The Papacy

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The Papacy

A lot happened with the papacy between the times of 500 and 1500 CE.

It gained its significance as time went on, starting out as virtually nothing and ending up

as a major power, ups and downs in between. These changes were due to both events

and people, both outside and inside the Church.

Essentially, it all began with Pope Leo the Great and the legacy that he left

behind. This is where the popes' prestige all began. Before him, the power wielded to

the pope was questionable and many times overlooked. But once he took on the title of

Supreme Pontiff, it was clear how things were to be. Another thing that was born by him

was the pope regulating ecumenical councils. Leo started this when it came time for the

Council of Chalcedon. It was just another way he found to exercise his power as the

ultimate bishop, the bishop of Rome. Not only did he show that the pope was to be a

strong religious leader, he proved that politics were important, too. He intervened in

several attacks against Rome and ended up safeguarding the city through simple

discussions. Leo the Great set new standards for the bishop of Rome and left poeple to

really revere those who took on the role.

There were things that hindered the strength of the papacy, such as Caesero

Papism. Justinian was a prime example of this and as an emperor practicing it, he gave

himself rights and powers in the Church which were really not his to have. He

established things like the Justinian Code, which in some ways benefited the Church as a

whole but at the same time, did not. It led to rampant persecutions of other religions

which is anything but Christian like. Subjectively, it did help to strengthen the Church.

Christianity was given opportunities it did not have before. It was given the ability to be

the dominant religion. However, it did give the emperor the opportunity to impede on

the powers of the papacy, leaving things open to trouble.

By the end of the Sixth century, another strong pope came along. Gregory the

Great developed the papacy further in the aspects of service to his poeple. He was

known for starting and running a monastery, as well as taking on the many duties of

being pope. He strengthened the papacy by staying true when the bishop of

Constantinople was being pushy and by challenging other leaders in the Church to
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