints. Teachers particularly are also known as doctors of the Church, although Athanasius called them men of little intellect[13].

St. Athanasius, depicted with a book, an iconographic symbol of the importance of his writings.

Late Antique Christianity produced a great many renowned Church Fathers who wrote volumes of theological texts, including SS. Augustine, Gregory Nazianzus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, and others. What resulted was a golden age of literary and scholarly activity unmatched since the days of Virgil and Horace. Some of these fathers, such as John Chrysostom and Athanasius, suffered exile, persecution, or martyrdom from heretical Byzantine Emperors. Many of their writings are translated into English in the compilations of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.

Influential texts and writers between 325 AD and c.500 AD include:

Greek Fathers

Those who wrote in Greek are called the Greek (Church) Fathers. Famous Greek Fathers include: Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, the heterodox Origen, Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria and the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzus, Peter of Sebaste & Gregory of Nyssa).

Cappadocian Fathers

The Cappadocians promoted early Christian theology, and are highly respected in both Western and Eastern churches as saints. They were a 4th-century monastic family, led by Saint Macrina the Younger to provide a central place for her brothers to study and meditate, and also to provide a peaceful shelter for their mother. Abbess Macrina fostered the education and development of three men who collectively became designated the Cappadocian Fathers, Basil the Great who was the second oldest of Macrina's brothers (the first being the famous Christian jurist Naucratius) and eventually became a bishop, Gregory of Nyssa who also became eventually a bishop of the diocese associated thereafter with his name, and Peter of Sebaste who was the youngest of Makrina's brothers and later became bishop of Sebaste.

These scholars along with a close friend, Gregory Nazianzus, set out to demonstrate that Christians could hold their own in conversations with learned Greek-speaking intellectuals and that Christian faith, while it was against many of the ideas of Plato and Aristotle (and other Greek Philosophers), was an almost scientific and distinctive movement with the healing of the soul of man and his union with God at its center- one best represented by monasticism. They made major contributions to the definition of the Trinity finalized at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and the final version of the Nicene Creed which was formulated there.

Subsequent to the First Council of Nicea, Arianism did not simply disappear. The semi-Arians taught that the Son is of like substance with the Father (homoiousios), as against the outright Arians who taught that the Son was unlike the Father (heterousian). So the Son was held to be like the Father but not of the same essence as the Father.

The Cappadocians worked to bring these semi-Arians back to the Orthodox cause. In their writings they made extensive use of the formula "three substances (hypostases) in one essence (homoousia)," and thus explicitly acknowledged a distinction between the Father and the Son (a distinction that Nicea had been accused of blurring), but at the same time insisting on their essential unity.

Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 378 - 444) was the Bishop of Alexandria when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th, and 5th centuries. He was a central figure in the First Council of Ephesus in 431, which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Archbishop of Constantinople. Cyril is counted among the Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, and his reputation within the Christian world has resulted in his titles "Pillar of Faith" and "Seal of all the Fathers".

John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom (c 347– c 407), archbishop of Constantinople, is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.[14][15]

Chrysostom is known within Christianity chiefly as a preacher, theologian, and liturgist, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Outside the Christian tradition Chrysostom is noted for eight of his sermons which played a considerable part in the history of Christian antisemitism, and were extensively misused by the Nazis in their ideological campaign against the Jews.[16][17]

Latin Fathers

Those fathers who wrote in Latin are called the Latin (Church) Fathers. Famous Latin Fathers include Tertullian (who later in life converted to Montanism), Cyprian of Carthage, Gregory the Great, Augustine of Hippo, Ambrose of Milan, and Jerome.

Jerome of Stridonium

Saint Jerome (c 347 – September 30, 420) is best known as the translator of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. He also was a Christian apologist. Jerome's edition of the Bible, the Vulgate, is still an important text of the Roman Catholic Church. He is recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a Doctor of the Church.

