What did early Christians call Jesus Christ?

Christianity - an international success story

Christianity has expanded in an amazing way over the past two millennia. It initially emerged as a small group within Judaism, as a religious reform movement in a culture that was under Roman occupation and was apart from the great intellectual movements of the time. From Palestine, the new religion first spread through the cities of the vast Roman Empire, then gained a foothold in the Persian Empire and even reached India. In the Middle Ages, the whole of Europe was Christianized, and from there the religion spread throughout the world in the course of European expansion.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, Christianity, with over two billion followers, became the faith of nearly a third of the world's population. It has spread to more cultures than any other world religion and has taken on many different influences in the process. Nevertheless, Christianity has remained a largely uniform belief in doctrine and ritual due to the hierarchical institutional structures that it has developed in the form of different churches.

The central message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead made the decisive contribution to the attraction of Christianity and thus to its rapid expansion. His triumph over death was seen by the believers as proof of the near end of the world and the imminent arrival of the kingdom of God on earth. Even if the church as an institution has repeatedly received criticism in the course of its history, the message of the risen Christ and the promise of the kingdom of God have not lost their fascination.

Jesus of Nazareth: a prophet with a far-reaching message

How did Jesus spend his childhood?

Jesus probably grew up in Nazareth. This place is mentioned several times in the Gospels as his hometown. However, the evangelists Matthew and Luke report that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Then his mother Maria and his father Joseph, a carpenter, moved with the child to Nazareth in Galilee. Jesus certainly grew up in a religious environment; the Gospels tell of his mitzvah, which he committed when he was about twelve years old. As a young man, Jesus probably belonged to the great religious movement of the Pharisees. This is indicated by some of the theological discussions with the competing Sadducees mentioned in the Gospels. Furthermore, Jesus is said to have been warned by the Pharisees that he was wanted by the Romans as a troublemaker.

How did Christ get to his disciples?

At the age of about 30, Jesus met John the Baptist, by whom he was baptized and whose religious reform movement he joined. John the Baptist preached and proclaimed God's imminent judgment and called people to repent.

Presumably Jesus won the first followers at the Sea of ​​Galilee. He first called fishermen to his disciples, including Petrus and Andreas, who lived in the town of Kapernaum on the western shore of the lake. Peter owned a house there with his wife and mother. The disciples regarded Jesus as their teacher and after his death carried on his message of the approaching kingdom of God.

How Reliable are the Gospels?

The statements in the Gospels regarding the paths Jesus is supposed to have traveled are not historically reliable, but are to be understood symbolically. Neither the traditional number twelve as the number of disciples goes back to Jesus himself nor the designation "apostle" (Greek "messenger"). The number twelve is intended to refer to the number of tribes of Israel upon immigration to the promised land.

Was Jesus Christ the Son of God?

Jesus did not use the terms “Messiah” (“Anointed One”, Greek “Christos”) or “Son of God” to refer to himself. But his followers have understood him that way, if one follows the Gospels. So when Jesus asked what the people said, Peter answered who he was: "You are the Christ, the Son of God!"

What is the context of Jesus' words?

The sermons of Jesus of Nazareth took place at a time when many preachers were speaking about the coming kingdom of God and the end of the world, calling for preparation for the coming of God. Its core sentences correspond to the religious tradition of Judaism: The double commandment of love ("love God and your neighbor as yourself") and the "golden rule" ("what you want others to do to you, do it to them") were not New. He discussed the interpretation of Old Testament laws with Pharisees and Sadducees. Modern historical-critical research has shown that a large part of the traditional words of Jesus presumably did not come from his mouth, but were the product of later theological developments.

Did you know that …

the popular address "Rabbi", with which Jesus is addressed in the Gospel, suggests that he was indeed a rabbi?

May Jesus only begin teaching and preaching with John's violent death?

Jesus called for repentance in his sermons, expecting the end of history?

What are some historical testimonies about the life of Jesus?

Neither the birth nor the exact year of Jesus' death are historically certain. One of the few non-Christian sources is the Roman historian Tacitus (55 to 115), who mentions the persecution of Christians that was triggered in his report on the fire in Rome under Emperor Nero. He notes that the name "Christian" goes back to a man named "Christ" who was sentenced to death under Pontius Pilate. But this comment can also be traced back to popular rumors. The Jewish historian Flavius ​​Josephus reports the execution of a wise man named Jesus.

Why was the preacher executed?

Apparently he was feared as a political rebel by the Roman occupying forces. Historically correct is the statement that Jesus finally moved to the center of religious life, the city of Jerusalem. It has not been proven whether he actually entered there as triumphantly as the accounts of the Gospels show. But he was definitely arrested and sentenced there. The type of execution, the crucifixion, suggests that he was charged and convicted of being a political troublemaker. The imposition of the death penalty was reserved exclusively for the Roman occupying power. The religious side of his arrest was a matter for the Jewish Synedrion, the supreme Jewish court. In recent years, the assumption has grown that the alleged cry of the Jewish crowd in front of the court, "Crucify him!", Does not correspond to historical facts.

Why does the gospel exonerate Pilate?

Apparently the authors of the Gospels wanted to exonerate the Roman occupying power from the accusation of an unjustified death sentence at a time when Christian communities were already emerging in Rome. The comment of Pilate, the Roman governor, that he was washing his hands in innocence, because he could not find the defendant to be guilty, should also be understood accordingly.

What did the disciples do after the crucifixion?

The followers of Jesus were plunged into a deep crisis after his execution. A large part of his followers fled to Galilee and their hometowns. How it came about that they returned to Jerusalem is not easy to understand. Crucially, apparently, the empty tomb was discovered just three days after the death of their religious leader. In any case, this is what the Gospels report - with the exception of the oldest, the Gospel of Mark, whose accounts of the resurrection were added later.

The Gospels emphasize again and again that his resurrection was told early on and that he appeared to individual disciples in visions. It is reported about Peter that he returned to Jerusalem from Galilee because a vision of Jesus had moved him to repent. He gathered the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem and began to do missionary work among the Jews. We know little about the beginnings of the new denomination from historical reports. Apparently the so-called early church formed a close community.

How did Christian teaching develop?

Luke's Acts of the Apostles idealized the early Christians as follows: “All those who had become believers had everything in common with one another. They sold their possessions and their belongings and distributed them to everyone as one was in need. Every day they stayed in the temple with one accord, taking turns breaking bread in the houses and eating food with happiness and simplicity of heart. They praised God and were […] popular. «The first Christians also seem to have accepted new members through baptism. Like Jesus, his followers initially remained true to the Jewish faith. But the content of their beliefs changed noticeably. While the coming of the kingdom of God was still at the center of the sermon of Jesus, a different content became central for the first Christians: Jesus is the coming Messiah, in whose return and power of salvation one should believe. The new message led to the separation from the Jewish tradition. Meanwhile, churches of their own had formed in Greece, Asia Minor, and even Rome. When the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and many Jews were deported, the former end-time sect had long since found a new identity. She broke away from the symbol of the central temple in Jerusalem and celebrated her own worship services, in which death and resurrection were thought of as the reason for her own salvation.

