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Turning Point 5: The Coronation of Charlemagne (800)


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The coronation of Charlemagne markes on the decisive turning points in Church History as a symbol of the beginning of Christendom, a complex society that prevailed in medieval Europe for almost 800 years.

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Turning Point 5: The Coronation of Charlemagne (800)

  1. 1. The Coronation of Charlemagne (800) Turning Point 5 Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity
  2. 2. Turning Points in Christian History <ul><li>Fall of Jerusalem (70) </li></ul><ul><li>Council of Nicaea (325) </li></ul><ul><li>Council of Chalcedon (451) </li></ul><ul><li>Benedict’s Rule (530) </li></ul><ul><li>Coronation of Charlemagne (800) </li></ul><ul><li>Great Schism (1054) </li></ul><ul><li>Diet of Worms (1521) </li></ul><ul><li>English Act of Supremacy (1534) </li></ul><ul><li>Founding of Jesuits (1540) </li></ul><ul><li>Conversion of Wesleys (1738) </li></ul><ul><li>French Revolution (1789) </li></ul><ul><li>Edinburgh Missionary Conference (1910) </li></ul>
  3. 3. The “Culmination” of Christendom <ul><li>When? December 25, 800 </li></ul><ul><li>Where? St. Peter’s Church, Rome </li></ul><ul><li>What? The Church crowned the State, beginning a centuries-long era of Western Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Why? Symbolically continue the Roman Empire under the spiritual authority of the Church </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Main Characters <ul><li>Charlemagne (Charles the Great) </li></ul><ul><li>King of the Franks (modern France and much of Germany </li></ul><ul><li>Pope Leo III </li></ul>
  5. 5. Historical Circumstances <ul><li>Frankish kings had a 50-year history of cooperation with the Papacy </li></ul><ul><li>King Charles was in Rome in the summer of 800 to help vindicate Pope Leo III from charges of corruption </li></ul><ul><li>Charles was lingering in Rome awaiting better weather to travel home </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the church service that day… </li></ul>
  6. 6. Birth of the Holy Roman Empire <ul><li>Charles rose from praying at the tomb of St. Peter </li></ul><ul><li>Pope Leo III advanced to crown him with his own hands </li></ul><ul><li>All the “Roman” people rose at once to shout three times… </li></ul>Charlemagne’s Iron Crown? (Housed in Cathedral of Monza near Milan, Italy)
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ To Charles Augustus, </li></ul><ul><li>crowned by God, </li></ul><ul><li>great and peace-giving emperor of the Romans, </li></ul><ul><li>life and victory!” </li></ul>
  8. 8. How Could This “Turning Point” Occur? <ul><li>Need to Answer Three Questions: </li></ul><ul><li>How did the pope come to have power enough to crown a Roman emperor? </li></ul><ul><li>How had the king of the Franks risen to a position to be so crowned? </li></ul><ul><li>How did this new relationship between the pope and the greatest ruler of northern Europe shape the centuries-long period of Western history (Christendom)? </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1. The Rise of the “Pope” <ul><li>Etymology of the word “pope” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greek papas : any high church official </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Latin papa : variety of respectable church authorities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strict use of the word “pope” for the bishop of Rome </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Began with Leo the Great (440-461) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1000s no one but the bishop of Rome </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Rise of Roman Bishop’s Influence <ul><li>Clement (fourth Roman bishop) wrote a letter to the Corinthian church circa 96. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This letter (known today as 1 Clement ) anticipated a pattern of influence with its authoritative council from the Church in Rome. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Over the next several centuries, bishops of Rome developed a commendable track record of responding to calls to refute difficult heresies. </li></ul><ul><li>In the late 100s, Pope Victor set an agreed upon date for Easter. </li></ul><ul><li>In 385, the pope sent the first official authoritative letter in response another bishop’s query. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Rise of Roman Bishop’s Influence (cont’d) <ul><li>By the 300s, it was clear the power of the Roman bishop had much to do with Rome’s political centrality </li></ul><ul><li>After the empire’s capital moved to Constantinople, Rome’s waning political influence magnified the prestige of her bishops </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of Rome in the NT was exploited by the Roman bishops </li></ul><ul><li>Pope Leo I’s influence at the Council of Chalcedon </li></ul>
  12. 12. Pope Gelasius’s Theory <ul><li>Gelasius I (pope 492-496) wrote a widely circulated letter defining ecclesiastical authority </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of Primacy of Spiritual Power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God created two legitimate powers to rule the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual, represented by the Pope </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Secular </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual power held primacy whenever the two conflicted </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Gregory the Great (Summit of Papal Influence) <ul><li>Pre-papal accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Founded monasteries </li></ul><ul><li>Joined a monastery; known for his sanctity </li></ul><ul><li>Served as a church diplomat </li></ul>
  14. 14. Gregory the Great (Summit of Papal Influence) <ul><li>Papal accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Political </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supervised Roman defenses against Lombard attackers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiated with Roman emperor in Constantinople </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reformed church finances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reorganized boundaries & responsibilities of western dioceses </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Gregory the Great (Summit of Papal Influence) <ul><li>Papal accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Ecclesiastical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passionate Bible student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formidably reformed worship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expositional writings studied beyond the Middle Ages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exegesis method (literal, mystic, moral) set an enduring standard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoted sacred music (Gregorian chants) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Influential gospel preacher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revolutionized European missionary strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Spiritually, he remained humble, rejecting the title “universal patriarch” for “a servant of the servants of God” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Question for Discussion <ul><li>What characteristics of the influential popes like Leo and Gregory brought the most positive good to the life of the church? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Importance of Charlemagne’s Coronation by the Pope <ul><li>NOT because it represented the height of papal power (which would grow for at least four more centuries) </li></ul><ul><li>NOT because it represented papal power exerting its influence over the height of political power (which would grow for centuries more) </li></ul><ul><li>Represented a strategic alliance between the papacy’s growing influence and the political power’s growing influence </li></ul>
