Tag: Catholicism

Fr Cheriyan (Jino) Kollamaparambil MCBS: Priestly Ordination

Fr Cheriyan (Jino) Kollamaparambil MCBS


Email: jinokollan@gmail.com

Mob. 09747177060

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Fr Cheriyan Kollamaparambil MCBS

Fr Jins Pulingappally MCBS: Priestly Ordination

Fr Jins Pulingappally MCBS


Email: georgepmcbs@gmail.com

Mob. 09567554539

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Fr Geo Thakidiyil MCBS: Priestly Orination

Fr Geo Thakidiel MCBS 1


Email: geothak@gmail.com

Mob. 09562830505

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Fr John Paul Thekkumcherikunnel MCBS: Priestly Ordination

Fr John Paul Thekkumcherikkunnel MCBS


Email: jomonpa@gmail.com
Mobile: 09447102890

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Fr John Paul Thekkumcherikunnel MCBS

Pope Francis: Faith is not Simply a Private Matter

 Pope Francis: Faith is not Simply a Private Matter

Pope Francis to the Bishops: Be in the Midst of Your Flock

Pope Francis to the Bishops: Be in the Midst of Your Flock

Ordinations 2013-14, Diocese of Idukki

Ordinations 2013-14, diocese of Idukki

Priestly Ordinations 2013-14, Diocese of Idukki

Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly Province

Priestly Ordinations of Kothamangalam Diocese 2013-14

Priestly Ordinations of Kothamangalam Diocese 2013-14Priestly Ordinations 2013-14: Diocese / Eprachy of Kothamangalam (Syro-Malabar Diocese in Kerala, India)

Mar Bosco Puthur with Pope Francis

Mar Bosco with Pope FrancisMar Bosco Puthur, Curia Bishop of Syro-Malabar Church Celebrates Holy Mass with with Pope Francis

English: Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar ...

English: Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Mar George Alencherry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mar Varkey Vithayathil former head of Syro Mal...

Mar Varkey Vithayathil former head of Syro Malabar Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Former Major Archbishop of the Syro-M...

English: Former Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Syro Malabar Liturgical Calendar

Syro Malabar Liturgical Calendar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

KCBC Seminar on Lumen Fidei

In order to introduce the Lumen Fidei to our priests, religious and lay leaders KCBC arranges a one-day seminar on Saturday 10 August 2013 and for a deeper study, two other seminars will be conducted in the month of August. For details kindly see the brochure.

KCBC Seminar on Lumen Fidei 01KCBC Seminar on Lumen Fidei 02

MCBS Congregation Day 2013

MCBS Celebrated its 81st Birthday on 7th May 2013. On the Next day His Grace Cardinal Mar George Alenchery, Major ArchBishop of Syro-Malabar Church, Celebrated the Eucharist for the First time in the Generalate Chapel, after he has taken his office. We also Celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the Priestly Ordination of His Excellency Mar Joseph Arumachadathu MCBS, the Bishop of Bhadravthy Diocese. Vestitions and Perpetual Profession of our theologians also took Place on the Same Day.

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Cardinal Mar George Alenchery Mar Alenchery with Mar Arumachadathu Mar Joseph Arumachadathu MCBS Perpetually Professed 2013 Vestition 2013

Nigooda Manna, Devotional Album (Malayalam), Fr Xavier Kunnupuram MCBS

Nigooda Manna (The Hidden Bread of Life)

നിഗൂഡ മന്ന – അഭിഷേകം അഭിഷേകം ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യത്തിൻ അഭിഷേകം… (സൂപ്പർ ഹിറ്റ്‌ അഭിഷേക ഗാനം)

New Devotional Album by

Fr Xavier Kunnupuram MCBS

Email: xavierkmcbs@gmail.com
Mobile: +919447471748


Fr Xavier Kunnupuram MCBS

MCBS Minor Seminary

Sreekandamangalam P.O.


Kottayam – 686562

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Nigooda Manna – Trailer

Nigooda Manna Cover Outside

Nigooda Manna Cover Inside

Nigooda Manna

Nigooda Manna- inside

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni List (1932-2005)

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni List (1932-2005) PDF

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni List (1932-2005) DOC

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni List (1932-2005) – Dioces based

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2006

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2005

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2004

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2003-1

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2003

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2002-1

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2002

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2001

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 2000

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 1999-1

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 1999

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 1998

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 1997

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 1996

Mangalapuzha Seminary Alumni 1995

Alumni Meet 2010 Participants List

Medieval Church History

Medieval Church History

Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel


1 The papacy‘s alienation from Byzantium and rapprochement with the Franks.

 1)      Christendom at the beginning of the Eighth century

Eugen Ewig says: “Dark clouds hung over the Christian world as the seventh century gave way to the eighth”. The reasons are the following:

 i) The loss of the two ancient and highly civilized Christian lands, Africa and Spain to Islam. Carthage fell in 658 and by the first years of the eighth century Africa withdrew from the Christian cultural community. What was left of the Chri­stian minority grew smaller and lost all historical significance.

By the second decade of the eighth century the Muslims conquered Spain. It was mainly the work of Musa, Muslim governor of Africa, The church continued to exist in Muslim Spain, but more and more lost contact with free Christendom.

The Arabs assaulted the walls of Constantinople in 717 and 718, but emperor Leo III defended the city and became the saviour of Christendom. In 733 Charles Mertel brought the Arabs’ advance to an end in the west also. Though the church lost Africa and Spain, central and Eastern Europe was protected from Islam.

 2. The dissociation of Rome from the ancient Empire whose Center was Constantinople. There was unity in the empire. The empire was not only a political but also a spiritual reality in which the popes lived no less than emperors, despite the conflicts constantly breaking out since the Henotikon of 482. These conflicts were chiefly religious and ecclesiastical in nature, even though an Italian-Greek opposition was distinct in them. The popes became Italy’s spokesman, but at the same time they spoke for a religious and ecclesiastical group, which still saw the empire as a unity. It should not cause surprise that Greek and oriental influence reached its zenith at Rome with the restoration of peace in the church in 681. Of the 13 popes between 678 and 752, 11 were Sicilians, Greeks, or Syrians. Under eastern influence the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the four great Marian feasts, Purification, Annunciation, Assumption, and Birthday, were introduced in Rome; they are 2 first attested under pope Sergius I (687-701). The monasteria diaconiae, founded in sixth and seventh centuries, displayed Greek and oriental liturgical practices. They gathered around the ancient palatium of the emperors, which had become the Roman residence of the Byzantine exarch. There were Greek colonies, churches and monasteries in Rome.

     The monasteria diaconiae’s directors played a role in the group of papal advisers, although they had not been admitted to the circle of deacons. The college of deacons, which had consti­tuted the papal council up to Gregory the Great, was nolonger the only influential body. Steaphen III (768-72) regulated the duties of the seven later cardinal bishops in the liturgical celebrations in the Roman basilicas. The number of the titular churches has been raised from 25 to 28. Thus the circle of the future cardinals became gradually more distinct in the early years of the 8th c.

      In addition to the clergy, the high bureaucracy of the indices became much more prominent in the latter part of the seventh century.

  • Those who managed the chancery
  • The head of the church’s attorneys
  • Income expenditure
  • Care of the poor and the pilgrims
  • Those directed the papal household
  • Treasury and wardrobe
  • In charge of library and archives
  • Director of city notaries

The Greek and oriental popes were loyal to the emperor, but in ecclesiastical questions they represented the Roman viewpoint. The Syrian Sergius I rejected the Quinisext council of 692, which attached ecumenical validity to such Greek customs as clerical marriage, and various details of fasting and liturgy.

3. The formation of the papal state.

          From 754 to 1870 the bishop of Rome was both the head of the universal church and secular ruler of the territory of central Italy, known as the papal state or the patrimony of St. Peter. Four factors contributed to the formation of the papal state:

      1. The Lombard wars

      2. The weakness of Byzantine Empire.

      3. Various religious disputes especially iconoclasm.

4. The alliance between the papacy and the Pranks.

Papal state: It is a term to designate the private property in the form of landed estates owned by the Church as its endowment. These estates had accumulated over centuries since Constantine’s decree on 321 permitting the church to own property. Constantine’s own generosity and the donations of the wealthy Romans built the patrimony into considerable holdings in the vicinity of Rome, in northern Italy, Dalamatia, Southern Italy and Sicily. The popes drew revenues from them for ecclesiastical administration, construction and maintenance of buildings, charity etc.

1. The Lombards wars. The invasion of the Lombards in 563had two results: 1) it disrupted the unity of Italy 2) it brought the pope to the fore as the most prominent figure in Italian affairs. When the Lombards invaded Italy, the Byzantine emperor was not in a position to defend Italy against them. He was occupied with the Persians and Muslims. At this time the Pope emerged as the man to whom all turned for leadership. Pope Gregory had made a treaty with the Lombards and through his missionary endeavors Catholicism had become the official Lombard religion as early as 650.

Pope Gregory II (715-731) was a Roman pope. During his time the Lombard king Liutprand (712-744) invaded Italy. Emperor Leo failed to defend Italy. Besides he levied heavy taxes. Rebellions broke out and the Byzantine exarch was assassinated. The new exarch Eutychius tried unsuccessfully to procure Gregory’s assassination because of the pope’s stand against the emperor’s law concerning iconoclasm and taxation. Then the exarch allied with Liutprand in 729 to capture Rome. But the king withdrew at the entreaties of Gregory. . Again the pope helped the exarch to suppress a revolt against the emperor. All these increased the papal prestige.

4. During the time of Gregory III (731-741) there was an invasion from the part of Lombards. Then he turned to Charles Martel (716-741), the king of the Franks. But Martel respectfully declined to come to the aid of the Romans because his good relations with Liutprand.

     Pope Zacharyi (741-752) improved the situation by inducing Liutprand to retire from Rome. He accepted the proposal and rest­ored the four towns and concluded a treaty promising peace for twenty years. Zachary’s intervention to protect Ravenna from the hands of the Lombards was successful. Ratchis (744-749), successor of Liutprand became a monk at Monte Cassino.

In 741 Pepin the short became the king of the Franks. Some believe that St. Boniface in his capacity as papal vicar anointed Pepin in a religious ceremony at the coronation, in 751.

   During the time of pope Stephen III (752-757) again there was invasion of the Lombards under their king Aistulf. Then he secretly contacted Pepin requesting an escort for a journey Into France. Pepin sent ambassadors to accompany the pope, but just before their departure legates from Constantinople arrived ordering pope to visit Aistulf personally to try again to win back the exarchate. It was failed. So Stephen went to Gaul and met Pepin in January 754. He was the first pope to venture over the Alps.

       Stephen was respectfully received and an agreement was signed at Quierzy. They demanded Aistulf to surrender the ands taken from the empire. Stephen bestowed on Pepin the Byzantine honorary title of Patrician and reanointed him Frankish king. He also consecrated Pepin’s sons and forbade the Franks under penalty of excommunication to recognize any king outside of Pepin’s family.

   Since Aistulf refused to relinquish his conquests, Pepin invaded Lombardy. After a short campaign the Lombard king yiel­ded and promised to restore Rave ring, and other areas, but the restoration was not to be to Byzantium but to the pope. All the events of 754 indicate that pope severed his allegiance to Constantinople and made a new alliance with the Franks.

Donation of Pepin

Aistulf did not fulfill his promises and he even advanced on Rome in January 756 and put the city under siege. At the request of the pope, Pepin overwhelmed the Lombards. This time a document was prepared repeating Pepin’ s promises at Quierzy and enumerating specific cities to be turned over by the Lombards to the pope. This charter is known as ‘Donation of Pepin ‘. Thus the ‘papal state’ did become a reality. It comprised the duchy of Rome and the exarchate of Ravenna with the Pentapolis. Officials and people took an oath to the pope, and a papal administration was set up. Abbot Fulrad visited each city and collected the keys to their gates and presented them to the pope.

    Aistulf died in 756 December. His successor Desiderius did not fulfill his promises to cede certain cities to the pope. Pope Paul I (757-767) sought help of Pepin who declined to intervene and make another expedition to Italy.

     Paul I died on 2b June 767. It was followed by a reaction on the part of the Roman military aristocracy. They grouped around Duke Toto of Nepi. Toto had his brother Constantine acclaimed as pope by his friends and dependants. On 5 July 767 Constantine mounted the throne of Peter. He was elevated under doubtful circumstances and worked zealously but vainly to_ obtain recognition by the king of the Franks. Meanwhile he was the unchallenged master of Rome for more than a year. His opponent Christopher, friend of Paul left Rome and against his promise went to the duke of Spoleto and to the king Desiderius asking their help. They entered the city and murdered Toto. Constantine interned in the monastery of San Saba was blinded by a gang. Meanwhile the Lombards declared a very old monk Philip as pope. But Christopher intervened and sent Philip back to the monastery. Both elections of Constantine and Philip were declared invalid.

    On 1 August a regular election meeting was held and the priest of Santa Cecilia, Stephen was unanimously elected Pope. On 7 August Stephen IV was consecrated bishop of Rome. Pope sent an envoy to France but they could not meet Pepin who died on 24 September 768.

Iconoclasm. = Breaking of Images.

1) The first phase of iconoclasm (730-775).

It was in the sixth and seventh centuries that icons entered on their victorious progress as cult images, which was powerfully accelerated by rampant popular credulity, legends and miracles. Numerous miraculous icons appeared, images of not made by human hands, of Mary by the painter-evangelist Luke, icons which had fallen from heaven, which bled, which resisted the enemies of the cult, which guarded cities, cured the sick, brought back the dead.

The initiator of iconoclasm was the emperor Leo III the Syrian (717-741). He was already subject to Islamic or Jewish influences and hence he was predisposed to hostility to images, and his closest advisers had been recruited from among iconoclasts. These are conjectures without any proper historical proof.

There is another opinion that the initiative lay not with the emperor but with ecclesiastical circles – the bishops of Asia Minor. Early 720s they went to Constantinople in order to induce the Patriarch Germanus to take steps against the cult of images. Germanus refused but did not attribute any particular significance to the matter. Perhaps on this occasion the bishops also called on the emperor and found a more sympathetic ear. Back in their dioceses they began to remove cult images on their own responsibility and forbid their veneration, apparently with­out encountering any great opposition. In 726 an imperial announcement was made consisting of an exhortation to the people no longer to honour icons but rather to get rid of them. Then the emperor removed the famous icon of Christ at the Chalke Gate of the palace. It followed a riot; some of the soldiers directed to remove the image were killed. The culprits were either banished or fined. Patriarch Germanus opposed the move but continued in office, despite his discreet opposition.

     On 17 January 730 the emperor published an edict against the cult of images. Germanus had to abdicate but was able to end his days in peace on an estate. Anastasius his successor supported the imperial policy. From this edict started the persecution by the iconoclasts. Many clerics, monks and devout laypersons obtained martyr’s crown. Though iconoclasm was a religious issue, it entered upon an acute and politically dangerous stage. The emperor’s intransigent attitude contributed essentially to alienate Italy from the empire, and to promote rapprochement with the Franks. Leo died in 741. Constantine v (741- 775) succeeded.