How can you determine the actual year Jesus was born?

As for the dates of Jesus' life, the gospels are not accurate. Allegedly, Jesus was born in Bethlehem under a special constellation of stars - the "Star of Bethlehem". Astronomical reconstructions show the year 7 or 6 before the new era as the year of birth. The second indication that Jesus was born at the time of a tax assessment under Emperor Augustus does not allow any conclusions, because no such decree is known. But when Samaria and Judea were subordinated to the Roman governor in Syria, a census and property appraisal were carried out in these provinces. This event falls in the year 6 after the new era.

Did you know that …

Did Jesus actually factor in his own death during his provocative entry into Jerusalem, the religious and state center of Israel?

Flagellation was a common prelude to Roman executions?

Jesus is said to have rejected the numbing drink of myrrh that is common in Roman crucifixions?

the deification of the rebels condemned to death by the Roman occupation forces by his disciples aroused anger among believing Jews? The Jewish religious authorities banned preaching.

Peter and Paul: Missionaries and Martyrs of Christianity

How did the apostles spread Christianity?

The New Testament provides information on how Christianity developed into a new religion and grew beyond the borders of Judaism. Apparently, so begins the Acts of the Apostles of Luke, the small community in Jerusalem had had an experience that turned them from a gathering of despondent and disaffected people to enthusiastic missionaries of the new message: the "outpouring of the Holy Spirit". The Acts of the Apostles only give us information about the expansion of the church with regard to Peter and Paul. Their activity began in Jerusalem, but quickly expanded to other cities. Thirty years after the death of Jesus, the message had reached almost the entire eastern part of the Roman Empire.

What do we know about Peter and his mission?

One of the important heads of the "early church" was Peter, who after the ascension of Jesus took the initiative to elect a successor for Judas into the circle of the apostles. Together with John he had apparently taken over the leadership of the church in Jerusalem. Peter was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of ​​Galilee - he was living in Capernaum when his brother Andreas introduced him to Jesus. Peter soon assumed a leading role in the circle of the closest disciples. A vision convinced him to proselytize non-Jews as well, a task to which he then dedicated himself. The rest of Peter's life is largely unknown. He certainly visited Antioch, but it is not certain whether he was also in Corinth and Rome. The assumption that he was executed in 64 during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Nero cannot be clearly proven historically. But there was already a regular cult of Paul and Peter in Rome around 200. During the time of Emperor Constantine, a church was built over the place of the alleged martyrdom of Peter, which would later become St. Peter's Basilica.

How did Paul work in the service of Christianity?

Especially through his missionary trips. 13 letters of the New Testament testify to the personality and the spiritual horizon of the Jew who was born around 3 AD in Tarsus as Saul into a Roman family. Saul considered himself part of the Pharisee movement and was involved in the first acts of violence against the Christian "early community". On the way to Damascus, Christ appeared to him in a vision. Saul became Paul, was baptized, and began serving as a missionary preaching the new message in Asia Minor and Europe. On his journeys of more than 30,000 km, he founded the churches of Philippi, Thessaloniki, Corinth and Ephesus. As the "least of the apostles", as he called himself, he formulated the first firm principles of faith in his letters to the congregations, for example about the resurrection and the grace of God.

How did the apostle end?

When Paul brought a collection from the Christians to Jerusalem, he was almost slain by an angry crowd. However, the Roman occupying power intervened and assured him, the Roman citizen, of a proper trial in Rome. The Acts of the Apostles reports that he was able to do missionary work for some time after his arrival in Rome. The only thing that is really historically certain is that Paul died in Rome. Presumably he lived in light detention until he was tried under Emperor Nero and then executed. Christianity owes its rapid spread in the Roman Empire to him.

What did the early Christians believe?

The early Christians were divided on how to spread the gospel. They remained true to the Jewish faith, lived according to Jewish religious laws and visited the synagogues. But because they were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah the Jews had hoped for, the "early community" moved away from traditional Judaism.

In the year 44 missionaries from several countries met in Jerusalem. At the apostles' council they bitterly argued over the question of whether newly baptized people should submit to the Jewish religious laws, i.e. whether they should be circumcised. The congregation ruled in favor of the Gentile mission, which meant that Jewish law was no longer binding.

Did you know that …

Simon is supposed to have got the nickname Peter (Greek "the rock") from Jesus himself?

Peter is said to have denied his religious leader three times during the interrogation of Jesus by the high priest before the crucifixion, as Jesus himself had predicted?

Peter is considered the first Pope? The popes see themselves as his successor to this day.

Saul already bore the name Paul before his "Damascus experience"?

Of the 13 Pauline letters contained in the Gospel, only seven are definitely from the apostle himself?

The Holy Scriptures: The Book of Books

What was the scriptures of the early Christians?

The Holy Scriptures were the same for the early Christians as for the Jews: the five books of Moses, the prophets, the Psalms, the Proverbs, the Book of Job and other texts. But the Christian Bible was soon expanded.

Which texts supplemented the Old Testament?

Paul's letters were viewed as particularly venerable. They wandered from church to church. But Jesus' life and death, his sermons and words had to be brought into writing from the oral tradition and thus secured. In Syria, the life and message of Jesus were first written in context. The author, who called himself Markus, is a non-Jew, as indicated by his poor knowledge of Jewish customs. In the Greek language, he combined individual words and scenes from the life of Jesus into a complete work. The allusions to the destruction of the temple and the first persecution of Christians prove that the gospel could not have originated until after 70.

How did the evangelists work?

The Gospel of Matthew, which emerged in the following 20 years, shows stronger content structures. It was written with a clear understanding of Jewish tradition and incorporated prophecies from the Old Testament that were then interpreted for Jesus. The Gospel of Luke also shows stronger interventions of this kind in terms of content.

How were the gospels delivered?

These writings were not a coherent "book"; rather, they were circulated as individual texts in the communities. It is likely that the Epistles of Paul were first compiled towards the end of the 1st century. The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) received a coherent tradition from the middle of the 2nd century. The term "gospel" ("good news") only appears from the end of the 2nd century. At first there were reservations about the Gospel of John; it was only later recognized as an authentic account of the life and message of Jesus. None of these texts have survived in the original. There are only copies whose oldest fragment - written on papyrus - comes from the beginning of the 2nd century.

Which scriptures were recognized?

