Month: June 2014

45-Look Who’s Driving the Bus Now file | Play in new windowThis episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “Look Who’s Driving the Bus Now.” As noted in a previous episode, it’s difficult in recounting Church History to follow a straight narrative timeline. The expansion of the Faith into different regions means many storylines. So it’s necessary to do a certain amount of backtracking as we follow the spread of the Gospel from region to region. The problem with that though in an audio series, with no written material for listeners to look at that coincides with the audio è it can be confusing as we bounce back & forth in time. We’ve already followed Christianity’s expansion to the Far East & went from the 4th C thru about the 6th, then did a quick little jaunt all the way to the 17th C. Then in the next episode we’re back in Italy talking about the 3rd C. This week’s episode is a case in point. We’re going to take a look at 2 interesting & important individuals in the history; not only of the Faith à but of the world. It’s a couple men we’ve already looked at-Bishop Ambrose of Milan and the Emperor Theodosius I. The reason we’re considering these 2 is because their relationship was instrumental in setting the relationship between Church & State that would be one of the defining realities...

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44-Expansion file | Play in new windowThis Episode is title – “Expansion ”. We’re going to spend a little time now tracking the expansion of the Faith into different areas in the Early Middle Ages. We ended our last podcast with the story of the conversion of the Frank king Clovis in 496. When he was baptized on Christmas Day by Bishop Remigius of Rheims, 3,000 of his warriors joined him. It was the first of several mass baptism that took place during the Middle Ages in Europe. And it raises the issue of the paganizing of Christianity. The task of Missions usually proceeds in 1 of 2 ways. The first & far more common is the route of individual conversion. Though in the NT we find converts being called into immediate baptism, it wasn’t long before conversion was followed by a period of instruction before baptism. That time for instruction in the basics of the faith could be either short of long, depending on the standards of the bishop or community of believers.  This form of missions, that of individual conversion & baptism was the method used by the Church for the first 3 Cs, & by most Protestant missions from the 19th C to today. That’s because of the emphasis on an individual change of heart in Evangelicalism. While this certainly finds support in Scripture, it can...

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43-Into the Middle file | Play in new windowThis episode of Communion Sanctorum is titled – “Into the Middle” Justinian I’s reconquest of Italy & liberating it from its brief stint under barbarian control was even briefer.  Soon after Justinian’s eastern forces regained control of portions of the peninsula & put them back under the Empire’s dominion, yet another Germanic group invaded & put most of Italy under their jurisdiction. The Lombards were a Scandinavian group who’d emerged as the dominant Germanic tribe. In 568, they conquered Byzantine Italy and formed what is known as the Kingdom of Italy, which lasted to the later 8th C until it was brought down by the Franks, though Lombard nobles continued to rule portions of the peninsula until the 11th C. The Lombards conquered Italy during Gregory the Great’s term as pope. As the Lombards advanced on the city of Rome, with not a whit of hope of help from the Imperial ruler sitting in Ravenna, Gregory took control in Rome. He secured supplies for the coming siege though both famine & plague were decimating the land. He bolstered Rome’s defenses & commissioned new military leaders to lead an army into the field to meet the Lombards. Once these plans were underway, Gregory opened negotiations with the enemy & finalized a peace with them, though made without the Emperor’s approval. It’s difficult for the...

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42-Living It file | Play in new windowThis episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “Living It.” For generations, scholars have debated the cause of the Fall of Rome in the West. In his monumental work The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire historian Edward Gibbon laid a large part of the blame on Christianity. And for decades that view dominated the popular view of history for the 5th C. Christianity certainly played a major role in the course of events in Europe during that time, and I’m loath to contend with such an eminent & erudite scholar as Mr. Gibbon, but The Roman Empire did not fall in the 5th C when barbarians over ran the West. As we’ve see in previous episodes, the Empire continued on quite nicely, thank you very much, in the East for another thousand years! What we see in Gibbons is the western provincialism typical of an 18th C European. He largely disregards the Eastern Empire once the West fell; this despite the fact that the Eastern Empire continued to identify & call itself Roman for hundreds of years. And as for Christianity being the most significant cause for the West’s fall to the Barbarians? Wait – Christianity was no less in place in the East as in the West. We can make a case for saying it was even more so ensconced in...

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41-God’s Consul file | Play in new windowThis week’s episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “God’s Consul .” One of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s most important contributions to the Empire was to divide the top-tier leadership up so that it could rule more efficiently. The Empire had grown too large to be governed well by a single Emperor, so he selected a co-Augustus & divided their regions of oversight between Western & Eastern realms. Since the issue of succession had also been a cause for unrest in previous generations, Diocletian also provided for that by assigning junior Caesars for both himself & his co-Augustus. When they stepped down, there would be someone waiting in the wings, pre-designated to take control. The idea was then that when their successors stepped into the role of being co-Augusti – they’d appoint new junior Caesars to follow after them. It was a solid plan and worked well while Diocletian was the senior Augustus. When he retired to raise prize-winning cabbages, the other rulers decided they liked power & didn’t want to relinquish it. Over the years that followed, rule of the Empire alternated between a single Emperor & Diocletian’s idea of shared rule. The general trend was for shared rule with the senior Augustus making his capital in the East at Constantinople. This left the weaker & subordinate ruler in the west with increasingly...

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