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BRIEF HISTORY
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH




 

THE YEAR 600 A.D. - THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE EAST

This era is characterized by the slow growing influence of the Papacy over the development of a new, united Europe. Europe was going to be united by Catholicism under the papacy, a unity they had never experienced and will never experience again in the future because they had set aside what united them -- the Catholic teachings with the Pope as its head. 

The wild Teutonic tribes, firstly, the Lombards of Italy, at first Arians, became Catholics; the Visigoths of Spain developed rapidly into a powerful independent Catholic state where bishops and kings cooperated in the administration of the country. The Franks in Gaul (France) maintained the Catholic faith they had previously accepted and the Anglo-Saxons of England were won back to the Faith. 

All these events contributed to the shaping of a new Europe, Catholic first and German, Celtic, Roman, second. It will show that the Catholic Church with the Pope as its head is the only force that exists today which can unite diverse nations and people. And if Europe will break up 900 years later, it is not because it was Catholic but because it was not Catholic enough. 

But this century was still filled with confusion because emperors kept on interfering with the Church. In their desire for unity, as they defended themselves against the onslaught of the Arabs, emperors tried to reconcile the Church with other Christian heresies, like the Monophysites. 

Phocas (602) was the first eastern emperor crowned in church and the first to acknowledge the universal supremacy of the Pope in Rome. 

Heraclius (610) drove away and practically destroyed the Persian Empire. However, in his desire to unite Catholics and Christian heretics, he advanced a formula, the Ecthesis, which was a heretical formula. 

Emperor Constans (642) advanced another formula to unite Catholics and heretics called the Type. The Pope rejected the formula and the emperor banished the Pope. As punishment from God, the Moslems attacked the Eastern kingdom, forcing Constans to flee to Rome. Disobedient bishops, like the Bishop of Ravenna, joined the emperor. 

Justinian (685), as emperor, interfered greatly with the Church. He tried to force the Eastern practice of married clergy on the whole Catholic Church. Pope Sergius rejected this Trullan Synod attended by many bishops and dethroned the emperor. 

 

 

 

 

(updated 07-30-02)

 

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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


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