The Adoption of Christianity - Paper Example

Published: 2021-08-11
1920 words
7 pages
16 min to read
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A major shift in Christianity was seen at the beginning of the middle ages. The church became dominant after the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD and it dominated the lives of both the nobility and peasants. The church brought the desire of religion and faith but it became a center of corruption, evil and greed with unholy acts and materialistic popes. Despite the immorality, Christianity brought stability and hope to the empire socially and politically.

Gregory I the Great was important in creating an influential papacy and strong church machinery. His control of the papacy first elaborated the conversion of Anglo-Saxons from pagan to Christianity. Thus, through Gregory, the church yielded as much power as the state through the help of monks, archbishops and bishops. The people who succeeded Gregory also expanded the influence of Christianity in both political and social aspect of the medieval society.

Christianity spread during the middle ages emerged from Judaism. It was seen as a threat towards the Roman Empire leading to the persecution of Christians. However, during the time of Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire, Christian persecution and harassment ended, with Christianity gradually replacing Roman religion.

The fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, saw the establishment of the Christian Catholic Church as the major source of moral authority. During this period, any religion outside Christianity was considered unorthodox. The Christian Church grew with popes, bishops and archbishops having a great influence on the reigning Kings. This allowed Christianity to revitalize the faith and the spirit of the church leading to the reforming movements such as papacy, monastery and cluny. Corruption in the church became cleansed through the establishment of new clerical laws and cannon laws. Pope Gregory VII inspired people to reclaim faith in Christianity. Christianity influenced education, art and literature. The political class also became close to Christianity with empowers using Christianity to help I controlling the empire. Emperors even used Christianity to gain support of individuals with Christian believes during wars. Socially, Christianity influenced people lives since the religion provided an option of how life progressed.

The Organization of the Roman Church

The organization of the Roman Church included the pope, The College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia, the College of Bishops, Ecumenical Councils, Priesthood and nuns and brothers.

The pope

The papacy refers to the office of the Bishop of Rome, whose title as the pope has been reserved since the 9th century. Thus, the pope is referred to as the Bishop of Rome, supreme pontiff, and servant of the servants of God. The pope presides over the temporal government and the ecclesiastical government. As the head of the petrine office, the pope is primate or chief bishop of the universal church.

The College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia

The pope relies on the activities of the Roman curia. The curia involves deacons, notaries, and cardinals who are responsible for financial administration of the papacy and the curia.

The College of Bishops

The bishops who sometimes bare the title of archbishop or patriarch were administrative officers and spiritual guides of their dioces. The college of bishops is considered the successor of college of the apostles. They are united with the Roman pontiff in governing the church. The Bishops were assigned particular duties and were responsible for governing, sanctioning and teaching their particular church.

Ecumenical Councils

This is the church council of bishops across the whole world. The council was created by the roman emperor Constantine who wanted the Christian church to flourish under her leadership. The council is also considered as the supreme authority within the Catholic Church. The ecumenical council is guided by canon laws and it is presided by the pope.


The church officers in the Roman Catholic Church are called priests. These priests are members of the religious community or the diocese. Each parish has a priest who is presides over the church services.

Nuns and Brothers

In the 17th century, women were subjected to seclusion and rigid cloister. However, in the 16th century, the church began adopting girls in order to educate them as gentlewomen. With their inclusion within the Roman Catholic Church, they were recognized as nuns while men became brothers.

Strategies and beliefs of Pope

Pope Ambrose,

Pope Ambrose was born in 338 A.D and later died in 397. He was the bishop of Milan. He used the devil's strategy to bring many people towards the church especially women in particular. Ambrose believed that the devil was envious that man had been chosen by God to live in paradise. This made the devil angry, and as a result, it led him to deceive the woman so Ambrose encouraged all women to join the church and he was so effective in his ways that it led to some mothers telling their girl child not to listen to him.

Pope Gregory the Great

Saint Gregory the great is remembered as one of the greatest and most generous Popes. He fed people from church granaries to help cope with famine. This made a lot of people attend church. Gregory set himself to reform the church by removing all the top officials in the church, and this was efficient as it led to the generation of revenue which was used to run the church with. He believed that preaching was a primary duty of the clergies and this made him fight the Lombard who wanted to control Italy and practice Arian Christianity.

Pope Gregory 8th

His major task was to the re-conquest of Jerusalem from the Saladin. He ordered that meat was not to be eaten on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and named the days as strict fasts. He became the first pope to contact all the rulers of his time. This would help him in the asserting of the papal monarchy of Apostle Peter. He believed that his fight towards papacy would be strong and this led to the modern papal monarchy.