Augustine of Hippo

Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), Bishop of Hippo, was a philosopher and theologian. Augustine, a Latin Father and Doctor of the Church, is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. Augustine was radically influenced by Platonism.[18] He framed the concepts of original sin and just war as they are understood in the West. When Rome fell and the faith of many Christians was shaken, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material City of Man.[19] Augustine's work defined the start of the medieval worldview, an outlook that would later be firmly established by Pope Gregory the Great.[19]

Augustine was born in present day Algeria to a Christian mother, Saint Monica. He was educated in North Africa and resisted his mother's pleas to become Christian. He took a concubine and became a Manichean. He later converted to Christianity, became a bishop, and opposed heresies, such as the belief that people can deserve salvation by being good (Pelagianism). His works—including The Confessions, which is often called the first Western autobiography—are still read around the world. In addition he believed in Papal supremacy. [20]

The Pentarchy

By the fifth century, the ecclesiastical had evolved a hierarchical "pentarchy" or system of five sees (patriarchates), with a settled order of precedence, had been established. Rome, as the ancient centre and once largest city of the empire, was understandably given the presidency or primacy of honour within the pentarchy into which Christendom was now divided; though it was and still held that the patriarch of Rome was the first among equals. Constantinople was second in precedence as the new capital of the empire.

By the fifth century, Christendom was divided into a pentarchy of five sees with Rome holding the primacy. This was determined by canonical decision and did not entail hegemony of any one local church or patriarchate over the others. However, Rome began to interpret her primacy in terms of sovereignty, as a God-given right involving universal jurisdiction in the Church. The collegial and conciliar nature of the Church, in effect, was gradually abandoned in favor of a supremacy of unlimited papal power over the entire Church. These ideas were finally given systematic expression in the West during the Gregorian Reform movement of the eleventh century. The Eastern churches viewed Rome's understanding of the nature of episcopal power as being in direct opposition to the Church's essentially conciliar structure and thus saw the two ecclesiologies as mutually antithetical.

The list below are the five Pentarchs of the original Pentarchy of the Roman Empire.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451, confirming the authority already held by Constantinople, granted its archbishop jurisdiction over the three provinces mentioned by the First Council of Constantinople:

[T]he Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops [i.e., the Second Ecumenical Council], actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (ἴσα πρεσβεῖα) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople.[21]

The council also ratified an agreement between Antioch and Jerusalem, whereby Jerusalem held jurisdiction over three provinces,[22] numbering it among the five great sees.[23] There were now five patriarchs presiding over the Church within the Byzantine Empire, in the following order of precedence: the Patriarch of Rome, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Antioch and the Patriarch of Jerusalem (see Pentarchy).

Growing tensions between East and West

The cracks and fissures in Christian unity which led to the Great Schism started to become evident as early as the fourth century. Although 1054 is the date usually given for the beginning of the Great Schism, there is, in fact, no specific date on which the schism occurred. What really happened was a complex chain of events whose climax culminated with the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204.

The events leading to schism were not exclusively theological in nature. Cultural, political, and linguistic differences were often mixed with the theological. Any narrative of the schism which emphasises one at the expense of the other will be fragmentary. Unlike the Copts or Armenians who broke from the Church in the fifth century, the eastern and western parts of the Church remained loyal to the faith, from their perspective, and to the authority of the seven ecumenical councils. They were united, by virtue of their common faith and tradition, in one Church.

Nonetheless, the transfer of the Roman capital to Constantinople inevitably brought mistrust, rivalry, and even jealousy to the relations of the two great sees, Rome and Constantinople. It was easy for Rome to be jealous of Constantinople at a time when it was rapidly losing its political prominence. In fact, Rome refused to recognise the conciliar legislation which promoted Constantinople to second rank. But the estrangement was also helped along by the German invasions in the West, which effectively weakened contacts. The rise of Islam with its conquest of most of the Mediterranean coastline (not to mention the arrival of the pagan Slavs in the Balkans at the same time) further intensified this separation by driving a physical wedge between the two worlds. The once homogenous unified world of the Mediterranean was fast vanishing. Communication between the Greek East and the Latin West by the 600s had become dangerous and practically ceased.[24]

Two basic problems — the primacy of the bishop of Rome and the procession of the Holy Spirit — were involved. These doctrinal novelties were first openly discussed in Photius's patriarchate.

