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CH 510 – The History of Christianity 1

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  1. CH 510 – The History of Christianity 1 UNIT THREE – The Medieval Church Slides based in part on The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez

  2. The New Order

  3. Fall of the Western Roman Empire • Theodosius I was the last emperor to rule over a unified Roman empire (West and East) – 379-395; the empire was permanently divided after his death • Rome was sacked by the Visigoths (under Alaric I) on August 24, 410; first time in 800 years that it had been sacked by a foreign enemy • At the time it was no longer the capital of the western empire (being replaced by Mediolanum and later Ravenna), but it was still considered the “eternal city” and spiritual center of the Roman empire • The western empire officially ended with the abdication of Romulus Augustus (the last defacto emperor) in 476 under pressure from Flavius Odoacer who led a revolt against him • Odoacer would be considered the first “barbarian king” of Italy • The last de jure emperor was Julius Nepos (who died in 480)

  4. Barbarians

  5. The Huns • Confederation of Central Asian tribes, spread out across a large area of Eurasia • Established control over a large area of Eastern Europe under Attila’s rule (434-453) • Never settle in large numbers within the Roman Empire; preferred to raid it and leave its government to others • Precipitated the great migrations of the Germanic peoples into the Roman Empire, first the Goths, then others, in order to escape from them • Their empire broke up a year after Attila’s death

  6. The Vandals • Displaced by the Huns, the Vandals migrated down the north bank of the river Danube to escape them • After battling with the Franks, who controlled the northern Rhine regions, they were able to walk across the river Rhine when it froze in the cold winter of 406-7, and invade Gaul • In 409, the Vandals moved into Spain, where they tried to settle but were dislodged by the Visigoths • In 429,under King Genseric, the Vandals moved on to North Africa, in part of the complicated political maneuvering of the dying Roman empire, when different groups would be promised lands in return for military aid to different court factions • They were at the gates of Hippo as its bishop, Augustine, was dying

  7. The Vandals • Established a kingdom in North Africa after the conquest of Carthage in 439 • Eventually the Vandal kingdom also included Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica and the Belearics • In 455, the Vandals sacked Rome (the second time it was sacked) • The Vandals were Arian Christians, and so their rule was disastrous for the church in North Africa • The Vandal kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War (533-4), when Justinian I managed to recapture N. Africa for the Eastern Roman Empire

  8. The Goths • Long-standing traders with and mercenaries for the Roman Empire, who were settled in large numbers on the north bank of the Danube • Converted to the Arian faith by the half-Goth missionary, Ulfilas (Wulfila) • In 376, the Goths came under aggressive attack from the Huns • Their leader came to an agreement with the Emperor Valens that they would be given lands and allowed to settle south of the Danube • However, Valens reneged on his promise (because of a famine), inciting the Goths to wage war with the empire (Gothic War, 378-382) • In 378, the Goths decimated the Roman field army at the Battle of Adrianople, killing Emperor Valens • The Goths were inside the empire to stay; divided into Visigoths (“Western Goths”) and Ostrogoths (possibly translated as “Eastern Goths”) during the 5th and 6thcenturies • From then on, they alternately made peace with various Roman emperors and generals and were double-crossed by them

  9. Ulfilas (ca. 310-383)

  10. Ulfilas (Wulfila) • Name means “Little Wolf” in Gothic • Half-Goth, Half-Greek from Cappadocia • Ordained bishop by Eusebius of Nicomedia during the height of the Arian controversy; sided with Arianism • Returned to his people to work as a missionary • Given permission by Constantius II to migrate with his converts to Moesia (Bulgaria) to escape persecution • From there he translated the Bible from Greek into Gothic, for which he devised the Gothic alphabet • Converted many of his people to the Arian faith

  11. The Creed of Ulfilas I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in one God the Father, the only unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten son, our Lord and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him (so that one alone among all beings is God the Father, who is also the God of our God); and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49) and again "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8); being neither God (the Father) nor our God (Christ), but the minister of Christ ... subject and obedient in all things to the Son; and the Son, subject and obedient in all things to God who is his Father ... (whom) he ordained in the Holy Spirit through his Christ.

