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CH 510 – The History of Christianity 1. UNIT THREE – The Medieval Church Slides based in part on The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez. The New Order. Fall of the Western Roman Empire.

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ch 510 the history of christianity 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

fall of the western roman empire
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)
barbarians the goths
“Barbarians” – The Goths
  • Goths: East Germanic tribes originating from Scandinavia;
    • Pushed eastward by Huns invading Gothic territories from Asia; stopped the advancement of the Huns (under Attila) at the battle of Chalons (451)
    • Converted to the Arian faith by the half-Goth missionary, Ulfilas (Wulfila) in the 4th century
    • Gothic War of 375-382 resulted in the Roman defeat at Adrianople (378)
    • Divided into Visigoths (“Western Goths”) and Ostrogoths (possibly translated as “Eastern Goths”) during the 5th and 6th centuries
barbarians the visigoths
Barbarians – “The Visigoths”
  • Defeated the Romans at Adrianople (378)
    • The Visigoths under Alaric I sacked Rome in 410, before finally settling in Gaul
  • By 415, they had settled in Spain and would not be removed until the Muslim invasion in the 8th century
  • They were Arian Christians, though 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
barbarians ostrogoths
“Barbarians” – Ostrogoths
  • Under Theodemir, they dealt the final blow to the Huns by defeating the sons of Attila at the Battle of Nedao in 454
  • After the collapse of the Hunnic empire in 455, the Ostrogoths under Theodoric the Great moved east eventually into Italy
  • Theodoric established the “Kingdom of Italy” – a relatively short-lived empire that replaced the Western Roman Empire
  • After the death of Theodoric, the Kingdom of Italy was conquered by Justinian I in the Gothic War of 535-554
barbarians the vandals
“Barbarians” – The Vandals
  • Vandals: East Germanic tribe that entered the Roman empire in the 5th century
    • Under King Genseric, the Vandals entered N. Africa in 429, and established a kingdom there by 439 (Conquest of Carthage)
    • The Vandal kingdom also included Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica and the Belearics
    • In 455, the Vandals sacked Rome (a second time)
    • The Vandals were Arian Christians, and so their rule was disastrous for the church
    • The Vandal kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War (533-4), when Justinian I managed to recapture N. Africa for the Eastern Roman Empire
barbarians the franks
“Barbarians” – The Franks
  • The Franks: A western Germanic tribal confederation, living north and east of the Rhine River
  • Raided Roman territories from the 3rd-5th centuries; other Franks joined the Roman legions in Gaul
  • United under the Merovingians in the 5th century, they conquered nearly all of Gaul from the Burgundians by the 6th century
  • Clovis (the grandson of Meroveus) married a Burgundian princess and on the eve of battle promised to convert to Christianity in his wife’s God gave him victory; Baptized Christmas day (496)
  • The Merovigians would go on to found one of the most enduring monarchies to replace the old western Roman empire (developing later into the Caroligians); 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
barbarians the lombards
“Barbarians” – The Lombards
  • 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
barbarians the burgundians
“Barbarians” – 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
barbarians the angles saxons jutes
“Barbarians” – The Angles, Saxons, & Jutes
  • Germanic tribes that invaded Britain beginning in the early 5th century; following the withdrawal of the Roman legions in 410
    • Angles – from Angeln (in north Germany)
    • Saxons – from Lower Saxony (in Germany) and the Low Countries
    • Jutes – from the Jutland Peninsula (Denmark)
  • 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
withdrawal of roman legions
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, who had to defend themselves first against their pagan neighbors (to the North and West) and then against invading Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians
  • The country reverted back to tribal organization and towns depopulated as the Germanic invasions turned into full-blown occupation
survival of celtic christianity
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)
    • 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, ended up in Gaul, then back to Ireland as a missionary
the career of st patrick
The Career of St. Patrick
  • In 431, Pope Celestine dispatched Palladius to be bishop for “the Scots (Irish) who believed in Christ”; died within a year
  • Patrick was sent to replace him; won significant converts among local royalties
  • 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)
celtic christianity
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)
st columba s career
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 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
conversion of northumbria
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
the anglo saxon kingdoms
The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
  • Northumbria (Northern England)
  • Mercia (Central)
  • East Anglia (East-Central)
  • Wessex (South & West)
  • Kent (Southeast)
the mission of augustine
The Mission of Augustine
  • In the same year that Columba had reached Iona (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
celtic christianity v roman christianity
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
council of whitby 663
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
benedict of nursia 480 547
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
benedict s rule
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
origins of the papacy
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
important roman popes
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
the arab conquests
The Arab Conquests
  • Expansion under Muhammad (622-632)
  • Expansion under the Rashidun Caliphate (632-661)
  • Expansion under the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750)
the eastern empire and the faith
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
christological controversies
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
two sides of the same coin
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)
apollinaris of laodicea d 390
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”
apollinaris christology
Apollinaris’ Christology
  • A “trichotomy” of the divine mind, and a human body & soul




Human Body/Soul

apollinaris views attacked
Apollinaris’ views attacked
  • Gregory of Nyssa – Against Apollinaris
  • Gregory of Nazianzus insisted that since it is not merely the flesh which sins, but soul and mind as well, it was necessary for the divine Logos to take a complete human nature, intellect as well as ensouled body
  • Condemned by a Roman synod in 377 and by a synod in Antioch in 379
  • Council of Constantinople included Apollinarianism in its lengthy list of erroneous teachings to be condemned (Canon 1)

“For that which he has not assumed he has not healed, but that which is united to his Godhead is also saved.” (Gregory of Nazianzus)

  • Initially, the Antiochene position was articulated by Diodore of Tarsus and his pupil, Theodore of Mopsuestia
  • The Antiochene opposed Apollinarianism’s teaching that the Christ is “one composite nature,” objecting that this negated what they wanted to affirm – namely that in Christ were TWO SUBJECTS of action and predication – TWO NATURES and TWO HYPOSTASES
  • This position was too much for those who embraced the Alexandrian position
  • The elevation of Nestorius to the patriarchate of Constantinople in 428 brought this issue to a head
  • Prosopic union : One “Prosopon” (i.e. face) – Unity of Indwelling

“The Logos”

Complete Divine Hypostasis

“The Man”

