History Of The Church
THEOLOGY II 2nd SEMESTER EXAM
THE ROMAN EMPIRE
- The religion of Rome directly comes from the Greeks and has been passed down through generations ever since.
- As Rome grew and developed a large population, gods became more thought of as literary inventions rather than beings to pray to.
- Roman pagan cult worship began to grow throughout the republic.
- These cults began to blend with a number of foreign cults, these foreign cults were brought back to the republic mostly by soldiers. A prominent cult was the Mithraic cult, a cult designed for men that discussed virtues important for a solider.
- The next big influence on Rome was Stoicism.
- This philosophical school was the dominant moral philosophies and it dealt with the Roman sense of law, order and virtue.
- The Roman republic had transferred to an empire and therefor the population continued to increase drastically.
- This led to much economic uncertainty and many people did not know if they would have employment.
- One of the main things Rome is known for is Slavery.
- Many have said Rome would not be where is it today without the work of slaves, many worked as farm hands, manual laborers, and domestic servants.
- One religion that is much tied to the ancient world is Judaism.
- Much of Judaism was influenced by Greek thought and was believed by many Romans.
- Although Jews took up most of the population, Roman law, not mosaic law continued to govern society and Jews were held as second class to Roman citizens.
- The Jewish religion began with the covenant God made with Abraham and the worship began to develop as it filtered through the descendants of Abraham.
- The two main groups of the Jewish religion were the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the Sadducees were the elite and wealthy and the Pharisees were more known as a political reforming group. Both groups continuously show up throuought the bible
- The last group of Jews are the Essenes. This group left everything behind to go live a life of prayer in the desert. Their name means "healers' or "pious ones"
JESUS AND THE FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH
- Jesus has just been crucified by the Sanhedrin and the disciples have found themselves feeling very alone and afraid. Although they felt alone, God had not left them and ten days later his promise was fulfilled
- On the Jewish feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on to the disciples and filled them with its power so that they may fear no more.
- Those filled with the holy spirit were certain that the church of Christ would continue through eternity
- Jesus's followers continued his ministry throughout his death
- The last Apostle to die was St. John
- The Apostles initiated the Tradition of the Church and throughout their lifetimes were able to spread the word of God through their episcopal power.
- Throughout generations the Apostles have had the responsibility of protecting and spreading the word of God.
THE EARLY CHRISTIANS
- The development of the Christian faith took many years. Christ had died and left the faith in his followers hands to develop
- Early Christians began to develop the faith into their daily lives, this brought the formation of the faith
- The Christian faith remained closely related to the Judaism, many traditions and practices came from Judaism, however much of this changed after the council of Jerusalem
- Baptism was instituted by Jesus when he was baptised by St. John the baptised in the Jordan River
- And as Christianity grew, so did so did the instruction of baptism evolve.
- Usually those receiving baptism were older, this changed in the third century when the practice of baptising infants became universal
- Although many disagreed with the practice of infant baptism, such as Tertullian, it remained popular.
- It remained in use because of its ability to wipe away original sin and its incorporation of the child into the "Mystical Body of Christ."
- Early forms of Eucharist were known as Agape or "love"
- But to defer the Eucharist from being denigrated, the Agape became an evening celebration.
- After this, the ritual of the Mass began to develop
- Celebration of our Lord has always taken place, whether in homes, fields, or catacombs
- But it was not until the Edict of Milan that the building of Churches began to be built in abundance
- Apologetics or "defense" is a type of Theology used to defend and explain the Christian religion
- Many Church Fathers were Apologists during the second and third centuries
- Defense was mostly needed against Jewish and Pagan religion.
PERSECUTION OF "THE WAY"
- Many Romans carried much miss trust for Christians and their beliefs
- This resulted in many persecutions, and Martyrs.
- Through out the early development of the Faith, Christianity was known as "the Way" this coming from Jesus being referred to as the the way, the truth, and the Light.
- During these three hundred years of persecution under Nero's rule, thousands of Christians lost their lives
- Christianity is a religion well known to brutality and death and it wouldn't be till after the rule of Diocletian that that Christians would stop being thought of as criminals and minorities
- Despite this persecution, the Church flourished
- The Roman's began to be questioned of their harsh treatment of the Christians by a man names Pliny
- And in response only one harsh exception was made and that was only if the Christian denied their faith publicly would they be allowed to live
- The next to take the throne would be Hadrian, who was a devote Hellenist and solely believed in debate, art and philosophy
- Hadrian would began saving the Christians by declaring they could only be punished for violating a law
- this began religious toleration in Rome
- Despite its many set backs, with the help of emperor Constantine, the Church prevailed
- Constantine was friendly with the Christians and although not one himself, still had a strong faith base
- If it weren't for Constantine, the Edict of Milan, which restored property taken from the Church, would not have come to be and Christians would have been setback thousands of years
THE CHURCH FATHERS AND HERESIES
- Although the Church had just emerged from the battle of persecution, heresies began to knock them down once again
- This immersion of heresies was the cause for the creation of the Athanasian Creed
- A large heresy that took shape was Marcionism
- The founder of this heresy was Marcion, the son of a bishop who had moved the Black Sea port known as Sinope
- Marcionism was a mixture of Gnostic beliefs and the belief that the true God of Jesus Christ was supposed to bring demise to the Jewish God of law, the Demiurge
- He also considered St. Paul a legitimate church authority because of his teachings of freedom from law
- Although considered a heresy, Marcionism helped to develop the Catholic Church's cannon sacred scripture.
- In order to face the many challenges set forth by heresies, the church held many councils
- these were known as Ecumenical Councils
- there were many different types of councils, these included: Diocesan - a meeting of the bishop, clergy and some laity, Provincial - meeting of the archbishop with all bishops of the word, and lastly Plenary- summons all bishops of a nation
- Through out this battle came many leaders of the Church known as Church Fathers
- The church fathers all shared the common beliefs in holiness, notoriety, and antiquity
- Most famous of Church fathers includes: Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, St. Gregory the Great, St. Jerome, and St. Hilary of Poitiers
- St. Ambrose of Milan was born in Trier, Germany and was a zealous defender of the Church's independence from the State
- He is most well known for his stance against Emperor Theodosius
- Despite many beliefs, the Apostles creed was in fact not written by the Apostles but in stead Ambrose
- It is a profession of faith based on the new testament and is based upon a baptismal creed
- Born in northern Africa, St. Jerome led a very interesting life
- Spending almost five years in the desert, he led an ascentical life
- He translated the New Testament from greek and his feast day is celebrated on september 30th
- In the fourth and fifth centuries, the church experieced an age of no persecution and an immergance of amazing leaders
- Along with heresies, many inaccurate interpretations of the Gospel came about
- Depite that, two cities immerged with study and debate, these included Alexandria and Antioch
- From this came an advance in studies and denying of heresies from many developed scholars
- The Nicene creed came from the first ecuminical council in support of the Church against Arianism
- It is recited as a profession of faith and is a great use of unity for the eastern and western church
LIGHT IN THE DARK AGES
- During the fifth century, the Roman empire began to collapse, and this brought a period of decline.
- Throughout this decline, one thing stayed strong, the church
- The church now had to disassociate it self with the failing empire
- The sack of Rome brought a flood of new cultures and religions to the area of Rome
- This sack also brought the downfall of education
- With the absence of the empire, the Church had to establish itself
- One group that took over was the Huns, a powerful people with unknown origins
- These were powerful and scary people that devastated the empire
- this also brought the rise of Monasticism, or a life of prayer and self denial
- Monasticism started early with St. Paul and spread through out the west
- This rise brought a new christian culture
- It brought the rise of monasteries, and evangilization in rural areas
- with the monasteries came monks who taught and kept tradition
The Great Schisim
- The final split between the east and the west happened in 1054 and is considered one of the saddest chapters of church history
- the pope still however kept dual jurisdiction over both regions
- The east tended to diminish the importance of the Pope
- the east were split into two types of churches, the east was orthodox and the west was Catholic
- In 589, the words "and the son" was added to the Nicene creed which a resulted in a standing dispute
- The next battle was over the elevation of Photius to patriarch of Constantinople
- the pope did not agree with this decision and therefor was denied any recognition
- All of the above circumstances combined to end a millennium of peace between the east and west
The Crusades & The Inquisition
The inquisition resulted from the church leaders wanting to defend the orthodoxy of the church. During the middle ages the Catholic faith became dominant in Europe, this also brought many heresies against it. One main heresy against it was the Albigensian heresy which appealed to a misunderstood sense of Christian piety. Rather than establish the inquisition as a distinct tribunal, the pope hired special judges to examine certain opinions and conducts of some individuals. From the inquisition came a defended Catholic faith and many put down for their incorrect beliefs.
The High Middle Ages
- The black death spread through and lasted in Europe from 1347-1351 and would be considered the greatest demographic catastrophe to hit western Europe.
- Also known as the Bubonic plague, this illness spread through out Europe on flea ridden rats
- This plague diminished numbers in political, intellectual, and economic leadership of the population. By the end of the plague, all of Europe was as black and bleak as the disease itself
Hundred years war:
- The next major crisis to hit Europe was the Hundred years war was a series short battles between the English and French, lasting from 1337-1453.
- This conflict had arose during fourteenth century resulting from years of problems of inheritance, and conflicting economic interest.