The Reform of Papacy

Papacy is the official jurisdiction of the pope or the bishop of Rome, who controls the Roman Catholic Church. It is believed that St. Peter was the first pope or a martyred in Rome when Christians were being persecuted in the mid-60s. The authority of peter was instrumental in the development of papacy. His successors such as Leo, also played a great role in papacy. He made the distinction between the office of the pope and being a pope. He maintained that the office of the pope assumed full power conferred on peter. Thus, the link between the office of papacy and peter was key during the medieval ecclesiology.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476, Pope Gregory I, became the first medieval pope and he faced a number of challenges during his reign. Headed by Byzantine emperor, Gregory has attention to the people of Germany who succeeded the romans as the rulers. This opened up papacy in the west. Despite Gregorys successful pontificate, Byzantine power receded, and the security in Rome become endangered. However, the new emperor, Leo III in the 8th century tried to restore the empire.

The 11th century was characterized by revolutionary change. Under Pope Leo IX, many moral and institutional reforms were introduced leading to the Gregorian Reform movement. The reform aimed at restoring the independence and liberty of the church. For example, the election decree of 1059 led to the development of the sacred college of cardinals, vested with the right of naming new popes thereby restricting interference and leading to the independence of papal elections.

Another papal reform was the investiture Controversy that started in 1049 between King Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII. The Gregory position was elucidated and the papal position placed as the highest authority in the Roman Catholic Church.

The papacy also evolved to become the bureaucratic and administrative institution. The papal court became the highest court of appeal, exercising a wide range of legal matters. The reforms also resolved the question of papal successions. Under Pope Nicholas V, there were revival of classical studies that led to the development of renaissance and humanism.

Gregorian World Revolution (Late 11th Century)

The Gregorian movement was put forward by Pope Gregory VII to consolidate the political and moral authority over European Christendom. The political and moral supremacy of the office of the pope, positioned Pope Urban II to call for the first Crusade. Reforms such as lay investiture, simony and celibacy successfully led to Gregorian world Revolution.

The papal supremacy under Pope Gregory VIIs led to the unity and centralization within the European Christendom. The efforts of Gregorian Reform movement was the main precursor of crusade mentality among Europeans.

The Clerical celibacy as part of the canonical Church law was considered an important lifestyle of a priest who aimed at dedicating himself to the Christ. However, such statue was not followed by some of the priests as some were secretly married or cohabited leading to priests hypocrisy and immorality. Thus, the clerical impurity hindered morality in the church. This become a detractor and Gregory forced priests to leave their wives or lose priesthood. Although sexual immorality continued, Gregory was able to reestablish the church morality by punishing disobedient priests.

Simony is defined as an act of selling church offices. This act was practiced by the rulers in the Holy Roman Empire who had the power over the church. Priests who bought their offices had moral character that was needed by the papacy. Since the moral character of the church was degenerating, Gregory and Leo decreed that nobody should sell or buy church offices and if the any cleric who buys such offices should hand them over to the bishop and be punished. Thus, Gregory and Leo challenged imperial authority and consolidated political authority of the church.

Ley investiture means practicing secular authority by appointing a person to a church position. In the middle ages, the nobles and lords placed their relatives and family members in critical positions such as collecting church taxes. The crime was against the Canon laws and Gregory efforts included aggressive Reponses and punishments. The prohibition of lay Investiture helped the church to separate from political networks and the papacy took political control of the church. Thus, the reformation aimed at getting the nobility and cleaning up the clergy.

The crisis of the Roman Church

Celibacy law for the clergy became a church statute in 1079. It tempted corruption and immorality of the clergy. It was common to see priests gambling or having orgies with blasphemy and quarrels. Most priests had mistresses and some were even married secretly. Some priest paid a regular tax the children he had with any woman.

With the decline of faith, immorality declined as people considered supernatural salvation. This led to Simony, an act of selling church offices. This act was practiced by the rulers in the Holy Roman Empire who had the power over the church. This practiced was common in the medieval period to the extent of selling the office of the pope.

Ley investiture became a common practice. The priests and placed their relatives and family members in critical positions such as collecting church taxes and involved them in making critical laws of the Roman Catholic Church. The crime was against the Canon laws because it took way the political control of the church.

The papal schism between 1378 and 1417 became a major problem for the Roman Catholic Church. There were three popes who claimed to be the true pope: Clement VII, a Frenchman, v and a pope who was elected by the council of Pisa. This p...

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: