Presentation on theme: "History of the Catholic Church A 2,000-Year Journey"— Presentation transcript:
1History of the Catholic Church A 2,000-Year Journey
2Church HistoryPart 2The Church of the Fathers ( )
3Constantine’s Rise to Power Diocletian forced to resign -- disintegrating government and disgust over bloodbath he had unleashedConstantine stepped in and wrested control of the Empire at the Battle of Milvian Bridge (312)Constantine, not a Christian, was told in a vision to use a Christian symbol during the battleHis victory effectively gave him control of the EmpireConstantine at Milvian Bridge
4Constantine – Edict of Milan In 313 through the Edict of Milan, Constantine legalized Christianity, granting religious freedom to everyone, with Christians getting special mention. He also ordered the return of all property confiscated from Christians.Constantine reunited the Empire and wanted to maintain unity at all costs. He perceived the Church as a means to achieve that unity.He became the first Christian Emperor. He radically changed both the Church of his time and the Church of the future.Constantine
5Constantine’s Motives? Historians disagree on this…Although Constantine certainly identified with the Church, his motives are debated: Was he a true, believing Christian [it seems he wasn’t baptized until his death bed]? Or did he use the Church for his unification campaign? Or both?He believed that God had given him the duty to direct the Church [a state–controlled religion].He believed that the Roman state’s survival depended on the unity of the Church.Constantine
6Positive Effects of Constantine’s rule Christianity transformed from a persecuted minority religion to an official religion of the EmpireBishops given honors and were allowed to function as judgesMore humane punishmentsBuilding of new churches with public moneyChristians influence society in positive waysNew convertsMonasticism developed rapidlyPeace allowed a persecuted church to be securePope Sylvester I and Constantine
7Crisis because of Constantine’s rule Being a Christian became easier; less risk [whole households, tribes, etc. were baptized if leader was baptized]Some people converted for upwardly mobile, political reasonsState influence over the Church increasedSome in Church began to identify less with powerless and poorPagan custom was prohibited and state persecuted pagans and those considered heretics
8The Church GrowsBy the middle of the fourth century, Christianity was a significant influence in the Roman Empire -- a social 'glue,' holding the Empire together.But the Church struggled with internal divisions, and for Constantine, division in the Church threatened political instability.Doctrine had developed and solidified during persecution; challenges to Christian beliefs continued
9Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria [c. 296-373] Confessor and Doctor of the ChurchFathers of the Church and Bishops gradually filtered through the early Christian textsAthanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in his Easter letter (c.367) gave us the earliest extant list of the books of the New Testament which became the Canon of the New TestamentChurch Councils confirmed the list
10Our Lady of Vladimir -Theotokos A fifth-century heresy claimed Jesus was not one person, both divine & human. Instead, he was two persons "stuck together".According to this heresy, Mary gave birth to the human person, and it was the human person who died on the cross; the divine person was above this.The heresy – Nestorianism (after the heretic, Nestorius) – was condemned by the Council of Ephesus 431, which defined that Jesus is one person, with both a human and divine nature, and that Mary can be called "Mother of God“ or theotokos, which in Greek means the God-bearer.
