Chhi 301 Papacy Paper

1697 Words7 Pages

Church History 301
April 20, 2014

Ramifications of the Papacy’s Power in Rome

The papacy – the office held by the pope as head of the Catholic Church - gained great power from the sixth through eighth centuries, and there are several reasons for this surge in influence. Starting around 590, Pope Gregory I sought to convert Teutonic invaders to Christianity. Islam was also in play, as it had taken over most of Asia and Africa. According to Earl Cairns, by trying to win Teutonic tribes to Christianity, the medieval church “…further centralized its organization under papal supremacy and developed the sacramental-hierarchical system characteristic of the Roman Catholic Church.”
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The power of the Bishop in Rome resulted from several factors, including the barbarian invasions, the failure of the emperors to defend their homeland, the success of Christianity, and the fame of the Church. The Roman generals battled over who would rule and thus failed to defend their borders adequately. This created gaps in the land, which was a factor the fall of Rome. With the invasion of the barbarians, it was up to the Church to defend the lands. Pope Gregory greatly influenced the situation. He was responsible for the improved standing of the papacy. He became Rome’s financial officer, and he managed food and water supplies. He created peace with the Lombards, and was able to ransom prisoners from them in the 6th century. He created a new Liturgy of the church, and he believed the purpose of the papacy was to help the poor, thus establishing the papal title “Servant of the servants of Christ.” Gregory turned a self-seeking papacy into an office of kindness and humility.
Barbarians were invading Western Europe. Gaul, Italy and the Byzantine Empire were being raided while the church remained independent. The empire was divided but the church remained undivided and stable. With no true leader in Rome, Pope Leo II was the only defense against the Huns. As the barbarians invaded, the Church converted. Their motto was “to convert the monarch and the people

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