In the 2nd century there were numerous "stories of apostles" whose missionary work was either unknown to Luke, the author of the "Acts of the Apostles," or which he had deliberately omitted. In addition, a new gospel appeared that showed a particular interest in the childhood of Jesus and another that traced the person of Pilate.

Biblical studies assume that Marcion, an Asian Minor living in Rome around 140, was the first to compile a list of recognized scriptures, but at the same time he intervened in the texts. He shortened the Gospel of Luke by passages that contradicted his conviction.

Did you know that …

the Evangelist Luke was a doctor?

the three synoptics (from the Greek "synopsis") wrote texts that were similar in structure and content? The fourth evangelist John, on the other hand, deviates significantly from this.

the term “canon” is derived from the Greek word for “measure”?

the Canon Muratori at the end of the 2nd century AD counts the four Gospels, 13 Epistles of Paul, the Acts of the Apostles, two Epistles of John, the Epistle of Jude and the Revelation of John in the canon?

How did the biblical canon come about?

By the 3rd century, a canon of authoritative scriptures developed that met with broad approval. The Epistle to the Hebrews remained controversial in the west and the Revelation of John in the east.

In 367 the Eastern Church decided on a canon of scriptures that are considered "holy". In an Easter letter the presbyter of the Church in Alexandria listed 27 "books" which he included in the "New Testament".

In the West, the complete list of "canonical" books was only recognized as valid by the African Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The prerequisite for the scriptures recognized as "canonical" was that they were written or promoted by an apostle and that their content corresponded to general belief.

From the persecuted minority to the state church: the rise

How did the new teaching spread?

After the death and resurrection of Christ, Christianity was spread throughout the Roman Empire through the Gentile mission. The Roman army made a significant contribution to this. Many soldiers converted to Christianity. Due to the frequent relocation of the units throughout the Reich, the soldiers were not only carriers of Romanization, but also ambassadors of the new religion.

Christianity, but also other religions that had their roots in the East, obviously appealed to people more than the cool Roman state cult. The doctrine of grace and salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus offered especially those of the lower classes emotional support.

How did the conflict with the Roman state come about?

Because of the first of the Ten Commandments ("You shall not have a God next to me"), many Christians came into conflict with Roman law. They were not allowed to participate in the imperial cult and the Roman state religion. Just like the Jews, the Christians were differentiated from the society in which they lived because of their religious laws. They quickly became targets for discrimination and persecution. The emperors repeatedly initiated pogroms and persecutions. In a correspondence with the imperial administration in Rome, Pliny the Younger asked how he, as provincial governor, should deal with the Jewish sect of the "Chresten". His interrogations had revealed some vague allegations. He doesn't know what to believe about it.

The rejection that Christians experienced was due in part to ignorance and misunderstanding. Especially the Lord's Supper with the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ met with incomprehension and rejection. In addition to fear of foreigners and the rejection of the unknown, the persecution of Christians also had a regulatory background. Because the refusal of Christians towards the state authorities contradicted the raison d'être. The functionaries of the imperial administration offered sacrifices to the gods as an outward sign of loyalty to the ruler. Christians were forbidden to participate in these sacrifices. As a result, they were suspected of fundamentally rejecting the Roman state. And at least as far as the doctrine of the divinity of the head of state was concerned, this was also the case.

How did the persecuted Christians react?

Early Christian literature is shaped by the persecution of Christians. The writings of the early church fathers, such as Tertullian, guard against the allegations made. The persecution brought Christians closer together. This strong cohesion of the communities and the festivals of the Christian faith, of which the martyrs also testify, made the Christians appear even more sinister in the eyes of the Romans. But after the massive persecution to which the Christians under Diocletian (245-313) were exposed, the tide slowly turned.

Who ended the persecution?

The Roman emperor Constantine (274–337) became the savior of Christianity. On the eve of the decisive battle against Maxentius, his rival in Italy, legend has it that a cross or a chi-rho monogram with the inscription "In this sign you will win" appeared to him. After his victory at the Milvian Bridge (312), Constantine decreed in the Milan Edict of Tolerance that the Christian religion could not be pursued any further. Tradition has it that Constantine was baptized on his death bed, but he favored Christians on many occasions.

Constantine integrated the Christians into the administration of the empire and gave them important tasks. Under his successors, the Christians gradually ousted the old pagan elite of the empire. Julian Apostata, the so-called heretic emperor and last ruler from the Constantinian dynasty, tried in vain to reverse this development. He had the decaying temples of the old gods restored and the preference given to Christians in the administration of the empire abolished. After his death on a campaign to Mesopotamia, his actions were reversed. Christianity finally began to take hold. Under Theodosius the Great, in 392 it was the only permitted belief to become the state religion.

Did you know that …

the first Christian to die because of his faith, the deacon Stephen? He was convicted of blasphemy and publicly stoned by the Synedrion, the political organ of the Jewish temple priests.

the greatest competition for the new religion was the Mithras cult, which was also very widespread among Roman soldiers?

Christianity was only perceived as an independent religion under Emperor Trajan (53–117) and has been persecuted since then?

Emperor Constantine worshiped the Roman sun god Sol Invictus in his youth and thus already showed a certain affinity for monotheism?

Who Persecuted the Christians?

The systematic persecution of Christians did not come about until the Emperor Decius (190–251). Rome had previously tolerated the new sect, albeit without protecting its followers against pogroms.

After the fire in Rome in AD 64, which Emperor Nero (37–68) himself had ordered, the emperor tried to shift the blame on to the Christian minority. Christians were executed in public circus games.

After further regionally limited pogroms, the persecutions under the emperors Diocletian (240-316) and Galerius (250-311) experienced a final climax. First of all, Christians were deprived of their citizenship, and finally the death penalty was imposed on all who refused to sacrifice to the emperor.

Christian festivals: highlights of the church year

Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25th?

Since the beginning of the 4th century, Christians have been celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th. It is believed that the Fathers of the Church chose this date because the pagans celebrated the feast of the sun god Mithras on this day: a holiday that was introduced by Emperor Aurelian in 274 and was very popular with the people. After all, Christ was the "sun of righteousness" and the "light of the world". The ancient Roman Saturnalia were also celebrated during this period (December 19). Since the 4th century, the feast of the birth of Christ has been heralded by the three to four week Advent season. In modern times, the beginning of Christmas was shifted to the evening of December 24th.

What does "epiphany" mean?

The name of the feast day (January 6th) is from the Greek epiphaneia for "appearance, manifestation". Three events in the life of Jesus are remembered, all of which are said to have occurred on January 6th:

First: The three wise men from the Orient went - guided by the shining of a star - to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, and offered gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus in the manger.

The second event is the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Then the sky is said to have opened, the Spirit of God descended on Jesus in the form of a dove, and a voice rang out: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Third, at the wedding in Canaa, Jesus turned water into wine. The Gospel of John says: “This is the first sign that Jesus did (...), with which he revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. ”In all events the divinity of Christ was manifested. That is why it is one of the most important celebrations of Christianity alongside Christmas and Easter.