11And with Growth, Came Problems Growth brought organizational complexity: local synods, regional synodsAfter he became the sole Emperor, in 324 AD, Constantine turned his attention to divisions in the Church.He was faced first with the Donatist Schism in Africa and learned quickly that the council of bishops was an efficient instrument of Church governmentAfter the Edict of Milan, there was generally tolerance and acceptance for all Christian religious sects and so the persecutions ended. The next major trouble came from within the Church itself as it tried to explain its faith. Doctrine developed in the face of controversy and persecution. Challenges to Christian beliefs by early splinter groups led to clarification and expression of church teachings. For example, Gnosticism which denied Jesus’ humanity led Christians to formulate the Apostles Creed by 200AD. This prayer became a part of Christian worship and initiation.Several local councils had been held during the early years of the church [Council of Jerusalem]. After 313 theological disagreements spread rapidly.When Constantine publicly became a follower of Christ (312) he was immediately faced with the grave African problem known as the Donatist Schism. Necessarily, and in a very brief space of time, he learned of the function of the council of the bishops, as an instrument of church government.Donatism was the error taught by Donatus, bishop of Casae Nigrae that the effectiveness of the sacraments depends on the moral character of the minister. In other words, if a minister who was involved in a serious enough sin were to baptize a person, that baptism would be considered invalid.The problem with Donatism is that no person is morally pure. The efficacy of the baptism or administration of the Eucharist does not depend on the moral character of the minister, even when demonstrated to be faulty. Rather, the sacraments are powerful because of what they are, visible representations of spiritual realities. God is the one who works in and through them and He is not restricted by the moral state of the administrant.Greater challenges came from the heresies of Gnosticism and ArianismThe Council of Nicaea was called primarily to address Arianism
12Councils – Explaining Our Faith Doctrine developed in the face of controversy and persecutionChallenges and splinter groups led to clarification and expression of church teachingsCouncils were an effective way to clarify major theological disagreements that threatened Church unityFollowed Apostolic model, and must be convened or recognized by the PopePersonification of the Christian Doctrine:Female figure holding in her right hand a sceptre surmounted by a sun, symbol of the Christian Doctrine, while on her left arm rests a tau-shaped cross (T) around which a serpent is wound, similar to the bronze one Moses raised as a standard (Num. 21,4-9), as prefiguration of the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ (Jn. 3,13-15
13The Great Heresies [313-476 A.D.] Arians. Opposed by Nicaea in 325. “There was a time when he was not.”Apollinarians. Condemned 1st Constantinople, 381. Christ had a human body and a human sensitive soul, but no human rational mind, the Divine Logos taking its place.Nestorians. Condemned by Ephesus, 431. Mary shouldn’t be called “Mother of God,” since she’s mother only of the human side of Jesus.Augustine refuting heretic
14The Great Heresies [313-476 A.D.] Monophysites. Condemned by Chalcedon in 451. Jesus really has only one nature, a divine nature, which supplanted his human nature.Donatist. Condemned local Council of Arles in 314. Repeated errors of Novatianism and Montanism regarding sinners; held that sacraments administered by clergy in state of mortal sin are invalid.Pelagians. Condemned by Council of Ephesus in 431. British monk, Pelagius, denied existence of original sin; possible to achieve salvation solely through reason and free will, without necessity of grace or the Church.Pelagius
15Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.)When the Arian crisis arose, a great council was the first move to restore orderNicaea was unique: a general, not a local, councilNicaea was summoned to determine whether Arius contradicted Church teaching, and, if so, whether he and his party could be excluded from the communion of the faithfulAnother dogmatic quarrel arose about the teachings of an Alexandrian priest named Arius, whose followers were called Arians. They believed that Jesus was not divine. This stirred up great controversy in the East. Constantine, who wanted to see peace restored in the East, called the bishops together for a great council to reconcile both sides. Constantine thought this was only a matter of disagreeing about words. The result of the Council of Nicaea was that Arianism was condemned and a more elaborate creed, the Nicene Creed which is still said at Mass, was written. This was a major defining moment for Christianity. This council did not bring the peace that Constantine expected. The Emperor Theodosius condemned Arianism and by the end of his reign Christianity was the sole religion allowed in the Roman Empire.The novel feature in 325 was that not only the bishops of the locality affected were convoked, but the bishops of the whole Catholic world. This was to be not a regional or provincial council, but a council for the universal church --a General Council.Nicea was summoned, not to decide for the first time what was to be held concerning our Lord's divine nature, but to determine whether Arius did or did not contradict the Church's teaching, and, if he did, whether he and his party could be excluded from the communion of the faithfulCouncil of Nicaea
