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History of the Catholic Church A 2,000-Year Journey.

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Presentation on theme: "History of the Catholic Church A 2,000-Year Journey."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of the Catholic Church A 2,000-Year Journey

2 Part 2 The Church of the Fathers ( ) Church History

3 3 Constantine’s Rise to Power  Diocletian forced to resign -- disintegrating government and disgust over bloodbath he had unleashed  Constantine 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 battle  His victory effectively gave him control of the Empire Constantine at Milvian Bridge

4 4 Constantine – 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

5 5 Constantine’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

6 6 Positive Effects of Constantine’s rule  Christianity transformed from a persecuted minority religion to an official religion of the Empire  Bishops given honors and were allowed to function as judges  More humane punishments  Building of new churches with public money  Christians influence society in positive ways  New converts  Monasticism developed rapidly  Peace allowed a persecuted church to be secure Pope Sylvester I and Constantine

7 7 Crisis 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 reasons  State influence over the Church increased  Some in Church began to identify less with powerless and poor  Pagan custom was prohibited and state persecuted pagans and those considered heretics

8 8 The Church Grows  By 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

9 9 Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria [c ]  Confessor and Doctor of the Church  Fathers of the Church and Bishops gradually filtered through the early Christian texts  Athanasius, 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 Testament  Church Councils confirmed the list

10 10 Our 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.

11 11 And with Growth, Came Problems  Growth brought organizational complexity: local synods, regional synods  After he became the sole Emperor, in 324 AD, Constantine turned his attention to divisions in the Church.  Greater challenges came from the heresies of Gnosticism and Arianism  The Council of Nicaea was called primarily to address Arianism  He was faced first with the Donatist Schism in Africa and learned quickly that the council of bishops was an efficient instrument of Church government

12 12 Councils – Explaining Our Faith  Doctrine developed in the face of controversy and persecution  Challenges and splinter groups led to clarification and expression of church teachings  Councils were an effective way to clarify major theological disagreements that threatened Church unity  Followed Apostolic model, and must be convened or recognized by the Pope

13 13  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. The Great Heresies [ A.D.] Augustine refuting heretic

14 14  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. The Great Heresies [ A.D.] Pelagius

15 15 Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.)  When the Arian crisis arose, a great council was the first move to restore order  Nicaea was unique: a general, not a local, council  Nicaea 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 faithful Council of Nicaea

16 16 Nicaea & Arianism  Arius, an Egyptian, declared that Jesus was a created being  This contradicted settled Church teaching that went back to the Apostles  The 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.  The result did not change Church teaching or Christian belief – it only clarified it. Arius

17  These Germanic (or Gothic) peoples weren’t attacking so much as being pushed into the empire in sheer panic.  The cause? The Huns! 17 Barbarians and the Fall of Rome  Rome didn’t fall in one catastrophic event ( )  Last roman emperor (Romulus Augustulus) deposed in 476 by Odoacer  But this wasn’t the real cause of the fall – that came about when masses of barbarians overflowed the northern and eastern borders. Visigoths sack Rome in 410 A.D.

18 18 Huns Move West - Unstoppable  From north of China  After failing to defeat China, entire people marched 6,000 miles west  Every tribe in Eurasia fled in panic, forcing them further west into the Roman empire  Fierce tactics, mobility, Mongolian features – generally a scary bunch  Camped in Pannonia (Hungary) and seemed to settle down  Then Attila came to the throne – ambitious, genius, ruthless – planned a great Asiatic empire to replace the Roman Empire Hun Officer & Soldier

19 19 Attila: The Scourge of God  A man of contradictions - skilled at manipulating people  Used 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 Europe  Forced Romans and Visigoths to form an alliance (451) which held Attila at the Battle of Chalons – so he headed south…toward Rome! Attila

20 20 The Aftermath Rome’s experience with Attila and his Huns led to two conclusions: 1.The pagan gods had been unable to save Rome, while the Christian Church had 2.Romans 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 off Battle of Chalons

21 21 More to come… Serious problem remained:  Germanic tribes hostile to Rome and Church – most had been evangelized by Arians  Tribes differed widely in character  Some settled down peacefully (Switzerland)  Some (Vandals) devastated the Empire; settled in N. Africa and terrorized Mediterranean for 100 years  One group – the Franks – would be the most influential for the future of civilization and Christianity Vandal Gaiseric Sacks Rome (455)

22 22 Vocation of the Franks  Franks had remained pagan  St. Clotilda (Burgundian princess) married Frankish chief, Clovis, in 493  Devoted couple although Clovis was pagan, children Catholic  In 496 Clovis converted before the Battle of Tolbiac in which he defeated the Alemanni  This began the alliance of the Kingdom of Franks with the Church – and formed the heart of Catholic civilization in the West Clovis & St. Clotilda