What does Holy Week remember?

Holy Week, the last week before Easter, begins with Palm Sunday, which commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with the apostles. On Good Friday he was scourged and nailed to the cross.

What does Easter mean?

Easter is the oldest and most important festival of the Christian churches. The early Christians, who celebrated Easter since the first half of the 2nd century, not only commemorated the resurrection on this day, but also the sufferings and death of Jesus. The Easter cycle, which is divided into separate holidays, with the preparatory 40-day fasting period, only became established in the 4th century. Whether the word "Easter" is derived from the name of the Germanic spring goddess "Ostara" or the English goddess of the dawn "Eostre" is a matter of dispute. Today's date of Easter, the first Sunday after the spring full moon, was fixed at the Council of Nicaea in 325.

When is Ascension Day celebrated?

Originally, Ascension Day was included in Easter week, but this feast has only been celebrated 40 days after Easter since the 4th century. According to the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke, the risen from the dead ascended to heaven on that day in front of the apostles' eyes, not without first announcing the imminent arrival of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).

What happened on Pentecost?

God sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles. It was not until the end of the 4th century that people began to regard this Pentecost miracle as the core of this feast day. "Pentecost" is derived from the Greek pentecosta ("Fiftieth day") ago. In the Acts of the Apostles it is said that on the 50th day after Easter the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of fire and enabled them to speak in strange "tongues". The apostles are said to have been strengthened in their mission and baptized 3,000 people on the same day. The feast of Pentecost is regarded as the "birthday" of the church, as the beginning of the new Christ community.

Did you know that …

January 6th has increasingly become Epiphany in the West since 1164 the bones of the Three Kings were transferred to Cologne?

the forerunner of Easter is the Jewish festival of Passover, for which a lamb is slaughtered and at which the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt is commemorated?

Father's Day has only been celebrated on Ascension Day since the end of the 19th century?

Which Marian holidays are there?

Assumption of Mary: The Eastern Church celebrated Mary's death on August 15 in the 5th century, and in the 8th century it became the "Assumption". For this "ascension" there are no "eyewitness accounts" as with Jesus. But Pope Pius XII. raised the Assumption of Mary to dogma in 1950.

Mary Immaculate Conception (December 8th): The feast day in honor of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who was conceived without original sin, can be traced back to the 10th century. Mary is considered to be the only person who is free from the stain of original sin. In 1854 the dogma of Pope Pius IX. declared to be divine revelation - to the belief that is binding for all Catholics.

The Medieval Papacy: Rise and Fall

How did the early Christians organize themselves?

As Christianity expanded across large areas of the Roman Empire and beyond, it required a structure that could hold communities together across regional boundaries. Paul already distinguished between various offices in the church, such as apostles, teachers and prophets. Later New Testament writings name bishops, presbyters, and deacons as responsible in the congregations.

In order to keep the new congregations created by missions under control, a church area administration was soon organized. At its head was a bishop who held a special authority above all in dealing with differing doctrinal opinions.

What was the role of the bishops?

They were the guardians of right doctrine. One of the first examples of this is Irenaeus, elected Bishop of Lyon in 178. He defined the church as a stable community based on three pillars: the baptismal profession, the biblical testimony and the apostolic tradition. The latter in particular became crucial in the development of the early Church. Irenaeus saw a truthful tradition of faith guaranteed above all by the complete series of bishops.

As a guardian of the faith, the bishop gained supraregional importance. The political situation contributed to the fact that the bishops in the capitals, the so-called patriarchs, were given a special position. The bishops of the cities of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem gained a high reputation early on. When Christianity became the state religion, the episcopal offices of the two capitals, Rome in the west and Constantinople in the east, were politically upgraded.

What is the papal claim to power based on?

According to legend, the apostle Peter was the first bishop of Rome. He is said to have died a martyr's death and is buried on Monte Vaticano, a hill in western Rome. This tradition of following Peter was one of the pillars on which the bishops of Rome based their primacy. The other was of a purely secular nature: After the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, the lack of central power, the young but already well-organized Church prepared to fill the gap.

What divided the church into east and west?

The changing political power constellations led to the split. Due to the increase in power in the west, the church entered into competition with the Eastern Roman emperor in Constantinople, who also claimed the legacy of Rome. Gelasius I (Pope 492 to 496), on the other hand, introduced the doctrine of two powers, which asserted the dominance of clerical over secular power. He could not impress the Eastern Roman emperor with it. He stood behind the Patriarch of Constantinople. At the beginning of the Middle Ages it was clear that the popes' claim to primacy over all of Christianity had failed. Corresponding to the division of the Roman Empire, the Christian church was split into an eastern and a western one.

How did church and state benefit from each other?

In the dispute with the Eastern Church, the Popes made the experience of how important the alliance with a secular power was. In addition, the church had a lot to offer the young kingdoms that were formed on the soil of the former Roman Empire, for example the first administrative structures, education and literacy, Christianity as an identity-creating religion and moral authority with high symbolic power.

What alliances were there?

In the 8th century, a pope concluded an alliance with the Frankish Empire for the first time. Stephen II (Pope 752-757) placed himself under the protection of Pippin the Younger and crowned him king. The Frankish king returned the favor with the famous Pippin donation: Stephan received the Exarchate of Ravenna, which enabled the papal state to expand far beyond the borders of Rome.

What does the Swiss Guard do?

The Swiss Guard has been responsible for the Pope's personal safety for 500 years and secures access to the Vatican City. It was created under the pontificate of Julius II (Pope 1503 to 1513), who hired mercenaries from Switzerland. The Swiss have been considered elite soldiers since they defeated two knight armies of the Habsburgs in the 14th century.

Did the emperor and the pope get along?

Not always. The imperial coronation of Charlemagne in Rome in 800 marked the climax of the close relationship between the papacy and the Frankish empire: Leo III. (Pope 795 to 816) transferred the Western Roman Empire to Charles and in return acquired the protection and support of the most powerful ruler in Europe.

However, excessive claims on both sides repeatedly led to power struggles. In the 10th century, strong emperors determined the successor to the chair of Peter. To prevent this, Nicholas II (Pope 1058-1061) reformed the papal election, in which only cardinals were now allowed to participate.

In fact, the pope's secular power was strictly limited, but as head of the church he was also able to exercise political influence in the Christian Middle Ages. The popes assumed a dominant position at the coronation of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

Who had to take the "walk to Canossa"?

The German King Heinrich IV. In Gregory VII (Pope 1073-1085) he had a powerful opponent who not only claimed the supremacy of the Pope over the entire Christian Church, but also asserted his authority over every secular power. The dispute arose over the right to appoint bishops, hence the term investiture dispute.

