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Lecture

christianity


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG100Y1
Professor
Andre Maintenay

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Major historical agent in Christianity: Constantine, early 4th century
Wife and mother were converts; whether or not he actually converted is debated, but
he was sympathetic towards Christians
While Constantines supposed christening is still debated, his mother was baptised.
He reversed many of the persecuting laws of Christianity- laws that were
discriminatory against Christianity; 313 Edict of Toleration.
gave them the freedom to practice their religion and supported them through
political patronage, state support, resources. Christianity blossoms. After his death,
next emperors supported Constantines decision and Christianity became the state
religion, the official religion of Roman Empire.
Theodisius was the first to officially do so. Christians personal safety wasnt at risk
any more and political gain was to be acquired by becoming Christians. Christianit
ywas a way to get ahead politically and socially. Establishment of churches,
architecture, symbology, music, rituals, etc. There was also the council of Nicaea
and other theological developments within Roman Christianity. RESULT:
Christianity spreads rapidly everywhere.
The next major event in Christianity occurs with the fall of the Roman Empire in
the 5th century. Church provides some stability within the political chaos in Europe.
Christianity is divided in two: the Western Latin one which prevails in Europe
(Catholic), and the Greek in Constantinople which is the Eastern variety
(Orthodox). Within the 5th century, we start to see differences developing that are
significant enough that provoke the Schism in 1054.
Despite the many different theological centers, Rome gained a bit of weight because
of St. Peters martyrdom in the city. The bishop of Rome comes to be known as
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papa and later pope who self-claims himself to be the most spiritually important
dude and the Catholic system adopts a hierarchy. Not everyone agrees.
After the Fall of the Roman Empire, the shit hits the fan and everyone starts to see
the unity provided by the bishop of Rome and his hierarchy as more necessary than
ever. With the Franks 8th cent, another kind of centralized European leadership
came around: Charlemagne who was crowned as a Holy Roman emperor by the
Church in 800 CE. **Pope confers power to Emperor (has greater authority)** Since
hes being crowned, it implies that the Church has greater power, he unites
significant parts of Europe under his domain . Church has claimed superiority over
political institutions. Here starts the Holy Roman Empire - major political
institution of Europe, Western Christianity. Church: spiritual side of Europe; Holy
Roman Empire: political side (two institutions that are theoretically working
together for common causes).
The Holy Roman Empire wasnt Roman, or an Empire, or particularly Holy. The
Pope and the different politicians have different agendas and scandals arise, so
came the Dark Ages. At some point there was three popes, some of them father
bastards… - multiple Popes, papacy relocated. Too bad!
Meanwhile, the Byzantine Empire with the Eastern Orthodox Church is totally
separate from all this crap and has a different flavour of Christianity.
Development of two distinct varieties of Christianity
1: prevails in Europe, uses Latin, liturgy (Western Christianity)
claims prominence (based on martyrdom of St. Peter in Rome -- site particularly
anticipated, blessed by Jesus, meant to be centre of Christianity); bishop of Rome =
Pope (the preeminent of the bishops); adopts Latin as language of Church, ritual,
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