  12. The Visigoths • Migrating westward, the Visigoths would sacked Rome under their king, Alaric, in 410 (the incident that led Augustine to write his City of God); they then temporally settled in Gaul • In 415, the Visigoths were asked by Honorius to help drive the Vandals out of Spain • They settled in the Aquitaine by 418, the nucleus of what would become, by 475, an independent Visigothic kingdom covering most of the Iberian peninsula (modern-day Spain) • Though they were Arian Christians, they did not persecute the orthodox to the extent that the Vandals did; relied on the conquered orthodox inhabitants of their territories as the guardians of ancient culture (providing a measure of stability) • The conversion of King Recared (586-601) to Nicene orthodoxy meant the conversion of the majority of Visigoth nobles; Arianism would soon disappear on the Iberian peninsula • Third Council of Toledo (589) added “filioque” to the Nicene Creed as a measure against Arianism

  13. The Ostrogoths • A second group of Goths from around the Crimean rebelled against Attila in the early 450s • Under Theodemir, they dealt the final blow to the Huns by defeating the sons of Attila at the Battle of Nedao in 454 • They initially joined up with the other Goths south of the Danube, eventually settled along the Dalmatian coast • The Byzantine emperor Zeno commissioned the Ostrogoths to take back Italy from Odoacer, who had deposed the last nominal Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus, in 476 • Their great general, Theodoric, invited Odoacer to a banquet in 493 and killed him at the table • “Theodoric the Great” (454-526) then set up his own rule in Italy, with his capital in Ravenna; his mausoleum survives, together with several churches he had decorated with beautiful mosaics • After the death of Theodoric, the Kingdom of Italy was conquered by Justinian I in the Gothic War of 535-554

  14. The Franks • A loose confederation of Germanic tribes who inhabited the Upper Rhine • Raided the Roman Empire from time to time (3rd-5th centuries); many Franks would join the Roman legions from the mid-fourth century • Further displaced in the early fifth century, partly by skirmishes with the Vandals, Sueves and Alans, as the latter made their way down the Rhine to escape from the Huns, and partly by the Huns themselves • They spread into Northern Gaul, following and continuing to skirmish with the other tribes

  15. The Franks • The Franks were finally united under the Merovigians (Dynasty started by Meroveus) • Two successful leaders, Childeric (who reigned c.457 – 481) and his son Clovis (who reigned 481-511), established Frankish dominance more securely • By the 6th century the Franks had subdued the Burgundians, ruling most of Gaul (France) north of the Loire • Clovis (the grandson of Meroveus) married a Burgundian princess and on the eve of battle promised to convert to Christianity if his wife’s God gave him victory; Clovis was baptized on Christmas day (496) • Clovis' decision to convert to the Nicene version of Christianity in 496 was decisive for its re-establishment in Western Europe, as the Frankish kingdom continued to prosper

  16. The Merovigians & Carolingians • The Merovigians would go on to found one of the most enduring monarchies to replace the old western Roman empire (developing later into the Carolingians); one of the most active forces in the spread of Christianity over western Europe • By the eighth century, the Carolingian Empire would come to dominate most of western Europe • This empire would eventually evolve into France and the Holy Roman Empire

  17. The Burgundians • Burgundians: East Germanic tribe, initially from Scandinavia • In 369, Valentinian I enlisted the help of the Burgundians to fight against another tribe, the Alamanni • They crossed the Rhine and entered the empire in the early 5th century with other tribes of the great Germanic migration (e.g. Vandals); settled in southern and central Gaul • They had a stormy relationship with the Romans, who used them to fend off other tribes, but were suspicious of their Arianism; often raided border regions and expanded their territories when possible • Converted to Catholicism circa 500 AD • Conquered by Clovis of the Franks in 534; the Burgundians were largely absorbed into the Frankish kingdom