By the fifth century, Christendom was divided into a pentarchy of five sees with Rome holding the primacy. This was determined by canonical decision and did not entail hegemony of any one local church or patriarchate over the others. However, Rome began to interpret her primacy in terms of sovereignty, as a God-given right involving universal jurisdiction in the Church. The collegial and conciliar nature of the Church, in effect, was gradually abandoned in favour of supremacy of unlimited papal power over the entire Church. These ideas were finally given systematic expression in the West during the Gregorian Reform movement of the eleventh century. The Eastern churches viewed Rome's understanding of the nature of episcopal power as being in direct opposition to the Church's essentially conciliar structure and thus saw the two ecclesiologies as mutually antithetical.

This fundamental difference in ecclesiology would cause all attempts to heal the schism and bridge the divisions to fail. Rome based her claims to "true and proper jurisdiction" (as the Vatican Council of 1870 put it) on St. Peter. This "Roman" exegesis of Mathew 16:18, however, was unacceptable to the patriarchs of Eastern Orthodoxy. For them, specifically, St. Peter's primacy could never be the exclusive prerogative of any one bishop. All bishops must, like St. Peter, confess Jesus as the Christ and, as such, all are St. Peter's successors. The churches of the East gave the Roman See, primacy but not supremacy. The Pope being the first among equals, but not infallible and not with absolute authority.[25]

The other major irritant to Eastern Orthodoxy was the Western interpretation of the procession of the Holy Spirit. Like the primacy, this too developed gradually and entered the Creed in the West almost unnoticed. This theologically complex issue involved the addition by the West of the Latin phrase filioque ("and from the Son") to the Creed. The original Creed sanctioned by the councils and still used today by the Orthodox Church did not contain this phrase; the text simply states "the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father." Theologically, the Latin interpolation was unacceptable to Eastern Orthodoxy since it implied that the Spirit now had two sources of origin and procession, the Father and the Son, rather than the Father alone.[26] In short, the balance between the three persons of the Trinity was altered and the understanding of the Trinity and God confused.[26] The result, the Orthodox Church believed, then and now, was theologically indefensible. But in addition to the dogmatic issue raised by the filioque, the Byzantines argued that the phrase had been added unilaterally and, therefore, illegitimately, since the East had never been consulted.[27] In the final analysis, only another ecumenical council could introduce such an alteration. Indeed the councils, which drew up the original Creed, had expressly forbidden any subtraction or addition to the text.

Some scholars[28] have argued that the Schism between East and West has very ancient roots, and that sporadic schisms in the common unions took place under

  • Pope Damasus I (fourth and fifth century). Later on, disputes about theological and other questions led to schisms between the Churches in Rome and Constantinople for 37 years from 482 to 519 (the Acacian Schism),

Papacy and primacy

The theology of the Bishop of Rome having a monarchal papacy developed over time. As a bishopric, its origin is consistent with the development of an episcopal structure in the first century. The origins of papal primacy concept are historically obscure; theologically, it is based on three ancient Christian traditions: (1) that the apostle Peter was preeminent among the apostles, (2) that Peter ordained his successors as Bishop of Rome, and (3) that the bishops are the successors of the apostles. As long as the Papal See also happened to be the capital of the Western Empire, prestige of the Bishop of Rome could be taken for granted without the need of sophisticated theological argumentation beyond these points; after its shift to Milan and then Ravenna, however, more detailed arguments were developed based on Matthew 16:18-19 etc.[29] Nonetheless, in antiquity the Petrine and Apostolic quality, as well as a "primacy of respect", concerning the Roman See went unchallenged by emperors, eastern patriarchs, and the Eastern Church alike.[30] The Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 affirmed Rome as "first among equals".[31] By the close of antiquity, the doctrinal clarification and theological arguments on the primacy of Rome were developed. Just what exactly was entailed in this primacy, and its being exercised, would become a matter of controversy at certain later times.

Bishop of Rome

The evolution of earlier tradition established both Peter and Paul as the forefathers of the bishops of Rome, from whom they received their position as chief shepherd (Peter) and supreme authority on doctrine (Paul).[32] To establish her primacy among the churches of the Western half of the empire, the bishops of Rome relied on a letter written in 416 by Innocent I to the Bishop of Gubbio, to show how subordination to Rome had been established. Since Peter was the only apostle (no mention of Paul) to have worked in the West, thus the only persons to have established churches in Italy, Spain, Gaul, Sicily, Africa, and the Western islands were bishops appointed by Peter or his successors. This being the case then, all congregations had to abide by the regulations set in Rome).[33]

This claim to primacy may have been accepted in Italy, but was not so readily accepted in the rest of the West.