First Gregor decided the conflict for himself: he excommunicated Heinrich and thus forced him to take the humiliating "walk to Canossa" before lifting the papal ban. But then in 1084 loyal bishops called the antipope Clement III. out. Heinrich moved to Rome with his army, Clement crowned him emperor, and Gregor had to flee. It was not until the Worms Concordat of 1122 that papacy and kingship found a compromise in the investiture dispute.

Why did Pope Clement go to Avignon?

Because he no longer felt safe in Rome. The prehistory: Boniface VIII (Pope 1294–1303) once again emphasized his claim to world domination with the bull "Unam Sanctam". This was addressed to the French King Philip IV the Fair. But times had changed. Stronger national states like France were no longer dependent on the symbolic power of the papal "blessing". The unstoppable decline of the papacy began when Philip unceremoniously responded to the bull by imprisoning the Pope.

In 1305 Philip succeeded in having a French cardinal elected Pope. But Clement V (Pope 1305-1314) met with fierce opposition in Italy. He placed himself under the protection of the French king and moved his residence to Avignon in 1309. In the so-called "Babylonian captivity" in Avignon, the popes were completely subject to French kingship. First Gregory XI. (Pope 1370-1378) was able to get rid of it with the support of St. Catherine of Siena. In 1376 he finally returned to Rome, and in 1378 the papal election took place again in Rome.

Was the unity of the church assured?

Not at all. After the Pope's return to Rome, the Great Western Schism came about, which was only ended by the Council of Constance (1414-1418). But the council also stands for a development that threatened the unity of Latin Christianity and the position of the papacy. It is true that in Constance the teachings of John Wycliff and Jan Hus were condemned as heretical. But the Protestant movement, which criticized the papacy more sharply than ever and saw the pope as the anti-Christian, was not defeated by this. Instead of countering it with internal church reforms, the popes of the Renaissance basked in unparalleled self-glory.

How did the decline of the papacy come about?

Among the pompous popes of the Renaissance, especially Alexander VI should be mentioned. (1492–1503), Julius II. (1503 to 1513) and Leo X. (1513–1521) - Rome became the cultural center of the West. The best artists, including Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci, worked for the Holy See and the papal court was on par with that of the richest princes. At the same time, however, the spiritual function of the popes as the head of Latin Christianity was increasingly receding in order to make way for political intrigues. One sought to expand the territory of the Papal States and interfered in the armed conflicts over the rule over Italy.

A favorite project of the popes was the gigantic new building of St. Peter's Basilica, for which every means was soon to be financed. Never before have so many ecclesiastical offices been sold for money, and the notorious indulgence trade has also been driven to extremes. Across Europe criticism of the extravagance and immorality of the Popes grew louder, but they failed to see the signs of the times. In this way the Reformation was finally able to finally break the primacy of the popes over Western Christianity, which had been fought for long and hard, at the end of the Middle Ages.

Did you know that …

Innocent III. (Pope 1198–1216) extended the papal feudal sovereignty, which had previously only applied to the Holy Roman Empire, to the kingdoms of England and Aragon?

the dome of St. Peter's Basilica is the largest cantilever brick structure in the world?

the Pope, as the highest authority in all church questions, was also responsible for confirming the rules of the order?

What does the Pope's coat of arms show?

The coat of arms of the popes, which they have wielded since Nicholas V (Pope 1447–1455) as well as the secular princes, shows the pope's insignia: the three-tiered tiara, the pope's crown since the 14th century, and the crossed keys as symbols of apostolic discipleship. It puts the bishops of Rome in line with the apostle Peter as head of the church founded by Jesus.

The great church divisions: weakening of the papal power

How did the Eastern and Western Churches differ?

Christianity developed quite differently in the eastern and western parts of the former Roman Empire. In the East there was a close interweaving between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Church; the emperor was at the same time head of the church. Although the Patriarch of Constantinople was given a certain priority over his colleagues, there was never a comparable prominent position in the Eastern Church as that of the Pope in the Western Church. Numerous theological contradictions had also developed over the centuries.

What did the Pope and the Patriarch quarrel about?

The area around Ravenna and parts of southern Italy belonged to the territory of the Patriarch of Constantinople. When Pope Leo IX. (1002-1054) engaged in southern Italy against the Normans, he came into conflict with the patriarch Michael Kerullarios (around 1000-1059). An embassy under Humbert von Silva Candida negotiated various controversial questions of faith and practice on behalf of Leo in Constantinople. The West criticized the primacy of the emperor ("Caesaropapism") and certain views on the nature of the Holy Spirit. He also insisted on the celibacy of all priests. The East opposed the Pope's claims to power and saw the Byzantine Empire as the sole legal successor to the Roman Empire. The papacy considered itself to be the highest authority in all questions of faith and discipline, while the East only wanted to recognize decisions of councils at which all churches could express themselves equally.

How did the break come about?

After a series of mutual provocations, Humbert laid down the excommunication bull in Hagia Sophia on July 16, 1054. Michael Kerullarios pronounced the counter-spell. The separation of the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem from the Western Church was thus sealed. On the border between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire, an "orthodox" ("orthodox") and a "Catholic" ("general") Christianity faced each other.

Were there any other divisions in the Church?

Even the Western Church could not always maintain its unity. In 1378 the conclave, the assembly of cardinals to elect the pope, took place in Rome for the first time. The curia was in Avignon exile (1309-1377), into which it was forced to flee due to the fall of power in Italy, came under the influence of the French court. Eleven of the 16 cardinals were French. Nevertheless, under pressure from the Romans, the conclave elected Urban VI, an Italian, as pope. The cardinals took the oath, but shortly afterwards declared the election invalid and elected Clement VII (1342-1394), who now - as antipope - resided in Avignon again. Most of the Italian cardinals also took his side. Only two followed Urban. When one of the two popes died, a successor was elected for him, so that the schism continued. Boniface IX, Innocent VII and Gregory XII came to Rome. on the chair of Peter, in Avignon Benedict XIII.

What saved the unit?

At the University of Paris, the theological center of that time, various options for resolving the conflict were worked out. A council should decide which pope was the rightful one. The Council of Pisa in 1409 ended with the election of Pope Alexander V and the deposition of Benedict XIII. and Gregory XII, but neither party was ready to resign. Now there were three popes. The Council of Constance in 1414 finally deposed all three. In 1417 this resolution was implemented and Martin V (1368–1431) was elected sole Pope. The decisive factor here was the Church's efforts to escape the influence of the French crown. Logically, Martin did not reside in Avignon, but in Rome.

Have there been any attempts to reconcile the two churches?

