ERA 3 << Medieval Church (1): Expansion & Conflicts (AD 6001000) >> SESSION 1
Reference: Gonzalez, volume 1, chapters 26-27
8.1.1 Easter controversy
· Problem & decision: The question about the proper date to celebrate Easter appeared in mid-2nd-c. The Eastern church held that Easter should be celebrated always on the 14th day of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. In contrast, the Western church celebrated Easter on the Sunday after the 14th day of Nisan. The Council of Nicea  supported the Western church, symbolizing the future victory of the Western church.
8.1.2 Dominance of the Roman bishop
Between 313 and 450, the Roman bishop came to be acknowledged as the first among equals. Pope Leo I claimed supremacy over
the worldwide church . The Council of Constantinople  recognized the
primacy of the Roman see. In addition, the Roman church was blessed with many able bishops. In 4th-c and 5th-c, the popes repeatedly saved the city of
8.1.3 Pope Gregory I (540604)
was elected to be pope in 590. His greatest work was to expand the power of the papacy to
· Theology: Gregory confirmed many non-biblical theological inventions, including purgatory, mass for the dead, transubstantiation, penance (private lay confession), veneration of relics. He also gave tradition a place of equality with the Bible. He used allegory excessively in exegesis.
8.1.4 After Gregory
by the emperor:
The Eastern church was divided by Christological controversies and the emperors
demanded the support of the popes to their own theological positions. Those who
refused were treated harshly. The election of a pope
had to be confirmed by the authorities in
8.1.5 Formation of the
of Pepin: Frankish king Pepin defeated the Lombards and gave the
decretals: Pope Nicholas I made use of a collection of forged
documents called False
Decretals . It included Donation of Constantineclaiming that Emperor
Constantine had granted
8.2.1 Invasion & evangelization of the Teutonic tribes
Conversion: There were many invasions by
barbarian tribes into the empire  by Teutonic, Viking, Slav, and
Mongol peoples. After they settled down, missionaries were sent from
8.2.2 Evangelization of other areas
Expansion: Christianity expanded to
8.2.3 Slavic kingdoms
8.3.1 Mohammad (570632)
was an Arab merchant who knew about Judaism and Christian sects. He claimed
that an angel Gabriel revealed to him about a single God (monotheism) . Mohammad founded the first Muslim
8.3.2 Muslim conquests
over the Byzantine Empire: After Mohammad, Muslims conquered northern Africa  the
· Quran: The main source of Islam is the Quran. It is repetitious and unorganized. God known as Allah made his will known through 25 prophets, including Moses and Christ; but Muhammad was the latest and greatest prophet. Muslims deny Christs deity. Islam is fatalistic with its passive submission to the will of Allah.
ancient centres of Christianity were now under Muslim rule. There, Christianity
ceased growing. The
8.4.1 End of arguments on the natures of Christ
Monothelitism: There was discussion on the
relationship between the divine and human wills of Christ. Sergius, patriarch of
· Council of Constantinople III It condemned monothelitism, and Pope Honorius. The council declared that the two wills of Christ exist harmoniously, and the human will is subject to the divine will.
8.4.2 Use of images
· Worship of icons: Icons are pictures of Jesus Christ and the saints. Some people (iconoclasts, destroyers of icons) objected to using them in church. In opposition were the iconodules (worshippers of icons).
· East vs West: Emperor Leo III ordered all pictures and images destroyed . Eventually, the church in the East eliminated statues but kept icons. In the West, Charlemagne and the pope favoured the use of visible symbols of divine reality. The church in the West continued to use pictures and statues in worship.
· Council of Nicea II The council condemned the iconoclasts and distinguished between worship which is due only to God, and a lesser worshipful veneration which is to be given to icons.
8.4.3 Theology in Eastern Orthodox Church
· Stagnation: The greatest concern was to keep the orthodox tradition. Eastern theology remained stagnant until modern times, except John of Damascus. Other Eastern theologians contributed mostly in mysticism.
· Simeon the New Theologian (9491022)He was the systematic exponent of the technique of inner prayer.
· Gregory Palamas (12961359)He taught a silent meditation reciting repeatedly the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. The goal was the vision of the divine light and union with God.
 treasure our heritage
Evangelism by missionaries has long been a Christian tradition.
 appreciate Gods providence
Barbarians were all converted by missionaries.
 avoid past errors
The disunity of the north African church led to their disappearance after the Muslim invasion.
 apply our knowledge
Pope Honorius is a reason against papal infallibility.
 follow past saints
Christian mystics sought a closer relationship with God.