Bishop of Rome becomes Rector of the whole Church

The power of the Bishop of Rome increased as the imperial power of the Emperor declined. Edicts of the Emperor Theodosius II and of Valentinian III proclaimed the Roman bishop "as Rector of the whole Church." The Emperor Justinian, who was living in the East in Constantinople, in the sixth century published a similar decree. These proclamations did not create the office of the Pope but from the sixth century onward the Bishop of Rome's power and prestige increased so dramatically that the title of "Pope" began to fit the Bishop of Rome best.[34]

Leo I

The doctrine of the sedes apostolica (apostolic see) which states that every bishop of Rome, as Peter’s successor, possesses the full authority granted to this position. This power, then, is inviolable on the grounds that it was established by God himself and so not bound to any individual. Leo I (440–461), with the aid of Roman law, solidified this doctrine by making the bishop of Rome the legal heir of Peter. According to Leo, the apostle Peter continued to speak to the Christian community through his successors as bishop of Rome.

Monasticism

Monasticism is a form of asceticism whereby one renounces worldly pursuits (in contempu mundi) and concentrates solely on heavenly and spiritual pursuits, especially by the virtues humility, poverty, and chastity. It began early in the Church as a family of similar traditions, modeled upon Scriptural examples and ideals, and with roots in certain strands of Judaism. St. John the Baptist is seen as the archetypical monk, and monasticism was also inspired by the organisation of the Apostolic community as recorded in Acts of the Apostles.

There are two forms of monasticism: eremetic and cenobitic. Eremetic monks, or hermits, live in solitude, whereas cenobitic monks live in communities, generally in a monastery, under a rule (or code of practice) and are governed by an abbot. Originally, all Christian monks were hermits, following the example of Anthony the Great. However, the need for some form of organised spiritual guidance lead Saint Pachomius in 318 to organise his many followers in what was to become the first monastery. Soon, similar institutions were established throughout the Egyptian desert as well as the rest of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Central figures in the development of monasticism were, in the East, St. Basil the Great, and St. Benedict in the West, who created the famous Benedictine Rule, which would become the most common rule throughout the Middle Ages.

Western monastic orders

Many distinct monastic orders developed within Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism.

  • Benedictines, founded in 529 by Benedict at Monte Cassino, stresses manual labor in a self-subsistent monastery. They are less of a unified order than most other orders.

Migration Period and the Spread of Christianity

Migration Period

The Migration Period, also called Barbarian Invasions or Völkerwanderung (German for "wandering of the peoples"), was a period of human migration which occurred roughly within the years of 300–700 CE in Europe,[35] marking the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. These movements were catalyzed by profound changes within both the Roman Empire and the so-called 'barbarian frontier'. Migrating peoples during this period included the Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alans, Suebi, Frisians, and Franks, among other Germanic, Iranian and Slavic tribes.

Following the Sack of Rome by invading European Goths, Rome slid into the Dark Ages which affected most parts of Western Europe, and became increasingly isolated and irrelevant to the churches in the eastern and southern Mediterranean. This was a situation which suited and pleased many of the patriarchs and bishops of those churches.[36].

It was not until the rise of Charlemagne and his successors that the Church of Rome arose out of obscurity on the back of their military successes.

Spread of Christianity

In the 4th century some Eastern Germanic tribes, notably the Goths, an East Germanic tribe, adopted Arianism. From the 6th century, Germanic tribes were converted (and re-converted) by missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church, firstly among the Franks, after Clovis I's conversion to Catholicism in 496. The Lombards adopted Catholicism as they entered Italy, also during the 6th century.

Unlike the history of Christianity in the Roman Empire, conversion of the West and East Germanic tribes took place "top to bottom", in the sense that missionaries aimed at converting Germanic nobility first, which would then impose their new faith on the general population.