There were several attempts at union to reunite the Western and Eastern Roman churches. In 1274 the union failed at the second council of Lyon and in 1439 at the council of Basel. The two sides assumed different assumptions. For Rome a union meant submission to the Pope, the East expected negotiations among equals. The sack of Constantinople during the 4th Crusade (1204) sealed the break; after that all attempts at reconciliation were unsuccessful.

Did you know that …

the term "schism" comes from the Greek word for "separation"?

in the course of time a total of twelve popes resided in Avignon, France?

at the Council of Constance, which ended the Western Schism, the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus was burned as a heretic, although he was assured safe conduct?

The Orthodox Churches: Struggle for Right Faith

How many Orthodox Christians are there?

Of the two billion Christians worldwide, around 250 million are followers of the Orthodox Church. In addition to Catholics and Protestants, they form the third group of world Christianity. Even if Orthodox Christians live in all parts of the world, the main focus is on Eastern Europe. And there are historical reasons for that. At the beginning there was the division of the Roman Empire (395 AD) into an Eastern Roman Empire with the capital Constantinople and a Western Roman Empire with the capital Rome. Later on, Christianity split into a "Greek" Eastern Church and a "Latin" Western Church.

What were the two centers of the world arguing about?

From an early age it was about the supremacy over the whole of Christianity. The Bishop of Constantinople opposed the subordination demanded by the Bishop of Rome. Last but not least, he was able to justify his prominent position politically: Rome lost importance after the division of the empire, the Roman Church was dependent on the protection of Germanic princes, Constantinople, on the other hand, carried on the splendor and power of the Roman Empire for centuries.

The greater the influence of the Central European princes - above all the Franconian kings and the Saxon emperors - on the Latin Church, the more the Patriarch of Constantinople felt called to preserve the traditions of the Church.

How did a rapprochement between the Western Church and the Orthodox succeed?

After the separation of the Catholic (general) and Orthodox (orthodox) churches was officially sealed in 1054, there was no contact between the two churches for centuries. A convergence only came about in the 20th century. In 1948 the World Council of Churches was established. One reason for this may have been the threat that the Orthodox churches faced during the communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe. The Stalinist "purges" produced many new martyrs. Since the collapse of the Eastern bloc and democratization, the Orthodox churches have enjoyed a lively popularity again, and religiosity is experiencing a renaissance, especially in Russia.

How has the Orthodox Church changed?

In contrast to the Catholic Church, which underwent several liturgical reforms, the basic features of the Lord's Supper have been preserved in the Orthodox Churches since late antiquity. The liturgical tradition refers to two important teachers of the church: John Chrysostomos (344–407), Patriarch of Constantinople, and Basil the Great (around 330–379), Bishop of Caesarea.

What happens in Orthodox worship?

In the divine service, the event of salvation is made present, the boundaries between earth and heaven, between the present and the future of the kingdom of God, disappear. Even if the ritual acts of the priests are performed spatially separated from the community, the assembled believers are actively involved. In the liturgical adoration of the Triune God they see themselves as the image of the heavenly powers, who unite with Christ at the climax of the divine service, the Eucharist (communion) celebrated with unleavened bread and wine, and participate in his sacrifice for the people.

"Praising and worshiping God in the right way" - this literal translation of the term "orthodox" is therefore particularly evident in worship. The special presence of God is also expressed in the importance of the church buildings, which are considered to represent the temple of Jerusalem. Through the church, the kingdom of God is communicated to the congregation in the performance of worship and becomes a reality that can be experienced spiritually.

What role do icons play in Orthodoxy?

Eastern Christianity experienced a tremendous shock in the iconoclastic controversy. The question was whether religious content can be depicted. In 843 a compromise was found that allowed representation but not worship. Since then, the icons have played an important role in everyday piety. Icons represent a window to heavenly reality, convey the presence of the revered person and enable direct contact. Through kisses and touch, the believer comes even closer to the object of his worship. That is why icon paintings are often protected by metal.

Icon painting is a spiritual act. Piety and devotion are expected from the artist, as well as knowledge of the traditions and rules that must be observed when making icons. This explains the fairly uniform style of the icons over the centuries - in contrast to the religious art of the West, which went through all artistic eras.

What are the characteristics of Orthodox sacred music?

Just as the icons, which are usually lavishly underlaid with gold, characterize the Orthodox church interiors, the effect of the chants during the liturgical celebrations is just as impressive. They are sung without the accompaniment of musical instruments. Since the Orthodox liturgy emerged in the Middle Ages with the worship of icons, the use of incense, magnificent robes and the spatial separation of the altar and church space, a large number of hymns have emerged in which certain saints are praised or which are sung like prayers at Vespers or morning praise . This liturgy has been preserved in its form to this day.

How did Russia become Orthodox?

This was preceded by the Christian missionary work in Eastern Europe, which started in Constantinople in the 9th century. A milestone in the Christianization of Eastern Europe was the baptism of Grand Duke Vladimir in 988 on the occasion of his wedding to a sister of the Eastern Roman emperor. Vladimir, nicknamed "the saint", ruled the mighty Kiev Empire, which united all the East Slavic tribes. With his baptism he brought his dominion to Christianity.

The nucleus of Christianization were the monasteries that arose in Eastern Europe. To this day, monasticism is an essential element of Orthodox religiosity. The monks are bound to poverty, obedience and chastity. The high status of monasticism goes back to oriental traditions. This is how the first early Christian monasteries came into being in Egypt, Palestine and Syria.

What did the Slavs get from the monks?

Christianization was also associated with the spread of writing in the East.The Cyrillic script - developed from the Greek minuscule script - owes its name to a missionary: Cyrillos and Methodios came from the Greek Salonika. They lived in the 9th century and are venerated as "Slav apostles" and "Slav teachers". They translated the Greek scriptures into the vernacular languages ​​of the Slavs.

Is there a separation between church and state?

No. Typical of the Eastern Church was the close connection between secular rule and church, between throne and altar. The emperor was the de facto head of the church. Based on this Eastern Roman tradition, the Orthodox churches in Eastern Europe have emerged as national churches.

The Patriarch of Constantinople initially retained supreme jurisdiction over the new national churches. It was only over time that the new churches dissolved and became autocephalous, self-governing and canonically independent churches. The Patriarch of Constantinople, today's Istanbul, still occupies a special position due to its historical importance and has been entitled "Ecumenical Patriarch" since the 6th century. But in contrast to the Pope in the Catholic Church, he sees himself in relation to the other patriarchs as primus inter pares, as the first among equals.

The time-honored Patriarchate of Constantinople is rather insignificant in terms of size. By far the largest Orthodox Church, with around 100 million members, is the Russian Orthodox Church with the Patriarchate of Moscow.

According to what calendar do the Orthodox churches celebrate?