16Nicaea & ArianismArius, an Egyptian, declared that Jesus was a created beingThis contradicted settled Church teaching that went back to the ApostlesThe debate at Nicaea was a debate between Arius and his followers and historic Christianity -- about what it meant to say that Jesus was the Son of God.Christians had believed from the beginning that Jesus was the Son of God, but figuring out exactly what this meant would take hundreds of years. They had all kinds of questions: how could Jesus be both human and God? How could Christ, the Son of God, himself be God?The debates in the Church during these hundreds of years were not about whether Jesus was the Son of God - they all agreed on this. They were about what it meant to say that Jesus was the Son of God.Wrestling with what this meant began long before Constantine and the Council, and it went on long afterwards. It was not finally sorted out until the Council at Chalcedon, in 451 AD, more than a hundred years after Nicaea.At the beginning of the fourth century, one of the key players in these debates was a leader of the church at Alexandria, in Egypt, called Arius. Arius taught that Jesus, the Son of God, was a created being. There had been a time when he did not exist. And this meant that he was not equal with God the Father.A local Church Council in Egypt decided that Arius's ideas were wrong, and threw him out. But his teaching continued to grow in influence, especially in the churches of the eastern Empire.This threatened a major split. Constantine could not afford for the Church to be split, and this is why he called the Council of Nicaea. Constantine himself presided over the opening session, but this was probably more ceremonial than substantial.It was an important step forward for the church, but it did not change what Christians believed. Christians had believed that Jesus was the Son of God ever since his crucifixion and resurrection, in the first half of the first century. At Nicaea, they clarified what this meant.Arianism did not die out after the Council - it would still be influential for hundreds of years. But the statement that was put forward by the Church leaders at Nicaea is a basic statement of core Christian beliefs. It is still accepted by Churches of all kinds today - by Roman Catholic Churches, but also by Protestant Churches and by Eastern Orthodox churches.AriusThe result did not change Church teaching or Christian belief – it only clarified it.
17Barbarians and the Fall of Rome Rome didn’t fall in one catastrophic event ( )Last roman emperor (Romulus Augustulus) deposed in 476 by OdoacerBut this wasn’t the real cause of the fall – that came about when masses of barbarians overflowed the northern and eastern borders.The Germanic barbarian, Odoacer, deposed Romulus Augustulus and became first non-Roman ruler of Italy. He was half Scirii and allied with the Huns.When Caesar’s sun fell out of the skyAnd whoso hearkened rightCould only hear the plungingOf the nations in the nightVisigoths sack Rome in 410 A.D.These Germanic (or Gothic) peoples weren’t attacking so much as being pushed into the empire in sheer panic.The cause? The Huns!
18Huns Move West - Unstoppable From north of ChinaAfter failing to defeat China, entire people marched 6,000 miles westEvery tribe in Eurasia fled in panic, forcing them further west into the Roman empireFierce tactics, mobility, Mongolian features – generally a scary bunchCamped in Pannonia (Hungary) and seemed to settle downThen Attila came to the throne – ambitious, genius, ruthless – planned a great Asiatic empire to replace the Roman EmpireHun Officer & Soldier
19Attila: The Scourge of God A man of contradictions - skilled at manipulating peopleUsed diplomacy effectively but didn’t hesitate to employ terror and atrocities: “I will show force so as not to use it.”Called himself, “The most detestable man in the world” and was pleased when Pope St. Leo called him “The Scourge of God”Began hostilities by wiping out the Danube merchant settlements, and 70 cities in the Balkans; struck city after city in Western EuropeForced Romans and Visigoths to form an alliance (451) which held Attila at the Battle of Chalons – so he headed south…toward Rome!At Paris, St. Genevieve took charge of the defense when the men wanted to flee; and elsewhere Christian bishops led the resistanceWhen all seemed lost, a Roman general, Aetius, formed an alliance with the remains of Rome’s legions and the Visigoths he had just defeated before the Huns arrived.At the Battle of Chalons (451) the combined force held the Huns, and the next morning, to the relief of the exhausted Army, the Huns had disappeared.But Attila was headed for Rome. He and his troops rode down the Italian peninsula spreading destruction and scattering the people. (Some headed for the swamps and islands on the Adriatic and there founded the city of Venice.)Roman pagans (they were still powerful in 451) blamed the Huns on the Christians – the gods weren’t happyBut as Attila approached Rome a procession of men in white led by Pope St. Leo I came to meet Attila. We don’t know what was said, but the Huns left as swiftly as they had come. Leo said only that “God has saved us from a great peril.”Attila was always impressed by spiritual authority. He died soon afterwards and the Huns vanished to the east, never to returnAttila