23 23 Changing the Face of Europe  Odoacer dethrones last emperor in West (476 A.D.)  West deteriorates into multitude of barbarian kingdoms  The Church was the only organized institution  Even where barbarians did not destroy the Empire’s infrastructure, they had no clue how to maintain it  Cities eventually disappeared  Although pagan barbarians adopted Christianity, their ignorance and low morals actually lowered society’s standards  Conversion of Frankish king, Clovis, leads to conversion of barbarians – common religion brought some unity

24 24 Christianity Suffers & Regroups  Not all converts were ideal Christians  Pope St. Leo I horrified to see visitors to St. Peter’s performing ritual signs to Mithra  Clerical abuses rose – celibacy became rare in many areas  Even 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.  Ireland bright spot – St. Columbanus created centers of holiness in Gaul and Italy; Irish monks kept the faith alive in a sea of barbarism St. Columbanus

25 25 The “Dark” Ages For Catholics, the early Middle Ages are not dark ages so much as ages of dawn  Conversion of the West to Christianity  Foundation of Christian civilization  Creation of Christian art and literature  Catholic liturgy  Age of Monks – from Desert Fathers to the great monastic reforms of Cluny (West) and Mt. Athos (East)

26 26 Christianity & the Late Empire  Historical revisionists claim Christianity rejected classical civilization – even sought to destroy it – and thus inaugurated the Dark Ages  Truth: Christianity not at all the cause of the decline of late Roman culture  Last flowering of classical literary culture – largely the work of Church Fathers  No pagan writers of the period could rival such greats as John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose  The Church’s monasteries alone saved classical civilization from the total eclipse it would otherwise have suffered

27 27 Causes of Decline  In 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 defense  Pressures exerted by moral and consequent political decay, plague, warfare, and demographic decline  The Church’s monasteries alone saved classical civilization from the total eclipse it would otherwise have suffered  In 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

28 28 The Dark Ages: Italy  Theodoric effective ruler; used educated Romans (Cassiodorus & St. Boethius)  Kept up the infrastructure  An Arian, but initially cordial with the papacy  Angry with Eastern Emperors for opposing Arianism – sent Pope John I as emissary  Bad tempered – killed St. Boethius and Pope John Theodoric (d. 526) The Ostrogoths and Theodoric

29 29 The Dark Ages: Italy  Wrote the “Consolation of Philosophy” when in prison  Translated Aristotle into Latin  Formulated the doctrine of one person, two natures  The last Roman and the last lay writer for centuries to come Boethius St. Boethius (d. 524)

30 30 The Dark Ages: Italy  In 533 Emperor Justinian defeated the Ostrogoths  After Justinian’s death the Lombards established a powerful kingdom in Northern Italy  They soon conquered almost the entire peninsula – except for Rome, Naples, Venice & Ravenna  Their rise to power was accomplished in part through savage atrocities  They ruled Italy for almost 200 years Lombards The Lombards

31 31 Changing the Face of Europe  Church must assume much of the role of the state  Gregory the Great [d. 604] increases power of papacy to fill vacuum of civil leadership

32 32 St. Columba & St. Theodore – Converting England  In 563 and a small band of monks founded a monastery on the island of Iona off Scotland  Converted the savage Picts on the mainland  Columba’s disciple, St. Aidan, established monasteries in Northumbria  Followed by Sts. Finnian and Colman, by 664 the area was largely converted.  In 669 St. Theodore, a Greek monk, was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury  Founded 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 Alcuin St. Columba

33 33 Irish Monks Lead the Conversion of Europe  In 590 St. Columban and 12 companions went to Burgundy where they founded 3 monasteries  For 20 years they led the people to Christ through preaching and lives of self-denial  Columban, expelled by the local royalty, went to Italy, leaving a trail of monasteries behind him – all followed the Columban Rule  St. 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 century  St. Willibrord (d. 739), a York Benedictine, carried the faith to the Frisians. Founded monasteries throughout Northern Europe St. Columban

34 34 The Dark Ages: England  Represents the highest point in intellectual culture in the West from the fall of Rome to the 9 th century  Entered the monastery (Jarrow) at age of seven and never left  Thrived 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 History  Died as he finished translating Gospel of John into Anglo Saxon St. Bede St. Bede the Venerable ( )

35 35  Even before the 4th century a new kind of Christian witness emerged from North African deserts  Began 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 silence Monastic Movement  Anthony 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