The Franks were converted in the 5th century, after Clovis I's conversion to Catholicism. In 498 (497 or 499 are also possible) he let himself be baptised in Reims.[37] With this act, the Frankish Kingdom became Christian, although it would take until the 7th century for the population to abandon some of their pagan customs.[38] This was typical of the Christianization of Europe. Christian and pagan practices would effectively exist in parallel.

Ireland

The first non-Roman area to adopt monasticism was Ireland, which developed a unique form closely linked to traditional clan relations, a system that later spread to other parts of Europe, especially France.

The earliest Monastic settlements in Ireland emerged at the end of the fifth century. The first identifiable founder of a monastery (if she was a real historical figure) was Saint Brigit, a saint who ranked with Saint Patrick as a major figure of the Irish church. The monastery at Kildare was a double monastery, with both men and women ruled by the Abbess, a pattern found in other monastic foundations.

Commonly Irish monasteries were established by grants of land to an abbot or abbess, who came from a local noble family. The monastery became the spiritual focus of the tribe or kin group. Successive abbots and abbesses were members of the founder’s family, a policy which kept the monastic lands under the jurisdiction of the family (and corresponded to Irish legal tradition, which only allowed the transfer of land within a family).

Ireland was a rural society of chieftans living in the countryside. There was no social place for urban leaders, such as bishops. In Irish monasteries the abbot (or abbess) was supreme, but in conformance to Christian tradition, bishops still had important sacramental roles to play (in the early Church the bishops were the ones who baptized new converts to bring them into the Church). In Ireland, the bishop frequently was subordinate to (or co-equal with) the abbot and sometimes resided in the monastery under the jurisdiction of the abbot.

Irish monasticism maintained the model of a monastic community while, like John Cassian, marking the contemplative life of the hermit as the highest form of monasticism. Saints' lives frequently tell of monks (and abbots) departing some distance from the monastery to live in isolation from the community.

Irish monastic rules specify a stern life of prayer and discipline in which prayer, poverty, and obedience are the central themes. Yet Irish monks did not fear pagan learning. Irish monks needed to learn a foreign language, Latin, which was the language of the Church. Thus they read Latin texts, both spiritual and secular, with an enthusiasm that their contemporaries on the continent lacked. By the end of the seventh century, Irish monastic schools were attracting students from England and from Europe.

Franks and Alamanni

The Franks and their ruling Merovingian dynasty, that had migrated to Gaul from the 3rd century had remained pagan at first. On Christmas 498[39], however, Clovis I following his victory at the Battle of Tolbiac converted to the orthodox faith of the Roman Church and let himself be baptised at Rheims. The details of this event have been passed down by Gregory of Tours.

Germanic characteristics

Not only because it had an immense impact on the history of Europe, the Baptism of Clovis deserves a second look. It may also serve to highlight two important characteristics of the Christianization of Europe. Clovis I' wife Clotilde was Roman Catholic and did have an important role in the conversion of her husband.[40] Long before his own baptism, Clovis had allowed that his sons became baptised.[41] However, the decisive reason for Clovis to adopt the Christian belief was the spiritual battle aid he received from Christ.[42] In the Battle of Tolbiac he came in such difficulties that he prayed to Christ for victory. Clovis was victorious, and afterwards he had himself instructed in the Christian faith by Saint Remigius.[43]

That a Commander-in-chief would attribute his victory to the Christian God is a recurring motive since the Constantinian shift. Although the New Testament nowhere mentions that divine battle aid could be gained from Christ,[44] the Christian cross was known as a trophy to bestow victory since Constantine I and the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

However, that a pagan like Clovis, could ask Christ for help also shows the adaptability of the Germanic polytheism. In the polytheistic Germanic tradition, if Odin failed, one absolutely could try it with Christ for once.[45] The Christian sense of religious exclusiveness, as obvious from the First Commandment,[46] was unknown to the pagans. As a result, pagans could be pragmatic and almost utilitarian in their religious decisions. A good example for this are several Thor's Hammer with engraved crosses, worn as an amulet, that archaeologists have found in Scandinavia.[47] Another exemplary event happened during Ansgar's second stay in Birka: A pagan priest demanded from the locals, that they did not participate in the cult of the foreign Christian God. If they did not have enough Gods yet, they should elevate one of their deceased kings, Erik, to be a God.[48]

The baptism of Clovis I also highlights the sacral role of the Germanic king. A Germanic king was not only a political ruler, but also held the highest religious 'office' for his people.[49] He was seen as of divine descent, was the leader of the religious cult and was responsible for the fertility of the land and military victory. Accordingly, the conversion of their leader had a strong impact on his people. If he considered it appropriate to adopt the Christian belief, this also was a good idea for them.