Complete Human Hypostasis

nestorian controversy
Nestorian Controversy
  • Early on in Constantinople, Nestorius delivered a sermon in which he condemned the use of Theotokos(God-bearer) as a title for the Virgin Mary
    • “That which is formed in the womb is not…God”
    • “God was within the one who was assumed”
    • “The one who was assumed is styled God because of the One who assumed him”
    • More appropriate to refer to Mary as “Christotokos”
  • Nestorius’ views were reported to Cyril of Alexandria, a strong supporter of the Theotokos position; Cyril had been looking for an occasion against Nestorius over a case in which Nestorius had reversed a judgment of Cyril in the case of some Egyptian monks
cyril of alexandrian champion of alexandrian christology
Cyril of Alexandrian: Champion of Alexandrian Christology
  • “One incarnate nature of the divine Logos”
  • The one Lord Jesus Christ was identical to the only begotten Son of God, who was “enfleshed and became a human being”
  • Therefore, there could only be ONE subject, one nature and one hypostasis, that of the Divine Logos
  • The humanity of Christ, body and soul, was a mode of existence which the Logos made his own through his birth of a woman; the humanity could not be separated from the Logos as “another” beside him
  • Nestorius understood Cyril to be saying that the humanity and the divinity had somehow been fused into Christ into something that was no longer either divine or human
council of ephesus 431
Council of Ephesus (431)
  • Called by Theodosius II in the East and Valentinian III in the West
  • Cyril and his allies were the first to arrive and quickly condemned Nestorius before his supporters could stop him
  • John of Antioch (Nestorius’ main support) was delayed in getting to Ephesus and thus convened his own council to condemn Cyril and exonerate Nestorius
  • Finally, the delegates of Pope Celestine (Rome) joined the Cyrillian assembly and proceeded to add John of Antioch to the deposed
  • The two sides were at an impasse with Theodosius unsure as to what to do
formula of reunion
Formula of Reunion
  • In 433, John of Antioch sent Cyril his text called the Formula of Reunion, which admitted to the use of Theotokos, and also that Christ was “complete God and complete human being” and that a “union of two natures had occurred, as a consequence of which we confess one Son.”
  • Cyril signed it with enthusiasm; Nestorius’ cause was now lost, and he was exiled: the Cyrillian assembly at Ephesus was vindicated
  • However, the document turned out to be a compromise which each side; by 438, Cyril was convinced that the Antiochenes had been duplicitous; he then wrote against the teachings of Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia
  • The stage was set for a renewal of acrimony
the aftermath of the council of ephesus 431
The Aftermath of the Council of Ephesus (431)
  • Formula of (Re)Union (433) – Both John of Antioch and Cyril of Alexandria agreed to it
  • Victory for the Alexandrian position: “Monophysite” language; exile of Nestorius
    • “One (monos) incarnate nature (phusis) of the divine Logos.”
    • Theotokos language was upheld as orthodox
  • Truce with the Antiochenes: “Complete God and complete human being” language
  • Both sides suspected duplicity and recriminations soon began
controversy flares up again
Controversy flares up again
  • Cyril’s condemnation of the teachings of Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopseustia, which many Antiochene signers of the Formula of Reunion still honored
  • Cyril dies in 444, succeeded as bishop of Alexandria by Dioscorus, who had little regard for the Formula
  • The new bishop of Constantinople was Flavian (447-449), who supported the Formula but was inclined towards the Antiochene position
eutyches 380 456
Eutyches (380-456)
  • Popular leader of a monastery in Constantinople and the principle support of Dioscorus of Alexandria in that city; influential in the imperial court
  • Accused before Flavian at a synod of teaching that the human nature of Christ was altered or absorbed by his deity
  • Eutyches refused to admit that Christ’s humanity was the same (homoousios) as ours, famously maitaining that Christ was “from two natures before the union, but in one nature after the union”
  • Eutyches was condemned by the synod but made an immeidate appeal to the imperial court, which then proceeded to demand that Flavian, not Eutyches, produce a confession of faith!
  • Back in Alexandria, Dioscorus called for and obtained an imperial summons for a general council
prelude to chalcedon
Prelude to Chalcedon
  • Both Flavian and Dioscorus appealed to Leo Iof Rome (440-461)
  • Leo responded to Flavian in a long and carefully argued letter (Leo’s Tome) that Eutyches was an extremely foolish and altogether ignorant man
  • Leo appealed to the baptismal creed of the Roman church to substantiate the traditional western view that Christ has two substances or natures that remain intact and come together in “one person”
  • Leo’s Tome would prove to set Rome against its normal ally, Alexandria, in favor of a more Antiochene-friendly christology
prelude to chalcedon1
Prelude to Chalcedon
  • Theodosius II called for a council to meet at Ephesus in 449
  • Dioscorus and his supporters took all necessary steps to predetermine the outcome
    • Flavian was condemned; Eutyches vindicated
    • Leo’s Tome was denied a reading
    • Flavian died of suspicious circumstances on the way to exile
  • Rupture of the ancient alliance between Rome and Alexandria results
    • Leo calls the council a “robbers’ synod”; calls for a new council to be held in Italy
    • Theodosius II refuses; then accidentally dies in 450
  • The new empress, Pulchera and her husband, Marcian agree to a new council to be held in Chalcedon (451)
council of chalcedon 451
Council of Chalcedon (451)
  • Fourth council to be called “ecumenical”
  • Acted quickly to depose Dioscorus and Eutyches (a “win” for the Antiochenes)
  • Rehabilitated Antiochene supporters of the Formula of Reunion (a “win” for the Antiochenes)
  • Canonized the Second Letter of Cyril of Alexandria to Nestorius and his letter affirming the Formula of Reunion as adequate expositions of the meaning of the Nicene Faith against the errors of Nestorius (a “win” for the Alexandrians)
  • Crafted a formula composed largely of phrases and ideas drawn from Cyril’s letters, Leo’s Tome, and the Formula of Reunion (a “draw” between Alexandria and Antioch with Rome coming out on top)
chalcedonian definition
Chalcedonian Definition
  • Does not define the union (i.e. how it took place)
  • Set limits beyond which error lies, for example:
    • Nestorius had gone too far in not admitting to the unity of person
    • Eutyches had gone to far in not admitting the distinction of natures

“…One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, manifested in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The union does not destroy the difference of the two natures, but on the contrary the properties of each are kept, and both are joined in one person and hypostasis.”