  18. The Lombards • Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origins • By the 5th century they had migrated and settled in the valley of the Danube River • Justinian I had re-taken Italy from the Ostrogoths in the Gothic War of 535-554 • However, by 568 the Lombards conquered Italy under the leadership of Albion, setting up a Lombard Kingdom in Italy (later named the Kingdom of Italy) • In 774, the Lombard kingdom would fall to the Franks, though Lombard nobles would rule parts of the Italian peninsula until the 11th century • Largely pagan; their initial conversion to Christianity was nominal and largely incomplete; while allied to the Ostrogoths they were Arian; pressure to embrace Catholicism after the conquest of Italy

  19. The Angles, Saxons & Jutes • The Angles came from Angeln (north Germany), the Saxons from Lower Saxony, and the Jutes from Jutland (Denmark) • The first started arriving in south-east Britain from the 440s • The Angles may have been initially invited by the Britons to help protect them from the raids of the Picts and Scots; over the next two centuries they gradually extended across the north and west of what would eventually be called “England” • Language: “Old English” (Ingvaeonic), a West Germanic language • Anglo-Saxon period: 550-1066 (Norman conquest) • Christianization of the Anglo-Saxons began around 597 and was nominally completed by 686

  20. The Scots (Irish) • Mentioned by the fourth-century Roman historian AmmianusMarcellinus as perpetuating countless attacks on Roman Britain, along the western coast • After the withdrawal of the Roman legions in the early years of the fifth century, these attacks increased • The west of Scotland, Argyll and the Isles, was settled by Scots from Ulster (Northern Ireland) in the late fourth and early fifth centuries • Territorial control over western Scotland grew imperceptibly over the next few centuries, helped by the monastic connections of powerful characters such as Columba of Iona

  21. The Britons • After the withdrawal of the Roman administration in the early fifth century, the Britons were relatively vulnerable • Raided from the North by the Picts, from the West by the Scots/Irish, and from the East by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes (many of whom, ironically, may have been invited over by the Britons as mercenaries) • The Britons were steadily pushed West by the Angles/Saxons over the ensuing centuries, into Strathclyde, Wales and the West Country (Cornwall) • A number of them settled in Brittany (northern France), which was itself, however, subject to Scots/Irish raids

  22. Christianization of the British Isles

  23. Withdrawal of Roman legions • Christianity had existed in Britain even before the conversion of Constantine • Glastonbury, located near the mouth of the Severn River, is one of the earliest Christian holy places in Britain • Latin-speaking British bishops were present at the Council of Arles (314) • By the end of the fourth century, Roman troops were gradually removed from Britain (mostly by imperial usurpers seeking to make their fortunes in Gaul) • Result was the vulnerability of the Romano-Celtic inhabitants (the Britons), who had to defend themselves first against their pagan neighbors (to the North and West) and then against invading Angles, Saxons and Jutes • The country reverted back to tribal organization and towns depopulated as the Germanic invasions turned into full-blown occupation

  24. Invasion of Britain (beginning in the 5th century)

  25. Germanus of Auxerre(378-448)

  26. Survival of “Celtic” Christianity • Bishop Germanus of Auxerre made to visits to Britain at the request of colleagues there (429 and 444-5); to combat Pelagianism, and to lead a British force against a joint Saxon and Pictish invasion in the north • However, over the course of the century, Christianity was driven farther and farther west, until confined to Cornwall, Wales and Strathclyde • Conversion of Ireland is associated with a Briton named Patrick (389-461)

  27. St. Patrick ca. 389-461

  28. The Career of St. Patrick • A Romano-Briton (not Irish!), probably born somewhere in western Britain or Wales • Son of a Christian deacon named Calpurnius • Kidnapped by Irish pirates as a young man, and put to work as a slave • Escaped after six years; Patrick ended up in Gaul where he trained for the priesthood • Eventually returned to Ireland as a missionary bishop • In 431, Pope Celestine had dispatched Palladius to be bishop for “the Scots (Irish) who believed in Christ”; he died within a year • Patrick was sent to replace him