The intellectual basis for the dispute over the cult image very quickly appeared. The Syrian monk John Damascene provided the iconodules with the christological and soteriological arguments on behalf of icons. The icon theology of this period did not confine itself to reasons drawn from liturgy and morality but immediately lifted the subject to the highest dogmatic plane. It fought the war by means of arguments from the theology of creation and from Christology against Manichaeism and Monophysitism respectively. The opponents were unable to remain content with pointing to the danger of idolatry. A general council appeared as a necessity to decide the matter.

A general council met on 10 February 754at Hiereia, an imperial palace on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. Whether the pope and the oriental patriarchs were invited is unknown. They were not represented and it constituted the argument against the ecumenicity of this synod. Metropolitan Theodore of Ephesus, one of the first champions of iconoclasm presided. There were 338 fathers, the sessions continued till 8 August. Both making and honouring of icons were condemned. Like the emperor the synod also discovered in the Eucharist alone an adequate image of Christ.

 The strong opposition to iconoclasm was from the monastic circles. There is a conjecture that the monastic world attacked the decree on economic reasons – because they ruined its lucrative icon market. Another reason may be that the monks were closer to popular devotion, more attached to icons, than were the bishops. The emperor persecuted the monks, confiscated their monasteries, transformed into barracks and enrolled the monks in the army. An imperial governor went even further, forcing monk and nuns to abandon celibacy. The monks were also tortured and banished.

The leader of the opposition was Abbot Stephen the younger of Mount Auxentius in Bithynia. He met death by being handed over to the rage of a mob. The monasteries of Bithynia were depopulated, because the monks were either in exile or in prison. Churches were wrecked or profaned, and the monastic way of life was exposed to ridicule. The monastic circles from their part proceeded with violent pamphlets against the emperor, such as, the treatise Ad Constantinum Caballinum, incorrectly attributed to John Damascene. The number of the martyrs of this period was not very great. Constantine died in 775.

The restoration of the icons

Leo IV (775-780) did not envisage any restoration of the cult of images, but he seems to have abolished his father’s excessive measures of persecution. Following his death, his widow Irene came to power for her minor son, Constantine VI. She was in favour of the images; she reopened the monasteries. Since Synod of Hiereia was regarded as ecumenical and its decrees were in force, restoration could be effected only by another council. It required the consent of the patriarch. Patriarch Paul, though not an iconoclast of any great importance, had once sworn to obey the decrees of Hiereia. Paul resigned on the ground of sickness. Irene selected a layman as the head of the church.  Tarasius was consecrated bishop of Constantinople on 25 December 784.

  In the spring of 785 Tarasius sent the Holy See the noti­fication of his elevation in the so-called synodical. The letter included a profession of faith, which contained the orthodox doctrine of the images, mentioned his demand for an ecumen­ical council and asked the pope to send two representatives. Irene also made known to the pope of her plans to convoke a council and the election of Taracius. Pope Hadrian recognized the election of Tarasius and hailed the empress’s plan for a council. He also appointed two representatives and expressly emphasized his right to confirm the decrees of the council. The Oriental patriarchs were invited but they could not parti­cipate because of the hindrance from the Islamic authorities.

The proposed council met in the church of the Apostles on 1 or 17 August 787. The imperial guards invaded the building during the very opening session and put an end to the meeting. Then the site of the council was changed to Nicea and was solemnly opened on 28 September 787. The council declared the veneration of icons to be the orthodox doctrine, condemned iconoclasm as a heresy and ordered the destruction of iconoclast writings. This veneration was sharply distinguished from real adoration. Veneration itself was justified by its relation to the person represented by the image. The moral value of the cult was properly stressed, but no distinction was made between the Cross, images of Christ and the image of the saints.

The closing session was at Constantinople on 23 October 787. Some 22 disciplinary laws were passed. Peace seen to have been restored in the Orthodox Church. But Iconoclasm was not yet dead.

Since Irene would not ct retire, Constantine VI with the help of the military and the iconoclasts made a plot against her. But it was discovered and the empress took vigorous action. She demanded of the army an oath that guaranteed her position as co ruler. In 790 the army proclaimed Constantine as so1e ruler, and Irene yielded and withdrew. But after two years she had re-established her position as co ruler. Constantine lost the support of the troops and he was so isolated himself. Then the troops sought to raise his uncles, brothers of Leo, to the throne. The attempt was suppressed in blood. Now Constantine lost the support of the troops and of his mother.

Irene forced Constantine to marry Mary the Paphlagonian. Afterwards Constantine wanted to divorce Mary and marry Theodora. The marriage was blessed by a certain priest Joseph. The patri­arch Tarasius did not impose ecclesiastical censures on the emperor but only on Joseph. The monks branded the remarriage as adultery accused the patriarch of laxity and withdrew from his communion. The emperor failed to bring the monks over to his side. In 797 Irene had her son blinded – he lived only a few more years – and assumed the government as sole ruler of the empire. Tarasius was compelled to excommunicate Joseph. Theodora was branded an adulteress and her child was disinherited.

Tarasius died in 806 and Nicephorus, another layman, succ­eeded him. Nicephorus (806-815) belonged to a family that had supplied defenders of the cult images under Constantine V. Irene died in 802 and Nicephorus I (802-811) assumed the power.

The emperor induced the patriarch to call a synod to restore Jos­eph to the communion of the church. The patriarch obeyed the imp­erial order the synod in 806 condemned the principles of the studites.

The emperor Michael (811-813) was influenced by the studities. The patriarch sent his synodical to the Pope Leo III.

The Second Phase of Iconoclasm (815-843)

Emperor Michael I (811-13) was defeated by the Bulgars and he sought refuge behind the walls of the capital. Following this event Leo V (813-820) rose to power. He made a treaty with the Bulgars in 814.

Leo V favoured iconoclasm. He ordered the patriarch to remove the icons from direct veneration by the people; hence no general destruction of images was ordered. The patriarch refused it. He said that the veneration of images was an ancient church tradition and so needed no express order in the Bible. The theological approach that was assumed held that the cult of images was permissible only if it was ordered by the Bible. The patriarch also refused to have the question again discussed by a synod or an episcopal conference. The monks joined the patriarch and swore to maintain their unity and to withstand the iconoclasts even at the cost of their lives. Leo minimized his demands; tie required the patriarch to remove from the immediate contact of the faithful the low-hanging icons in the church. Nicephorus refused to agree even to this. He was deported to Asia Minor where he resigned his office.

On 1 April 815 the emperor appointed as the new patriarch Theodotos of Kassiteras (815-821). In the same month there met at Hagia Sophia a synod, which renewed the decrees of the synod of 754, sharply criticized Nicaea and again forbade the manufacture of images of Christ and the saints. But no special declarations of submission nor even an oath to the synod was demanded; it was enough to maintain communion with the patriarch. It was ordered to remove the low-hanging images. The time the opposition was from the part of the bishops. There was persecution, and a few got martyrdom. More common penalties were flogging and banishment. Patriarch Nicephorus was exiled.

Emperor Leo V was assassinated during the Christmas festi­val of 820. He was succeeded on the throne by Michael II the Amoria (820-829). He was not a friend of the cult of icons, but, nor a persecutor of Iconodules. The exiles could return. The emperor issued athespisma ordering everyone to follow his own conscience. Meanwhile there was a revolt. Thomas a Slave by birth, had himself crowned emperor by the patriarch of Antioch, laid siege to Constantinople. In 823 it was suppressed, but the Muslim power with which Thomas had allied, had again become fully active and did serious damage to the empire.

Michael’s son, Theophilus (829-842) was a more severe persecutor of the iconodules than his father. He appointed John the Grammarian – John VII (837-843) as the patriarch. John was an iconoclast. On the instruction of the patriarch the persecution of the monks was intensified. The emperor was not consistent; his wife Theodora practised the cult of images.

When Theophilus died iconoclasm crumbled. The reasons for this collapse are _complex. i) The political failures of the emperors were thoroughly exploited against iconoclasm. In addition the iconoclasts of the second phase did not follow any strict   line, ii) certain foreign elements were sensed in iconoclasm – Jewish, Paulicians, Amorian etc. iii) the_iconodules were more united and strong and the monks had esteem of the people.

At his death Theophilus was succeeded by his three-year-old son Michael III (842-867). The direction of the regency was assumed by Theodora, a long-time devotee of icons. Patriarch John was induced to abdicate, and his place was taken by Methodius (843-847). Then in March 843 solemn synod was held which re-established the cult of icons. Thus was ended the battle on the cult of images. But iconoclasm became one of the great milestones on the road leading to the separation of the churches – not on the read of dogmatic controversy, but the road of a slow transformation and re-formation of rite and worship, leading to new emphases, to a new contrasting effects, which no longer allowed the maintaining of the ancient East-West koine in civilization and Church. The Orthodox churches today still celebrate the first Sunday in Lent each year as the feast of Orthodoxy1, to commemorate the end of the iconoclastic controversy

The iconoclastic controversy had some grave consequences.

1. Political – it strengened Bysentine Caesaro-papism. The church now became more obedient to the emperors who restored the pure doctrine to its place of honour.

2. It influenced the spiritual development of the Eastern Christianity. From century to century the Bysentine icons remain absolutely identical with one another, stiff, stylised, glowing with gold and jewelled settings. The naive spontaneity and fresh realism of Italian or Flemish paintings are not seen there.

3. It prepared the way for the great division of Christendom, the rupture of Rome and Bysantium, the Greek schism.

Theology and monasticism in the age of Iconoclasm

In the darkest moments of the religious and civil wars there were brilliant spiritual leaders in the Greek Church. Many of them spent their lives in monasteries leading the life of extreme asceticism. They believed: “the more the exterior man suffers the more the inner man blooms”. The book of John Moschus “spiritual meadow” is excellent. lt contained short profound sentences. “Brethren, pray simply that the inner man within me shall not become dropsical also”.

John Climacus -John of the Ladder- was another popular monk. In his book “the ladder of perfection” he explained in thirty steps how one could mount heavenwards, just as the angels climbed to paradise upon Jacob’s ladder, by conquering vice and practising virtue, and how the superior mystical graces could flower in the peace and calm of a soul that had been released from all human passions.

John Damascene was the champion of the cult of images. For him the image became revelation and means of grace. His work “Sources of knowledge” is a compendium of dialectics and of a compact exposition of the content of the orthodox faith.

The Age of Charles the Great (768-814)

At Pepin’s death in 768, his older son Charles obtained the Atlantic Provinces from Gascony to Frisia, the younger Carloman the central and mediterranean territories. Carloman died on 4 December 771 and his widow Gerberga fled with her two sons to the king of Lombards.

While Charles was reuniting the Frankish kingdom, at Rome Hardrian (772-795) was      chosen as pope. When the Lombards besieged Rome in the winter of 772-773, the pope decided to appeal to Charles. Charles desired a peaceful settlement and he offered the Lombard king financial compensation in return for restitution. Desiderius refused the offer. So Charles demanded an unconditional surrender from the Lombards. In September 773 he prepared for a long siege of the Lombard capital. Lombard resistance soon collapsed. At Verona Gerberga and her children fell into Charles’s hands and were sent_to a monastery, Corbie.

At the end of March 774 Charles made a pilgrimage to Rome. The pope received him with a special mark of honour proper to the king. After entering St.Peter’s and praying before the confessio Sancti Petri, the king requested permission to enter the city of Rome. After Franks and Romans had sworn oaths of security to each other before the tomb of Peter, pope and king proceeded to the Lateran, where the pope administered the sacrament of baptism. The king then went to St.Peter’s and took his lodgings not in the imperial palace, but near St.Peter’s. On Easter Sunday, Monday, Tuesday the king participated in the solemn papal liturgy.

On Easter Wednesday certain decisive political agreements were reached. The pope asked the king to implement the promise of Quierzy – a promise of donation. It was read and received Charles’s approval. His chancellor drew up a similar promise of  donation. In this the king promised to St.Peter and to his vicar besides the Dutchy of Rome, the island of Corsica the exarchate of Ravenna, the provinces of Venetia and Istria, and also the dutchies of Spoleto and Benevento. The king’s promise was depo­sited in St.Peter’s in two copies. A third was taken along by Charles when he returned to Pavia.

There was a significant change. Until the expedition of Charles, the popes had dated their charters according to the emperor’s regnal years. Now the imperial regnal years disappeared from papal documents, and the emperor’s name_and image from Roman coins. The years of the pontificate and pope’s name and replaced them. The papal state seceded from the empire, the pope became a sovereign.

 Charles assumed the title: Rex francorurn et Langobardorum atque Patricius Romanorum which expresses the constitutional structure of Charles’ expanded realm. Before his return to Frankland, he fulfilled Desiderius’s promise of restitution, but his own promission donationis. Because of trouble in Italy, a second time Charles proceeded to Italy in December 775 and remained there till July 776. He now instituted a reorganization of the Lombard kingdom along Frankish lines, but still did nothing in regard to carrying out his promissio. Hadrian waited in vain for him to visit Rome.

Hadrian was disappointed and annoyed. There were troubles in the Papal States. He finally decided on a new embassy to Charles who promised to visit him at Easter of 778. The bapti­sm of the king’s son Carloman was to take place on this visit. But the Spanish campaign rendered a new postponement necessary. In may 778 the pope tried a last time to bind the king to his promission by holding up to him the example of Constantine. With this letter the pope enclosed charters in regard to the property of the Roman church.

The so-called donation of Constantine was a goes back to ca 500. According to this Constantine the great handed over to St. Peter and his vicars, whose universal primacy he sanctioned by imperial law, the imperial palace of the Lateran, the insignia of imperial sovereignty, and Romae urbis et omnes Italicae seu occidentalium regionum provincias, loca et civitas. The Roman clergy obtained the dignities and prerogatives of the senate. The emperor transferred his residence to Byzan­tium and abandoned Rome and the West to the Roman church, quoniam, ubi principatus sacerdotum et christianae religionis caput ab iinperatore celeste constitutum est, iustum non est, ut ille imperator terrenus habeat potestatem”. The Constitution emphasized the quasi- imperial position of the pope in the West, first claimed by Hardian after 774.

At Easter, on 5 April 781 Charles visited Pope. Hadrian acted as godfather for king’s son Carloman who was baptized as Pepin; he anointed the boy as king of Italy and his younger brother Louis as king of Aquitaine. The king’s daughter Rotrudis was engaged to the young emperor Constantine VI. The frontiers of papal state were defined and it acquired its definitive shape.

The Carolingian Renaissance

The Carolingian period witnessed a significant revival of intellectual activity involving three areas of England, Frankland and central Germany. This revival in the intellectual order is known as Carolingian renaissance. Einhard saw Charles as a new Augustus, bishop Modoin of Auxerre presented him age as an age of resurrection. The Carolingian renaissance was to mark a distinctive stage in time, to establish a kind of bastion for the future on which the intellect could lean din order to wage its fight against the Barbarism of mind. It was to make Christianity, and the entire intellectual activity of the west inseparable for j centuries to come.

The centre of this renaissance was Aix-la-Chapelle in Rhimeland – a centre of the empire? Charles summoned to this place all thinkers, scholars and theologians, Alcuin of York Peter of Pisa, Paulinus of Aquileia, Paul the deacon Einhard of England. Alcuin (735-804) was made the minister of education, director of Palatine school in Aix. He was an acade­mically minded man and exerted great influence through his theo­logical treatises and pamphlets. Paul the deacon was a historian; Einhard was a layman, an artist and a scholar.