In the Orthodox Church, apart from special holy feasts, the same holidays are celebrated as in other Christian churches. But because the majority of the Orthodox churches did not participate in the calendar reform of Pope Gregory VIII in the 12th century and stuck to the old Julian calendar, the Orthodox church year has been shifted by 13 days compared to that of the Western churches. The moving holidays, Easter and Pentecost, are also celebrated on later dates.

Did you know that …

do the Orthodox churches insist to this day that they represent the true Christian faith that bound all Christianity during the first 1000 years of its existence?

the resolutions of the earlier councils, which were taken with the Latin bishops, are still recognized in the Orthodox churches to this day?

the Julian calendar, according to which Orthodoxy still calculates its feast days, by Julius Caesar in the year 46 BC. Was introduced?

Who lives on Mount Athos?

Orthodox monks. The around 1000 brothers who live on the holy Mount Athos, a headland on the northern Greek peninsula of Chalkidiki, prove how lively monasticism is in the Orthodox Church to this day. 20 monastic communities of various sizes manage themselves in this "monastic republic", whose special status goes back to the time of the Eastern Roman Empire. The entire monastery landscape is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. But the view of the magnificent works of art, especially icons and book paintings, is reserved for the monks and selected visitors. Women are not allowed to enter Mount Athos at all, men only to a limited extent.

Did you know that …

the up-and-coming Moscow in the 15th century claimed the designation "third Rome" for itself? Constantinople was considered the "new Rome" in the 4th century.

the Orthodox priests, as opposed to the monks - and the Catholic priests - are allowed to marry?

one of the oldest monasteries in the world, the Catherine's Monastery on Sinai, founded in the 6th century, is still inhabited by Greek monks today?

Medieval monasticism: between reform and decline

What influences were the monasteries exposed to?

The history of the monastic way of life is shaped by movements of construction and decay, guided by the attempt to meet spiritual needs as well as the secular functions of the monasteries. The influences came both from the order itself and from society, above all from the bearers of secular and ecclesiastical authority.

How did monasticism reform?

Even if the term »reform«, which describes the creative will to change while preserving tradition, was only used from the 13th century in relation to monasticism, we see decisive reform efforts in the attempt at the Aachen provisions of the years 816-819, which To answer the question about the truly godly way of life. The French founder of the monastery, Benedikt von Aniane (died 821), in collaboration with the Frankish Emperor Ludwig the Pious (reign 814–840), committed monasticism to strict observance of the rule of Benedict of Nursia (around 480–547) and a uniform everyday rule Way of life.

What did the Cluny monks want to change?

As early as 900 there was again a need for reforms in monasticism and the church, partly due to political disintegration and crises. Numerous monasteries had deviated from the strict rules of asceticism and worship, so that a new spirituality was sought. For example, she emphasized the liturgical duties, since the monks ultimately prayed for the community of all Christians and expected donors and monasteries to intercede for their souls. In addition to centers such as Gorze, Fruttuaria and Hirsau, Cluny, which was founded in 910, took up the idea of ​​reform. Such new foundations were always attempts to escape the influence of worldly powers. In the following decades, numerous houses joined this abbey and formed a tightly organized association with it.

Which orders were newly founded in the High Middle Ages?

Cluny's concentration on liturgical services and the great influence of his abbots, especially on political issues, quickly led to a demand for greater internalization of monastic ideals. In 1098 Robert von Molesmes founded the Cîteaux monastery, the nucleus of the Cistercian order, with the aim of seclusion. Already in 1153, in the year of death of the most famous representative of the order, Bernhard von Clairvaux, 350 houses belonged to this order. However, the economic and political gain in power associated with growth soon bypassed the desire of many people for spiritual values.

Who else was involved in the spiritual reforms?

From the end of the 12th century a broad lay movement emerged, striving for forms of apostolic life and strict ideals. Led by preachers who were particularly popular in the cities of southern France and Italy, these groups challenged the secular power of the church. Since they could not be completely excluded from the church as heretics due to their large number, Pope Innocent III tried. (Pope 1198–1215) to reintegrate their moderate parts by supporting the later so-called mendicant orders of the Dominicans and Franciscans.

With their lived ideal of poverty and their preaching activities, they took up the needs of the population more strongly than the Cistercians, who had become rich in the meantime. The estimated numbers of around 15,000 Dominicans and 30,000 to 40,000 Franciscans around 1300 are enough to prove this.

Who benefited from the monasteries?

German rulers often founded monasteries at strategically important points in order to control the sometimes only superficially Christianized country. As long as the law gave the first-born the entire inheritance, monasteries were always contact points for those who were born after them. The same applied to daughters from poor families who could not be married due to a lack of dowry. During times of war and famine, real crowds flocked to the monasteries, many of whom were not interested in an ascetic life.

How do the orders differ?

When it came to the question of how strictly the poverty regulation should be interpreted, it was not only the Franciscan Order that split. Other monastic orders also had to struggle with problems in the 14th and 15th centuries: the plague, war and the great church schism created a sense of crisis that led to ascetic reform movements. In the mendicant orders, observance movements arose with the aim of a strict lifestyle. Appropriate reform approaches for a renewal of monasticism can also be observed among the Benedictines, and the Carthusian order, which dictated strict solitude, enjoyed great popularity during this time.

Did you know that …

Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the Benedictine Rule, venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and has been the patron saint of Europe since 1964?

ecclesiastical reforms in the 11th century took action against the purchase of offices, marriage of priests and lay investment - the award of church offices by secular rulers?

were the Cluniac reforms directed against secular influence on the Pope?

the Cistercian Bernhard von Clairvaux played a key role in bringing about the Second Crusade (1147–1149) with his speeches?

Crusades: Two Hundred Years of Struggle for the Holy Places

What was the goal of the Crusades?

The official reason for the first crusades was the liberation of the Christian pilgrimage sites. In the middle of the 11th century, the balance of political and military forces in the Middle East was severely disturbed: the two great powers Egypt and Byzantium, who had previously guaranteed the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians and free access to the pilgrimage sites of the Holy Land, stepped up a third, troubled force: Muslim Turks who called themselves Seljuks. They conquered Jerusalem and finally Anatolia, which brought the Orthodox Byzantine Empire into dire straits. The Christian brothers in the West were asked for support. But instead of the expected auxiliary corps, a disordered mass of "holy warriors" arrived, who ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Christian bulwark in the east.

Who initiated the first train to Jerusalem?

The trigger for the mass movement was the speech of Pope Urban II in 1095 at the Synod of Clermont, in which he called for the fight against the infidels and for the liberation of the Holy Land. It was not foreseeable that such a tremendous echo would follow his call, but it was in keeping with the spirit of the times. The reform movement emanating from the Burgundian monastery of Cluny promoted religious zeal in all classes. It was here that the idea of ​​directing the aggressive energies of Western knighthood against their common enemy, Islam, was developed. Successes in the Reconquista, the fight against the Moors, had already been achieved on the Iberian Peninsula.

