The Rise Of The Papacy

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To understand the rise of the papacy in Rome, it is imperative to recall that the center of Christianity had been destroyed in 70 AD when the army of Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Looking for leadership, Christians immediately sought out those in Rome as it was the center of power and the capital of the Empire. In the first and second centuries, all roads did indeed lead to Rome. Another reason that Christians looked to Rome for leadership is because they believed that the church would come from Peter. Many understood Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18, “You are Peter” to literally mean that the church would form from Peter and he was associated with Rome. Therefore, church leadership would evolve in Rome and its leader would bear the title pope. In the following six centuries a sequence of events would eventually lead the bishop of Rome and the papacy to great spiritual and political power in Western Europe. The emergence of papal power and its impact on the Western Empire was more likely due to a confluence of divinely inspired historical events, than to the apostolic succession of Peter. The growth of the papacy is revealed through an assessment of how the popes rose to power, an analysis of the contributing factors, and their impacts on society.
Roman Papacy’s Rise to Power
The Roman Empire was ruled in two parts after Christianity was legalized by Constantine in 313 AD. The capital of the Eastern Empire was Constantinople and the capital in the Western Empire was Rome. However, the theological power in the West was in Alexandria and Antioch, not in Rome. The Empire also experienced the division of language; Greek in the East and Latin in the West. This division may seem slight, however it began a widening divide of the Roman Emp...

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Through the efforts of the Roman church writings of antiquity have been copied, saved and stored. It is said that any document from prior to the 8th century that exists today is because Charlemagne took personal interest in their collection and preservation. Important works, books and documents, including the Bible were copied by monks and church members.
The positive and negative factors of the Roman papacy’s rise to power in Western Europe was centuries in the making. The Roman pope gained theological, political and military power, wealth, and land ownership which made it the preeminent force in all of Europe. Monarchs sought God’s blessing to their rule through the Roman pope, in turn the Roman pope accessed monarchial support and political clout. The strength of the papacy is demonstrated by its centuries of staying power, growth, and impact on society.
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