aftermath of chalcedon
Aftermath of Chalcedon
  • Became the standard orthodoxy of the entire Western church and most of the East
  • The cause of the first long-lasting schisms in Christian history
    • Nestorians (Syrian Churches of the East)
    • Monophysites (Church of Armenia; Coptic Church)
  • Christological differences became both the cause and the excuse for political discord in the empire
  • Emperor Zeno’s Henoticon (482) attempted to settle the christological disputes by requiring all to go back to the beliefs held prior to the controversy – failure of imperial policy resulting in the Acacian Schism (between East and West)
    • Schism healed in 519
further christological debates neo chalcedonianism
Further Christological Debates: Neo-Chalcedonianism
  • “Controversy of the Three Chapters” – Justinian I sought to regain the allegiance of his Monophysite subjects who rejected Chalcedon by condemning the writings of three hated Antiochene theologians who Chalcedon had failed to condemn: Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ibas of Edessa and Theodoret of Cyrrhus (the latter two explicitly accepted as “orthodox” by Chalcedon)
  • Second Council of Constantinople (553) – eventually considered the “Fifth Ecumenical Council”
    • Condemned the “Three Chapters” (the writings, not the theologians who wrote them)
    • Resulted in a “Neo-Chalcedonian” orthodoxy summarized in the phrase “One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh”
    • Failed to satisfy those who wished to see the decisions of Chalcedon withdrawn
the neo chalcedonian doctrine of en hypostasis
The Neo-Chalcedonian Doctrine of “En-Hypostasis”
  • Teaching of Leontius of Jerusalem at the Second Council of Constantinople
  • The doctrine that the human nature of Christ has no hypostasis (principle of concrete existence) of its own but exists “in” the hypostasis of God’s Son
  • Hallmark position of “Neo-Chalcedonian” orthodoxy
further christological debates monothelism
Further Christological Debates: Monothelism
  • Greek monos(one) and thelema(will)
  • Monothelite position: Christ had but one will; the divine will taking the place of a human will
  • Yet another attempt to reconcile the Monophysites to imperial orthodoxy, but considered by many to deny the full humanity of Christ
  • Supported by Pope Honorius (of Rome); later declared a heretic for this position
  • The debate was interrupted by the Arab conquests that overran Syria and Egypt
  • Third Council of Constantinople (681) – the sixth to be called “ecumenical” – condemned this view
further christological debates iconoclasm
Further Christological Debates: Iconoclasm
  • From earliest times Christians had used art and images in worship; some bishops expressed concern for idolatry at times
  • In the eighth century, several Byzantine emperors attempted to avert the misuse of images as objects of worship (idolatry)
  • Constantine V called a council in 754 that forbade the use of images in worship altogether
    • Response to Islamic threat (strong teaching against physical representations)
    • Desire to curb the power of monks in the East (who were almost unanimous in their support of Icons
    • Iconoclasts (“destroyers of images”) vs. Iconodules (“worshippers of images”)
iconoclasts vs iconodules
Iconoclasts vs. Iconodules
  • Iconodules: If Jesus were truly human, and in him God had become visible, how could one object to representing him?
  • Iconoclasts: The second commandment condemns all visible representations of the divine
  • The Second Council of Nicaea (787) – the seventh and last to be considered “ecumenical” – settled the dispute in favor of the Iconodule position:
    • Distinction between latria and dulia: worship due only to God, and honor (veneration) afforded images (or other things like people)
  • “Triumph of Orthodoxy” (842) – the definitive restoration of images to the churches
  • Nicaea II receives cool reception in the West; eventually affirmed
coronation of charles king of the franks on christmas day 800
Coronation of Charles, King of the Franks, on Christmas Day, 800
  • “May God grant life to the great and pacific emperor!” (Pope Leo III)
charlemagne s reign king of the franks 768 814 emperor of the romans 800 814
Charlemagne’s Reign (King of the Franks, 768-814; Emperor of the Romans, 800-814)
  • When Leo II crowned Charles “emperor” (in 800) most of western Christendom was already under his rule
  • His campaigns against the pagan Frisians and Saxon in northern Europe had been long and bloody, often resulting in forced baptism; he had accomplished the forced conversion of the Frisians by 784 and that of the Saxons by 785
  • Began the long process of reconquering the Iberian peninsula (Spain) from the Islamic Moors
  • As emperor, Charles began a program of both civil and ecclesiastical reform throughout Europe
    • Benedict of Aniane (Monastic reform; proliferation of Benedictine ideals)
    • Alcuin of York (theological/liturgical reform)
    • Theodulf of Orleans (educational reform)
decline of the carolingian empire late 9 th century
Decline of the Carolingian Empire (late 9th Century)
  • Many monasteries had been sacked and destroyed by Norsemen and Hungarians
  • Many of the unaffected abbeys became the personal means of aggrandizement for nobles or bishops
  • Rule of Benedict generally ignored; violence in the monastery was rife
    • Either violence from ransacking pagans
    • Or violence of conscience, and even murder
cluniac reform
Cluniac Reform
  • In 909, Duke William of Aquitaine founded a small monastery and called a devout monk named, Berno, to become its abbot
  • At Berno’s request, William’s favorite hunting ground at Cluny was set aside for lands to sustain and support the monastery
  • Cluny was deeded over to “Saints Peter and Paul” – thus placed under the direct jurisdiction and protection of the Pope; prevented the interference of other bishops and nobles
  • The deed also forbade popes from invading or otherwise taking what belonged only to the two holy apostles
  • At first the monastery only sought to keep Benedict’s Rule in its entirety; but eventually sought to reform other houses as well
  • Result was a network of “second Clunys,” directly under the authority of the abbot of the main house; each house was appointed a “prior”
abbots of cluny
Abbots of Cluny
  • Berno (909-926)
  • Odo (926-944)
  • Aymard (944-965)
  • Mayeul (965-994)
  • Odilo (994-1049)
  • Hugh (1049-1109) – under whom reform of women’s monastic communities took place
  • Pontius (1109-1122) – Period of decline
  • Peter the Venerable (1122-1157) – Period of revival
cluniac life
Cluniac Life
  • Divine Office (Hours of Prayer): Cluniacs came to spend practically their whole time at the Divine Office
    • At the high point of the movement 138 Psalms were sung in a single day
    • This was technically a departure from the Rule, but justified by arguing that monk’s function was to pray and praise God
  • The typical duties of labor within the monasteries were given over to oblates
  • In time, the Cluniacs would extend their reforming zeal to the entire church
  • Three solemn vows: Celibacy, Obedience, Poverty
  • In time, the massive accumulation of wealth by Cluniac monasteries would be a main cause of their decline
cistercian reform
Cistercian Reform
  • In the late 11th century, Robert of Molesme founded a new monastery in Citeaux (Cistertium in Latin)
  • Eventually the community of Citeaux gave rise to a wave of monastic reform similar to that of Cluny over a century before
  • The great figure of Cistercian reform was Bernard of Clairvaux, who brought a group of friends with him when he presented himself to the monastery for admission in 1113
  • Later, Bernard would be told to found another monastery in Clairvaux
the need for papal reform
The need for Papal reform
  • The sin of “Simony” – the purchase or perceived purchase of ecclesiastical office
  • Clerical abuses: disuse of clerical celibacy, practice of taking “concubines”, immodesty, and accepting benefices from lay people
  • The Controversy over Lay investiture – i.e. the control over clerical appointments by European monarchs
commencement of the period of papal reform 11 th century
Commencement of the period of papal reform (11th century)
  • In the year 1048, three reform-minded monastics – Bruno, Hildebrand, and Humbert– would enter Rome as “pilgrims” for the election of the new pope; each opposed to the practice of simony and each committed to papal reform
  • Bruno had been offered the papacy by the western emperor, but refused his offer; once there, if elected by the people, he would accept
  • Bruno was elected, and chose the name “Leo IX” – beginning the program of reform by promoting clerical celibacy and the abolition of simony, advancing the cause of reform north of the Alps
  • In time, Humbert would become a chief advisor and theologian to many of the reforming popes; responsible for the system of election by the “college of cardinals”
  • Hildebrand would eventually be elected pope, and choose the name Gregory VII
reforming popes of the 11 th century
Reforming Popes of the 11th century
  • Leo IX (1049-54) – Great Schism (1054)
  • Victor II (1055-57) – Convened the Second Lateran Council against clerical abuses
  • Stephen X (1057-58)
  • Nicholas II (1058-61) – Attacked the practice of lay investiture and attempted to consolidate the papacy’s political independence of German, Roman and Italian rulers
  • Alexander II (1061-73) – Extended papal authority through political alliances, particularly with the Normans, including sanctioning the Norman conquest of England in 1066
  • Gregory VII (1073-85)
the great schism 1054
The Great Schism – 1054
  • Leo IX’s reforming zeal and concern for the authority of the Roman see ultimately brought his career to a tragic close, including a final and irrevocable break with Eastern Christianity
  • His two gravest errors were: (1) making war against the Normans in Sicily and being taken captive (1053); (2) sending Humbert to represent him as legate to Constantinople, leading to the Great Schism
  • Contributing factors to the Schism: Long-held jealousies between the two patriarchates (Rome & Constantinople); differences in custom, culture and political allegiances
  • The patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, determined to assert the authority of his see over the other eastern patriarchates, and to establish its equality and independence in relation to Rome
  • An rare political alliance between Emperor Constantine IX (East) and Henry III (West) prompted the emperor to demand that Cerularius write the traditional “synodical letter” to the pope in Rome, which he had failed to do at his succession
the great schism 10541
The Great Schism – 1054
  • Cerularius was not willing to write the letter; instead he closed all churches of the Latin rite in Constantinople, hoping to destroy the new political alliance between East & West
  • In 1053, Cerularius persuaded Leo of Ochrida to address a letter to the western churches criticizing them for illicit “Frankish” customs, including the use sunleavened bread in the Eucharist and fasting on Saturday
  • Upon Leo IX’s capture by the Normans, Cerularius changed his tune and wrote a more conciliatory letter (now that Byzantine territories in Italy were in danger); Leo responded by sending a delegation to Constantinople
  • Leo sent Humbert and two other legates who bore a letter from Leo (that Humbert had actually written) which was uncompromising in its tone
the great schism 10542
The Great Schism – 1054
  • Cerularius, despite the emperor’s desire for conciliation, chose to ignore the legates and to question their credentials (the announcement had just come in that Leo had died)
  • On July 16, 1054, Humbert went into Hagia Sophia, made a public protest against the behavior of Cerularius, and then laid upon the altar a sentence of excommunication against him that ranked him “with the devil and his angels” and ended with a triple “Amen”
  • The action of the legates was received with satisfaction in the West despite its dubious legality (Leo was dead); Cerularius seems to have thought that he got what he wanted as well
  • The schism has not been formally healed to this day
hildebrand gregory vii r 1073 85
Hildebrand – Gregory VII (r. 1073-85)
  • One of the last of Leo IX’s reforming cardinals to survive, Hildebrand had be a central figure among the papal counselors of the era
  • As a Roman himself, he was equally devoted to the honor of the city and the authority of the papal office; single-minded in his resolve for reform
  • In his work DictatusPapae, Hildebrand had contended that the pope (not the emperor) was “Vicar of Christ.”
    • “The Roman Church was founded by God alone.”
    • “The Roman Pontiff alone can with right be called ‘universal’.”
    • The Roman Pontiff “alone can depose or reinstate bishops.”
    • The Roman Pontiff “alone may use imperial insignia” (since he alone is the true successor of Constantine
    • “That it may be permitted him to depose Emperors.”
    • “That he himself may be judged of no one.”
    • “That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.”
gregory vii hildebrand
Gregory VII (Hildebrand)
  • The principles he laid out in DictatusPapae were not new:
    • Found in two earlier works of forgery: Donation of Constantine and the Pseudo-IsidorianDecretals
    • He was, however, the first pope to insist on these principles as a practical program of reform, which his successors would put into effect
  • In 1075, Henry IV made an appointment to the archbishopric of Milan; Gregory answered immediately with a stern letter of rebuke
  • Henry then summoned a council to meet in Worms (January 1076), where a large portion of the German bishops joined in denouncing Hildebrand and rejecting his authority as pope; supported by the Lombard bishops
  • Gregory replied by holding a Roman synod in February 1076 that excommunicated Henry, forbade him to exercise royal authority in Germany and Italy, and released all of his subjects from their oaths of allegiance
pope vs emperor
Pope vs. Emperor
  • Henry IV answered in a letter of defiance calling Hildebrand “now no pope, but a false monk” and demanding that he relinquish his office and make room for “another who will not cloak violence with religion.”
  • In the end, Henry could not sustain his opposition, for the pope’s decree had undermined the German bishops and given license for rebellion to the king’s enemies in Germany
  • A synod of lay nobility held a synod in October 1076 declared that unless released from excommunication within a year, Henry would be deposed
  • Henry met Gregory while crossing the Alps in winter, and for three successive days presented himself barefoot, as a penitent, before the castle gate at Canossa; Gregory lifted the excommunication in January 1077
pope vs emperor1
Pope vs. Emperor
  • This threw Henry’s enemies into disarray; civil war broke out
  • A second decree of excommunication and deposition went out against Henry in 1080, but this time Henry prevailed, and this time had Gregory deposed at a synod in Brixen, and appointed a new pope – Clement III (an “anti-pope”)
  • Henry went on to take control of Rome and had himself crowned “emperor”; Gregory went into exile to Monte Cassino
  • Upon his death, Hildebrand declared the his successor would be the aged abbot of Monte Cassino, who took the name Victor III
  • The next pope, Urban II, would regain the city of Rome and expel Clement III
  • Schism would continue under Urban’s successor, Paschal II (1099-1118)
gregory vii s legacy
Gregory VII’s legacy
  • Gregory had achieved much for the prestige and authority of the papacy
  • Though the papal schism would persist for a number of years, eventually it would be the papacy, not the German empire, that would turn out to have gained control over the headship of Latin Christendom
  • Callixtus II (1119-24) would end the dispute over lay investiture – (separation of powers)
    • Prelates would be elected freely, according to ancient custom, but in the presence of the emperor or his representatives
    • Only proper ecclesiastical authority could invest prelates with the symbols of their office
    • Only civil authorities could confer feudal rights, privileges and possessions
medieval heresies the cathars
Medieval Heresies – The Cathars
  • Cathars – “Pure Ones,” a dualist heresy teaching a doctrine of two opposing divine principles or even two gods existing in open warfare from eternity; sometimes called “Medieval Manichees” (a misnomer, though much affinity)
    • May be related to the eastern Bogomil heresy
    • One sacrament (consolamentum): “baptism by the Spirit,” not with water but by laying on of hands; custom of wearing black robes
    • Chose to call themselves simply “Christians” or “Good Men”
    • Receiving the consolamentum: a sign of one’s perfection and entrance into the elect; most chose to defer until death was near
    • Also called “Albigenses,” from the town of Albi in France
    • By 1200, the Cathars of southern France and northern Italy were a serious threat to the established church
medieval heresies the waldenses
Medieval Heresies – The Waldenses
  • Unlike the Cathars, the Waldenses originated in no conscious hostility to the church
  • Founder: Peter Waldo (more accurately Valdes), a wealthy merchant of Lyons; the name “Peter” was added by his followers of the late 14th century to link Waldo to the first apostle
peter waldo
Peter Waldo
  • Impressed by a song about St. Alexis sung by a traveling minstrel, Waldo asked a master of theology “the best way to God.” The theologian quoted him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heave; and come, follow me” (Matt 19:21)
  • Selling all that he had, and making provision for his wife and endowing his daughters for life, he literally put this counsel into practice
  • He procured vernacular translations of scripture passages and the fathers and walked the streets preaching a life of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
  • Many thought he was mad, but he gained a following for his vita apostolica
  • He soon aroused the suspicion and hostility of the archbishop and clergy of Lyons; Canon law restricted preaching to clergy
waldenses a k a waldensians
Waldenses (a.k.a. Waldensians)
  • Waldo and his followers appealed to the Third Lateran Council, who laughed at them as ignorant laymen but did not pronounce them heretics
  • Pope Alexander III applauded their devotion to poverty but denied them the right to preach without first securing permission from their bishop
  • At first they obeyed the restriction, but when permission was not granted they began to interpret the refusal of their right to preach as the word of man over against that of God
  • They were excommunicated in 1182 and expelled from Lyons
  • The “Poor of Lyons” made their way to NE France and into Germany, and southward into Lombardy
  • Condemned along with the Cathars in 1184 at the Council of Verona by Pope Lucius III
foreshadow of the protestant reformation
Foreshadow of the Protestant Reformation?
  • Waldensian beliefs:
    • The Bible, particularly the New Testament, was the sole rule of belief and life; every prescription must be followed to the letter
    • Preachers went out “two by two” in simple woolen robes, barefooted or wearing sandals cut in a special pattern
    • Preached repentance unto life; rejected all oaths and shedding of blood
    • Renounced marriage and all worldly goods; maintained themselves through contributions of their sympathizers (“friends”, “believers”)
    • Did not consider episcopal ordination necessary; woman as well as men were granted the right to preach
    • Lay celebration of the Lord’s Supper was permitted in regions where the sacrament was not readily available from a Catholic priest
prelude to the crusades
Prelude to the Crusades
  • European Expansionism
  • Conversion of Vikings and Magyars (Hungarians) removes pressure on Europe; raids subside around 1000
  • Agricultural advances increase food supply
  • Cluniac Reform – 11th century
  • Great Schism – 1054
  • Battle of Hastings – 1066
  • Capture of Toledo from Moslems – 1087
  • Capture of Sicily from Moslems – 1091
the crusades causes
The Crusades: Causes
  • Rise of the Seljuq Turks in 1037, a Turkic-Persian, Sunni-Muslim empire
  • Battle of Manzikert, 1071, meant that the Byzantines would eventually lose Anatolia to the Turks
  • Loss foreshadows eventual end of Byzantine Empire
  • Turks begin to disrupt pilgrim traffic to the Holy Land
urban ii calls for crusade 1095
Urban II calls for Crusade (1095)
  • Purposes:
    • Drive Turks from Anatolia
    • Place the Eastern empire (and the Eastern patriarchate) under obligation to the West (and to the Pope)
    • Heal the Great Schism
    • Capture the Holy Land from the Muslims and restore it to Christendom
first crusade 1097 98
First Crusade (1097-98)
  • Achieved all major objectives in Holy Land
  • Set up the “Kingdom of Jerusalem” and other Crusader states in the Levant
  • Turkish threat blunted, though not eliminated
  • Area was not actually strategic to Moslems, could have been held indefinitely with a little skill.
  • Initial gains would be lost through diplomatic bungling, as Crusaders attempted to destabilize their neighbors
second crusade 1145 48
Second Crusade (1145-48)
  • Called by Pope Eugene III
  • Occasion: The Fall of Edessa
  • Complete military fiasco for the Crusaders
  • Discredited the “invisible” reputation of the Crusaders
  • Only military success was the recapture of Lisbon (Portugal) from the Moors (the Crusaders were en route to the Holy Land and stopped to help a much smaller Portuguese army)
third crusade 1189 91
Third Crusade (1189-91)
  • Called by Gregory VIII
  • Occasion: the Fall of Jerusalem to Saladin, the Fatimid ruler of Egypt and Syria
  • Involved Richard I of England, Phillip II of France, Frederick I of Holy Roman Empire
  • Restored many of the coastal possessions of the Crusaders (the city of Acre), but not Jerusalem
fourth crusade 1199 1204
Fourth Crusade (1199-1204)
  • Called by Pope Innocent III in 1198, went largely ignored at first
  • To pay for crusade, the Crusaders sought financing from the Venetians
  • When they arrived at Constantinople they were not well received; Crusaders then sacked Constantinople in 1204
  • Any chance to heal the Great Schism were utterly lost
  • (In 1453, when attacked by Turks, Byzantines preferred surrender to asking Rome for aid)
other crusades
Other Crusades
  • Fifth Crusade (1218-19)Capture of Damietta which the Crusaders swapped for Jerusalem; tried to capture Egypt, but were routed
  • Sixth Crusade (1229) – Frederick II of Germany negotiated a ten year treaty and the return of Jerusalem
  • Seventh Crusade (1248-54) – Nearly an exact repeat of the Fifth Crusade
  • Eighth Crusade (1270) – Much of the expedition diverted to Tunisia, so never reached objective; the final Crusader states in Palestine would fall by 1291; one remaining island stronghold would holdout 1303
the spanish reconquista1
The Spanish Reconquista
  • Ancient Visigothic kingdom of Spain had fallen to the Moors in the eighth century; the remnants of it being relegated to the northern region of Asturias
  • The Franks under Charles Martel would stop the eastward advance of the Moors at the Battle of Tours (ca. 732)
  • The “unification” of Christian of Spain began with the “discovery” in northern Spain of the tomb of Saint James (Santiago) in the ninth century; the road to Santiago brought northern Spain into constant contact with the rest of Christian Europe
  • The last great caliph of Cordova died in 1002 saw the division of Muslim lands into a multitude of petty kingdoms, leaving them vulnerable to Christian encroachment
the spanish reconquista2
The Spanish Reconquista
  • By 1085, the Spanish kingdom of Castille had taken Toledo from the Muslims; causing the Moors to reinforce from North Africa
  • In 1212, a coalition of Christian kings joined in defeating the Moors at the Battle of Navas de Tolosa; by 1248 the only Moorish state on the Iberian Peninsula was the kingdom of Granada
  • In 1492, Granada fell to Ferdinand (of Aragon) and Isabella (of Castille)
consequences of the age of the crusades
Consequences of the Age of the Crusades
  • Distrust between Christians and Muslims
  • Distrust between Latin and Byzantine Christians (permanent division)
  • Weakening of the Byzantine Empire; finally fall in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks
  • Enhanced power of the papacy, which gradually grew in its international authority during this period
  • Contact with the Holy Land influenced Christian piety, devotion and liturgy; veneration of relics gained momentum
  • Monastic ideal took on a militaristic form: Templars, Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta; Knights Hospitallers)
  • Violent suppression of heretical groups: Bogomils, Cathars, Waldenses
  • Re-introduction of Aristotle to the West (Maimonides and Averroes)
  • Trade as a new source of wealth; the emergence of cities and the bourgeoisie
factors that contributed to the emergence of the mendicants
Factors that contributed to the emergence of the Mendicants
  • Movement of populations to cities
  • Growth of a monetary economy; growing chasm between rich and poor
  • Traditional parish ministry not as adaptable to the growing spiritual needs of people in contrast to the adaptability of monasticism
  • The emergence of the mendicant (“beggar”) orders both responded to a more urban population and challenged the mores of the monetary economy
  • A forerunner of the mendicant orders was Peter Waldo and his followers (Waldenses); condemned as heretics in 1184
st francis of assisi 1182 12261
St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)
  • Giovanni Francesco di Bernardon – “Little Frenchman”
  • Son of a wealthy merchant
  • Profound religious experience led him to embrace a life of poverty; gave all he had to the poor
  • Imprisoned by his father; the local bishop finally ruled that he must give up his inheritance; lived as a hermit in the woods
  • In 1209 he began to combine his love of poverty with the vocation of preaching; poverty became a means of identifying with the poor and the sick
  • Gained a small following in Assisi, who then went to Rome to ask for authorization from the pope (Innocent III)
  • Innocent III approved his order in 1210
  • The Friars Minor – “Order of Lesser Brothers”
  • A sister order for women – the “Poor Clares” – would be founded by St. Clare on Palm Sunday, 1212
  • Third Order of Penitents and Tertiaries
  • Francis’ will forbade his followers to possess anything or to appeal to the pope to have his Rule made less stringent
    • Later disputes over the authority of the will would cause controversy within the order; in 1230, Pope Gregory IX would declare the will non-binding
  • Francis voluntarily gave up leadership of his movement at a meeting of the general chapter in 1220 and knelt in obedience to his successor; then he retired to the chapel that he had rebuilt in his youth; Francis died in 1226
st dominic 1170 12211
St. Dominic (1170-1221)
  • Domingo Félix de Guzmán – born in Caleruegain Castille to an aristocratic family
  • After ten years of study in Palencia, Dominic became a canon at the cathedral in Osma;
  • After four years as a canon, the cathedral chapter dissolved to follow the monastic rule of the Canons of St. Augustine, meaning that they lived as a monastic community without withdrawing from the world
  • In 1203 he visited southern France and was moved by the success of the Cathars (Albigensians) and the efforts to convert them to Catholicism by force
  • Convinced that there were better ways to convert the Cathars, Dominic began a mission to preach and teach orthodoxy
the dominicans
The Dominicans
  • Joining a disciplined life of monasticism with rigorous study and preaching proved to be a powerful combination to combat heresy
  • The archbishop of Toulouse gave him a church in which to preach as well as a house in which to organize a monastic community
  • He went to Rome in 1215 to request permission from Innocent III to found a new order; the pope refused because he was concerned about the proliferation of different monastic orders
  • The pope encouraged him to continue his work and to adopt one of the existing monastic rules; Dominic and his followers chose the rule of the Canons of St. Augustine, but adapting the rule to their own needs
  • The also adopted the rule of poverty and mendicancy, following the early Franciscans, in order to refute the Cathars (Albigensians)
  • The new pope, Honorius III, granted the formation of the Order of Preachers (OrdoPraedicatorum) in January 1217.
the mendicant orders in the universities
The Mendicant Orders in the Universities
  • The Dominicans founded houses in the major theological universities of Paris and Oxford
    • Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas would bring great prestige to the order in intellectual circles
  • The Franciscans also established a foothold in the universities, albeit somewhat later
    • Alexander of Hales joined the Franciscans in 1236


Thirteenth Century

  • Name given to the theological systems and methodologies that developed in the various “schools” of the high middle ages
  • Early roots were in the monasteries; but later (12th century) the cathedral schools became centers of theological activity; by the 13th century, the universities supplanted the cathedral schools
anselm of canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury
  • Born in Italy; reputable teacher at the Norman abbey of Bec; Archbishop of Canterbury (1093)
  • Author: Proslogion
    • The “ontological argument”
    • His approach: “Faith seeking understanding”
  • Author: Cur Deus Homo (“Why God became Man”)
    • Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement
the latin averroists
The “Latin Averroists”
  • Mainly members of the Arts Faculty of the University of Paris
  • Embraced the “new” philosophical ideas of Aristotle with enthusiasm
  • Insisted on the radical independence of reason and philosophy from any constraints imposed by faith and theology; insisted that the path of reason should be followed to the end, and that if this posed a problem for theologians, then so be it
  • Allowed them to accept a number of teachings taught by Aristotle that would otherwise have contradicted Christian orthodoxy
  • Some, like Bonaventure, responded to this challenge by reasserting the traditional Platonic and Augustinian outlook; i.e., faith is necessary in order to achieve correct understanding
the synthesis of philosophy and theology
The Synthesis of Philosophy and Theology



Starts its inquiry from the basis of revealed truths

Revealed truths are those which cannot be known by reason alone

Revealed truths are more certain than those of reason (which may err)

  • Operates on the basis of autonomous principles
  • Can be known apart from revelation
  • Seek truth by a strict rational method
  • Does not seek to prove what the mind cannot understand
thomas aquinas c 1225 74
Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-74)
  • Born in Roccasecca, Italy (father: Landulf of Aquino)
  • Nickname in childhood: “The Dumb Ox”; his teacher, Albert, would later say, “The bellowing of that ox will be heard throughout the world.”
  • Joined the Dominican Order in 1244; imprisoned by his family for a year
  • Studied in Paris, Cologne
  • Author: Summa contra Gentiles
    • Arguments in favor of the Christian faith (benefit missionaries)
  • Author: Summa theologiae(aka theologica)
    • Three parts
    • Detailed study of key aspects of Christian theology
thomas lasting contribution
Thomas’ lasting contribution
  • The “Five Ways” – arguments for the existence of God
  • The Principle of Analogy – theological foundation for knowing God through creation
  • The relation of faith and reason
  • Defined by the 2nd Lateran Council, 1215
  • CLASSIC DEFINITION: The conversion of the whole substance of the bread and wine into the whole substance of the Body and Blood of Christ, only the accidents (i.e. appearances) of the bread and wine remaining
thomas aquinas understanding
Thomas Aquinas’ Understanding

First, because it is not customary but horrible for men to eat the flesh of a man and drink his blood, the flesh and blood of Christ are offered under the form of things which are more frequently used, namely bread and wine. Secondly, lest this sacrament might be ridiculed by unbelievers if we ate our Lord in his own form. Thirdly, that while we receive the body and blood of our Lord invisibly this may contribute to the merit of our faith (ST, III, q. 75:5)

defining terms
Defining Terms
  • Form = The underlying reality of a thing
    • Substantial Form = That which distinguishes the substance of one thing from the substance of another. That which makes a “thing” what it is, and not something else.
  • Matter = What a thing is made of; a thing’s constituent parts; the corporeal substratum of a thing
  • Form + Matter = Substance
    • Form inheres in matter to make a substance
  • Real but incidental properties of things, contingently conjoined to a substance (color, quantity, taste, texture, etc.)
  • Examples:
    • Heating a rock changes the “accident” of temperature, but not the substance of the rock (transaccidentation)
    • The process of decay changes both the substance and the accidents of a “thing” (transformation)
  • The substance changes (as in transformation), however the accidents remain the same
  • How? Thomas posits the radical separability of substance and accidents
  • But Transubstantiation takes place only in the realm of the miraculous
  • In the miracle of Transubstantiation, substance exists without its accidents (properties), and accidents exist without their substance
  • Thus Christ’s presence is a “non-local” presence, since locality is an accident
the fate of constantinople
The Fate of Constantinople
  • The Byzantine Empire weakened by the Fourth Crusade, and the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the Crusaders
  • Period of Latin rule: unstable, empire broken up into smaller Greek states that allied themselves against the Latins, but fought amongst themselves for imperial succession
  • Constantinople is re-taken by the Greek state of Nicaea in 1261, but the old empire never recovered from its infighting
  • The Turks were held at bay by threats from the Albanians, Hungarians and the Mongols
  • Finally, in the mid-1400s, the Turks were ready to conquer Constantinople
attempt at reconciliation
Attempt at Reconciliation
  • Sultan Mohammed II’s dream to take Constantinople and make it his capital
  • Byzantine emperors again appeal to the West; the price that the popes demanded was ecclesiastical reconciliation
  • The Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1439:
    • The decisions of the council attempted to reconcile and/or defend distinctive Western doctrines (e.g. the Filioquephrase in the Creed) over against traditional Eastern theology
    • The Eastern emperor, Constantine IV, pressured the bishop of Constantinople to capitulate to the Council
    • The Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch rejected the council and thus broke communion with Constantinople; the Russian Orthodox Church followed suit
attempt at reconciliation1
Attempt at Reconciliation
  • Constantine XI continued his plans for reunion with Rome despite losing the allegiance of the rest of Eastern Christianity
  • The Roman Mass was celebrated in Saint Sophia (Hagia Sophia) in 1452
  • However, help from Western Europe never came
  • On April 7, 1453, Mohammed II laid siege to the city; the walls of the city could not withstand the artillery of the Turks
  • The last solemn service at the cathedral of Hagia Sophia was celebrated on May 28, 1453; the city fell on May 29
  • Constantine the Great’s dream of a new Christian Rome had come to an end
immediate aftermath
Immediate Aftermath
  • Hagia Sophia becomes a mosque.
  • Greek Orthodox Church remains intact, most of the populace remains Christian
  • GennadiusScholarius is appointed Patriarch of the Orthodox Church by Mohammed II
conflict of ideals
Conflict of ideals
  • Celestine V (r. 1294) aspired to reform the church through Franciscan simplicity; considered one of the humblest men to ever occupy the throne of St. Peter; he resigned the papacy after serving only five months and eight days
  • Boniface VIII (1294-1303) had Celestine imprisoned and may have had Celestine murdered
  • Not many were happy with Boniface’s election
    • The powerful Colonna family in Italy who had their own designs on the papacy
    • The extreme Franciscans (the “Fraticelli”)
    • Many saw Celestine’s election as a fulfillment of a prophecy announced by Joachim of Fiore that the “Age of the Spirit” had begun; Thus many did not accept his abdication
boniface viii 1294 1303
Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
  • The first part of his reign was successful
    • Dealt with the powerful Colonna family
    • Dealt with a rebellion in Germany
    • Held off the war between England and France
    • Declared a Year of Jubilee in 1303, granting a plenary indulgence to anyone who visited the tomb of St. Peter
  • Relations between Boniface and Philip of France grew tense
    • Issued a the bull Unam Sanctum which asserted papal claims to universal power, both ecclesiastical and political
    • After various mutual recriminations, Boniface attempted to excommunicate Philip in September 1303
    • Boniface was kidnapped by his enemies (Sciarra Colonna and William Nogaret), on the eve of the excommunication, demanding his resignation
the slap of anagni
“The Slap of Anagni”
  • Boniface responded to the demand to resign by saying that he would “sooner die”
  • This response elicited a famous slap
  • Boniface was then beaten badly, humiliated and nearly executed; locals managed to secure his release after three days: He died in October 1303 of kidney stones
in the aftermath of anagni
In the Aftermath of Anagni
  • The next pope, Benedict XI, restored the fortunes of many of Boniface’s enemies, but refused to try the former pope posthumously; died after brief pontificated (perhaps poisoned)
  • The “pro-French” party obtained an agreement from the cardinals on the election of Clement V
    • Clement never visited Rome even once; moved the papal curia to Avignon, France in 1309
    • Clement agreed to try Boniface posthumously; though Boniface was exonerated
    • Clement forgave Nogaret and his companions and commended Philip of France
    • Under Clement, the Templars were tried and condemned
the babylonian captivity of the church
The “Babylonian Captivity” of the Church
  • Clement V moved the papal curia to Avignon in 1309
  • Clement had named twenty-four cardinals, all but one was French, and several were his relatives
  • For nearly seventy years the popes would generally remain in Avignon, and willingly serve as the tools of French policy
avignon popes
Avignon Popes
  • John XIII (1316-1334) – Elected at 72 and ruled for 18 years!
  • Benedict XII (1334-1342) – Built the great papal palace in Avignon; alienated England and Germany during the 100 Years War
  • Clement VI (1342-1352) – Tried to mediate the 100 Years War; many saw the Black Plague as divine punishment for the papacy’s absence from Rome
  • Innocent VI (1352-1362) – Attempted to return to Rome, but died before accomplishing it
  • Urban V (1362-1370) – Reforming pope; returned to Rome in 1365; the Romans received him with joy, but in the long run he failed to win their loyalty, so returned to Avignon
  • Gregory XI (1370-1378) – Made a cardinal by his uncle, Clement VI when seventeen
catherine of sienna
Catherine of Sienna
  • Joined the “Sisters of the Penance of St. Dominic” (A tertiary order of the Dominicans) as a young girl
  • Two years later had a vision in which Jesus joined her in mystical marriage and ordered her to serve others
  • Became a famous teacher of mysticism, gathering around her followers (both men and women), some of whom were more educated than she; her Dominican followers kept her well versed in theological questions so that she could avoid heresy
  • In 1370, she had a vision in which she claimed that her mission was to restore the papacy to Rome; she set out on a pilgrimage to bring about peaceful resolution of many of Italy’s wars and feuds
  • Finally, in 1377, Gregory XI returned to Rome, ending the Babylonian Captivity; Catherine died three years later`
the effects of the avignon papacy
The Effects of the Avignon Papacy
  • Papacy had become a tool of French policies; other nations began to view the papacy as a competing “foreign power”
  • As a result, nationalism was on the rise in Europe; resentment towards the papacy
  • Revenues from unfilled vacancies poured into Avignon, France; no motivation to fill vacant posts or to move back to Rome
  • Simony once again became prevalent in the church; to this abuse was added the abuses of pluralism (the holding of more than one benefice or post), absenteeism, and nepotism
causes of the great schism
Causes of the Great Schism
  • Gregory XI had actually considered returning to Avignon as conditions in Rome proved to be less than ideal; he died before he had the chance
  • The people of Rome feared that the majority of French cardinals would elect someone who would return the papacy to Avignon
  • Fearing that the French cardinals were planning to escape Italy, a mob invaded the place where the conclave met and demanded the election of a Roman or at least an Italian
  • Under duress, the cardinals elected the archbishop of Bari, an Italian, who took the name Urban VI; his coronation was one of great pomp in which all the cardinals, both French and Italian, participated
the inflammatory reforming actions of urban vi
The inflammatory reforming actions of Urban VI
  • In an effort to curb absenteeism, Urban declared all bishops who formed part of his court (i.e. not in their dioceses) to be “traitors to Christ”
  • He denounced the ostentatiousness of the cardinals and declared that those who received any gifts whatsoever were guilty of simony
  • In an effort to curb French influence, he appointed a vast number of Italian cardinals
  • Meanwhile, he appointed many of his relatives to positions of importance, thereby opening him up to the charge of nepotism
  • Many of his cardinals charged that Urban had gone mad, and began to form an opposition party against him
the plot against urban
The plot against Urban
  • Both French and Italian cardinals joined the opposition against Urban, fled Rome and gathered in Anagni
  • There they declared that they had elected Urban under coercion and thus his election was not valid
  • They then proceeded to elect a new pope (the Italians present abstained, but did not protest), who took the name of Clement VII
  • Thus an unprecedented situation developed; for the first time there were two popes elected by the same cardinals
  • The new pope took up arms against Urban and attacked Rome; he was repulsed and resided in Avignon
  • All of western Europe would now have to take sides
divided europe
Divided Europe

Avignon Papacy

Roman Papacy






Holy Roman Empire (Germany)

  • France
  • Scotland
  • Castile & Aragon (at first supporters of Urban)
  • A number of German nobles who had reason to oppose the emperor
divided europe1
Divided Europe
  • Portugal changed allegiances repeatedly
  • In Italy, each city and each ruler followed its own course and changed allegiances as political factors dictated
  • The Kingdom of Naples sided with Avignon (for the most part)
urban s mess
Urban’s Mess
  • Catherine of Sienna devoted herself to Urban’s cause before her death; but Urban did not make things easy
  • Urban decided to created a principality for his nephew, and thus became embroiled in a series of senseless wars; when some of his cardinals suggested he change this policy, Urban had them arrested and they died of suspicious means
  • Urban died in 1389, and his cardinals elected Boniface IX
  • By taking the name Boniface, the new pope indicated that he would follow the anti-French policies of the earlier Boniface
two lines of popes
Two Lines of Popes
  • The Great Schism went beyond the election of two competing popes to the election of their successors, and thus was created two competing lines of popes
  • The Great Schism encouraged ecclesiastical abuses, especially that of simony as the competing popes were always in need of funds
papal claimants during the great schism 1378 1417
Papal Claimants during the Great Schism (1378-1417)

Avignon Line (Anti-Popes)

Roman Popes

Urban VI (1378-1389)

Boniface IX (1389-1404)

Innocent VII (1404-1406)

Gregory XII (1406-1415)

Interregnum (1415-1417)

Martin V (1417-1431)

  • Clement VII (1378-1394)
  • Benedict XIII (1394-1423)
    • Abdicated

Three others not recognized by any nation:

Clement VIII

Benedict XIV (Bernard Garnier)

Benedict XIV (Jean Carrier)

proposal of the university of paris 1394
Proposal of the University of Paris (1394)

Three possible solutions to the Great Schism:

  • Both Popes resign, and a conclave consisting of both sets of cardinals proceed with the election of a new one
  • Question be settled by negotiation and arbitration
  • A General Council be called to decide the matter
charles vi of france attempts to intervene
Charles VI of France attempts to intervene…
  • When Clement VII of Avignon died, Charles VI of France asked the Avignon cardinals not to elect a new one, hoping that he could convince the Pope of Rome to abdicate
  • The Avignon cardinals, feeling that their case could be weakened, went ahead an elected Benedict XIII anyway
  • Charles responded by besieging Avignon, but had to abandon the siege due to changing political fortunes
  • Meanwhile, the Roman popes began a series of maneuvers to make it appear that they wanted to end the schism
  • Both sides, however, refused to negotiate, which ended up alienating many of the cardinals on both sides
  • The Roman cardinals were the first to break with their pope begin negotiations with the Avignon Party; meanwhile France withdrew her support for Benedict
  • The stage was set for the “Conciliar Movement”
the call for a general council
The Call for a General Council
  • Not since the days of Constantine did the church place so much of hope on the convening of a universal council to settle the decades long Babylonian Captivity
  • As it began to be articulated in western theology, conciliar theory (or conciliarism) held that a universal council, representing the entire church, had more authority than the pope
  • The question was: who had the authority to call a council of the whole church? In the Western Church, councils were summoned by popes; in the Eastern Church, councils had been summoned by emperors
  • The difficulty was solved when cardinals of both parties issued a joint call to a great council to be held in Pisa in 1409
council of pisa 1409
Council of Pisa (1409)
  • When the council gathered in Pisa, it had the support of both colleges of cardinals and well as most of the courts of Europe – a very hopeful sign that was soon to be dashed
  • Rather than try to determine who was the rightful pope, the council declared that both were unworthy, and thus both were deposed
  • The council then went on to deal with the issues of simony and other abuses
  • Meanwhile, the cardinals elected another pope who took the name Alexander V
  • Convinced that they had ended the schism, the council adjourned
and then there were three
And then there were three…
  • Most of Europe accepted the decisions of Pisa and the new pope, Alexander V
  • However, both rival Popes (Rome and Avignon) refused to accept the decisions of the council of Pisa, and both had enough support to insist on their claims
  • Alexander died less than a year after his election; the cardinals then proceeded to elect his successor, John XXIII
the intervention of sigismund of germany
The Intervention of Sigismund of Germany
  • John XIII found himself forced to flee Italy and seek asylum from Emperor Sigismund of Germany, who at the time was the most powerful monarch of Europe
  • Sigismund decided that it was time for another council to decide the issue once and for all, and required of John XXIII his agreement on the issue as a condition of asylum
  • John XXIII was to convene the council, which would gather in Constance in 1414
council of constance 1414 finally settles the matter
Council of Constance (1414) finally settles the matter…
  • By convening the council, John XXIII assumed that those assembled would support his claim to the papal throne; he was mistaken
  • The council was of a reformist mindset, and thus called for his resignation; John fled
  • John was a fugitive for months, but eventually captured, brought back to Constance and forced to resign; he was then condemned to prison for the rest of his life
  • Gregory XII, the Roman pope, resigned as he promised to do if his rivals did likewise
  • The council then elected Martin V
  • Benedict XIII refused to resign and took refuge in a fortress where he continued to claim his legitimacy; no one paid much attention to him; he died in 1423
  • Benedict had up to three successors, though since their elections were dubious, he is considered the last of the Avignon line.
the three reforming councils
The Three Reforming Councils
  • The Council of Constance (1414) – attempted to reform the church, legislate against abuses, and rid the church of heretics; John Huss was condemned; Also decreed that councils should meet every ten years or so to continue the work of reformation
  • The Council of Basel (1431) – Called by Martin V, but dissolved by his successor, Eugene IV; it refused to adjourn and ended up electing an antipope (Felix V – gave up claim in 1449)
  • The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439) – Eugene decreed the transfer of the Council of Basel to Ferrara (eventually to Florence); there the council attempted a formula of reunion between East and West as a condition for western aid to Constantinople
the renaissance
The Renaissance
  • Meaning: “rebirth” – i.e. the rebirth of knowledge
  • Cultural movement from the 14th to the 17th centuries
  • Flowering of art, science, literature, religion, and politics
  • Resurgence of learning from the classical period of Greek and Roman antiquity (immediate past considered the “Dark Ages”)
  • Intellectual transformation that swept Europe, widely considered the “bridge” between the Middle Ages and the Modern era
characteristics of the renaissance
Characteristics of the Renaissance
  • Renaissance thinkers turned their gaze backward in historical time; not to the immediate past which was arrogantly assumed to be "dark," but to the classical past of ancient Greece and Rome, which they assumed was bathed in light
  • The Classic period was considered a “Golden Age.” Therein were found thinkers who had similar interests to the Renaissance thinker, and who had wrestled with identical problems
  • Increasingly, Renaissance thinkers would view the medieval synthesis as too formal, too compartmentalized, too confining; it was too logical, too systematic, too Aristotelian
  • The Renaissance would end up reacting strongly against the medieval synthesis -- against all “pigeon-holing”
two types of reform
Two Types of Reform
  • One that addressed mainly moral and pastoral issues, such as simony and absenteeism (Conciliar Movement)
  • One that also sought to reform not only the life, but also the doctrines of the Church
    • John Wycliffe – 1328-1384
    • John Huss (Jan Hus) – 1369-1415
wycliffe s resume
Wycliffe’s Resume
  • Little is known of his early life
  • Spent most of his career in Oxford, England; famous for his erudition and logic; not very good humored
  • In 1371, he left the university to serve the English Crown, first as a diplomat then as a polemicist
  • This was during the time of the Avignon papacy, so Wycliffe’s arguments on the nature and limits of lordship and dominion were well received by the English authorities
wycliffe s position on legitimate dominion
Wycliffe’s Position on Legitimate Dominion
  • All legitimate dominion comes from God
  • Dominion is to be characterized by the example of Christ, who came to serve, not to be served
  • Any dominion exercised for the profit of the ruler and not for the good of the governed (commonwealth) is not true dominion, but rather usurpation
  • The same is true of dominion that seeks to expand its power beyond the limits of its authority
  • Therefore, any supposed ecclesiastical authority that collects taxes for its own benefit, or seeks to extend its power beyond the sphere of spiritual matters, is not legitimate
  • Wycliffe applied this last principle to civil power, which must also be measured according to the service it renders to its subjects; Wycliffe eventually lost support of many of the English nobles for this view
the radicalization of wycliffe s views
The Radicalization of Wycliffe’s Views
  • Wycliffe’s views became more radical as the result of the scandal of the Great Western Schism (1378)
  • The “true Church” is not the pope and his visible hierarchy, but rather the invisible body of those who are predestined to salvation
  • It is impossible to know for sure who is “predestined,” but there are indications or “fruits” of salvation in true believers
  • Many ecclesiastical leaders were in truth “reprobate”; eventually Wycliffe would declare that the pope was among those who were probably reprobate
wycliffe s view of scriptural authority
Wycliffe’s View of Scriptural Authority
  • Scripture is the possession of the Church and only the Church can interpret Scripture correctly (as the Roman Church taught)
  • However, the Church that owns the Scriptures is the body of all who are predestined
  • Therefore, the Bible ought to be put back into the hands of believers, and in their own language
  • Wycliffe and his followers began to put this into practice by translating portions of the Bible into English
  • By 1382, Wycliffe had managed to translate much of the New Testament directly from the Latin Vulgate; Wycliffe’s Bible was complete by 1384
wycliffe and the mass
Wycliffe and the Mass
  • The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) had declared the doctrine of Transubstantiation
  • Wycliffe would eventual reject this doctrine because he saw it as a denial of the principle manifested in the incarnation
    • When God was joined to human nature, the presence of divinity did not destroy the humanity
    • Likewise, when Christ unites himself with the bread and wine he does not destroy them; in a sacramental or mysterious way, the Body (Blood) of Christ is present in communion; but so is the bread (wine)
  • Wycliffe would be condemned in Oxford for this view; however, after a brief imprisonment, he was allowed to resume his studies and writings
wycliffe s end
Wycliffe’s End
  • In 1381, Wycliffe retired to his parish in Lutterworth, a benefice that he had received from the Crown for services rendered (irony: Wycliffe profited from absenteeism)
  • Wycliffe died of stroke in 1384 and buried in consecrated ground
  • The Council of Constance (1415) later condemned him; had his remains disinterred and burned; ashes thrown in the River Swift
  • The movement called the “Lollards” took their inspiration from Wycliffe
the lollards
The Lollards
  • Pejorative name meaning “mumblers”
  • Believed in vernacular translations of the Bible, preached against clerical celibacy, pilgrimages, and the abuse of images
  • Also rejected Transubstantiation and prayers for the dead
  • At first Lollardy had adherents among the gentry, but a number of failed political uprisings brought it into disfavor
  • Lollardy remained an underground movement in England up to the 16th century; eventually Lollards would swell the ranks of the Protestants in England
john huss of bohemia
John Huss of Bohemia
  • Famous preacher and scholar; rector of the University of Prague (1402)
  • At first he had no intention of changing the traditional doctrines of the church; he only sought the reform of the Christian life, particularly that of the clergy
  • King Richard II of England had married a Bohemian princess; through this political connection many Czechs were able to study in England where they came into contact with the writings of John Wycliffe
  • The writings of Wycliffe caused a great stir in the University of Prague, dividing the Germans and the Czechs in their opinions of him
john huss
John Huss
  • The Germans questioned Wycliffe’s orthodoxy, to which Huss responded that it was the right of scholars to study Wycliffe even if they did not agree with all of his positions
  • Huss himself did not agree with Wycliffe on the question of Transubstantiation
  • The King of Bohemia supported the Czech scholars, compelling the Germans to leave Prague and found the University of Leipzig; on leaving Prague they declared Prague to have become a hotbed of heresies
conflict with the pisan papacy
Conflict with the Pisan Papacy
  • The Council of Pisa (1409) had attempted to end the Great Schism by deposing two popes and electing a third (Alexander V and later John XXIII); now there were three popes
  • The Archbishop of Prague obtained a papal decree banning the works of Wycliffe and ordering the preaching should only take place in cathedrals, parish churches and monasteries
  • Huss decided he could not obey and continued preaching at the chapel of Bethlehem (which did not fall into any one of these categories)
  • In 1410, Huss was summoned to Rome to answer for his disobedience; he refused to go and was excommunicated in 1411
  • With the support of his king and the people of Bohemia, he ignored the papal sentence and continued to preach and teach
the radicalization of huss views
The Radicalization of Huss’ Views
  • While not questioning the legitimacy of the Pisan pope, he nonetheless concluded that an unworthy pope was not to be obeyed; popes acting in their own interests, and not for the welfare of the church, were not to be obeyed
  • Huss concluded that the Bible was the final authority by which the pope as well as any Christian is to be judged
  • Huss protested against John XXIII’s sale of indulgences to pay for his crusade against Naples; he came to conclude that only God can grant forgiveness, and to sell that which can only come from God is a usurpation
  • Huss also criticized John XXIII for making war against fellow Christians; the king of Bohemia (who needed the pope’s support) ordered Huss to silence his protest
john huss condemnation
John Huss’ Condemnation
  • After another excommunication, Huss withdrew to the countryside to write on the needed reformation of the Church
  • In 1414, Emperor Sigismund (of Germany and Hungary) called for a council to meet in Constance in order to end the “three-popes controversy”; he invited Huss to defend his views at the council and granted him safe-conduct to attend
  • Upon entering Constance, it was clear that John XXIII wanted to try Huss outside of the council in a papal consistory; Huss was taken into custody and ordered to recant; Huss responded that he would recant only if someone could show him that he was a heretic
  • He was then treated as a prisoner; the emperor at first protested, but then washed his hands of the affair
john huss condemnation1
John Huss’ Condemnation
  • On June 5, 1415, Huss finally appeared before the Council of Constance
  • John XXIII (the Pisan pope) had fled the council upon his deposition, but had been captured and returned as a prisoner
  • The hope was that the council would see Huss as the enemy of the anti-pope John and thus be dismissed without charge
  • Instead, Huss was condemned for his refusal to recant
john huss martyrdom
John Huss’ Martyrdom