These scholars formed a sort of club, called the Palatine Academy. Each of them bore a pseudonym borrowed from antiquity. Charles was known as avid. There was great progress in literat­ure, art and architecture. Charles commanded that schools be attached to every monastery and bishopric, as the means for spreading education. Those trained at the palace school at Aachen received bishoprics or monasteries in every part of the empire.

Leo III (795-8l6) succeeded Hadrian. He notified Charles and sent him the flag of Rome and the keys to the tomb of St. Peter in recognition of the rights of the Frankish king. Pope was soon in need of Frankish protection. He curtailed the privileges of those appointed by Hadrian. Leo was assaulted in 792. Inthe streets of Rome, Leo suffered serious wounds. He then asked Charles’ help. Charles came to Rome to look into the case. And on Christmas day of 800 while Charles was attending Mass in St. Peter’s pope Leo placed a crown upon his head and the crowd the church hailed Charles as the new Roman Emperor.

The revival of the Roman Empire in the West was very significant. It was the political side of theCarolingian renai­ssance. It also created both a partner and a rival to the papacy in the government of Christendom. It emphasized the jurisdiction of the pope by contrasting his position as spiritual head of Europe with the emperor’s role as temporal head. Both the one Church and the one State were felt to be divinely ordained as the two aspects of Christendom, the heavenly and the temporal cities of God. Each complimented and in turn drew strength from the other.

Pope Leo was convinced of his inability to govern his state without the help of the Frankish king. So he considered, the bestowal of the imperial title on the king a means of guaranteeing a closer protection by theFranks over the papacy, From this time on the Franks intervened willingly in Roman affairs.

There was a friction on the question of using the state imperial title without papal confirmation. Later the princes objected to being indebted to the pope for a temporal office, while the popes refused to relinquish the privilege of anointing the king. Charles contemplated of independent means of acquiring the imperial title and before his death he crowned his son Louis Pius. But Louis agreed to a repetition of the ceremony at the hands of pope Stephen in 816. Louis crowned Lothar, but again Paschal repeated it in 823.

On 28 January 814 Charles died of high fever. His remains were laid to rest in the Marienkirche at Aachen. Loius the Pius succeeded him.

Louis the Pius (814-840)

Louis expected opposition to his succession from his relatives, cousins, sisters and brothers. His sisters were forced to enter the convent. Louis did not have his father’s versatility; his interest lay especially in theology sand church reform. He summoned Benedict of Aniane to the imperial court of whom he built the monastery of Konnelimunster near Aachen in 817. Benedict instituted the first reform of Benedictine monasticism by attempting to restore the primitive observance. He proposed to unify all observances by adoption of a common code of supplementary regulations. His programme was accepted at a meeting of abbots at Aachen in 817 and promulgated by the emperor as imperial law, thus establishing the modified Benedictine rule as obligatory for all monasteries within the empire.

In Rome pope Leo III died on 12 June 816. Stephen IV was elected as the new pope. This was the first election to take place after the establishment of the Western Empire. In the Byzentine period papal elections had been ratified by the emperor or the exarch before the consecration, though since the election of Zachary there had been no imperial approval. Stephen IV merely sent Louis a notification. He had the Romans swear loyalty to the emperor and requested a meeting with him.

Emperor and the pope met at Reims at the beginning of October 816. During the mass pope anointed and crowned the emperor and the empress. In return the king confirmed in writing the freedom of papal elections and autonomy of the papal state in regard to administration and justice, in the privilege of 24 January 817. The notification of the papal election was to be made only after the consecration, and the emperor was to act as judge in the papal state only in the event of a denial of justice. Stephen died on the same day on which this document (Ludovicianum) was issued. Paschal I succeeded him. (817-824).


On Holy Thursday 817 the emperor had an accident, which impressed on him the transitory nature of earthly things. He decided to divide the empire. The oldest son Lothar was elected and crowned co-emperor as a result of divine inspiration. The younger brothers, Pepin of Acquitaine and Loius, who obtained Bavaria, were made kings, but both they and their areas of rule remained subject to their father and his successors in the imperial dignity. Further divisions of inheritance were forbidden even to the subkings. If there existed several heirs, election by the people should decide the succession.

The ordinatio imperii (imperial order) of 817 expressed that the emperor should stand above the nation. In it empire and the church were understood as unity. Hence the unity of empire was regarded as willed by God. On the unity of the empire rested the eternal peace of entire Christian people, the office of emperor and that of king were understood on the analogy of the office of the bishop.

An imperial assembly met at Aachen after Christmas 818 to define the churches ties to the emperor and church’s obligations to the empire. The preface of the capitulary of 818-19 distinguished the mortal person of the ruler from the imperial office, which stands on a lonely elevation. The emperor is auditor Dei; his sphere of duty embraces ecclesiastica negotia and status rei publicae. The Christian people are divided into three classes canons, monks and laity.

Since the sixth century the ruler filled the bishoprics. Most sees formally possessed the right to elect their bishops, whereas the abbots of the monasteries were in most cases determined by the founder of the proprietary church. In 818-19 Louis granted the right of election to all sees and to imperial mo­nasteries of the ordo regularis, but he retained the right to confirm and invest, which involved a review of the election.

Decline of Carolingian empire

Loius Pius innate weakness and the subdivisions of the empire among his sons occasioned rebellions and civil war, which continued throughout the ninth century. There were prominent bishops in the Frankish kingdom and they exempli­fied the role of the Frankish episcopate, eg. Abp Hincmar of Reims (845-882). Bishops tried to keep alive the traditions of unity and strong government as the best means of preserving social order.

Louis helped the church in the evangelization of both Slavs and Scandinavians. Ambitious persons persuaded him to divide the empire among his three sons. It led to never-ending fights between the sons and Louis and among the sons themselves.

After Louis death Lothar, the eldest son, retained the title emperor and was to rule the land from Frisia down to Northern Italy inclusive. Charles the Bald was given the territory of the west – roughly the modern France, predominantly French-speaking Louis the German, was given the East of Lothars kingdom, corresponding the modern Germany. The East and West kingdoms later developed into the kingdoms of France and Germany, because of their unity of race and strength. But the kingdom of Lothair was composed of several races and languag­es and was weakened when Lothair further divided it among his three sons.

The further fighting and divisions of the kingdoms in Europe in the ninth century finally resulted in the following kingdoms:

1. Kingdom of East Franks – modern Germany, Holland

2. Kingdom of West Franks – modern France, Belgium

3. Kingdom of Burgandy – south-eastern corner of France and part of Switzerland

4. Kingdom of Northern Italy -Lombardy

5. Papal State.

As the empire declined the church was liberated from the theocratic domination instituted by Chrlemagne. The political order enhanced the theoretical position of the church. By mid-ninth century bishops began to assert their superiority over the kings. In 868 Archbishop Hincmar of Reims wrote to Charles the Bald that the royal power derived solely from the king’s coronation and anointing toy the bishop. But the destruction of the empire hurt the church in many ways. The spoliation of ecclesiastical properties, usurpation of prerogatives lay control of monasteries, and acts of violence against the clergy continued apace. The close of the Carolingian renaissance found the church in a distressed condition morally and materially.

Canon Law: The False Decretals

Fasle Decretals is a spurious collection of canon laws composed in northwestern France between 847 and 852. Before the 12th century there was no authorized collections of universal ca­nons in the church. There existed numerous semi-official or private codes derived from scripture, tradition, papal pronounce­ments and decrees of councils.

When Charlemagne wrote to pope Adrian for an authoritative copy of the laws of the church he received in reply the Dionysian code which a council at Aachen in 802 adopted for the empire, thus making it the most widely used collection in the West. Dionysius was a Scythian monk who in the sixth century compiled the general collection for the Roman church: 213 greek canonf 50 apostolic canons, 138 canons of the African collection. We also collected 38 decretals of the Ro­man ponfiffs from Siricius(384-399) to Anastasius II (496-498).

The author of the fasle or Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals was anonymous. We wanted to protect the church from the wholesale spoliation of its prerogatives by the Carolingian nobility. To this end he forged laws strengthening the authority of bishops and as the final source of authority, the papacy. Thus he decla­red that a layman could not accuse a cleric in court, local councils required papal licence for convocation, and bishops might appeal to the pope against deposition by a metropolitan.

False decretals were a clever mingling of genuine with forged materials. Basically they were the Hispana – the Spanish collections – to which added letters assigned to very early popes on the basis of mere mention of such decretals in the Liber Pontificalis, an ancient and sketchy collections of the lives of Poes. In this way an aura of antiquity and veracity

pervaded the False Decretals. Forgeries of this type were common in the middle ages, false decretals were incorporated into the code of canon law arid played a part in the later cent­ralisation of papal administration.

The papacy and the West from 840 to 875

The history of the church reached a climax in the ninth century in the pontificates of Nicholas I (858-867), Hadrian II (867-872) and John VIII (872-882). There were changes in the relations between the church and the state. It was conditioned by the partition of the empire.

Pope Sergius II was consecrated before the imperial confir­mation. So Lothair sent his son Louis to Rome to insist on his prerogatives. Louis II intervened in papal elections even more vigourously than Lothar I. The Election of Nicholas I in 858 took place in the emperor’s presence. Hadrian was not the emper­or’s candidate in 867, but he was chosen following a reconcilia­tion with Louis II. We have precise information as to the electi­on of John VIII.

Pope Nicholas the Great was the last of the three popes to be given the titte “the Great”. He possessed great talent and force of character. His influence in ecclesiastical and political affairs was great. He had a great role to play in the Photian schism. Emperor Lothar wanted to divorce his wife and to marry his mistress. A synod of the German bishops in 860 annulled the marriage. Nicholas rejected the decision of the synod and deposed the archbishops of Cologne and Trier and threatened Lothar with excommunication. The king yielded and took back his former wife.

The church under lay domination


From 850 to 1050 the chief feature of the history of the church is the lay domination and interests. This situation extended from garish to papacy itself. The reasons are the barbarian invasion and certain defects in the administrative machinery of the church. The two institutions embodying lay control are feudalism and the proprietary church system. As a result there was a general religious decline.

Barbarian invasion

In the ninth and tenth centuries Europe was attacked from three sides: south, east and north. In the south the Muslims attacked now and then and gained a stronghold in Sicily and Calabria. In the east the Magyars or Hungarians invaded most o the towns.  In the north most of the towns were looted and destroyed.  They found that the monasteries and churches were places of precious things and jewels and old and silver ornaments. They not only destroyed the church property but also killed or enslaved monks and clergy which disrupted the normal ecclesiastical life. So the barbarian invasion caused the decline of religion and cleri­cal discipline and education. Internal confusion.

There was a confusion due to the decline and division of the Carolingian empire. The empire was divided into numerous smaller units and each of them was ruled jealously by counts, dukes, or weak kings. The abbots and the bishops depended upon these aristocratic feudal princes, who pretended to be the defenders of the church.

According to the canon law an ecclesiastical institution requires an endowment in land for its support. So each parish, bishopric, or monastery possessed extensive areas of lands. Under the feudal regime the possessor of land also enjoyed political jurisdiction over it; not only was he the owner or tenant, he was also in large measure the ruler. This situation had two results ; i) the secular  lords striving to obtain or increase their political power eyed the lands of the church as an available means to that end; ii) the bishops and the abbots who administered church property themselves became feudal lords and hence secular rulers in their own right.

Means of Lay Domination

During the time of Charlemagne all the dioceses and most of the monasteries were at king’s disposal under the pretext of protection. When the empire was divided into smaller units each ruler claimed to inherit the Carolingian rights, out its success depended on the circumstances. In the German part of the empire the king kept control of all the dioceses and large abbeys, while in France only about one third of the bishoprics remained under royal protection. In other parts of the kingdom it varied.

There was lay control over the ecclesiastical offices. It means that the office was treated like any other feudal feudal lord with rights and obligations dictated by custom. Sometimes a nobleman might confiscates church property outright and turn it entirely to his own. As long as the bishop and abbot fulfilled his feudal obligations to his lord, the lay lord would not disturb his vassal. And the ecclesiastical fief might be disposed of like any other. In 990 Count William of Toulouse gave the diocese of Beziers to his daughter as her dowry and bequeathed the diocese of Agde to his wife.

The most important right of the lay control was the right to influence the choice of bishops. Canon law specified that ele­ctions of bishops be by priests and people. But in the Middle Ages this was often ignored and there were irregularities. Powerful laymen influenced the elections. If the bishop was a vassal of a lay lord, the latter’s voice could not be ignored. He could nominate or veto the clergy’s choice. If the bishop was an independent sovereign without a strong overlord, elections resembled a contest between the nobility of the area. The law and custom sanctioned secular intervention and since the papacy was itself in the same position at this time, no protest could be expected. In 921 pope John X scolded archbishop of Cologne for ignoring the orders of the king in an election of a bishop. “We have not ceased to wonder that you have dared to act against all reason and without the king’s order; you should not have done that. Remember that no bishop can be consecrated in any dio­cese without the king’s consent”.

Feudalism and the church

Feudalism is a system of government that arose in the ninth and tenth centuries. It trsformed everyone who possessed land into a soverign his own land, owing certain obligations to those higher than himself in the feudal scale, yet enjoying prerogatives which could not be taken from him. Since the Edict of Milan the ecclesiastical officials especially the bishops had been enjoying some degree of public authority. Feudalism, however, more precisely defined and imparted a legal title to the present position than had often been the case earlier.

The rights of the feudal bishops or abbot were the following: protection by his lord, greater or lesser judicial powers incl­uding fines accruing therefrom, tolls and miscellaneous revenues sometimes the right to coin money and very often secular jurisdiction over city in which the cathedral was located.  The temporal overlord enjoyed the right to bestow the ecclesiastical fief on virtually whomever he wished, to invest that individual with in office, and to receive from him an oath of fidelity. There was no difference between the temporal services of an ecclesiastical and a lay vassal. These included the obligation to attend the lord’s court, military service, hospitality and entertainment, aids and relief.

Military service was considered incompatible with the ecclesiastical office. But in the feudal system it could not be avoided. Every feudal lord had his own/army to defend his territory. Some of the bishops had large number of armies. In 1184 the archbishop of Cologne had 1700 knights. These knights were the bishop’s vassals and they occupied parts of his land as fiefs in payment for their services. A certain number of them accompanied the bishops when they went to fulfill their personal obligation of armed assistance to their princes.  The military obligations of the monasteries was fulfilled by a layman who was employed to handle the secular affairs. Bishops very often took part in compaigns despite church’s prohibition. Because many of the bishops were nobleman who were born and bred to military life and it is not surprising that they could not free themselves from the influence of heredity.

The reason for the prominence of bishops in secular affairs of the middle ages is that the bishops were the most loyal vassals of the lord, because they were most amenable to control. And they were nominated by the kings. They were either personal­ly known to him or belonged to his family and very probably they had served him many years as royal chaplain, chancellor or courtier of some kind. Sometimes the kings granted huge grants of land on the bishops in feudal tenure in order to build up the diocese as counterbalance to the power of the great lay nobles who defied the kings with impunity. The German emperors ruled their empire with the aid of the bishops and without their help they would have been reduced to impotence.

The medieval bishops had dual functions of serving the church and the state. Sometimes they were more interested in serving the state. There were also exceptions: St. Bernward of Hiidesheim, Ulrich of Augsburg, Norbert of Cologne etc.