20The AftermathRome’s experience with Attila and his Huns led to two conclusions:The pagan gods had been unable to save Rome, while the Christian Church hadRomans and barbarians could actually cooperate in meeting a common threat (Chalons)Cooperation of Romans, barbarians and Church would form the foundation of a new future civilization – still a long way offBattle of Chalons
21Vandal Gaiseric Sacks Rome (455) More to come…Serious problem remained:Germanic tribes hostile to Rome and Church – most had been evangelized by AriansTribes differed widely in characterSome settled down peacefully (Switzerland)Some (Vandals) devastated the Empire; settled in N. Africa and terrorized Mediterranean for 100 yearsOne group – the Franks – would be the most influential for the future of civilization and ChristianityVandal Gaiseric Sacks Rome (455)
22Vocation of the Franks Franks had remained pagan St. Clotilda (Burgundian princess) married Frankish chief, Clovis, in 493Devoted couple although Clovis was pagan, children CatholicIn 496 Clovis converted before the Battle of Tolbiac in which he defeated the AlemanniThis began the alliance of the Kingdom of Franks with the Church – and formed the heart of Catholic civilization in the WestFranks first to be converted in significant numbers. Clovis in desperate straits when confronted by the Alemanni. Vowed to the God of his Christian wife that he would convert if he were victorius. He and 3,000 of his warriors were baptized by St. Remigius on Christmas Day in 496.The Arian Visigoth kingdom of Toulouse fell to the Franks in 507 and Burgundy in 534. Christianity gave the Franks political power in Gaul.Clovis & St. Clotilda
23Changing the Face of Europe Odoacer dethrones last emperor in West (476 A.D.)West deteriorates into multitude of barbarian kingdomsThe Church was the only organized institutionEven where barbarians did not destroy the Empire’s infrastructure, they had no clue how to maintain itCities eventually disappearedAlthough pagan barbarians adopted Christianity, their ignorance and low morals actually lowered society’s standardsIn 410 AD Rome was sacked by the Visigoths. By 476 the last Roman emperor, named Romulus Augustulus was dethroned by Odoacer.The ancient world, both Roman and Christian, ceased to be. The empire continued in the East, but the Latin West deteriorated into a multitude of Barbarian kingdoms. The Church was the only organized institution. When Clovis, the king of the Frank, became Christian, so did the barbarians. A common religion was unifying to his subjects. The Frankish kings so enmeshed the church in governmental affairs that church and state were intertwined.Conversion of Frankish king, Clovis, leads to conversion of barbarians – common religion brought some unity
24Christianity Suffers & Regroups Not all converts were ideal ChristiansPope St. Leo I horrified to see visitors to St. Peter’s performing ritual signs to MithraClerical abuses rose – celibacy became rare in many areasEven monasteries, which tried to preserve the Rule of St. Benedict suffered due to the general ignorance and moral decay of recruits“Lay investiture” became common – local landowners appointing abbots, etc.St. ColumbanusIreland bright spot – St. Columbanus created centers of holiness in Gaul and Italy; Irish monks kept the faith alive in a sea of barbarism
25The “Dark” AgesFor Catholics, the early Middle Ages are not dark ages so much as ages of dawnConversion of the West to ChristianityFoundation of Christian civilizationCreation of Christian art and literatureCatholic liturgyAge of Monks – from Desert Fathers to the great monastic reforms of Cluny (West) and Mt. Athos (East)
26Christianity & the Late Empire Historical revisionists claim Christianity rejected classical civilization – even sought to destroy it – and thus inaugurated the Dark AgesTruth: Christianity not at all the cause of the decline of late Roman cultureLast flowering of classical literary culture – largely the work of Church FathersNo pagan writers of the period could rival such greats as John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen, Augustine, Jerome, AmbroseThe Church’s monasteries alone saved classical civilization from the total eclipse it would otherwise have suffered