- As a result of these wars the English left the french demoralized and subject to the English crown.
Joan of Arc
- Joan of Arc was born in Champagne on January 6th, 1412 and early enough by the age of 13, Joan was hearing voices and seeing visions of many saints trying to give her a message, that with God's help she would make Charles's coronation possible.
- By dressing in men's clothes, she was able to convince Charles of the sincerity of her mission, and she led many successful missions through out her leadership.
- Through the services of Joan of Arc the war stared to turn towards the French's favor and even through her capture and death she has remained a symbol of french unity an nation spirit.
The Protestant Reformation & English Reformation
English Reformation was a series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could remarry, the English king declared in 1534 that he alone should be the final authority in matters relating to the English church. He became the official head of the Church of England, and remarried according to his new rules. After Henry’s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI’s six-year reign and then endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I. In 1559 Elizabeth I took the throne and, during her 44-year reign, cast the Church of England as a “middle way” between Calvinism and Catholicism, with vernacular worship and a revised Book of Common Prayer. Along with the religious consequences of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation came deep and lasting political changes.
Exploration and Missionary Movements
The Age of Enlightenment
The Rise of soviet Communism, The rise of Nazism, Pope Pius & World War II
- The twentieth century was the bloodiest known in history with an estimated total of 188 million people killed due to war and revolt. This led to a rise of many ruthless political powers
- One of these being communism, Soviet Communism was one of the driving forces behind an international program of subversion, revolution, conquest, oppression, and religious and political persecution that cost millions of lives and threatened the peace and stability of the world for seven decades.
- Upon seizing power, the country's new masters set about cruelly suppressing political opposition and managed to establish tight socialist control over the country. Religious persecution was a major element of the Communist program.
The rise of Nazism
- One of the biggest challenges facing pope Pius was Adolf Hitler and his National socialist party in Germany
- Nazism was a blend of nationalist, totalitarianism, and racism all aimed particularly towards specific religions that they felt apposed him
- In 1933, Hitler became chancellor of Germany and his Nazi government soon assumed dictatorial powers. After Germany’s defeat in World War II, the Nazi Party was soon put down and many of its top leaders were convicted of crimes related to the murders of 6 million European Jews during the it's reign.
- Pope Pius Xll was a strong minded and determined pope who didn't foresee the end of war. He reigned in an era of crisis marked by global economic collapse, the spread of totalitarianism, and and increasing international conflict.
- Pius knew that world war II was a different type of war, and so therefore the Vatican could not be satisfied by simply acting as a voice of peace.
- Through out his papacy, Pius was able to use the church to fight against the Nazi's bu in a way that would also serve the lord, because of this many historians have given the Pius the name of "a righteous gentile"
Vatican II & Pope St. John Paul II
- At the midpoint of the twentieth century, the catholic church was united in doctrine, worship, and loyalty to the pope and bishops, and the catholic population finally growing
- At this point the church although strong, is facing different challenges, such as nuclear destruction from the cold war, also with the modern world, the church was now finding itself facing attitude changes towards matrimony, sexuality, and abortion
- This led to the start of the second Vatican council to discuss these new challenges
St. John Paull II
- Upon taking the position of pope, John Paul, experienced many challenges. Dissent and defections weakened catholic life, and resistance to papal and episcopal authority increased.
- He was best at writing and teaching. through out his papacy, he wrote 14 encyclicals and many other writings.
- An avid traveler, pop John Paul was one to get things done and also an amazing vocal advocate for human rights, John Paul often spoke out about suffering in the world. He held strong positions on many topics, including his opposition to capital punishment.
The Church of immigrants to the U.S, Slavery, The Church in the U.S. : Present and Future
- Because of immigration and higher birth rates, the growth of American Catholicism was remarkably rapid. Church leaders made heroic efforts to provide personnel and parishes, schools, convents, and other instructions to keep up with the expansion.
- Lay men became owners of parish property, administered parish affairs, and in some places began hiring their own pastors in defiance of the bishop.
- Although the U.S. government is committed by its constitution to religious toleration, starting in the 1830s Catholic immigration and rapid Catholic population growth were greeted by the rise of anti-Catholic Nativism.
- In 1844, 13 people were killed and two churches and a school were burned in Nativist riots in Philadelphia.
- Although Pope Gregory XVI condemned the slave trade in 1839, he had little to say on the subject.
- Of the four million slaves emancipated in 1863, an estimated 100,000 were Catholics, about 60,000 of those in New Orleans.
- Recent events have reopened the debate about whether American culture as its roots is or is not compatible with Catholic beliefs and values.
- The religious and secularist worldview's have both been part of the American experience from the time of the nation's founding.