“I appeal to Jesus Christ, the only judge who is almighty and completely just. In his hands I place my cause, since he will judge each, not on the basis of false witnesses and erring councils, but of truth and justice.”

  • On July 6, Huss taken to the cathedral, dressed in priestly garments which were then torn from him, shaved of his tonsure, and had a paper crown decorated with demons placed on his head; refusing one last chance to recant, he was burned at the stake as he recited the Psalms
  • Jerome of Prague, Huss’ colleague, was burned a few days later
the martyrdom of huss
The Martyrdom of Huss

“Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.”

rebellion in bohemia
Rebellion in Bohemia
  • Taborites and Horebites – two groups that claimed Huss as their inspiration
  • The threat of armed intervention led the various “Hussite” groups to agree to Four Articles:
    • The Word of God to be preached freely
    • Communion in “both kinds” (bread and wine)
    • Clergy should live in “apostolic poverty”
    • Gross and public sin should be punished severely
  • One general council and two failed crusades against Bohemia finally convinced the Catholics that negotiation with the Hussites was necessary
the church in bohemia
The Church in Bohemia
  • As a result of these negotiations, the Church of Bohemia rejoined the rest of western Christendom, but allowed to retain communion in both kinds and other elements of the Four Articles
  • Most Bohemians, particularly the nobility, accepted the agreement; many left the church to found the UnitasFratrum(Union of Brethren)
  • The Brethren grew rapidly, not only in Bohemia but also in Moravia
  • The Brethren established close ties with the Protestants in the 16th century, and some would ally with Lutheranism
  • Hapsburg persecution in the 16th century almost wiped them out; the “Moravians” would eventually come to the new world
  • Dominican Friar, native of Ferrara, Italy; spent most of career in study and devotion
  • In 1490, he was invited to Florence by Lorenzo de Medici, “the Magnificent”; joined the monastery of St. Mark and began a series of lectures on Scripture to his fellow friars; soon developed a popular following and he began to preach
  • During Lent in 1491 he was invited to preach at the main church in Florence; he preached a sermon which contrasted true Christian life and the life of luxury, which offended many of the powerful of Florence including Lorenzo de Medici
  • Lorenzo then hired another preacher to attack the views of Savonarola; but the people supported Savonarola and compelled the rival preacher to flee the city
savonarola as prior of st mark
Savonarola as Prior of St. Mark
  • Savonarola refused to give the customary gratitude to Lorenzo for his election as prior of St. Mark, opting to thank God in private
  • He then sold a great deal of the convent’s holdings and gave the proceeds to the poor
  • He then embarked on a program of reform of the inner life of his community; other monastic houses asked to join in the reformation that he had begun; news of his holiness spread
  • Even the dying Lorenzo called on the saintly friar to join him at his bedside
savonarola intervenes with charles viii of france
Savonarola intervenes with Charles VIII of France
  • Lorenzo’s successor, Pietro de Medici, was expelled from Florence for trying to buy Charles VIII off as he marched south to claim the crown of Naples
  • Savonarola led the embassy to negotiate with Charles; when Charles entered Florence and made unreasonable requests, Savonarola intervened and, as a result, Florence became allies with France
  • Savonarola prestige was so great that the people of Florence turned to him for guidance in establishing their government; Florence became a republic, and their economy was restored
  • Savonarola also recommended that the gold and silver of the churches be sold in order to feed the poor
the radicalization of savonarola s views
The Radicalization of Savonarola’s Views
  • The monks at St. Mark’s studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldean
  • However, Savonarola became preoccupied with rooting out “vanities”; under his leadership there were periodic “burnings of vanities” – clothing, jewelry, wigs, furniture, etc.
  • Savonarola’s bonfires took on a bizarre “holy carnival” character
savonarola s downfall
Savonarola’s Downfall
  • Alexander VI, one of the most notorious popes, made an alliance against France with most of Italy, Germany and Spain
  • Instead of joining the pope’s alliance, Savonarola insisted that the Florentines honor their alliance with Charles VIII of France
  • The pope responded with a series of harsh measures, first against Savonarola, and then against the entire city of Florence; it soon became clear to many Florentines that they were losing a great deal of their trade and commerce
  • Savonarola’s supporters became increasingly convinced that he was a prophet and demanded miracles from him
  • When he foretold something that came true, his followers became even more enthusiastic; but when he failed to produce even one miracle, they too turned against him
savonarola s condemnation
Savonarola’s Condemnation
  • Finally a mob invaded St. Mark’s and took him captive; Savonarola refused to defend himself or let his friends take up arms against other Florentines
  • He was tied, beaten and turned over to the authorities; he was then tortured for several days while the authorities attempted to come up with some charge of heresy against him
  • They tried to force him to confess that he claimed he could foretell the future, which he never actually claimed he could do
  • Papal legates attempted to exact his confession as well, but to no avail; finally he made an appeal to a future council
savonarola s martyrdom 1498
Savonarola’s Martyrdom (1498)
  • With no specific charges against him, his judges finally condemned him and two of his closest associates as “heretics and schismatics” and handed them over to the secular authorities for execution
  • The only mercy they received was that they were hanged before being burned; all three died valiantly, their ashes beng thrown into the River Arno
  • Years later, when the Germans sacked Rome, some saw this as the fulfillment of Savonarola’s prophecies
  • At various times since, many in the Roman Catholic Church have called for the canonization of Savonarola