Unlike the history of Christianity in the Roman Empire, conversion of the Germanic tribes in general took place "top to bottom", in the sense that missionaries aimed at converting Germanic nobility first, which would then impose their new faith on the general population: This is connected with the sacral position of the king in Germanic paganism: the king is charged with interacting with the divine on behalf of his people, so that the general population saw nothing wrong with their kings choosing their preferred mode of worship.

Consequently, Christianity had to be made palatable to these Migration Age warlords as a heroic religion of conquerors, a rather straightforward task, considering the military splendour of the Roman Empire.

Thus early Germanic Christianity was presented as an alternative to native Germanic paganism and elements were syncretized, for examples parallels between Woden and Christ. A fine illustration of these tendencies is the Anglo-Saxon poem Dream of the Rood, where Jesus is cast in the heroic model of a Germanic warrior, who faces his death unflinchingly and even eagerly. The Cross, speaking as if it were a member of Christ's band of retainers, accepts its fate as it watches its Creator die, and then explains that Christ's death was not a defeat but a victory. This is in direct correspondence to the Germanic pagan ideals of fealty to one's lord.

Christian Missionaries to the Lombards

Georgian

The Georgian Orthodox Church become autocephalous (independent) in 466 when the Patriarchate of Antioch elevated the Bishop of Mtskheta to the rank of "Catholicos of Kartli".