Now the goal of European Christianity was set much higher and further: Jerusalem, the "center of the world", should finally belong to the Christians. Participation in the crusade promised salvation, and the church watched over the earthly goods of the crusaders during their absence. So there was nothing to lose - just life; and that left countless in the battles in the Holy Land, but also on the dangerous and arduous path.

What were the motives of the participants?

The call to the crusade was followed primarily by armies of knights, but also by peasants and multitudes of the poor. After several bad harvests, especially in France and Flanders, people were ready to take up the cross. Under the motto “God wants it!” People sought their luck in the rich Orient. The masses of French have-nots that the ascetic zealot Peter of Amiens gathered behind him were eventually wiped out by the Seljuks.

But the main army captured Jerusalem in July 1099. The triumph of the cross was accompanied by a terrible massacre among the population. Eventually the Crusaders occupied Palestine and Syria and founded the Kingdom of Jerusalem, to which smaller Christian feudal states such as Antioch, Edessa and Tripoli were attached.

What Caused the Crusade Movement to End?

The lack of supplies. Constantly exposed to Muslim attacks, the western outpost always needed new supplies. The First Crusade was followed by others, and the fortunes of war changed. The Christian enclaves in the Muslim world could not hold out in the long term. In 1291, Acre fell, the last bastion.

The main reason for the failure of the Crusades was the lack of cohesion in the West. When after the inglorious course of the Second Crusade the enthusiasm fizzled out, only one's own interest counted. Venice, for example, which incidentally made good money on the transport of crusaders and pilgrims, used the departure for the Fourth Crusade (1202 to 1204) to damage an unpleasant competitor: the crusade army was only brought as far as Constantinople, which was plundered and completely devastated. The capital of the Byzantine Empire was never to recover from this - and Venice then took over its supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean.

When were which crusades?

1096–1099: First crusade led by French and Flemish nobles such as Gottfried von Bouillon

1099: Conquest of Jerusalem; Establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem

1147–1149: Second crusade after the call of St. Bernard of Clairvaux; fails under the French King Ludwig VII and the Staufer Konrad III.

1187: Sultan Saladin conquers Jerusalem

1189–1192: Third crusade, initiated by Friedrich I. Barbarossa, who drowns en route in the Anatolian river Saleph. The kings of England and France, Richard the Lionheart and Philip II August, take Acre; Saladin guarantees free access to the pilgrimage sites

1202–1204: Fourth Crusade, directed from Venice to Constantinople, which is completely destroyed

1217–1221: The troops of Andreas II of Hungary and Duke Leopold IV of Austria are repulsed at Al-Mansura

1228: Fifth crusade: Friedrich II. Von Hohenstaufen reaches Acre and negotiates a compromise with Sultan Al-Kamil about the holy places

1248–1254: Sixth crusade of Louis IX. of France with the goal of Egypt fails, as does the Seventh Crusade to Tunis led by Ludwig (1270)

1291: Fall of Acre, the last Christian bastion in the Holy Land

Did you know that …

Participants in the First Crusade murdered and expelled Jews living there in the Rhineland?

to protect pilgrims the knightly orders of the Templars and Johanniter (later Maltese) and the German Order were founded?

there were also crusades against European non-Christians and heretics, for example against the Wends in the northeast (1147), the Albigensians in southern France (1209–1229) and the Stedinger farmers on the Lower Weser (1233/34)?

The great sects: resistance to the papacy

What made the Cathars heretics?

The deviation from central Catholic beliefs. The Cathars, whose faith arose in the Balkans and spread from there via northern Italy to southern France, did not believe in the incarnation of Christ and also rejected the holy sacraments (baptism, confirmation, ordination, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick and marriage). The physical and material world was considered to be evil, not created by God but by the devil. Christ's physicality was a mere appearance in their eyes. The only important thing is the message of salvation that God sent us through him. This is the baptism of the Spirit, instituted by Christ and performed by the laying on of hands, which gives the recipient the Holy Spirit and paves the way for the return of the lost soul.

The Consolamentum, the baptism of the Spirit, was the central sacrament of the Cathars. Whoever received it undertook to lead a strictly moral and ascetic life from then on, to be sexually abstinent, not to strive for worldly power and to renounce all possessions. The "good Christians," as they called themselves, vowed never to lie again and to neither kill nor eat animals. Those who received the Consolamentum and lived the "perfection" associated with it were venerated as saints by the Cathar believers. Not all took on this burden in the prime of life. It was also allowed to receive the Consolamentum shortly before death, which allowed a large part of the Cathars to lead a rather "sinful" life into old age.

How did the Pope react to the heretics?

The church responded by force. The radical following of Christ far from the dogmatic official church and the increasing spread of the Cathars in southern France and northern Italy displeased the church superiors, who saw the Cathar claim to be "good Christians" as a degradation of the sentiments of the Roman church and the emergence of an "opposing church" feared. In 1209 Pope Innocent III began. a crusade against a group of Cathars, the Albigensians from southern France, who were named after their center, the city of Albi, and who had a great influence on the culture and politics of this region. From 1231 to 1233 the papal inquisition was established. The inquisitors gave the heretics the choice of either renouncing their erroneous beliefs or dying at the stake. Many stood firm and preferred death to defection. At the end of the 13th century there were no more Cathars in France, in Italy they remained until the late 14th century.

Who were the Waldensians?

The Waldensians were originally a small group of lay preachers living in poverty who were close to the Orthodox Catholic Church and who recognized its teaching. Pope Alexander III allowed them to preach on condition that they obtain permission from the local bishop. Its founder, Petrus Waldes, was a wealthy merchant from Lyon who gave up his property in 1175 in order to follow Christ. The "poor of Lyons," as they were also called, preached the messages of the Bible, which they had translated into their own language.

Were the Waldensians tolerated?

No. The bishop of Lyon soon found the laity who presumed to interpret the Gospel threatening and forbade them to preach, which they ignored. 1184 they were by Pope Lucius III. excommunicated and accused of heresy. This led to a radicalization of the movement, whose supporters spread across Central and Southern Europe. The Waldensians elected their own bishops and deacons and now saw themselves as an alternative to the church, which in their eyes had long since moved away from early Christianity. In their widespread rejection of the sacraments, the veneration of saints and relics, and papal authority, they resembled the Cathars, but the nature of their movement was different. The message of the Bible remained central, the interpretation of which was accessible and permitted to every worthy layperson.

What did the Cathars believe?

“They denied the grace of holy baptism and the consecration of the blood and body of the Lord and the forgiveness of sins. They turned away from the bonds of marriage and abstained from food that God himself created, meat and fat, as impure things, ”wrote the medieval monk Jean of the Benedictine Abbey of Fleury in a letter about doctrine the cathar.