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The Rise Of The Papacy: Emperor Theodosius

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Zachary Hash
CHHI 301
22 April 2017

“The Rise of the Papacy”

In 308 AD, Emperor Theodosius made a declaration that Christianity officially be the religion of the Roman Empire. For Christianity to take hold in the region it needed to be normalized and made relatable to the people. Because of this the bishops created a chain of command so to speak within its leadership structure that would be known as the Patriarchs, with the bishop of Rome at the top, known as the Pope. The word pope comes from the Latin word meaning “father” which is why the Pope is also referred to as the Holy Father and it wasn’t until the eleventh century that Pope Gregory VIII began using the title of Pope.
In the history of the church we know
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They didn’t stop there and went beyond the empire all the way to the Germanic people like the Visigoths. These people for the most part had lived in harmony with the Roman people but with the rise of the Huns this caused political unrest. In the Western Roman Empire the people were in a sense of social chaos with the empire facing uncertainty of the times the papacy took this opportunity to seize power and influence with the people. Gonzalez notes: It was the Germanic invasions that brought about the great upsurge in the pope’s authority. In the East, the empire continued existing for another thousand years. But in the West the church became the guardian of what was left of ancient civilization, as well as of order and justice. Thus, the most prestigious bishop in the West, that of Rome, became the focal point for regaining a unity that had been shattered by the invasions. So, given all of the information I can see why the church would be considered a light in the middle of the Dark Ages which compares to the scripture in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in
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