The Proprietary Church

Lay domination reached the level of the parish through the propriatary or private church  system. The parish church with all its property and revenues was conceived as a piece of property that had to be owned by a specific person acting in the name of the patron saint to whom the church was dedicated. That person was the founder or donor of the church. Since most parish churches were built and endowed by laymen they were regarded as the laymen’s property. Thus several dioceses most of the parishes were lay property.

Under the proprietary system the proprietor appointed the priest, whom a bishop ordained, but often without serious investigation of his qualifications. Legally the priest was not entirely at proprietor’s mercy, but in practice he approached that condition. The priest might pay the proprietor for his appointment and the lord had almost complete control over tithes stole fees, burial fees and all other parish income. The right to collect revenues could be assigned to others, sold, exchanged or alienated in any way whatsoever, provided the church building and altar were not put to secular use. The proprietor was res­ponsible for everything. Under these circumstances the spiritual aspects of parish life were not likely to receive proper attention. Monasteries and some times dioceses were exploited as part of proprietary system and fared no better than parishes.

The papacy

The Carolingian collapse dragged the papacy from its heights. The Frankish kings were no more able to protect the church. The papacy was disgraced by scandalous events. Holy see was occupied by unworthy persons. Of the 44 popes between 867 and 1048, nine met violent deaths; two by poison, four by murder or execution in prison, one by strangulation, and two under suspicious circumstances. It was a shame and disgrace for the Roman pontiffs. The one significant relieving feature is that however wicked the popes were personally and however scandalous their conduct, none of them attempted to promulgate false doctrine or teach heresy.

Leo IV was a saintly pope. Benedict III was his successor. The French king Lothair ordered the arrest of Benedict and nominated Anastaaius as pope. The Romans opposed it. So the attempt failed. On 17 March 858 Benedict died.

There is an accusation that a woman pope governed the church between the pontificates of Leo IV and Benedict III. Her name was Joan. There is no historical evidence for this.

Nicholas I (858-867) solved three great problems: 1. Divorce of Lothair, 2. Photian schism, 3. Procedure against Hincmar, archbishop of Reims.

Adrian II was very old. He was a married person, his wife and daughter ware living. A certain Eleutherius had stolen them and killed then afterwards, Eleutherius was the brother of Anastasius.

John VIII governed the church for ten years. It was period of confusion and riots. There were conflicts between the sons of Charles and invasion of Muslims. The Muslims invaded Rome and John prepared a strong array to protect Rome. John was imprisoned by the king of Caveria to get the title of emperor for him. He wanted to reform the church. There was opposition and its leader was Formosus who was expelled from Rome. The pope was given poison, but outlived. On 12 December he was killed. During the next pontificate, Formosus, bishop of Porto came back to Rome.

In 891 Formosus became pope. He was very prominent in papal politics but not wise. Pope unwillingly crowned Lambert of Spoleto king and emperor, but at the same time he appealed to king Arnulf in Germany. Arnulf came and pope bestowed him the imperial title without bothering about the fact that he had already given to it to Lambert. Illness forced Arnulf to retreat before dealing with Lambert. By the time Lambert was in possession of Rome, the pope had died.

Stephen VII had Formosus nine months old corpse exhumed, propped on a throne clad in papal vestments and tried by a council as a false pope. The Judges found Formosus guilty, annulled his acts and ordinations, removed his name from the list of the popes, and cast his body into a public grave from which the mob tossed it into the Tiber. Rome then divided into violent Formosian and anti-Formosian factions and many priests and even bishops were in a quandary because of the annulment of Formosus’ ordinnations. Stephen was strangled after having chained him.

The next two pontificates were short.  Pope Theodore reinterred the corpse of Formosus solemnly, he declared the acts of Formosus valid and licit. After his death the tension between the Formosian and anti-Formosian groups continued. The Formosian group elected John IX as pope, the other Sergius. The king Lambert supported John. John was a peacemaker .He finally rehabilitated Formosus’ reputation. To prevent new disputes John decreed anew that the emperor’s approbation must be received before a pope-elect could be consecrated.

The beginning of the tenth century was period of great confusion in the church. After the death of Benedict IV, Leo V became pope. Leo was imprisoned by an antipope, Christopher, whom pope Sergius III (904-911) sent to join Leo in prison; then out of pity he executed them both. Out of the melee arose the wealthy papal official and senator Theophylact, who with his wife and two daughters Theodora and Marozia dominated Rome for two generations. Marozia captivated Sergius by her charms and cemented her family power. Sergius was antt-formosian and irritated old wounds. He convoked a synod and declared the activities of Formosus, John IX and Benedict IV invalid.

Under the influence of Theophylact dynasty Anastasius III was elected pope. John X also owed his election to the house of Theophylact. He was a vigourous man of action who personally led the army to victory against the Saracens and made his influence felt in both Germany and France. Marozia hated John because of his independency. Her followers killed pope’s brother Peter, the Roman governor. Then they imprisoned the pope in dark room where he died in December 928.

John XI (931-935), son of Marozia and pope Sergius III gave his mother free rein in affairs of the Roman government, but before long the pope’s brother Alberic seized the control. Alberic opposed the new marriage of his mother with Hugo of Alberic gave Rome effective government for twenty years, but only at the price of personally designated five successive popes. The fifth one whom Alberic designated on his own deathbed was his son John XII (955-964), with whom the papacy sank to the lowest level in its history. Not yet twenty years old, John gave himself up entirely to the pursuit of pleasure in its manifold forms. But a new chapter in papal history was drawing, for a powerful prince was emerged north of the AIps and he was watching Italy with interest.

The German popes

Otto I of Germany was the most powerful European king since Charlemagne. When John was threatened by enemies he turned to Otto for deliverance. By February 962 Otto came to Rome and John XII crowned him Roman emperor. Rome now had a new lord protector who issued, a new constitution in which it was promised that the papal state should be preserved intact and no pope would be consecrated without the emperor’s consent. And again the perplexing problem arose of the extent of the German overlordship. John had desired a protector only, not a suzerain. But Otto envisaged a permanent occupation of Italy for he took the Lombard title and installed German bishops in the north Italian sees to rule their dioceses in the interests of the emperor. John began an intrigue against Otto. Since John had fled, Otto placed John on trial in his absence. Because of the scandalous life of John the assembled bishops proceeded to depose him and to place another. But as soon as Otto departed, John returned and expelled the antipope.

The Byzentine Church


In 858 Patriarch Ignatius was forced to resign, because he criticized Bardas, the emperor’s minister on the grounds of his love affair with his own daughter-in-law. Photius, a layman was appointed as patriarch. Tonsured on 20 December 858, he re­ceived on the four succeeding days the seven degrees of Holy Orders, which enabled him to be consecrated patriarch on Christ­mas day by an archbishop, incidentally, who had been suspended arid excommunicated by Ignatius. There was opposition from the Ignatian party.

After his nomination and consecration Photius send the synodical letter – a letter to other four patriarchal sees ex­plaining how he had been chosen and consecrated and made a profession of faith. Pope Nicholas I was not satisfied with Photius’ letter. He sent two legates to investigate the circumstances of the patriarchal election. The legates held a council, which not only recognized Photius but also renewed the condemnation of Ignatius. Nicholas cannot recognize this and he deposed the legates for having exceeded their powers. Soon afterwards there arrived in Rome a delegation of Ignatius supporters, through not sent by him. A council met there in 863; Byzantium was notified of its decisions and other three patriarchs were informed that the pope refused to recognize Photius. This situation created a tension in the church.

In 867 November pope Nicholas died; Photius was dismissed. Hadrian succeeded Nicholas. Basil I, the Macedonian, had obtained the throne by the two fold assassination of Bardas and Michael III. He liqudated Photius and reinstated Ignatius. He asked the pope for a general council to settle the matter. Pope Adrian II and a Roman synod condemned Photius and delegated representatives for the IV Ecumenical council of Constantinople. Pope wanted that the Greeks subscribe the Roman primacy. The council met in 868-869 and it was poorly attended. It vindicated the Roman position by accepting the formula of Hormisdas and Photius’ con­demnation.

By the time of patriarch Ignatius’ death Basil had changed his policies and now offered the patriarchal throne to Photius in 887. Photius convoked a council at Constantinople in 879 which recognized him patriarch arid annulled the anti-Photian acts of the council in 868-69. Even Roman legates accepted the acts of the new council despite its defiance of Rome. Pope John VIII tried to defend his position but he was murdered.

Leo VI, successor of Basil, dismissed Photius in 886. But Photius books against the Roman primacy became popular. And it opened the way to schism and finally to separation from Home. The primacy of Home was called in question.


Michael Cerularius and Greek schism

Photius’ successors in the patriarchate of Constantinople might from time to time show the pope some mark of respect, but their spirit of detachment from the holy see continued to in­crease; thus the practice of sending to Rome the synodical letter after their appointment was very seldom observed. But there no longer appeared to be doctrinal differences between, the two churches. The question of filioque did not disturb the minds of the people. On the other hand there were innumerable difficulties in the field of rites, which in the East were rigid and uniform for the whole church, whereas in the West they were more varied.

Michael Cerularius occupied the patriarchal throne at Cons­tantinople from 1043 to 1059. As a youth he had been occupied in politics that had taken part in a serious conspiracy and had even dreamed of seizing the throne. Afterwards he was converted and became a monk. He was very ambitious and resolved to make himself undisputed pope of the East. In 1053 he suddenly attacked the Latins for the horrible infirmities of using unleavened bread in the Eucharist, for insisting on clerical celibacy and for fasting on Saturdays, for omitting Alleluia in etc. Cerularius also closed all Latin churches in Constantinople, including the chapel of the papal legate.

Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) sent his ambassadors to Constanti­nople Cardinals Humbert and Frederick (future Clement IX) and archbishop Peter of Amalfi, to investigate. Cerularius abused the legates and excommunicated the pope. On 16 July 1054, Cardinal Humbert and his suite attended the solemn service in St. Sophia. After fulminating violent denunciations of the patriarch, who was described as a rebel against the pope’s authority, they laid upon the high altar a document announcing his excommunication. Then, leaving the basilica, they shook the dust from their shoes, crying,: “May God behold and judge us”. They thought that this would solve the problem.

Canonically the act of the legality was meaningless for two reasons: 1) the legates had not been authorized to take such a step, and 2) since Leo IX died on 19 April, the powers of his representatives had lapsed de facto, though the event was as yet unknown. Their gesture was decisive, but in a sense very different from that hoped for by the legates.

Michael Cerularius now appeared as defender of the Eastern church against the mockery of the West. The people were solidly fitbehind him. The emperor Constantine who was anxious to maintain His alliance with Rome against the Normans, attempted to interfere without any success. Attempt at mediation by the holy patriarch Peter of Antioch was also failed. Cerularius completed his work; the bull of excommunication was publicly burned, and on 24 July 1054 the synod of the Eastern Church – a dozen metro­politans and archbishops – met in St. Sophia and promulgated a synodal edict, which declared the matins guilty of seeking to prevent the true faith. Some weeks later Cerularius supplemented this edict with an indictment in which under the pretext of establishing the rights of his see as against Rome, he put himself forward as sole representative of the true religion of Christ.

Cerularius became the supreme authority at Constantinople. He also took part in a conspiracy which overthrew Michael VI in 1057 and set up in his place Isaac Comnenus. Isaac was not content to stand like a boy at the side of the terrible patri­arch. At Christmas 1058 he took advantage of a retreat, which Cerularius was making in a convent far from Constantinople to have him arrested, and was about to bring him to trial when the patriarch died. Public opinion was so inflamed that the emperor himself had to bring back the martyrs body with great pomp and allow the church to confer on him a regular apotheosis. Later under Isaac’s successor, Constantine X, who had married a niece of Cerularius, the patriarch was canonized and an annual feast instituted in his honour.

Greek schism was a great misfortune. It has never been solved. Both sides were to be blamed for this, on one side there was, there was pride and perfidy, on the other clumsy mishandling and intra sigence. Rome and Constantinople claimed to have been victorious. The Latins boasted of having broken the patriarch’s pride, while faith from impious errors of the West. There were people who were deeply pained by this wound inflicted on the church. Peter of Antioch exclaimed: “If the queens of the earth are at enmity, all the world will be in tears”. In 1064 a monk, George the Hagiorite said: “There is no difference between Greeks and Christendom indeed took a long time to recognize the fact of schism, pilgrims to the Holy Land continued to pass through Byzantine territory; the popes were still in official relations with the emperor and some of the emperors, e,g. Michael VII even made gifts to Western monasteries, above all to Monte Casino. Nevertheless the cleavage was incapable of repair and steadily widened; it was rendered final by the loss of Byzentine possessions in Italy to the Normans and, later, by the in­cidents of the crusades.

Constitution of the church, worship, pastoral care and piety:

FROM 700 to 1050

The pope.

During the dark age the papal prestige and power increased. In the Last Theodore of Studites, defender of orthodoxy extolled the primacy of Rome. In the West papal supremacy was unquestioned. The pope was considered as the spiritual ruler of the empire, he was also the head of the papal state. Because of this preemine­nce of this position both in the spiritual and secular sphere the Italian families and the emperors interfered in the election of the popes. It was solved to a certain extent during the time pope Nicholas II in 1059 that the pope was to be elected by the cardinals alone.

The Cardinals:

Cardinals are the princes of the church. They help the pope in the administration of the church. It is the college of cardi­nals that governs the church during the vacancy of the pontifi­cate. It is its duty to make arrangements for the new conclave but it has no power to change any laws of the church. The college of the cardinals has a head – Camerlengo – His office is to super vise the property and temporal rights of the Holy See especially sede vacante. He verifies the death of the pope and makes prepa­ration for the conclave, which he directs. It is appointed by the pope or if the office is vacant at the pope’s death, by the sacred college.

The normal rule is that the cardinals stay in Rome. But those cardinals who are in charge of the dioceses are exempted from this rule, The prefects of various Roman congregations are cardinals. One is made cardinal by the pope. There is no need of consent or vote of the College of Cardinals to make one cardinal. It is totally the right of the pope.

There are three ranks of cardinals

  1. The bishops cardinals:

 In the early church the bishops of seven dioceses – neigh­bouring – helped, the pope in the administration of the church. These bishops were later called bishop cardinals. The seven dio­ceses were: Ostia, Porto, Santa Rufina, Albany, Sabina, Tusculum, Palestrina. Later Porto and Santa Rufina were joined and added Vellerti to this group. The bishop of Ostia was the dean of the college of Cardinals.

2. Priest Cardinals

The priests in charge of the important churches in Rome were known as priests cardinal by 8th c. They participated in the ceremonies of the four major basilicas according to their turn. The term was used in Rome for 25 parish priests of the leading parishes.

3. Deacons Cardinals

Rome was divided into seven districts and deacons were appointed to look after the poor. These deacons used to minister pope when he celebrated mass in the Lateran Baslica. These deacons were called deacon cardinals.

