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Rise of Papacy Power

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In examining the rise of the Papacy, it is necessary to briefly discuss the role of Constantine, as noted in the review of history on Constantine's rule and the inherit relationship with the development of church and state. [1] Under his rule the emperor gain a relationship with the early church developing a pyramid of organizational levels, whereas; the emperor was to enforce the doctrine, root out heresy, and hold ecclesiastical unity. But, this went hand in hand with the early church being allowed to hold public office and owning land. He went so far as to donate the 1st acquisition of the Early Church, Lateran Palace. [2] Constantine demonstrated a public patronage of the Christian Church in the construction of his new capitol Byzantium. In his constructions of the new capitol with an emphasis on Christendom lead to the ability to establish a new baseline for the early church to grow and eventually find supremacy over the imperial guard that once persecuted them. [3]

The Papacy came from being on the outskirts of Romans civilization to the center of Roman power, in this examination; we will review how it became the center of power. We will reflect on the positive and negative ramifications that occurred with the dominance of power the Papacy gain after the time of Constantine I to the Reformation. As Spiderman's grandfather said, "With great power, comes great responsibility". In reviewing the texts for my examination, I found that the rise of the Papacy was mark with the characteristics of a defender, a manipulator, a dictator, and a saint. Under the consistent illusions to their lineage from St. Peter, the middle age popes entrenched themselves into the both the spiritual and political sovereignty of the times. [4]

The Defender

After the temporal power granted under Constantine I and the sack of Rome, came the rule of Germanic tribes with its hostile and inconstant morals and laws; the positives of the papacy influence is sometimes lost. [5] The 1st identifiable pope is Leo I, who saw himself as a protector and a defender of the Rome; became the 1st Bishop of Rome. As the Empire lost its formal glory, the papacy was reaching a new zenith on their mark in history. The Leo's role after the fall of Rome was to supply a similar, if not a chameleon like properties equaling the power and role of the Roman government. He became a source of law and a form of civil administration even began the foundations of universities through the monasteries that were the keeper of written knowledge. Also, the government supply and distributed grain, the church began to fill the void. He, even, hired armies fend of invasions providing protection to the people. The Churches missionary work in the Germanic tribes and their universal acceptance into the Church paid dividends to in roads with their ability to form treaties. [6] They did not conquer, but they did convert key foreign powers to Christianity that became subservient to the Papacy. [6] The Roman Empire may have fallen, but the Holy Roman Empire was born. During this period, the Papacy replaced the Roman Emperor; as bishops were appointed by the kingdom to see over schisms and bring ecclesiastical to judgment in the Ostrogothic Papacies. Theodoric the Great took the kingdom from Odoacer and settle his people in Italy; moving the capitol to Ravenna. A great schism arose with two popes being appointed, one by the Roman Senate and the other by Theodoric the Great; (Symmachus and Laurentius) the outcome was the reigning pope would appoint his successor. [7] This began a pivotal point of arguments and movements for and against this pretense of the authority of the Catholic Church.

The Transition of Power

Ravenna became the seat of Byzantine governor of Italy, under Justinian I. Under this imperial rule the bishops were still appointed by the kingdom; but also mark with gaining positions in the hierarchy of the church with paying off and/ or corrupting officials. [8] The Gothic Wars were attempts by Justinian I in the re-conquest of Italy, the attempt took decades. This ultimately weakened the Byzantine Empire. Rome was left to be governed by limited choice to the largest land owners, the Papacy. Hostility grew under this phase of the Byzantine Rule with increasing conflict with the Papacy. Under this political climate, the issues of monotheletism and iconoclasm crept into the arena. [9] The Monothelitism conflict was over the required "pope-elect" to be affirmed by the Byzantine rule; the issue was the church was without a Pope for months, as was the case with Pope Severinus (20 months). This resulted in the Lateran Council of 649 to condemn monothelitism lead by Pope Martin I; this was the first snub to the Byzantine rule by having a ecumenical council without the Emperor presiding over the council. The results were Martin I and Maximus the Confessor being tried for their treason. [10] Iconoclasm threat was the practice of popes in the 8th century of recognizing the supremacy of the Byzantine rule by looking to achieve papal authority with paying for their approval. This came to head under Emperor Leo III the Isaurian; he wanted to mandate this act as a requirement. Pope Gregory II stood in opposition of this position to the point of organizing a synod; he took it to the point of terming it an act of heresy. This did not stop Emperor Leo efforts, as looked for payback by confiscating papal finances. This was attempting to remove papal authority, which severely impacted them until the destruction of the Byzantine Empire by the Lombard's. [11]




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