Chhi 301 Papacy Paper

1711 Words Nov 26th, 2014 7 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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Most of Western Europe was Roman Catholic. Pope Leo II became the only barrier against the invading Huns. The church could not look to the Eastern Empire for help, so it allied with the barbarians. In 481, Clovis became the king of the Franks who settled in Gaul. According to Thomas E. Wood Jr.,
“Historians have speculated that Clovis’ marriage to the beautiful pious and Catholic Clotilda was inspired and arranged by the bishops, with an eye to convert her royal husband to the faith… it would be another four hundred years before all the barbarian peoples of Western Europe had been converted, But the project was off to an auspicious start.”

Considering that Rome was falling apart, education became non-existent with the rise of barbarism, except through the church. This became vital for the church, since it could now focus on choosing an education suited to its need of converting people to Christianity and suppressing pagan beliefs. It became the source for all knowledge, and even became involved in political decisions. This was not necessarily a good thing, since it invited a lot of political corruption. This led to an excess of power in the Roman church, corruption, and persecution of people who did not agree with the Church’s concepts and regulations.
In 726, Emperor Leo III ordered all pictures and idols removed from churches. This caused a great stir with the pope, and this dispute between the east and the West caused the Iconoclast

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