The origin of the cardinals goes back to the fifth century. Gradually they changed in number and grew in importance in the 8th century; cardinal priests and deacons were declared the only candidates for the papacy, the bishops being regarded as untransferable.  In the 9th century the cardinals were looked upon as the pope’s counsel and in the 11th c. they were given the privilege of electing the pope. It was pope Nicholas II who declared that cardinals be the electors of pope on 13 April 1059. Pope Alexander III decided that two third majority of the votes was necessary for a valid election in 1179. Gregory X in 1274 instituted conclave system of strict seclusion to secure a more rapid papal election arid to hinder the influence of emperors and worldly powers. Further modifications were added by Pius IV in 1562. It was Sixtus V who fixed the number of the cardinals in 1586. Accordingly there were 6 bishops cardinals, 50 priests and 14 deacon cardinals. Later Leo XIII (1882), Pius X (1904), 3 Pius XII (1945), John XXIII (1962) Paul VI (   ) and John Paul II (     ) modified the election procedure and number of cardinal.

Cathedral chapters

The clergy who assisted the bishop for administrative and liturgical purposes and monastic communities established in the Episcopal see were called the cathedral chapters.  They occupied the first rank and had great influence in the government of the diocese. Cathedral chapters were at first under the archdeacon, then the provest (praepositus) and for disciplinary matters, the dean who was later virtually to assume the entire direction. The cantor took care of the liturgy, and sacred rites; the scholastics directed the cathedral school and sometimes the school of the entire diocese. Custos was for treasure.

The large dioceses were divided into smaller districts. Thus there developed in the 7th and 8th centuries the system of territorially defined baptismal churches, whose direction was entrusted by the bishop to a rural archpriest. Many smaller churches were combined to the baptismal churches and they formed the deaneries.

The medieval reformation

Despite the barbarian devastation and secular domination in the church there significant spiritual revivals. Both papacy and monasteries took part in it.

The monastic renaissance: Most medieval reform movements were nature or origin. Various monastic experiments of the tenth and eleventh centuries paved the way for the Gregorian reform.

Cluniac reform was the foremost among the monastic reforms. In 910 Duke William of Aquitaine, in cooperation with Abbot Berno of Baume, founded Cluny near Macon in Burgandy. Cluny owed its greatness to a succession of saintly and long-lived abbots: Berno (910-926), Odo (926-942), Maieul (954-994), Odilo ( 994-1049) and Hugh the Great (1049-1109). Cluny enjoyed freedom from lay control and their house was directly under papal jurisdiction.

Life at Cluny rested on the Benedictine rule as modified by St. Benedict of Aniane. Thus Cluny discarded manual labour and made recitation of the divine office almost the sole occupation of the monks. Study and copying of the manuscripts remained; but the simplicity of traditional Benedictinism disappeared; yet it became a mecca for those in search of spiritual perfection. Eventually it be came worldly and after the middle of 12th c. it 4 declined.

The monastic reforms influenced the secular clergy and use of their position to improve the state of religion in their respective places. Alfred the Great of England (871-899) tried to restore education among his clergy. Emperor Henry II of Germany (1002-1024) has been canonized for these eff­orts to revive the spiritual life among the corrupt German clergy.

The Cluniac reform stressed the moral regeneration. It attacked simony and clerical marriage. Simony is a sin of tra­fficking in sacred objects or offices. It arose from the possi­bility for laymen to profit from the disposition of the ecclesiastical positions within their jurisdiction. The evil was compounded when simonist bishops tried to recover the price of their office by extracting money from other clergy. Thus the archbishop of Milan, who owed his position to the emperor, established a fixed scale of twelve, eighteen and twenty-four denarii as the price of ordination of sub deacons, deacons and priests respectively. Humbert of Koyenmoutier’s Three Books against Simonists (1058) attacked simony. He denied the validity of ordinations performed by simonist bishops.

There was lax observance of the law of clerical celibacy. The synod of Elvira (306) prescribed celibacy for priests or continence if they had been married before ordination. This law applied to those in major orders. But often the law was neglected and there were married or concubinary priests and bishops. Some­times the priestly office was handed on from father to son like any hereditary benefice. Abbots, bishops and popes laboured to restore celibacy, but there were practical difficulties involved such as the fate of priests’ wives and children. One bishop complained that if he degraded all married priests he would have no one left to say mass in his whole diocese.

Political problems of reform The political act of lay investiture involved the bestowal by a laymen of the insignia of office on a clergyman. This practice symbolized secular domi­nation. As a result of this the bishop held a temporal as well as spiritual office and the two had become confused. “Deceive this church” was the formula of investiture as the king granted the bishop-elect his crosier and ring. The whole ceremony left the impression that the layman was bestowing a spiritual power upon his vassal.

Lay investiture was a symbol manifestation of royal rights over the church. It did not become a major issue until after 1065. The reformers disagreed among themselves on the question whether or not to abolish royal rights at all. Since the edict of Milan and therein the theocratic Carolingian empire it had been accepted prerogatives of the kings to exert extensive influence and control over the church. Kings recognized their obligation to protect the church and churchmen acknow­ledged the need of royal protection. To the medieval mind the monarch was both king and priest and therefore his control was not secular domination at all.

Humbert’s book against Simonists was the first attack on the principle of active lay participation in ecclesiastical administration and this marked a revolution in reforming circles.


The reformed papacy:  Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) started reform in the papal level. Around him he collected the famous reformers: Humbert of Moyenmoutier. Frederick of Lorraine, the monk. Hildebrand etc. He wanted to put Rome at the head of the reform. Everywhere councils assembled to reform abuses, outlaw simony, enforce celibacy and depose unworthy. Pope Victor (1055-1057) continued the reform.

Pope Nicholas II (1059-1061). In 1039 a Lateran synod declared that only the cardinals had a direct voice in papal elections the Roman elegy and people being permitted to express their   Hi consent but nothing more. This was to prevent the lay domination in the papal election. To the emperor was reserved a vague right of confirmation. The same synod formulated the first absolute prohibition of lay investiture. Nicholas also secured military aid to protect the papacy from its enemies.

The first test of the election law came in 1061. Alexander II was elected pope. A group of German and Lombard bishops declared Honorius II as pope. After two years Alexander secured general recognition.

Pope ST. Gregory VII. (1073-1085). As the monk Hildebrand he had been a great power behind the scenes at the curia for 15 years prior to his election. His career had begun in 1043 as a secretary to Gregory VI. St. Leo IX had brought him back to Rome made him cardinal, and sent him as a legate to direct the reform in France. He had enjoyed the full confidence of Victor II and still more of Stephen X whose dying instructions were that not until Hildebrand returned was the new pope to be elected. He had thus been instrumental in the election of Nicholas II and two years later, it was his influence that brought about the election of Alexander II too.

St Gregory was a monk. He was not cluniac, but was in closest relation with Cluny and its abbots. He believed that papacy alone could save the church. He wanted to re-educate the church with regard to such matters as the primatial actions of the Holy See, the freedom of episcopal elections, simony and clerical celibacy. Even before his elevation he set himself to organize the necessary researches. The result was the gradual appearance of canon law books of a new type out of which there came forth the scientific canon law of the church.

Gregory was a man of peace. He wanted to work with the emperor’s cooperation, but he was against the lay domination in the church. He forbade the lay investiture and excommunication was threatened against those who disobeyed. He excommunicated Henry IV, deposed him and absolved all his vassals from their oaths of allegiance. Though the emperor was in a strong position the papal sentence gave the rebels a new life. His own bishops deserted him and a national assembly (October 1076) ratified the act of deposition.

Henry was lost, submission to the pope was the only means open to him. Pope was en route for the great German council that was to choose and install his successor. Pope and emperor met at the castle of Canossa, on 28 January 1077. Henry is said to have stood in the snow for three days begging forgiveness as a humble penitent. As a priest Gregory had no choice but to absolve the imperial penitent.

The civil war continued in Germany, the vassals elected a new emperor and the pope declared himself neutral. When Henry returned to his old practice of nominating to sees and abbeys, the pope renewed the excommunication and acknowledged his competitor  Rudolf of Swabia. This time the German bishops stood by Henry and denounced all manner of calumnies against the pope and declared him deposed and elected in his place in June 1080 the archbishop of Ravenna as Clement III. Rudolf was slain in battle and Henry marched to Italy to carry out the deposition of Gregory and installation of Clement.

One town after another surrendered to Henry. In 1082 he laid siege to Rome. The next year he took St. Peter’s while Gregory sought refuge in the fortress of St. Angelo. In March 1084 the city surrendered and Clement was solemnly installed in the Lateran. The Normans rescued Gregory. They sacked the city and when they retired they took the pope with them. On 28 March 1085 he died at Salerno.


The Gregorian Reform

The synods of 1074, 1075 decreed permanent deposition for simonists. The synod of 1078 enforced the law of celibacy. Another synod of 1078 declared all ordinations performed by the excommunicated to be legally invalid.

It was forbidden to clerics under penalty of excommunication and annulment of completed action, to accept from a layman the investiture of bishoprics, abbeys and churches (1078).

The synod of 1080 enjoined the control of elections by the bishop and the confirmation by the metropolitan or the pope. In the event of an uncanonical election the electors’ right to fill the office was to pass to the metropolitan or to the pope. The synod of 1078 attacked the right of the proprietors of churches. The synod of Gerona stated that lay persons must not really possess churches; wherever this could not be avoided at least the taking of the offerings was forbidden.

Gregory was convinced that no Christian could be saved who was not bound to Peter’s vicar in unity, harmony and obedience. He used all the rights assembled in the “Dictatus papae” to the extent that he regarded as necessary.

Dictatus papae – Gregory intented the compilation of laws which had been done under the leadership of Anselm of Lucca. Before this the pope had himself collected canonical material dealing with the Roman primacy, mostly taken from pseudo-Isidore arranged in sections, and for each section composed a concise sentence, suggesting the chapter headings of canonical colle­ction. Thus originated the famed Dictatus papae, which was put in­to Gregory’s registrum of letters. There in 27 sentences were summarized the most important primatial rights, with no systematization but with the already mentioned prerogatives of the Roman church- her foundation by Christ and infallibility – and of primacy – the inherited personal sanctity of the pope and his rights of deposition; the honorary privileges, including that of having his foot’ kissed and exclusive right to use the imperial insignia, this last probably directed against the Byzantine patriarch; the supreme legislative arid judicial powers and its effects; superepiscopal authority with regard to the deposition and institution of bishops, ordaining of clerics, determining of diocesan boundaries, and so forth; and excommu­nication and absolution from oaths as a consequence of the papal coercive power.

Gregory expected all including the princes to be loyal adherents of St. Peter and his vicar. He made use of the Christian princes for the interests of religion and of the church. Thus he authorized some of them to proceed with force against unworthy bishops who defied ecclesiastical penalties or he asked for their help when the Roman church or specific areas of the Christian world were threatened. Hehad no hesitation about summoning a holy war. In fact he even established a troop of his own, the militia sancti Petri, and sought to turn it into a real army in times of crisis, by voluntary enlistments, by military & aid which he claimed from bishops or vassals or by mercaenaries.

After Gregory’s death Victor III was elected in May 1086; died on 16 September 1087. On 12 March 1088 the cardinal bishop Eudes of Ostia was elected as pope Urban II (1088-99). He was a former member of Cluny and resembled Gregory in real for the church’s freedom. He led the reform papacy toward victory. Urban regarded Henrydeposed and Henrywould acknowledge no pope but Clement III. While Gregory had chiefly desired free papal elections, Urban and his successors regarded the investiture ceremony as of greater significance, hence lay investiture now came to fore and Urban officially and publicly forbade with their office. At the synod of Melfi in 1089 he renewed the prohibition of simony, clerical marriage and lay investiture, but he instructed his legates to be generous. In individual cases he recognized bishops who had been invested by the kings. At Piacenzs in March 1095 Urban renewed the decrees against simony and clerical marriage. Again at Clermont he forbade church men to take an oath of homage to a layman.

The council of Clermont in 1095 was important because it summoned to the first crusade. Urban died on 29 July 1099.

Pascal II (1099-1118) There was a clash between Pascal and Henry V. When pope excommunicated Henry, he invaded Italy. In 1111 pope offered to surrender completely all the feudal rights of the church in Germany – temporal jurisdiction lands endowments, privileges, and all – in return for Henry’s abandonment of lay investiture. This was opposed by the cardina­ls. It did not work, Henry then arrested the pope and coerced him to cease all oppositions to lay investiture. Pascal died on 21 January 1118.

Calixtus II (1119-1124)

Concordat of Worms – 23 September 1122.

During the pontificate of Calixtus the investiture, controversy was brought to an end by the Concordat of Worm on 23 September 1122. In it Henry renounced investiture with ring a and staff but retained the right to investiture with the regalia by means of scepter to be performed in Germany immediately after the election, but in the case of the Burgundian and of the Italian sees within six months after the consecration. He also granted canonical election and free consecration. However, in Germany he retained a substantial influence on the election- in his or his representative’s presence.

To ratify the concordat Calixtus convoked The First Lateran council in 1123. The council concerned itself with disciplinary measures. By its 18th canon it sought to bring the proprietary church system under control. It was the first ecumenical council to meet in the West. No new dogma was proclaimed, no disciplinary laws were enacted, but it solemnly defined the principles of reform in such forcible terms that they could no longer be called in question.

The Crusades

Since the Arabic invasion of the Holy places, the Byzantine empire had long been waging war against Islam as a defense of Christendom. But the West had no complaint since pilgrims were permitted to visit Palestine without difficulty provided they purchased a permit from the Arab officials. But after 1050 the Seljuk Turks took control of the Holy Land and manifested fill the intolerance of the fanatical convert. The Turks massacred Christian pilgrims and desecrated sacred shrines. Reports of these atrocities and the entreaties ofthe Byzantine emperors for help provided the occasion for the crusade. Thus the crusade joined together two themes the holy war or military expedition blessed by the church, and the pilgrimage to holy places, from the beginning the papacy was prominently involved in the move­ment. It issued incentives to go on crusades, such as immunity from taxes and debt payment, protection of Crusaders’ property and families and especially indulgence, which guaranteed the crusaders’ entry into heaven and reduced or abolished his time in purgatory. The popes sent out crusade preachers, organized financial support, and sought to provide transport.


The First Crusade: Though Gregory VII planned a Christian offensive; it was Urban II who actually inaugurated the first crusade with his closing address at the council of Clermont in 1095. In his address he proposed many reasons to start the crusade. A number of favors, temporal and spiritual were offered to those who would take the cross, among them a plenary indulgence, the first such ever offered. Christ died for men: Christians should not shrink for material considerations from the hardship and danger of the attempt to rescue the places hallowed by his life. The people responded with tremendous enthusiasm. Cries of “God wills it” rang out, thousands pressed forward to take the crusader s vow, and cloth crosses were fastened to their clothing as a sign of their intention. Crusader = one signed with the cross

The first crusade was rather successful because of the internal divisions among the Muslims. The crusaders captured Nicaea in 1097, Odessa (1097), Antioch (1098) and Jerusalem (1099). Then the feat in kingdom of Jerusalem was organized with vassal dependencies and a Latin hierarchy was set up alongside the Greek and Monophysite churches. Latin patriarchs at Jerusalem with four archbishops and nine bishops, at Antioch, with four archbishops and seven bishops, provided the ecclesiastical framework.

The crusaders ignored the existence and status of the many eastern churches formerly under Muslim rule. They were unable to understand the Eastern Christian way of life and their ecclesiastical traditions.