27Causes of DeclineIn the West the collapse of the Empire was due to centuries of internal wasting and decay, and to external pressures against which the Empire had no long-term defensePressures exerted by moral and consequent political decay, plague, warfare, and demographic declineThe Church’s monasteries alone saved classical civilization from the total eclipse it would otherwise have sufferedIn the East, Christian civilization united the intellectual cultures of Greek, Egyptian and Syrian worlds and preserved Hellenic wisdom in academies and libraries throughout Greece, Syria and Asia Minor
28The Dark Ages: Italy The Ostrogoths and Theodoric Theodoric effective ruler; used educated Romans (Cassiodorus & St. Boethius)Kept up the infrastructureAn Arian, but initially cordial with the papacyAngry with Eastern Emperors for opposing Arianism – sent Pope John I as emissaryBad tempered – killed St. Boethius and Pope JohnTheodoric (d. 526)
29The Dark Ages: Italy St. Boethius (d. 524) Wrote the “Consolation of Philosophy” when in prisonTranslated Aristotle into LatinFormulated the doctrine of one person, two naturesThe last Roman and the last lay writer for centuries to comeBo-ee-thee-us - Roman philosopher, theologian, and statesman, one of the last philosophers in the classical Roman tradition. Born to the ancient noble family of Rome, the Anicii, and studied at Athens and Alexandria, receiving a deep classical education. In 510 named a consul under the Ostrogothic king Theodoric and became his magister officiorurn (master of offices) in 520, a post which demonstrated Theodoric’s deep trust and respect for Boethius’ abilities.However, relations between them soon deteriorated, as Boethius was staunchly orthodox in his Christianity while Theodoric was a devoted Arian. When Boethius defended the ex-consul Albinus on charges of treason, Theodoric had him seized, condemned, and put to death. A brilliant philosopher and statesman, Boethius authored translations of Aristotleand a Commentary on Cicero. He also authored treatises on the Holy Trinity and orthodox Christology, and a biography of the Christian monk and writer Cassiodorus (d. 580). His most famous work, The Consolation of Philosophy, was written while he was in prison. In it, he proposed that the study of philosophy made attainable knowledge of virtue and God. He is considered a martyr for the Catholic faith and was canonized under the name St. Severinus.Boethius
30The Dark Ages: Italy The Lombards In 533 Emperor Justinian defeated the OstrogothsAfter Justinian’s death the Lombards established a powerful kingdom in Northern ItalyThey soon conquered almost the entire peninsula – except for Rome, Naples, Venice & RavennaTheir rise to power was accomplished in part through savage atrocitiesThey ruled Italy for almost 200 yearsLombards
31Changing the Face of Europe Church must assume much of the role of the statePope Gregory the Great [d.604] inaugurated a mission to the Anglo-Saxons in the British Isles. He started the rise of the temporal power of the papacy [in response to a vacuum of civil leadership following the collapse of the Western Empire]. He saw himself as the “servant of the servants” a title still used by popes.Gregory the Great [d. 604] increases power of papacy to fill vacuum of civil leadership
32St. Columba & St. Theodore – Converting England In 563 and a small band of monks founded a monastery on the island of Iona off ScotlandConverted the savage Picts on the mainlandColumba’s disciple, St. Aidan, established monasteries in NorthumbriaFollowed by Sts. Finnian and Colman, by 664 the area was largely converted.In 669 St. Theodore, a Greek monk, was appointed as Archbishop of CanterburyFounded the renowned School of Canterbury and the great monastic schools under his influence played an important role in the later revival of Christian learning under Charlemagne and AlcuinSt. Columba
33Irish Monks Lead the Conversion of Europe In 590 St. Columban and 12 companions went to Burgundy where they founded 3 monasteriesFor 20 years they led the people to Christ through preaching and lives of self-denialColumban, expelled by the local royalty, went to Italy, leaving a trail of monasteries behind him – all followed the Columban RuleSt. Killian (d. 689) and over 600 monks carried the faith to Bavaria; there Killian was martyred.These monks prepared the way for St. Boniface to evangelize the German people in the next centurySt. Willibrord (d. 739), a York Benedictine, carried the faith to the Frisians. Founded monasteries throughout Northern EuropeSt. Columban
34The Dark Ages: England St. Bede the Venerable (672-735) Represents the highest point in intellectual culture in the West from the fall of Rome to the 9th centuryEntered the monastery (Jarrow) at age of seven and never leftThrived on learning and teaching and became one of the greatest transmitters of secular and sacred learning to later ages – science, nature, geography, grammar, Scripture, writings of the Fathers (Greek and Latin)Most famous for his History of the Church of the English People (55 B.C. – 731 A.D.) – Father of English HistoryDied as he finished translating Gospel of John into Anglo SaxonHow easy true religion and learning can be lost…Even though surviving in books, transmission to individual minds requires teachers who themselves have acquired a high level of formationDespite all our technological and scientific knowledge today, most of one or two generations live in a dark age of fuzzy faith and semi-learningLike the late Romans who lapsed little by little and quite unconsciously into sloppiness of thought, into immorality, into barbarism, we might not realize how dark our age has become until we look back at itWhen Roman civilization died, learning survived in the monasteries because of people like Bede. Where would it survive today?As one who has taught at the college level, I have been alarmed by the rapid decline in student quality –ability to reason, diligence, honesty, level of academic preparation. Course are dumbed down and made cheat proof, a sad commentarySt. Bede
