The Rise And Fall Of The Papacy

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The Rise And Fall Of The Papacy Essay, Research Paper Summary By the middle of the 3rd century the bishops of Rome assumed that their church tradition provided a standard for other, quite distant churches. During the 4th and early 5th centuries, the popes made various claims to special authority and were rarely challenged. Pope Saint Leo I, the Great (440-461), consolidated papal power and successfully intervened in the affairs of other Western church districts. Subsequent popes considered themselves endowed with powers over the whole church, even over the East. Pope Saint Gregory I, the Great (590-604), made the papacy a major political force. In the late 8th and early 9th centuries, the Frankish house of Charlemagne offered protection to the popes and gave them immense

territories in central Italy, the basis for the future Papal States. In return, Pope Saint Leo III (795-816) crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman emperor in 800.In the 10th century the papacy fell into the hands of the local nobility, and popes became mere liturgical figures. Pope Saint Leo IX (1049-1054) began papal reforms and emphasized papal authority as the key to restoring church order. Pope Saint Gregory VII (1073-1085) was the strongest advocate of this program, which eventually was called Gregorian Reform. Overall, the papacy was strengthened, reaching a zenith with Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), who became the most important person, secular or religious, in contemporary European society.In the next century papal influence declined and was further damaged in the scandal of the

Great Schism. During the Schism, three popes simultaneously claimed the status of legitimate pontiff. In the early 16th century the popes consolidated their political authority in the Papal States and became effective territorial princes. At about the same time, however, German theologian Martin Luther rejected the papacy and denounced the pope as the Antichrist, sparking the Protestant Reformation. Although various Protestant reformers differed on many issues, all agreed that the papacy was an inessential institution. The Christian Church first appeared in history as a fellowship of self-governing communities, scattered all over the empire, and spreading even beyond its borders. During the course of the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries the Catholic Church developed two

distinct types of Christianity. The first was shared by all Latin-speaking Christians, who formed the Western Patriarchate of Rome. The second comprised the Syriac, Armenian and Greek-speaking world, which was divided into four Eastern Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.The East emphasised the divergence of gifts, the West the need for uniformity and obedience. It was not always easy for the two sides to understand each other; they often viewed a new problem from totally different standpoints, and sometimes these disagreements ended in an open dissagreement between the two sects of Rome and Constantinople. But the schism invariably ended in reconciliation, for both sides acknowledged that the Church of Christ must include both Eastern and Western

Christians, and that their gifts were complementary.Between the sixth and tenth centuries the Church gave barbarian society institutions, laws, and a concept of belonging through written history. A serious split between Rome and Constantinople took place in the ninth century. Its real origin lay in the great political conflict that occurred at the beginning of the century, when in the year 800, Charlemagne restored the Western Roman Empire. In the eyes of the East, the Pope had committed a serious breach of faith when he consented to crown a barbarian like Charlemagne as Emperor of the West. This was a problem because the western Emperor had to recognize the new ruler as his brother-sovereign some thing neither party was satisfied with. Thus two rival political powers had been