Military monasticism: Monasticism adapted itself to the cause of the crusades by producing the military orders. These were orders of monks, mostly unorgained and lay brothers obeying the usual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but having as their special purpose the military defense of the Holy Land. They were recruited from the West. They became the backbone of the Christian army in the East.

The Knights of Hospitallers: They originated before the crusades about 1023 as a nursing group for the care of pilgrims in Jerusa­lem. About 1120 they transformed themselves into the Knights of the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem and became purely military.


The Templars: were founded by Hugh de Payen, a Burgundian knight. They derived their name from their headquarters near the temple of Solomon at Jerusalem, which received in 1118. With the colla­boration of St. Bernard, Hugh drew up a rule modeled on Cistercian practices. The Templars remained active in medical work, and their red cross on a white field is still used as a symbol of mercy. German knights established the Order of St. Mary, popularly known as Teutonic Knights, about 1190.

The Second Crusade: 1146-1148.

In 1144 Edessa fell to the Turks. Then pope Eugine III commissioned St. Bernard to preach a second major crusade. Bernard persuaded Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany to lead the crusade. But it was a failure.

The Third Crusade: 1189-1192. The capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by Saladin evoked the third crusade. Clement III induced Richard I of England and Philip II of France to rescue the Holy City. Frederick Barbarossa of Germany also cooperated in the beginning. They reached up to Cilicia, Frederick drowned in river. They had to return without any success.

The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204): Innocent III (1198-1216) made use of the diplomatic machinery to urge the emperors of Europe to take up the cross. New indulgences were proclaimed, general tax was levied for the first time on all church property to supply the necessary funds. The fourth crusade was a disappointment. They attacked the Christian Hungarian territory and incurred papal excommunication before going on to capture Constantinople from the Byzentines and to establish the Latin empire of Constantinople. Innocent expected the reunion of the Greeks, but the tactless papal legate ruined the chances of reunion. The Latin empire fell in 1261.

The Fifth Crusade (1218-1221): At the Fourth Lateran council (1225) innocent launched the Fifth crusade but he was dead before it met disaster in Egypt largely owing to the incompetence of cardinal Pelagius, the papal legate. Thus it was a failure.


The Sixth crusade (1228):Pope Gregory excommunicated Frederick II for having failed to depart for the crusade on schedule. Without the cooperation of the friars and the military orders Frederick won by diplomacy the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. The Sultan relinquished these cities by the treaty of Jaffa in 1229 on the condition that toleration be granted to Muslims living there.


The Seventh Crusade (1247-50): The Muslims reentered Jerusalem in 1244. The expedition was made to capture Jerusalem under Loius IX of France. Loius was imprisoned and a huge amount was given for his release.

The Eight Crusade (1270) This was also under the leadership of Loius IX at the request of Urban IV (1261-1264).  His death forced the army to retreat.

The Children’ s crusade (1212): It was a crusade conducted by the youth of Germany and France. It was also a failure.

The results of Crusades

1. Great financial loss. The feudal lords increased the taxes

2. It opened the free access to pilgrim centers

3. It helped the evangelization among the Muslims

4. It widened the break between the Last and the West

5. It helped the West to understand the eastern way of life

6. It caused the persecution of Christian by the Muslims

7. Some preached crusade as a means of sanctification

8. Many innocent people were killed

9. Sometimes the secular rulers made use of it for their purpose

10. Crusade was not the way of Christ.

The balance sheet of the crusades

It may appear that the crusade was a failure and the balance was disastrous: so much suffering, so many sacrifice for so little. Thousands of the Europeans lost their life during the expeditions. Materially it achieved nothing. Advantages like pilgrimages could be achieved by negotiation.

The reunion of the churches also had not been effected. The Greek church was ready to accept the Roman creed together with filioque, to recognize the use of unleavened bread, and to acknowledge the primacy of the pope. At the council of Lyons in 1274 the reconciliation seemed complete. But the clegy opposed the reunion. The reason for this was the siege of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204. On 15 April 1204 the city was besieged and those three days were filled with horror. They broke the holy images worshipped by the faithful. They threw the relics of martyrs into places which were dirty. In the great church of St. Sophia they smashed the high altar, which was made of precious materials, and shared the fragments among themselves.

They stabled their horses there; stole the sacred vessels; tore wrought gold and silver from the pulpit, throne and doors. A public prostitute sat in the patriarchal chair and sang an obscene song. Hearing this pope Innocent wrote: “These soldiers of Christ who should have turned their swords against the infidel have steeped them in christian blood. They spared neither religion, nor age, nor sex. They openly committed adultery, fornication, incest… They stripped the altars of silver, violated the sanctuaries, and carried off icons, crosses and relics.”

But we cannot say the crusade was useless and harmful. It enabled Christendom to become conscious of its own fundamental unity, they felt a kind of spiritual association with the pope and the holy places. In this sense it can be considered as one of the outstanding achievements of the medieval church. Many of the actors in this drama gave but the best of them were true witnesses to Christian faith and morals.

The crusades had some mixed results. From the ethnical point of view, there was an importation of Western elements in to the East. The spread of French language in Syria and Egypt were due to the crusades. The oriental elements were also introduced in the West. So it opened up wider horizons for the West.

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The Carthusians took inspiration from Egypt and, the desert Fathers and also shared the monastic instincts of the West. The monks lived in solitude in their individual huts with their own gardens, assembling for only a portion of the daily office and an occasional meal. Silence, solitude, mortification and a meager diet shaped their contemplative life. Lay brothers called conversion handled most of the outside contacts.

Cistercians: It was founded in 1098 by St. Robert of Molesme, a wandering monk in search of perfection.  In 1098 with 20 like-minded companions Robert left in order to build a new reform monastery in the wilderness of Citeaux near Langers. He did not make much progress. In 1099 at the order of papal legate he returned to Molesme, but his disciples continued his work there. It made progress under the Englishman St. Stephen Harding (1109-1135). The first daughter house was founded in 1113 at La Ferte. At the time of the death of Stephen it had eighty houses.

The individual abbeys are autonomous and corporately united in the general chapter attended by all abbots. Thus both the rights of the individual monastery and the interests of the entire order were assured. First they subordinated to episcopal jurisdiction, out the exempted, came under pope. Their general chapter became the higher court of appeal in the order. The abbeys promised one another mutual economic help, the preserva­tion of a uniform discipline and the cultivation of a simpli­fied liturgy. In order to free from feudal ties it declined benefices and reintroduced manual labour. The white habit, the strict seclusion from the world by means of settlement in deserted areas, the austerity of the life in food, dwelling, and clothing and the simplicity of the liturgy gave the order a great refutation. They followed the Benedictine rule.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The expansion of Citeaux is insepara­bly linked with St. Bernard. He was a Burgundian aristocrat, born 1090 in Dijon. In 1112 Bernard entered Citeaux with his thirty relatives and friends. In 1115 at the age of twenty-five he became the abbot of the new foundation at Clairvaux which, before Bernard’s death in 1153, comprised 700 monks and sixty-five daughter houses.

Bernard was the most influential man of his age. He was the first of the great medieval mystic and a leader of a new spirit of ascetic simplicity and personal devotion. Leading a life of prayer he emphasized God’s love and believed that

Christians come to know God by loving him. Bernard preached that physical love which was natural to man, could be transformed by prayer and discipline into a redeeming spiritual love, the passi­on for Christ. Bernard did not hesitate to criticize and correct the powerful men of his age. In 1130 he intervened in a controversy over the selection of a new pope. He unhesitatingly backed Innocent II as morally more worthy candidate. He persuaded the kings of England, France and the Empire to accept Innocent II.  He made peace between king Louis VII of France and his feudal subjects. He condemned the heresies of Peter Abelard and Arnold of Brescia. He preached the second crusade and persuaded Louis VII and Conrad III of Germany to take the cross. Privately Bernard practiced the most rigorous self-denial. John of Sailsbury referred to Bernard as ‘sanctissimus Abbas’. Bernard died in August 1153.

The schism of 1130

The concordat of Worms was a papal victory over the temporal rulers. But the new factions in Rome striving to lay hold of the papacy for their own advantage created problems. At the death of Calixtus II in 1124, the two factions Frangipani and Pierleoni clashed and the Latter triumphed with the elevation of Celestine II. But during the ceremony of installation the Frangipani broke in, tore the papal mantle from Celestine’s shoulders and forced him to resign. In terror the cardinals chose Honorius II, who was canonically elected after a few days. The six years of Honorius reign was peaceful. He succeeded to safeguard the Concordat of Worms and to extend it by renouncing the right of royal presence at elections.

It seemed the electoral procedure of Nicholas II in 1059 gave the cardinal priests and deacons merely a right to consent to an election completed by cardinal bishops. The cardinal priests and deacons insisted that all cardinals should have an equal vote and in 1130 as Honorius lay dying they enforced this issue.

After the death of Honorius fourteen or fifteen cardinals, including a majority of the cardinal bishops, elected Innocent II, while twenty-four cardinals – 2 bishops, 13 priests, and 9 deacons – voted for Cardinal Peter Pierleoni who styled himself Anacletus II. Both were consecrated on the same day. Through the financial and military resources of his supporters, Anacletus mastered the city, while Innocent fled to France.

At this time Bernard of Clairvaux supported Innocent because the person elected rather than the election itself. He forced the kings to obey Innocent. But only after the death of Anacletus in 1138 that Innocent succeeded in establishing himself in the Lateran.

The Second Lateran Council (1139) Innocent convoked the tenth ecumenical council in 1139 to clear up the problems raised by the schism and to put the church back on the track of reform. Decrees were issued on simony, clerical marriage, excommunication, the peace and truce of God, and condemnation of usury. It also excommunicated Roger of Sicily for his refusal to recognize Innocent II. In the battle against Roger the papal force was defeated and the pope became a prisoner until he lifted the excommunication of Roger and confirmed his royal title.

In the last weeks of Innocent II the Romans rose in revolt, repudiated the papal temporal rule and organized a Republic. It lasted twelve years, 1143-1155. It had the support of Arnold of Brescia, a talented priest and friend of Abelard. Arnold insisted on the abolition of all temporal rights of the church, inclu­ding the surrender of the temporal power of the popes. In repri­sal for an assault on a cardinal in Rome and for the Romans’ refusal to recognize him as pope, Adrian IV placed am interdict on the city, forbidding all church services of any kind until Arnold was expelled. By the help of Frederick Barbarosse of Germany Arnold was captured and executed. Papal temporal autho­rity was re-established.

The Renaissance of Twelfth Century

The features of the 12th century renaissance are the gro­wth of institutions within which learning could flourish, the rediscovery of Aristotelian logic as the guide to the new, lear­ning, and the creation of a new technique for systematic study.

Education during the age of Charlemagne and the tenth and eleventh centuries was carried on mainly by the cathedral schools, the former being more famous until the eleven­th century.

A learned monk was appointed to teach novices and when he was a famous scholar, adult monks from other houses would come to study with him. Other young men from well to do families would also be sent to study under the monastic tutor and many of these would join the clergy or take up scholar work.

By the twelfth century the cathedral schools surpassed the monastic schools. Students in these schools were generally desti­ned for service as clerics. The chancellor of the school gives a license to teach (certificate or degree). The famous cathedral schools were Laon, Paris, Chartees, Cologne etc.

Debates were carried on various subjects in these schools. There was a discussion around the meaning of the words of con­secration in the mass; “This is my body, this is my blood.” Berengar held that a real and true change takes place in these elements, but that the change is spiritual and that the bread and wine remain of the same substance. Lafranc ( + 1089) and other theologians held that the underlying substance of the bread and wine was changed to Christ’s blood and body while the accidents (touch, taste, sight, and smell) of the bread and wine remained the same. During the long and bitter controversy (1045-80) the term transubstantiation emerged. Berengar was condemned and was forced to disown his views.

Another controversy was on the work of Christ, on the cross. How could the death of Christ work to reconciliation between God and man? The traditional belief was that through sin mankind had made itself subject to the devil. The mark, of this subjection was death. God in his grace wished to free man, but he was unable to because the devil’s claim was just. Consequently to neutralize Satan’s claim, a ransom had to be paid in the form of a valuable person over whom satan had no right – a sinless man. Thus the devil was tricked when Christ was crucified, because the Son of God was sinless; now God can save with justice whomsoever he pleases.

St. Anselm (+ 1109), the primate of England and archbishop Canterbury challenged this theory in his book ‘Cur Deus Homo? Why God became Man, be believed that when a person sins he breaks the right order of the universe and is alienated from. God. Because he is just, God must be given a satisfaction for sin before he can forgive the sinner. Christ was the sinless man, sent by the mercy of God; he was able to offer to God the sanctification owed by the human race, this explanation was widely accepted in Europe and changed the whole outlook concerning the incarnation and the at qnement. Anselm also taught that faith must lead to the right use” of reason: ‘I believe in order that I may understand. He was first to put forward the ontological argument for the existence of God. ‘God is that than which no greater can be conceived’

One of the leading figures of the schools of Europe in this period was Peter Abelard (1079-1142). He was born in Brittany in 1079. He became convinced that he knew more than his teachers. He arrogantly challenged and quarreled with them on a variety of subjects. He had many followers; he had a love affair with Heloise  which shattered his academic carrier and cut short of his intellectual influence. In 1115 he agreed to tutor the teenage niece of Fulbert, a canon of Notre Dame Cathedral. A very close teacher-student relationship developed which resulted in a son whom they called Astrolabe. Later to pacify her irrate uncle, Abelard agreed to marry Heloise secretly. Despite all of their precautions, ugly rumours circulated. Heloise agreed to retire to a local convent rather than further damage her lover’s academic reputation. Fulbert considered this an evasion of res­ponsibility and retaliated by hiring a band of thugs who broke into Abelard’s chambers one-night and castrated him. Following this humiliation Abelard became a Benedictine monk. He soon resu­med his teaching and once again became involved in bitter cont­roversy. In 1121 the council of Soissons condemned his views on the trinity without a hearing. After wandering for twenty years in 1136 he returned to Paris and enjoyed renewed popularity and wrote several important books. He helped to make Paris one of the intellectual capitals of Europe. In 1141 the council of Sens condemned several selected statements from his writings. He died near Cluny on his way to Rome in 1142 to appeal to the pope.

Abelard’s book SIC et non (yes and no) 1122 discusses the relationship between faith and reason in Christian theology. He believed that genuine Christianity was both reasonable and consistent. He began a search for the ultimate authority in the faith and practice of the church, which was to culminate in Luther’s return to Scripture in the early sixteenth. Century. His desire to reconcile faith and reason in the context of Christian theology set the stage for the work of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. He was one of the pioneers of Schola­sticism.

Scholasticism: Scholasticism got its name from the medieval monastery and cathedral schools. It covers the period from the ninth century to the end of the fourteenth from Erigena to William of Ockham. Anselm, Peter Abelard, Hugh of St. Victor, Peter Lombard, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus are among the great schoolmen.