35Monastic MovementEven before the 4th century a new kind of Christian witness emerged from North African desertsBegan during the persecutions and was already established when Constantine became emperor.Movement of men and women to pursue holiness, to follow Jesus (spirituality) by retreating from everyday world to find truth and meaning in the desert silenceAnthony of Egypt was one of the earliest of the hermits and among the first who attracted a large following. Athanasius’ book on Anthony contributed to the growth of monasticism
36Monastic Movement Eastern Monasticism Eremitic monasticism (isolated “monks” or hermits living “alone” in the desertLife of hermits developed into ascetic competitionAnthony: 1st Eastern monkBasil, bishop of Caesarea, condemned the eccentricities of the hermits and encouraged them to live in community and pursue intellectual endeavors and care for the poorWestern MonasticismCenobitic: “brothers” or “sisters” living in communal “monasteries”Jerome: intellectual effort to understand Scripture; Vulgate translationAugustine: wanted his clergy to adopt the hallmarks of monastic life, particularly celibacyJohn Cassian: formed a bridge between the monks of the east and the West. Prime focus is discretion.Benedict: Rule of Benedict has been the inspiration of all western monasteries, particularly in the Middle Ages. The rule provides a basis for monastic life while being flexible. Benedictine monasteries contributed to the birth of Europe.
37The Desert Fathers Why did they do it? The example of Jesus Striving for holiness in an unholy world – constant bombardment by moral depravityTo come into union with God through undistracted prayer and laborA mass movement of disheartened urban ChristiansTo fight SatanA new kind of Martyr St. Anthony of Egypt
38Western MonasticismSt. Jerome – great Scripture scholar; translated Scripture into Latin (Vulgate); had major impact on monastic intellectual lifeSt. JeromeSt. Augustine – after his conversion wanted his clergy to adopt the hallmarks of monastic life, particularly celibacy
39Western MonasticismJohn Cassian – formed a bridge between the monks of the east and the West. Discretion became the prime focus of monastic life.St. JohnCassianBenedict – Rule of St. Benedict inspired virtually all western monasteries; continues today; provided a flexible basis for monastic life; Benedictine monasteries contributed to the birth of Europe.St. Benedict
40St. BenedictTo thee are my words now addressed, whosoever thou mayest be that renouncing thine own will to fight for the true King, Christ, dost take up the strong and glorious weapons of obedience.Prologue of the Rule of St. BenedictSt. BenedictMontecassino Abbey
41Impact of MonasticismRise of Monasticism in the West starting with the founding of Montecassino by St. BenedictWestern monasticism became the major carrier of Western civilization during the early Middle AgesMonasteries provided islands of learning and culture and FaithBenedictines ran nearly 2,000 hospitals throughout Europe
42The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Who were the “Church Fathers”?They were the most influential theologians & writers in the early ChurchGenerally during the period from the 2nd through the 7th centuriesThese early thinkers and preachers more clearly defined Church teaching through the interpretation of Scripture and TraditionTo sample the early Church Fathers, you might want to start with Augustine’s Confessions and then read a collection of letters of the Latin Fathers, especially those of the often irascible St. Jerome. The sermons of the Fathers also make fine reading and are available in books or online.Early Church Fathers
43The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church FathersSt. Athanasius ( )Council of Nicaea (425)Bishop of Alexandria -- Exiled and deposed five times for fighting against ArianismFriend of St. Antony of the Desert – wrote his biography – boon to the growth of monasticismSt. Athanasius – father & doctor of the Church – born in Alexandria, Egypt – Christian family – priest then bishop of Alexandria – continued the fight of his predecessor against Arianism – Constantine exiled him due to his lack of theological understanding of the threat Arianism posed. After Constanitine’s death, his son restored Athanasius, but a year later he was deposed again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters. Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism.Among his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.