36 36 Eastern Monasticism  Eremitic monasticism (isolated “monks” or hermits living “alone” in the desert  Life of hermits developed into ascetic competition  Anthony: 1 st Eastern monk  Basil, bishop of Caesarea, condemned the eccentricities of the hermits and encouraged them to live in community and pursue intellectual endeavors and care for the poor Western Monasticism  Cenobitic: “brothers” or “sisters” living in communal “monasteries”  Jerome: intellectual effort to understand Scripture; Vulgate translation  Augustine: wanted his clergy to adopt the hallmarks of monastic life, particularly celibacy  John 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. Monastic Movement

37 37 The Desert Fathers Why did they do it?  The example of Jesus  Striving for holiness in an unholy world – constant bombardment by moral depravity  To come into union with God through undistracted prayer and labor  A mass movement of disheartened urban Christians  To fight Satan  A new kind of Martyr St. Anthony of Egypt

38 38 Western Monasticism St. Jerome  St. Jerome – great Scripture scholar; translated Scripture into Latin (Vulgate); had major impact on monastic intellectual life  St. Augustine – after his conversion wanted his clergy to adopt the hallmarks of monastic life, particularly celibacy

39 39 Western Monasticism  John Cassian – formed a bridge between the monks of the east and the West. Discretion became the prime focus of monastic life. St. Benedict  Benedict – 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. John Cassian

40 40 St. Benedict To 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. Benedict St. Benedict Montecassino Abbey

41 41 Impact of Monasticism  Rise of Monasticism in the West starting with the founding of Montecassino by St. Benedict  Western monasticism became the major carrier of Western civilization during the early Middle Ages  Monasteries provided islands of learning and culture and Faith  Benedictines ran nearly 2,000 hospitals throughout Europe

42 42 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636)  They were the most influential theologians & writers in the early Church  Generally during the period from the 2nd through the 7th centuries  These early thinkers and preachers more clearly defined Church teaching through the interpretation of Scripture and Tradition Early Church Fathers Who were the “Church Fathers”?

43 43 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church Fathers St. Athanasius ( )  Council of Nicaea (425)  Bishop of Alexandria -- Exiled and deposed five times for fighting against Arianism  Friend of St. Antony of the Desert – wrote his biography – boon to the growth of monasticism

44 44 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church Fathers St. Gregory of Nazianzus ( )  Bishop of Caesarea  Father & Doctor of the Church  Strong defender of the Faith against Arianism  Close friend of St. Basil  Called to restore the faith as Bishop of Constantinople

45 45 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church Fathers St. Basil the Great ( )  Father & Doctor of the Church  Founder of monasticism in Asia Minor  Archbishop of Caesarea  Close friend of Gregory of Nazianzus  Took on the job as defender of the faith when Athanasius died  Remarkable pastor and preacher – one of the great teachers of the CHurch

46 46 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636) Great Eastern Church Fathers St. John Chrysostom (d. 407)  Father & Doctor of the Church  Most famous as a preacher  From Syria, but called to be bishop of Constantinople  Challenged the wealthy and immoral and was constantly persecuted for his orthodoxy  Eventually exiled by the Empress and died in exile

47 Great Western Church Fathers St. Ambrose ( )  Father & Doctor of the Church  Bishop of Milan  Staunch defender of the Church’s independence from secular rule  Converted Augustine  Learned, classically educated  Contemplative, spiritual 47 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636)

48 Great Western Church Fathers St. Augustine ( )  Converted to Christianity in his 30s  Made Bishop of Hippo at 41  A prophetic voice in his time  Writings are still with us: Confessions, City of God, many books of scriptural exegesis  Fought against the heresies of his day 48 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636)

49 Great Western Church Fathers St. Jerome ( )  Father & Doctor of the Church  The Church’s first great scriptural scholar  Translated the Bible from its original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) in Latin – the Vulgate  Studied in Rome, Trier  A mystic, lived in a cave near Bethlehem 49 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636)

50 Great Western Church Fathers St. Gregory the Great ( )  Wealthy, aristocratic family; prefect of Rome at 30 - resigned  Founded 6 monasteries in Sicily  Benedictine monk – became one of Pope’s 7 deacons – Abbot  At 50 elected Pope  Firm, direct, liturgical reformer, missions  Father of the medieval papacy that held Europe together 50 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636)

51 51 The Age of the Church Fathers Patristic Period (AD 95 – 636)  Augustine’s mother Monica is described beautifully in his biographical work Confessions  Constantine’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 destruction  Benedict’s twin sister Scholastica also had an impact on the monastic movement especially among women St. Scholastica Influential women in the early Church St. Helena St. Monica with St. Augustine

52 52 Theological 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 persecution  vs. Pelagians, on the priority of God’s grace over free will; on human nature created good, but corrupted by sin; original sin St. Augustine

53 53 Church 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

54 54 Changing the Face of Europe  Islamic threat grows – Northern Africa falls along with much of East. Invasions stopped in Spain.

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