  29. Patrick’s Career • Patrick was noted for having won significant converts among local royal families of Ireland • Established territorial bishoprics (on tribal basis) rather than dioceses, since “cities” of Romano-Gallic society did not yet exist in Ireland • Introduced communal ascetic life to Ireland; after his death these monastic communities would become the pastoral centers of the Irish church • The abbots of these communities typically belonged to royal families of the various tribes, and were often (but not always) bishops as well • In this way the Irish episcopate was monastically based and essentially tribal, rather than territorially based (as was the rest of the catholic world)

  30. Celtic Christianity • Monastic communities would become the foci of pastoral and missionary work • Also become the centers of learning, the arts and education • Irish monasticism influenced the parallel development in Wales – St. Illtyd (d. 535) and St. David (d. 560) • During the time of Patrick, British Christianity extended northwards into the territory above Hadrian’s Wall through the efforts of St. Ninian • The conversion of Scotland proper (north of the Clyde and Forth) was the work of monastics from Ireland • The inspiration behind these missions was St. Columba (521-597)

  31. St. Columba (or Colum Cille)

  32. St. Columba’s career • A member of the royal family of O’Neill of Connaught; educated at the abbey at Clonard • Tradition holds that a dispute with St. Finnian over a copy of a manuscript of a psalter led to pitched battle at CúlDreimhne in 561 in which many were killed; Columba was threatened with excommunication by a synod; St. Brendan interceded for him and it was agreed to send him into exile • Columba vowed to convert as many people in Scotland as had been killed in battle • Columba and twelve companions eventually established a community on the island of Iona in 563 (under the patronage of King Dalriada of Argyleshire) • Iona would become the center for the conversion of the Picts

  33. Conversion of Northumbria • The missionary work of Iona continued after Columba’s death and began to extend to pagan Anglo-Saxon settlers of NE England by the 7th century • King Oswald of Bernicia, having been raised among the converted Scots and Picts (while in exile), summoned help from Iona upon regaining his throne in 633 • The response was from St. Aidan of Iona, who established a monastery on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (634) • Aiden also trained the brothers Chad and Cedd, who worked for the conversion of Mercia and the East Saxons respectively

  34. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms • Northumbria (Northern England) • Mercia (Central) • East Anglia (East-Central) • Wessex (South & West) • Kent (Southeast)

  35. St. Augustine of Canterbury ca. 530-605

  36. The Mission of Augustine • In the same year that Columba died (597), Augustine arrived in southeastern England to establish a mission for Kent and East Anglia • Augustine had been sent by Pope Gregory the Great to take advantage of the new political situation there • King and Bretwalda (High King) Ethelbert of Kent had married a Christian Frankish princess by the name of Bertha • Augustine baptized Ethelbert on Easter Day in the year 601 • Established his see in Canterbury, and two others in Rochester and London • The mission fell apart after the deaths of Augustine (605) and Ethelbert (616), but would be revitalized in the second half of the 7th century

  37. Celtic Christianity v. Roman Christianity • The northern missions were structured according to the Irish model; the Saxons missions in the south were structured after the Roman territorial model • The southern missions were also consciously loyal to Rome and to the papacy • Many obvious and definable differences between the two traditions, particularly in liturgical practice, including the dating of Easter and difference in monastic tonsure • The entire ethos and organization of Celtic Christianity was different from that of the Roman mission

  38. Council of Whitby (663) • King Oswy of Northumbria called for a council to resolve the matter for his kingdom • Whitby on the North Sea was chosen as the site; St. Hilda (d. 680) had established a double monastery there • Arguing the Roman cause was Wilfrid, abbot of Ripon; while Colman of Lindisfarne argued the case for the Celtic tradition • When King Oswy learned that the bishop of Rome was the successor of Peter (and held the keys to heaven) , he decided in favor of the Roman discipline • The decision resulted in eventually bringing the whole of England under Roman obedience • This decision would have momentous consequences for the reform of European churches through the proliferation of monastic communities on the continent that continued in the spirit of Irish missionary endeavors