44The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church FathersSt. Gregory of Nazianzus ( )Bishop of CaesareaFather & Doctor of the ChurchStrong defender of the Faith against ArianismClose friend of St. BasilCalled to restore the faith as Bishop of ConstantinopleAfter his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism.At 41, Gregory was chosen bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades.Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”
45The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church FathersSt. Basil the Great ( )Father & Doctor of the ChurchFounder of monasticism in Asia MinorArchbishop of CaesareaClose friend of Gregory of NazianzusTook on the job as defender of the faith when Athanasius diedRemarkable pastor and preacher – one of the great teachers of the CHurchBasil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty. Founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor. He is to monks of the East what St. Benedict is to the West, and his principles influence Eastern monasticism today. He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea (now southeastern Turkey), and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of his suffragan bishops, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.One of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height. Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers, and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down.But trouble remained. When the great St. Athanasius (May 2) died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil. He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension. He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition. Even appeals to the pope brought no response. “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”He was tireless in pastoral care. He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world (as a youth he had organized famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself) and fought the prostitution business.Basil was best known as an orator. His writings, though not recognized greatly in his lifetime, rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church. Seventy-two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.”
46The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church FathersSt. John Chrysostom (d. 407)Father & Doctor of the ChurchMost famous as a preacherFrom Syria, but called to be bishop of ConstantinopleChallenged the wealthy and immoral and was constantly persecuted for his orthodoxyEventually exiled by the Empress and died in exileJohn, the great preacher (“golden-mouthed") from Antioch. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria. The emperor made him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John was forced to deal with imperial politics. A great preacher, his sermons and his exegesis of Scripture often stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.His zeal led him to decisive action. He deposed bishops who bribed their way into office. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor, something the rich didn’t appreciate. Stated that private property existed because of Adam's fall from grace, and that married men were bound to marital fidelity just as their wives were. He acknowledged no double standards.Aloof, energetic, outspoken, he became a target for unsupported accusations of every type. John were Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia. Theophilus both feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and charged John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. The empress managed to exile him. He died in exile in 407.
47The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Western Church FathersSt. Ambrose ( )Father & Doctor of the ChurchBishop of MilanStaunch defender of the Church’s independence from secular ruleConverted AugustineLearned, classically educatedContemplative, spiritualAmbrose -- man of action; upset many contemporaries. Empress Justina tried to take two basilicas from Catholics and give them to Arians, he dared her to execute him. His own people rallied behind him in the face of imperial troops.In disputes with the Emperor Auxentius, he stated: “The emperor is in the Church, not above the Church.” Publicly admonished Emperor Theodosius for massacring 7,000 innocent people. The emperor did public penance.Ambrose, the fighter, sent to Milan as Roman governor and chosen while yet a catechumen to be the people’s bishop. He also converted Augustine.Ambrose was a passionate little man with a high forehead, a long melancholy face and great eyes -- a frail figure, a man aristocratic heritage and learning.His sermons often modeled on Cicero; his ideas showed the influence of contemporary thinkers and philosophers; borrowed freely from pagan authors.Humanity, for him, was, above all, spirit. In order to think rightly of God and the human soul, the closest thing to God, no material reality at all was to be dwelt upon. He was an enthusiastic champion of consecrated virginity.Augustine held Ambrose in high esteem. And his mother, Monica, loved Ambrose as an angel of God who brought her son from his former ways and led him to Christ. It was Ambrose, after all, who placed his hands on the shoulders of the naked Augustine as he descended into the baptismal fountain to put on Christ.
