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Chhi 301 - the Rise of the Papacy

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Susan R. Peyton

Liberty University

CHHI 301

The Rise of the Papacy

When the Roman Empire fell, the Catholic Church stepped up and played a vital role in the developing of the European world. The Papacy begins to gain more and more authority, from the sixth through ninth century. There were many men who helped in this development. Men, who had a heart for the people and their needs in spiritual development, basic needs such as food and education, were the ones who took leadership positions and stood out as great men.

The Catholic Church is founded upon St. Peter, who was the disciple whom Jesus called Peter, and nicknamed him the Rock. They believe that it was Peter to whom Jesus was referring to when He said that, upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. However Jesus is the rock, or foundation, or chief corner stone upon which the church is built not Peter. This is where the Catholic's believe that from Peter it is to be continually passed down to successors as head of the church. "This was not so much by divine appointment, but by rather natural circumstances as pointed out by David Wells.

As the Papacy begins to rise there were those who left lasting marks on it. One was Benedict of Narsia(480-550). He gave us the manual known as the Rule, according to Dr. Nickins, "he spent his life building and reforming monasteries". He became known as Saint Benedict and the rule became known as the "Rule of St. Benedict".

In what is considered the Middle Ages, roughly 500-1000, is when a new style of government came on the scene. It was influenced by the German people. They had kings, uand the kings moved about the kingdom to "prove himself to his subjects". This gave rise to the church which was controlled by educated men. "While the Church preserved Roman and Latin culture, the Germans literally changed the church in order to incorporate it into its own society".

Western Europe was impacted by the Ranks by the Frankish king Clovis (465-511). When Clovis was only fifteen, he became king. When he converted to Christianity it had a tremendous impact on how he ruled. His conversion to Christianity helps explain how and why Europe was Christianized.

Gregory I was born into wealth and privilege in 540. His father was Gordianum, who was very wealthy, and his mother was Silvia, who also probably came from a well to do family. "Gregory's father died when he was a young man, and his mother never remarried. The emperor Justin appointed Gregory as imperial perfect in Rome 574 (think of it as the mayor). But Gregory eventually rejected this responsibility, turned his father's palace into a monastery, and became a monk. Gregory was content to live as a monk and have the solitude and lifestyle that the monastery afforded him. He is credited for starting six other monasteries

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