  39. Benedictine Monasticism

  40. Benedict of Nursia (480-547) • Family belonged to the old Roman aristocracy; grew up under Ostrogoth rule in Italy; familiar with the tensions between Arianism and orthodoxy • At the age of 20 he resolved to become a hermit • Established 12 monastic communities east of Rome before moving his base of operations to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy • Benedict’s greatest significance was not in the founding of an order, per se, but in the writing of the Rule for his community at Monte Cassino

  41. Benedict’s Rule • Two elements: permanence and obedience • Monks were bound to their monastery for life, unless ordered to go to another place • Monks were to obey the Rule and their abbot “without delay” • Core of monastic life was prayer; eight periods of prayer (or “eight hours”) were assigned throughout the day • Matins/Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline • Devoted to the recitation of the Psalms, Scripture reading, other devotions • The Lombards destroyed Monte Cassino in 589; the monks fled with the Rule in hand • Benedict’s Rule became widespread as it caught the attention of Pope Gregory the Great; went with Augustine to England

  42. The Rise of the Papacy

  43. Origins of the Papacy • Most scholars agree that Peter visited and was martyred in Rome; however, it is unclear that he established any form of lasting hierarchy there • The Roman church during the Imperial Era was important, though the theological influence of North Africa was arguably just as important during this time • The barbarian invasions brought an upsurge in the authority of the Roman papacy; • In the West, the church was regarded as the guardian of ancient civilization; and the western church’s most prestigious bishop became the focal point for regaining Christianity’s hold on Europe

  44. Important Roman Popes • Leo the Great (440-461) – Attila the Hun; Vandals; Sack of Rome (455) • Hilarius (461-468) – Schism with the East • Hormisdas (514-523) – Ended schism with Constantinople • Benedict I (575-579) – Held the Lombards at bay • Pelagius II (579-590) – Bought the Lombards off; appealed to the Franks • Gregory the Great (590-604) – One of the most important popes in history; Gregorian reforms; Mission to England

  45. The Arab Conquests • Expansion under Muhammad (622-632) • Expansion under the Rashidun Caliphate (632-661) • Expansion under the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750)

  46. The Eastern Church

  47. The Eastern Empire and the Faith • In the East, the Empire continued for another thousand years • Often beleaguered by foreign invasion; autocratic emperors who kept a tight reign on ecclesiastical leaders • Civil interventions in ecclesiastical matters, particularly theological debates; appeals to the emperor in doctrinal disputes was common • Emperors often made theological decisions based on political considerations; leading to even greater acrimony • Theological controversy became the hallmarks of eastern Christianity in the Middle Ages; issues at stake were often central to the Gospel • Decisions made in the East (even with little participation in the West) were regarded as normative for the whole Church • First permanent schisms within Christianity

  48. Christological Controversies • The Councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381) had settled the matter of the divinity of the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity • Subsequent controversies would focus on the question of how the two natures – divinity and humanity – were joined in Jesus Christ

  49. Two Sides of the Same Coin Antiochene Christology Alexandrian Christology Emphasis on the divine nature Insisted that Jesus had to be fully (psychologically) divine Revered Athanasius, who taught that the incarnation involved the union of the Logos with the bodily dimension of human nature Mono-phusis(one nature) • Emphasis on the human nature • Insisted that Jesus had to be fully (psychologically) human, therefore the Godhead “dwelt” in him • Early teacher: Diodore of Tarsus • Duo-phusis(two natures)

  50. Apollinaris of Laodicea (d. 390) • Friend and supporter of Athanasius and the Nicene faith • Largely responsible for converting Basil of Caesarea to the homoousian position • Christology was driven by the desire to affirm that Christ, the divine Son, was immediately present to transform and divinize the sinful mortality of the human creature • Taught that the true “ego” (or life-principle) in Jesus was simply the Logos himself • Impossible to assert that the divine Son united with a complete, normal human being, for that would require the union of two competing wills, two minds, two selves, and hence two Sons, human and divine • The unity of Christ would be destroyed; God would not be “with us”