48The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Western Church FathersSt. Augustine ( )Converted to Christianity in his 30sMade Bishop of Hippo at 41A prophetic voice in his timeWritings are still with us: Confessions, City of God, many books of scriptural exegesisFought against the heresies of his dayA Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).
49The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Western Church FathersSt. Jerome ( )Father & Doctor of the ChurchThe Church’s first great scriptural scholarTranslated the Bible from its original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) in Latin – the VulgateStudied in Rome, TrierA mystic, lived in a cave near BethlehemJerome – known for his bad temper, but his love for God and his Son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. Wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."Made a translation of the Bible (Vulgate). There’s probably nevber been anyone as qualified as Jerome.Jerome was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. He began his studies at his birthplace, Stridon in Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia). After his preliminary education he went to Rome, the center of learning at that time, and thence to Trier, Germany, where the scholar was very much in evidence. He spent several years in each place, always trying to find the very best teachers.After these preparatory studies he traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ's life with an outpouring of devotion. Mystic that he was, he spent five years in the desert of Chalcis so that he might give himself up to prayer, penance and study. Finally he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. On September 30 in the year 420, Jerome died in Bethlehem. The remains of his body now lie buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.
50The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Western Church FathersSt. Gregory the Great ( )Wealthy, aristocratic family; prefect of Rome at 30 - resignedFounded 6 monasteries in SicilyBenedictine monk – became one of Pope’s 7 deacons – AbbotAt 50 elected PopeFirm, direct, liturgical reformer, missionsFather of the medieval papacy that held Europe togetherPrefect of Rome before he was 30; resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk at Rome. Became one of the pope's seven deacons; served six years as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, and at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.Direct and firm; removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. Very concerned about conversion of England and sent 40 monks from his own monastery. Reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. "Gregorian" chant?Time of strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king. "It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great."
51The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Influential women in the early ChurchAugustine’s mother Monica is described beautifully in his biographical work ConfessionsConstantine’s mother, Helena, suffered much from the actions (including murder) of her son. She identified many of the holy sites in the Holy Land, saving them from destructionBenedict’s twin sister Scholastica also had an impact on the monastic movement especially among womenSt. Monica with St. AugustineTo sample the early Church Fathers, you might want to start with Augustine’s Confessions and then read a collection of letters of the Latin Fathers, especially those of the often irascible St. Jerome. The sermons of the Fathers also make fine reading and are available in books or online.St. HelenaSt. Scholastica
52Theological Influence of Augustine Augustine, born 354, convert from paganism; Bishop of Hippo, North Africa, – for 35 years!vs. Donatists, on the validity of sacraments administered by sinful ministers, esp. those who had lapsed under persecutionvs. Pelagians, on the priority of God’s grace over free will; on human nature created good, but corrupted by sin; original sinSt. Augustine
53Church Life in the Patristic Period Sacramental Life became more structured: Baptism (esp. infants), Eucharist (Latin Mass), Penance (more frequent, but private)Devotions to Mary and the saints became more popular: not “praying to” them, but asking for their intercession (“pray for us”)The Bible was “canonized” (list of OT & NT books settled); and translated into Latin (esp. the “Vulgate Bible” by St. Jerome, )The Church continued to grow; the deposit of faith was more clearly defined in its theology; liturgy
54Changing the Face of Europe Islamic threat grows – Northern Africa falls along with much of East. Invasions stopped in Spain.Islam posed a huge threat to Christianity, taking over much of the Holy Land and North Africa, where Christianity had been dominant. The Muslims were stopped on their way from Spain into the rest of Europe.