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The fifth century is marked by the union of Church and State which became the greatest source of unity, so that Orosius wrote: "I find my country, my law, and my religion… a Roman among Romans, a Christian among Christians."

The East, however, was racked with theological dissensions. And their continuous appeal to Rome showed their recognition of the pre-eminence of the Roman See in all things theological.

During this era, the civil authority began to become weak and the Popes found themselves having to administer the civil duties. Thus, the Popes became both the spiritual and civil leader as in the case of Pope Leo the Great. The Popes even had to plan the defense of nations against invaders.

Though the healthy relationship should be based on the Pope being over the civil head by reason of the superiority of the spiritual over the natural, in the East, it was the emperor who wanted to put the Church under the civil authority. And since the pope is the big obstacle to this, the Eastern Emperor tried all means to separate the Eastern Church from Rome. Six centuries later the Emperor would succeed.

Because of the union of Church and State, both the Pope and head of State became interested on who would be the next Pope or head of State. And so followed an almost interminable attempt on both sides to meddle in the affairs of other.

During this era, we see the fifth Anti-Pope. Anti-Popes are not necessarily bad persons. Most often, they were elected in a doubtful manner. Some of them are saints. In some cases, it really was not clear who was the real Pope. And so they are called Anti-Popes by historians but not necessarily by God who does the choosing ultimately.





(updated 01-05-02)


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