  18. 18. 2. The Spread of Islam <ul><li>Founded by Mohammed, prophet of Islam, circa 620 </li></ul><ul><li>Arabian peninsula converted by 634, then via the sword rapidly spread east and west </li></ul><ul><li>By early 8 th century Muslims controlled: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>East: Syria, Palestine, Persia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>West: Egypt, Carthage, North Africa, Spain </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Muslim Expansion & Christianity <ul><li>Spread of Islam eastward over Egypt and North Africa was made easier by the weakness of Christianity in those regions </li></ul><ul><li>Spread of Islam accelerated the East/West division of Christianity, making communications much more difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Spread of Islam turned the papacy’s attention from the East to the North </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Give up ideal “old” Mediterranean Roman Empire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin a “new” northern European Roman Empire </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. The Battle of Tours in France Charles Martel Furthest Muslim Expansion into Europe
  21. 22. Charles Martel: Grandfather of Charlemagne <ul><li>Known as “the Hammer” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Savior” of Christian Europe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Military/political leader of the Franks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In 732, stopped the spread of Islam into France (the Battle of Tours) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Initiated friendly approaches to the popes as if he were leader of the Franks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>His son Pepin developed this practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pepin’s son Charlemagne inherited these alliances </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. Questions for Discussion <ul><li>Discuss the ways the spread of Islam changed the growth and character of the church in the 7 th and 8 th centuries. </li></ul><ul><li>How might Christianity have looked different by the year 800 if Islam had never spread into the Mediterranean? </li></ul>
  23. 24. Charlemagne’s “Christian” Empire <ul><li>Charlemagne assumed the title “Holy Roman Emperor” </li></ul><ul><li>Extent of his rule over Europe by 800 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Saxons in the north and east </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spanish in the west </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lombards in the south </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ruled more of Europe than anyone since Roman Emperor Theodosius (end of 4 th century) </li></ul><ul><li>Church-State cooperation which existed since Constantine applied to Europe creating “Christendom” (trans: Christ’s Kingdom ) </li></ul>
  24. 25. Charlemagne’s “Christendom”
  25. 26. 3. The Medieval Synthesis <ul><li>Harmonized (in theory) the sacred & secular </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated Christian world- & life-view </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unified politics, social order, religious practice, economic relationships, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on Christianity as taught by the Roman Catholic Church </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protected by the actions of secular rulers </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Christendom’s Central Convictions <ul><li>Human beings, corrupted by sin, need salvation, which is accomplished by the merit of Christ communicated through God’s grace </li></ul><ul><li>God’s saving grace comes through the sacraments in a social setting defined by the cooperation of church & state </li></ul>
  27. 28. The 7 Roman Catholic Sacraments <ul><li>The Ideal Comprehensive Life Course </li></ul><ul><li>Baptism </li></ul><ul><li>Confirmation </li></ul><ul><li>Penance </li></ul><ul><li>Eucharist </li></ul><ul><li>Holy Orders </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme Unction </li></ul>Sacraments stood for spiritual realities and worked toward the salvation of those who participated in them.
  28. 29. Medieval View of Sacraments <ul><li>Exhibit the principles of the incarnation, whereby the most important spiritual realities were embodied in a material form </li></ul><ul><li>Express the objective character of God’s action on behalf of humanity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Receiving God’s grace depended upon actually receiving the vehicle of that grace, and not so much on how one felt about the transaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Latin: ex opere operato ; trans: “from the work done” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reinforce the essentially social structure of grace, the fact that Christ worked for his people together through the institutional church. </li></ul>
  29. 30. Sacraments in Christendom <ul><li>Institutional church was the sole mediator of the sacraments, and thus the sole mediator of God’s grace for salvation </li></ul><ul><li>Since the salvation of sinners is paramount, all spheres of life must bow to the church </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Political leaders must cooperate with church </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education must be compatible with church </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic structures must support the church </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social order ideals must imitate church patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effect: the church was foundational to all of life </li></ul>
  30. 31. Question for Discussion <ul><li>Christendom created a delicate balance of power between the church and the state. Discuss ways in which it could be abused by either side. </li></ul>
  31. 32. Christendom: A Shattered Ideal <ul><li>Political rulers not keen on a subordinate position to the church; many revolted </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional arms of the church (monasteries, dioceses) proved difficult to regulate </li></ul><ul><li>Many dignitaries rewarded with high ecclesiastical positions proved immoral or incompetent </li></ul><ul><li>History marching on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Renaissance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protestant Reformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rise of modern nation-state </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of Western atheism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global Christianity outside the West </li></ul></ul>
  32. 33. Powerful Legacy of Christendom <ul><li>Ideal of the comprehensive presence of divine grace in all of life </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal of a harmonious cooperation between rulers of church and state </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal of the coming of the Kingdom of God from heaven to earth </li></ul>
  33. 34. Application for Today’s Church <ul><li>Are remnants of Christendom still apparent in our culture today? If so, what are they? If not, what has taken its place? </li></ul><ul><li>How does a sacramental perspective on the Christian faith help a believer follow God better? What possible pitfalls are there? </li></ul>