The scholastic schoolmen had a certain style and way of thinking. The theology, which interested them, was basically philosophical. Moreover their way of doing it was to examine the logical dinks and implications of ideas. The scholastic method of setting up contradictory statements concerning a problem, and then resolving them by reason was popularized in the twelfth century by Gratian in his systematizing of canon law in the Decretum. In this work he would state a law and, if it was not contradicted, it was allowed to stand. But if there a are opposition in statements he tried to reconcile them through logic. Decretum Gratiani was published about 1148. It was a systematic arrangement of over athousand canons with Gratian’s comments to reconcile apparent contradictions. It became the only manual used in teaching and in court practice. Because of its wi­de usage and apparent acceptance by the popes it came to be considered the first part of the later Code of Canon law.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was the greatest scholastic theolo­gian of the middle Ages; He was born in Aquino, Italy. When he decided to join the Dominican order, his family tried to dissu­ade him by tempting him with a prostitute, kidnapping him and offering to buy him the post of archbishop of Naples. All of these attempts were unsuccessful and he went to study at Paris, the ce­ntre of theological learning, he was nicknamed Dump Ox. He studi­ed under Albert the Great. His work comprises eighteen large volumes, commentaries on Books of Bible, on Peter Lombard’s sentences, discussions of thirteen works of Aristotle, and a variety of disputations and sermons. His two most important works are: Summa Theologiae, Summa contra Gentiles. His famous five ways to prove the existence of God by reason based on what can be known from the world. At the council of Trent his works were used to draft its decrees. In 1879 the pope declared Thomism eternally valid.

The Universities

The cathedral schools culminated in the foundation of universities. The term universities describe a guild or corporation of either teachers or scholars who might self-defense against the town in which they were located or to discipline or profligate students (or professors). A city w with a well-known cathedral might become the center for a great number of schools. At first scholars would rent rooms and students would pay to come and listen to lectures. Guilds of professors organized the universities of the Northern Europe, while in Italy the students formed the guilds. The first univers­ities obtained a charter from the pope; those established later applied to the secular ruler.

The first universities were Bologna, Paris, Salerno, Oxford, Cambridge, Montpeller, Padua, Salamanca, Toulouse. The seven subjects were taught – grammar, logic, rhetoric, arith­metic, geometry, astronomy and music. The graduate faculties taug­ht medicine, law and theology.

There were small and large universities, the largest had between 3000 and 4000 students. One could start studies at the age of twelve and a lecture in theology must be thirty-five. The only entrance requirement was acknowledge of Latin; the first four years study consisted of the liberal arts. The next two years’ work consisted of study, a teaching assistantship, and thesis defense and culminated in the MA degree. This enabled a student to go on to study law, medicine or theology. At Paris, if he decided to earn the DP. In theology he would spend six years studying the Bible and Peter Lombard’s systematic theology (the Sentences). Finally three years’ study of the writings of the as early church theologian and the Bible led to the STD which qualified the scholar to teach theology in the same way as the MA entitled him to teach the arts.

The students paid their fees to each professor. The teacher reads the text and gives a commentary. The teacher used to diet-ate the text. Later comments of the outstanding teachers were incorporated into the dictated materials. The students first stayed invented rooms, then in the beginning of thirteenth century hostels were founded. At Paris Sorbonne was the most famous college and in England, Oxford and Cambridge where clerics lived together under a rule. Their chapel was arranged in a simi­lar manner to a monastic chapel.

The scholastics tried to reconcile Christian revelation with Aristotelian philosophy. In the early middle ages Platonic ideas prevailed and its defenders were known as realists because they believed in the reality of ideas or universals. The nomina­lists challenged them and they maintained that universals were only useful names for talking about the world.

The Church in the High Middle Ages

Frederick I Barbarossa succeeded Conrad III of Germany who died on 15 February 1152. Pope Eugene III had given his approval of the election of Frederick on 4 March 1152. Treaty of Const­ance between the pope and the king on 23 March 1153 stipulated a mutual cooperation between them. Each promised to protect and guarantee the other’s honour. Eugene died on 8 July 1153 and was succeeded by Anastasius (1153-54). Anastius was a feeble old man and his was a pontificate of transition.

Hadrian IV (1154-1159)

In January 1155 Hadrian renewed with Frederick I the Treaty of Constance on behalf of himself and his successors. At Sutri on 8 June 1155 the pope met Frederick on his way to Rome for his imperial coronation. At first the emperor refused the service of bridle and stirrup and then performed it. In return the pope crowned on 18 June 1155. On the same day there was a rising of the Romans and Frederick put down it in blood. Since Frederick had not kept the decisions of the Treaty of Constance, the pope turned to king William I of Sicily and in 1156 he concluded the treaty of Benevento. William was given the royal title. Barbarosaa considered this as a violation of the treaty of Constance and of his imperial rights in southern Italy. Adrian denied the emperor’s charges and sent legates to the diet of Besancon in 1157 to protest an attack by the German knights on the abp of Lund. In the pope’s message, read by card. Roland Bandielli, there was reference to the pope’s bestowal of the imperial crown: we would be glad to confer even greater benefits on you if that were possible. The word benficia was translated to fief. There was an imperial protest to which card asked “from whom then does the emperor hold the empire if not from the pope? There was an attempt to kill the cardinal but it was calmed.

In 1158 Frederick crossed Alps to assert his claims in the words of the code of Justinian: “the emperor’s will is the law’. The opposition was crushed. The temporal rights of the papacy were evidently in danger out Adrian’s death postponed the impending crisis.


Alexander III (1159-1181)

Among the cardinals there were two groups on the issue of co-operation or resistance to Frederick. The anti-imperial majority elected card. Roland as Alexander III, while a minority of three cardinals elected cardinal Octavian as Victor IV. Because of the riots either candidate was safe in Rome. Victor took refuge with the emperor. Frederick withheld his own decis­ion, He proposed a general council to decide the matter. Accor­dingly a council was convoked at Pavia in 1160. A few prelates except his vassals attended. Alexander denied its competence but Victor submitted his and won recognition. Thus Frederick and a few German bishops fell into schism.

Alexander excommunicated the emperor and Victor and fled to France. Henry II of England and Louis VII of France acknow­ledged Alexander. The Cistercians and Carthusians supported him and did much to insure his success. In 1167 Frederick conquered Rome and installed Paschal III as antipope. But a terrible plague ravaged his army and carried of thousands of the German troops. Frederick returned to Germany.

In 1176 Frederick made another expedition in Italy. The Italian cities organized the Lombard League and resisted the emperor. The Germans were defeated. The emperor agreed to make peace. Preliminary talks were done at Anagni and the final nego­tiations took place in Venice. This treaty stipulated that Frederick should recognize Alexander as the lawful pope, hand over to him the regalia of the patrimonium, restore the confiscated properties. The pope would release Frederick from excommunication and recognize him as emperor and his son Henry as king of the Romans.

After having been absolved from excommunication, Frederick entered Venice on 24 July1177 and prostrated himself before the pope who lifted him up and gave him the kiss of peace and blessed him, while the Germans sang Te Deum. At Venice the king performed the honorary service he had once objected to. The emperor, king Henry and empress took oath of loyalty to abide by the peace of Venice. Thus the schism ended.

The Third Lateran Council (1179)

In the preliminary treaty of Anagni and in the peace of Venice (1177, July21) it was agreed to convoke a general council. Accordingly the pope opened the council on 5 March 1179 at Lateran. Bishop Rufinus of Assisi delivered the inaugural addre­ss. Some 300 bishops, abbots, priests scholars and attendants of bishops were present. Twenty-three canons were the fruit of discussions at three sessions on 5, 14, and 19 March.

 – the measures agreed to in Anagni and Venice for the liqui­dation of the schism were confirmed.

– Every cathedral was to have a school of its own.

– No cleric was to be without a benefice.

– The bishop was to look out for the welfare of his clergy.

– Canon 1 demanded a two-thirds majority for validity of the election of the pope.

– The election was restricted to the college exclusively.

–                      Decrees also were issued against heresies, on relations of Christians with non-Christians, crusades etc.

The church in England: Thomas Becket and Henry II

Between 1162 and 1170 there was a confrontation between king Henry II and the primate of England, Thomas Becket the archbishop of Canterbury. Henry after his accession to the throne in 1154, began to restore his rights and claims of the crown to control the bishoprics and abbeys. From 1155 the archdeacon of Canterbury Thomas Becket was the chancellor. Henry made him the primate of English church on 27 May 1162. As chancellor Thomas had been a friend of the king. But he carefully represen­ted the interests of the church. From his consecration he seemed to be another person, fully devoted to spiritual and pastoral life. He stood up for the rights and liberties of the Church. The attitudes of king and the archbishop made a confrontation inevitable.

At a council at Westminister on 1 October 1163 Henry compl­ained of the increase in the number of crimes committed by clerics and the leniency of the spiritual courts. The king sugg­ested, “clergy, examined and degraded by Episcopal courts if guilty, should be turned to royal judges for punishment. But the archbishop replied that a doubly punishment for a single offense was prohibited by canon law. Henry II summoned the royal council at Clarendon in January 1164, which in 16 articles nullified the independence of the English church from the crown. The feudal dependence of the episcopate was emphasized, episcopal elections were to take place under royal control, bishops-elect were to take the oath of fealty before being consecrated, bishops’ rights of disposal of church property were restricted, they were bound by the same services to the crown as were secular vassals. Ecclesiastical courts had to accommodate themselves to the judicial procedures mf the secular courts and their competence was considerably restricted, while that of the secular’ courts was ex-tended to matters of debt, perjury, disputes over benefices, questions of patronage, and the criminal and civil cases of clerics, Bishops’ Dowers of excommunication were curtailed in regard to the crown’ s tenants-in-chief and members of royal household and of the courts. All these were juridically formulated and made a law with the written consent of the bishops. Thomas protested this diminution of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and of episcopal liberties.

In October 1164 the king cited Thomas before the council at Northampton on the basis of Clarendon. Thomas did not accept the judgment but appealed to the pope. Then he fled to France and was to spend six years there. The pope condemned many of the canons of Clarendon arid confirmed him archbishop. Prom 1164 to 1166 Thomas stayed with the Cistercians. On April 24, 1164 the pope named him legate in England.

There were several attempts to reconcile the king and the ar­chbishop. In 1170 December Thomas returned to England and exco­mmunicated the bishops who sided with the king. Henry was irri­tated by this and said: “isn’t there anyone to deliver me from this hateful priest?” 4 Knights of the royal household took him at his word and murdered in his cathedral. He said: “I am ready to die for my God, if thereby liberty and peace are restored to the church”.

Responsibility for the murder of Thomas was assigned to the king, archbishop of York, and bishop of London. The accused were asked to make reparation for their crime. On 21 May 1172 the king and the accused bishops took an oath that they had neither commanded nor desired the death of the archbishop. Henry swore that he would set out on the crusade and would keep himself at the disposal of the pope. He would permit appeals to Rome in cases before ecclesiastical courts. He would disavow customs hurtful to the church as these had been enforced under his auth­ority. He would restore to the church of Canterbury all its pro­perty. He would also receive in peace all clerics and lay persons who had remained loyal to Thomas and give back their possessions. Henry and his son were absolved. Alexander IIIsolemnly canonized Thomas on 21 February 1173. In July 1174 the king made a pil­grimage to Canterbury to do penencae for his share in the saint’s death.

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Frederick promised to leave Sicily independent. He swore that after the coronation he would relinquish the kingdom of Sicily to his son Henry, who had already acknowledged the supreme power of the Roman church over the kingdom. Thus Innocent was able to maintain order in Sicily.

Innocent and France

Innocent clashed with the king of France, Philip I, on the question of the enforcement of church’s marriage laws. Philip married princes Ingeborg of Denmark in 1193 and repudiated her the day after the wedding. “French bishops annulled the marriage on grounds of a very distant affinity. Ingeborg appealed to pope. Innocent denounced the action of the French bishops and ordered Philip to set aside Agnes of Meran, whom he had meanwhile marri­ed, and take back Ingeborg. When king refused to, Innocent placed

France under interdict for six months during 1200.

The issue was complicated by an attempted mediation of Innocent in Franco-English war. Philip declared: “in feudal matters the king is not bound to take instructions from the Holy See”, the pope should not interfere in disputes between sovereign rulers”. He did not accept pope’s decisions by Philip grew wider and in the next century with Philip the Fair it culminated.

Innocent and England

Innocent’s clash with John of England started with the election of a successor to Archbishop Hubert Walter of Canterbury in 1205. The monastic chapter elected its superior Reginald and asked the pope to confirm him. The suffrogan bishops elected John, bishop of Norwich, the king’s candidate who took possess­ion and was invested with the see by the crown. In December Innocent annulled both election and had some of the monks who were in Rome elect a candidate of his own, the English curial cardinal Stephen Langton. Though the king rejected the pope consecrated him in June 1207, and invested with the palli­um despite the absence of the royal approval. In March 1208 the pope laid on England an interdict that was in general carefully observed. The king expelled the Canterbury monks, confiscated the property and revenues of clerics and bishops who obeyed the interdict, and left sees and abbeys, which became vacant unfilled. Negotiations for a settlement broke down and king John was ex­communicated in January 1209. In 1212 the pope declared John deposed by releasing all Englishman from their oath of alligiance and commissioned Philip II of France to attack his old enemy deposed by releasing all Englishmen from their oath of allegi­ance and commissioned Philip of France to attack England. Since Philip streneously pushed forward his preparations, while John was not sure of the support of his barons, John accepted the papal conditions of peace of 13 May 1213: to recognize archbishop to permit the return of the fugitive bishops, to restore all the confiscated property of the church. Two days later, on his won initiative, he placed the kingdom under the protection of the Holy See as a papal fief, promising 700 pounds sterling for England and 300 for Ireland as an annual census. This was paid total 1366.

After this agreement the pope stood by the king in the war against the rebels who on 15 June 1215 compelled John to issue the Magna Carta libertatum, which restricted the crown’s feudal and sovereign rights. The pope declared the magna carta null and void. Then, when the French invaded England partly in response to the pope’s earlier mandate, the pope threatened to excommunicate them and helped John. Pope suspended the rebels including Langton.

In Rome Bangton strove in vain for the lifting of his suspension. The pope forbade his return to England. At the forth Lateran council he renewed the excommunication of all the rebel barons, laid an interdict on London, and rebuked the French king for supporting the rebels. These rebels had offered the English throne to prince Louis of France who married the niece of John. Louis landed in England in 1216 May, but was excommunicated by the papal legate. In the meantime Innocent died on 6 July 1216.

The Fourth Lateran Council – 1215

The twofold purpose of the council was the recovery of the Holy Land and discipline and reform of abuses. 42 bishops, 800 abbots and priors, many laymen representing the rulers attended it. In three sessions the council passed seventy decrees. The two most famous canons of the council were: i. a profession of faith directed against Albigensian and Waldensian heretics and ii, imposing the obligation of annual confession and communion at Easter time for all members of the church. The first canon also gave official sanction to the term “transubstantiation”. Certain disciplinary decrees were also issued. New religious orders were forbidden unless they used one of the monastic rules alrea­dy recognized the 42nd canon supplied a clear distinction of ecclesiastical and secular courts. Immunity of the clergy from taxation was confirmed. In regard to matrimony, the council limi­ted the impediments of consanguinity and affinity, renewed the prohibition of clandestine marriages, and introduced the obligation of the banns. C.62 attacked the abuses in the cult of relics and decreed that new relics could be exposed for veneration only with the express consent of the Holy See. Fifty-nine of the seventy decrees were adopted into the law book of Gregory IX. Thus it became a conciliar source of the modern Codex Juris canonici after Trent.

The Waldensians

Peter Waldo or Valdes, a wealthy merchant of Lyons gave away his worldly goods in 1175 or 1176 and decided to follow the example of Christ by leading a simple life of poverty and preaching. The basis of his evangelism was the translation of Latin NT into the vernacular. He had some followers. Pope Alexander III at the third Lateran council (1179) approved it, provided that they obtain permission from the local authorities for the preaching. They were known Waldensians who spread the message of the Bible and exalted the virtue of poverty. In 1181 the archbishop of Lyons prohibited their scriptural preaching. But the Waldensians began to preach more zealously. In 1184 at Verona pope    Lucius III excommunicated them and directed that they were to be eliminated by episcopal inquisition and secular punishment.

The Waldensians fled from Lyons. They started to organize the movement as a church with bishops, priests and deacons, eventually they began to claim to be the true church. They spread throughout Lombardy and Provence. Around 1207 some of them came back to the Catholic Church and Innocent gave them special pro­tection. At Lateran IV in 1213 the pope condemned them. In spite of all these difficulties they were able to call a general coun­cil at Bergamo.

Belief: The two fundamental issues are: 1. The unauthorized preaching of the Bible, and 2. The rejection of the intermediary role of the clergy. They think that they are not subject to the pope or his decrees of excommunication. They rejected or re­interpreted for themselves all the catholic sacraments except confession and absolution and the Eucharist. In theory all Wal­densians men or women could administer these sacraments and the Eucharist was usually held only once a year. They may have some kind of baptism. All catholic feast days, festivals and prayers were rejected as a man-made and not based on the NT. They made exceptions in the case of Sundays, the feast day of Mary the mother of Christ and the Lord’s Prayer. They denied purgatory because there is no basis in the NT. This led them to reject the catholic belief in the value of alms and prayers for the dead.

The Waldensians are divided into superiors and ordinary believers. The superiors are expected to live more austere life depending on the alms of their followers and preaching. They Waldensians were also accused of rejecting the entire physical paraphernalia traditionally associated with the church buildings, altars, cemeteries, holy water, liturgies, pilgrimages, indulgences etc. were strong in central and Eastern Europe. Their doctr­ine later influenced the Protestant Reformation.

The Cathars

The Cathars (Gk. Katharoi –puritans) flourished in Western Europe in the 12th and 13th c. They believed in two gods, a good-god who created the invisible spiritual world and an evil god who created the visible material world. Matter, including the human body, was evil and was ruled by the evil god, whom the Cathars identified with the God of OT. He had imprisoned the human soul in its earthly body and death merely caused the soul to migrate to another body, human or animal. Salvation could be attained only by breaking free from this miserable cycle and Christ son of the good God had been sent by him to reveal to men the way of this salvation. Christ was a life-giving Spirit, whose earthly body was only an appearance. They accepted the NT and various Christian teachings, but rejected the incarnation and the sacraments. The one Cathar sacrament is consolamentum or spiritual baptism. It was administered by the laying on of hands. They believed that this would enable the soul to escape from the evil material world, They held that this was the baptism instituted by Christ, which gave the Holy Spirit to the recipient removed his original sin, and enabled him on death to enter the pure world of spirit and be united with the good God. The consolamentum had been handed down from the apostles by a succession of good men, but the church had perverted Christ’s teachings arid ordinances and was enslaved by the evil god.

The Cathars are divided into two classes; 1. The Perfect-they received the consolamentum, 2. The believers – they had not J received it. The perfect lived in strict poverty as ascetics, involving chastity, frequent fasts, vegetarianism and the renu­nciation of marriage and oaths. As they could alone pray directly to God, they receive unquestioning obedience and great venerati­on from the believers. Most believers postpond the consolamentum because of the rigour required for the perfect.

After 1140, Cathars spread mainly in northern Italy and southern France. The French Cathars are called Albigeneians, being most numerous in the district of Albi. By 1200 southern France might become entirely Cathars. The Cathars were protected by anticlerical merchants and nobles. The perfect were contrasted with the clergy of the Catholic Church who were corrupted.


It was a special court with a peculiar power to judge intentions as well as actions. Heresies were a problem in the church from the beginning. During middle ages, there were many heresies and the church decided to take strong against them. During the 12th c. in Europe there was a tendency either to purify (eg. Waldensians) or to provide alternatives (the Cathars) the established church. They were persecuted. Alexander III called upon the lay rulers to combat heresy. In the third Lateran Council -1179-a crusade was announced against the Cathars of France. In 1184 Lucius III decreed that the bishops should take action against heretics. It was decreed that a suspect, once convicted of being a heretic, was to be handed over to the secular for punishment. From the early eleventh century heretics were burned at the staked Innocent III talked about the heresy in terms of treason (1199). He sent first the Cistercians to preach against the Cathars, then the Dominicans, who became the foremost order of the Inqui­sition.

The king of France, Louis VIII issued ordinances to punish the heretics. Emperor Frederick II ordered in 1220 and 1224 to burn the heretics. In 1231 Gregory IX by his decree ‘excommuni – camus’ issued further decrees against the heretics. Under him the inquisition as a church institution was practically comple­ted and the Dominicans were entrusted its charge. In 1252, pope Innocent IV by ‘ad extirpenda’ incorporated all earlier papal statements about the organization of the Inquisition, as well as condoning the use of torture.

Inquisition was made up of several officials;

1. Delegates – they are the examiners who handled preliminary investigations and formalities

2. The socius – a personal adviser and companion to the inqui­sitors.

3. Familiars – they are the guards, prison visitors and secret agents

4. The notaries – they collect evidence and file it efficiently for present and future instances of suspected heresy. Besides the representative of the bishop and a dozen councilors, but the inquisitor is not bound to follow their advice.

The heretics were distinguished

–          Those who denied orthodox beliefs and

–          Those who had additional beliefs

–          Perfected heretics and

–          Imperfect heretic

–          Lightly suspect and

–          Vehemently or violently suspect.

Procedure – The inquisitor or his vicar would arrive suddenly deliver a sermon to the people calling for reports of anyone suspected of heresy, and all those who felt heresy within them­selves to come forth and confess, within a period of grace. This was the “general inquisition”. When the period of grace expired, the “special inquisition” began, with a summons to suspected heretics when were detained until trial.

At the trial the inquisitor had complete control as judge prosecutor and jury. The proceedings were not public, evidences of two witnesses was sufficient – they were unknown – The suspect was not allowed a defense lawyer or, rather lawyers discovered that defence of a suspected heretic might result in their own summons to the holy tribunal. Trials might continue for years, during which the suspect could languish in prison. Torture was a most effective means to secure repentance. Torture of children and old people was relatively light, the pregnant women were exempt until after delivery.

Penance following confession might be light, such as the hearing of a number of masses or, a pilgrimage to specific local or distant shrines, where scourging might be prescribed. Confessed heretics were sometimes forced to wear symbols denoting their fallen state, such as crosses of special design and colour, penitents night instead or in addition be fined or have their property confiscated. Some were sentenced to inquisitorial prison.

Resides loss of liberty heretics suffered civil death and were: disqualified from holding office or making legal contracts. The final group of heretics – unreconciled – had severe punish­ment – death at the stake. The inquisition entrusted this to the secular authorities, since the church could not shed blood.

The success of inquisition varied in different countries. It depended on the political relations with the papacy. It is influence was affected by events such as the Avignon papacy and papal schism. In Spain it was under royal control. In Germany it met with little success. In France it was strong. In Italy also it was string.

Most of the inquisitors were well educated and devoted to what they considered their duty. Some of them produced treatises for the use of other inquisitors.

The Mendicant Orders

Pope Innocent III attempted at the renewal of the monastic life in the church. He ordered to investigate the reason of the spiritual decline of the existing orders. At the same time he encouraged new foundations.  During this period two great mendicant orders were founded basing on the apostolic poverty.


1. Franciscans.

Francis of Assisi was born in 1181, son of Peter Bernard-one and of Pica. He gave up his wealth, renounced his inheritance and settled outside his native town to live a life of prayer and poverty. Gathering a band of followers, arid working part-­time jobs, he served his fellow men by preaching and nursing the sick. His way of life was approved in 1209 by Innocent III Thereafter they were known as the Minor Friars. They wore dark grey dress and went barefoot. As the organization grew it became difficult, to continue a life of poverty. So the order was permitted to own property. However some wanted to continue to live according to the teachings of Francis, insisting upon a life of poverty and a renunciation of endowments. They became known as the Spiritual Franciscans (Fraticelli) because they refused to obey the pope’s order to alter their rule this group was per­secuted and became associated with several other suppressed movements. The brothers who accepted the changes to the order were known as the “Conventuals”.

In 1219 Francis traveled to the Middle East. While he was absent problems arose among the members of his order. In 1223 pope Honorius III confirmed the new rule, which allowed for an elaborate organization. Francis holding to his original ideas laid down his leadership and retired to a hermitage on Monte Alvernia. There he received the stigmata. He composed his Canticle to the Sun, his Admonitions, arid the Testament. He died in 1226.

A society for women, the poor dares, began in 1212 when Claire was converted and commissioned.


The Dominicans

St. Dominic (1170-1221) was the founder of the Dominicans e or the Friars of Preachers. He was a/canon of the cathedral of Osma in Spain. He was sent to reconvert the Albigensians. He soon discovered that the ignorance of both clergy and laity concerning the doctrines and moral teachings of the church was the reason for the spread of heresy. Only bishops and their delegates were permitted to preach and they could not reach the people. To remedy this Dominic founded the Order of Preach­ers specifically dedicated to instructing the people from the pulpit and to teaching in the schools. The Dominican rule is based on the Augustinian and Franciscan rules, every superior was given and urged to use wide powers of dispensation if the church or order could be served suspension of rules. A system of democratic elections, representative assemblies and control by a minister general, bound the order together. Dominic also established an order for nuns.

The Dominican order was recognized in 1220. They wear a white habit and a black cloak (scapular) and so known as the Black Friars. They spread throughout Europe as the “watchdogs of the Lord” (a pun for the Latin name Dominicanus = domini canis) to hunt down heresy and ignorance.

The Dominicans established colleges and seminaries not as only for their members but also for other clergy. They produced leading mediaeval theologians such as Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas. The Franciscans were also busy in education. They established schools and seminaries. They had famous scho­lars like Beneventure (1221-74), Alexander of Hales (1170-1245) and William of Ockam.

Gothic architecture

Gothic architecture appeared in the eleventh century. It was the style of the high Middle Ages. It developed out of the earlier Romanesque pattern. Romanesque buildings were characte­rized by a low massive appearance due to heavy walla round arches and few windows. Gothic architecture emphasized height. Notre Dame, the Sainte Chapelle at Paris, York, Cologne cathedrals are classic examples of gothic churches.

The age of Transition

The end of thirteenth century in Europe was a period tran­sition. This period bridged the gap between medieval and modern times. Numerous elements of medieval civilization waned and dis­appeared, some others survived into later centuries with great struggles. The church as an institution outlived with much diff­iculty because the new forces shaping Europe were dynamic and powerful. The church had adapted itself to the feudal world, and now the new political, social and economic climate threat­ened to sweep away the ecclesiastical along with the feudal structure of the society. Now how this new tendency affected the church and what were the reactions of the church and the results?

Actually the later middle Ages were a period of difficulty for the church. During this period there occurred the crisis of the attack on Pope Boniface VIII, the Avignon papacy, the Great schism and the Renaissance. All these caused a decline in the church.

The fundamental attributes of this period which undermined the established position of the church are:

1. A shift in the economic basis of the society – feudalism based on land and source of wealth. How the revival of commerce and industry brought about a more flexible economic organizat­ion and a return to a money economy. Inevitably the church felt this change just as the secular institutions, for it faced with decline in its land values and a concurrent need for ready cash at the very times its functions were becoming more complex and consequently more costly. As the largest landholder of Europe the church’s economic basis was seriously weakened, and a changeover was necessary.

  1. A gradual secularization of the society

During this period there developed a new secularistic spirit in Europe. There was a tendency to concentrate on the present Ascetic renunciation lost its attraction. Even the mendicant orders lost much of its attraction. The secularistic spirit even penetrated among the clergy and it led to a moral decadence in the next century. Demand for reform in head and members were voiced at the councils. Anticlerical tendencies appeared.

3. The weakening of ecclesiastical monopoly over education and the educated class: During this period the church lost its monopoly of talent. By 1300 the greatest philosophers and theologians were dead. Some of the propositions of St. Thomas was condemned. Thomas did not dominate the centuries after his death. Nominalism of Ockam displaced Thomism. The coming of vernacular languages was a change, which employed a new sprit. Dante’s Divine Comedy was a most perfect literary form of the catholic culture of medieval Europe. Humanism in Renaissance emphasized the lay element in the literary world. As the laity became more educated they became more aware of the ignorance of many of the clergy and more critical of clerical shortcomings.


4. Birth of national sentiment in the midst of general political centralization – 1’eudal regime had been favorable to .the church. The church could control the small units. With the collapse of feudal system, national states emerged with national sentiments. This was felt as a threat to a unified Christendom» a second political characteristic of the age was the trend toward centralization of all authority in the hands of the sovereign. The sovereign should have the full control of over his subjects. Royal army, a royal bureaucracy and new sources of revenue promoted the process. It was a complete reversal of the medieval dispersion of public authority.

The clergy enjoyed wide exemptions such as immunity from civil courts, freedom from certain secular taxes, appeal of cases to Rome from the local bishop’s court etc. The new rulers with the popular support began to control this. This inevitably led to a conflict with the church and the state authorities. Demands of the national state took precedence over claims of a supranational church.

The second council of Lyons (1274)

It was convoked by pope Gregory X in 1274. Thomas Aquinas died en route to Lyons and St. Beneventure died during the sessions of the council. Three matters discussed in the counsel are the situation of the Holy Land, the Greet schism, arid the disciplinary problems.


 Though elaborate plans were laid on the recovery of the holy places, no international enterprise as crusade took place because in the new world of national states it was difficult.

For reasons more political than religious, the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII opened negotiations with the pope for the end of the Greek schism. After much discussion, a formula of agreement was achieved whereby the Greeks acknowledged papal primacy and catholic teaching on the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Byzantine legates at Lyons accepted the agreement and the end of the schism was joyfully proclaimed however, the reunion proved unpopular with the Greek population and was repudiated when emperor Michael died.

Two canons of the council are significant; canon 2sought to prevent delays in papal elections by providing for a secret conclave of the cardinals within ten days after pope’s death. Unless they agreed upon a new pontiff quickly the cardinals’ diet was to be reduced to bread, water and wine. Civil officials of the place of the conclave were charged with the execution of the scheme. It was promulgated against the cardinals’ opposition. So it was soon suspended, and then annulled entirely. It was re-enacted in 1294 by Celestine V.

 The prohibition by Lateran IV on the establishment of new religious orders was renewed. The tremendous success of the Domincans and Franciscans had called into existence a variety of imitators. If also caused a tension between the regulars and seculars. In 1253 the theologians at Paris had even voted to ex­pel all friars from the university and had petitioned the pope to suppress them entirely. The bishops at Lyons decided to take drastic actions against them. The council suppressed all mendi­cant orders except the Dominicans and Franciscans, although a decision was withheld on the Carmelites and the Augustinians pending further examinations. These latter two eventually were permitted to continue, but others either disappeared or changed.