References

  1. ^ a b c "Nestorius." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  2. ^ canon 7
  3. ^ a b c "Latrocinium." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  4. ^ "Eutyches" and "Archimandrite." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  5. ^ "Monophysitism." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  6. ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nestorius and Nestorianism
  7. ^ Lossky, Vladimir. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. pp. 10.  
  8. ^ Vladimir Lossky theology is the most widely accepted and or followed of all modern Orthodox theologians [1]
  9. ^ Vladimir Lossky theology is the most widely accepted and or followed of all modern Orthodox theologians Being With God: Trinity, Apophaticism, and Divine-Human Communion by Aristotle Papanikolaou -Introduction- 978-0268038311
  10. ^ "Orthodox Church Relations". http://www.antiochian.org.au/content/category/7/30/21/.  
  11. ^ "Second Chambesy Agreement of 1990". http://orthodoxwiki.org/Agreed_Official_Statements_on_Christology_with_the_Catholic_and_Eastern_Orthodox_Churches.  
  12. ^ Agreed Official Statements on Christology with the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches - OrthodoxWiki
  13. ^ Athanasius, On the Incarnation 47
  14. ^ Pope Vigilius, Constitution of Pope Vigilius, 553
  15. ^ "St John Chrysostom" in the Catholic Encyclopedia, available online; retrieved March 20, 2007.
  16. ^ Walter Laqueur, The Changing Face of Antisemitism: From Ancient Times To The Present Day, (Oxford University Press: 2006), p.48. ISBN 0-19-530429-2. 48
  17. ^ Yohanan (Hans) Lewy, "John Chrysostom" in Encyclopedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition Version 1.0), Ed. Cecil Roth (Keter Publishing House: 1997). ISBN 965-07-0665-8.
  18. ^ Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Platonism
  19. ^ a b Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972
  20. ^ "Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown,so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished" Letter 43 Chapter 9
  21. ^ Fourth Ecumenical Council, Canon XXVIII
  22. ^ Fourth Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Jurisdiction of Jerusalem and Antioch
  23. ^ Bishop Kallistos (Ware) (1963), The Orthodox Church (Penguin Books, London, ISBN 0-14-020592-6), p. 34
  24. ^ The Great Schism: The Estrangement of Eastern and Western Christendom
  25. ^ The Orthodox Church London by Ware, Kallistos St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 1995 ISBN 978-0913836583
  26. ^ a b The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church by Vladimir Lossky, SVS Press, 1997. (ISBN 0–913836–31–1) James Clarke & Co Ltd, 1991. (ISBN 0–227–67919–9)
  27. ^ History of Russian Philosophy by Nikolai Lossky ISBN 978-0823680740 Quoting Aleksey Khomyakov pg 87 The legal formalism and logical rationalism of the Roman Catholic Church have their roots in the Roman State. These features developed in it more strongly than ever when the Western Church without consent of the Eastern introduced into the Nicene Creed the filioque clause. Such arbitrary change of the creed is an expression of pride and lack of love for one's brethren in the faith. "In order not to be regarded as a schism by the Church, Romanism was forced to ascribe to the bishop of Rome absolute infallibility." In this way Catholicism broke away from the Church as a whole and became an organisation based upon external authority. Its unity is similar to the unity of the state: it is not necessarily rational but is rationalistic and legally formal. Rationalism has led to the doctrine of the works of supererogation, established a balance of duties and merits between God and man, weighing in the scales sins and prayers, trespasses and deeds of expiation; it adopted the idea of transferring one person's debts or credits to another and legalised the exchange of assumed merits; in short, it introduced into the sanctuary of faith the mechanism of a banking house.
  28. ^ Cleenewerck, Laurent His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Washington, DC: EUC Press (2008) pp. 145-155
  29. ^ cf. Richards, Jeffrey. The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476-752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) p. 9
  30. ^ Richards, Jeffrey. The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages 476-752 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) pp. 10 and 12
  31. ^ see J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio 3, p. 559
  32. ^ Schimmelpfennig, p. 27
  33. ^ Schimmelpfennig, p. 39
  34. ^ D'Aubigne, Book I, p. 81.
  35. ^ Precise dates given may vary; often cited is 410, the sack of Rome by Alaric I and 751, the accession of Pippin the Short and the establishment of the Carolingian Dynasty.
  36. ^ Aristeides Papadakis The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy, SVS Press, NY, 1994 esp p14
  37. ^ Padberg, Lutz v. (1998), p.45-48, p.53
  38. ^ Grave goods, which of course are not a Christian practice, have been found until that time; see: Padberg, Lutz v. (1998), p.59
  39. ^ 497 or 499 are also possible; Padberg 1998: 53
  40. ^ Padberg 1998, 47
  41. ^ Padberg 1998, 48
  42. ^ Padberg 1998, 87
  43. ^ Padberg 1998, 52
  44. ^ Padberg 1998:48>
  45. ^ Padberg 1998: 48
  46. ^ I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me; see: Ten Commandments
  47. ^ depicted in Padberg 1998: 128
  48. ^ Padberg 1998: 121
  49. ^ Padberg 1998, 29; Padberg notes, that this is probably disputed research, but can be affirmed for the northern Germanic area
  50. ^ Neill, p. 48
  51. ^ Neill, p. 49
  52. ^ Barrett, p. 24
  53. ^ Neill, 51, 95

Further reading

  • Esler, Phillip F. The Early Christian World. Routledge (2004). ISBN 0415333121.
  • White, L. Michael. From Jesus to Christianity. HarperCollins (2004). ISBN 0060526556.
  • Freedman, David Noel (Ed). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing (2000). ISBN 0802824005.
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan. The Christian Tradition: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). University of Chicago Press (1975). ISBN 0226653714.
  • Trombley, Frank R., 1995. Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529 (in series Religions in the Graeco-Roman World) (Brill) ISBN 90-04-09691-4
  • Fletcher, Richard, The Conversion of Europe. From Paganism to Christianity 371-1386 AD. London 1997.
  • Schatz, Klaus (1996). Papal Primacy. Liturgical Press. ISBN 0-8146-5522-X.  
  • Schimmelpfennig, Bernhard (1992). The Papacy. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231075152.  

External links

See also

History of Christianity: Late ancient Christianity
Preceded by:
Christianity in
the 4th century
5th
Century
Followed by:
Christianity in
the 6th century
BC 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st

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