Month: June 2016

141-Behind Enemy Lines file | Play in new windowWe look at the church under the Ottoman Turks after the Fall of Constantinople. We then look at the Ukrainian Uniate Church and the Russian Orthodox Church during the reign of the Romanovs. This 141st, episode is titled, Behind Enemy Lines. Following up their conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Turks conquered most of the Balkans. They now controlled the former Byzantine Empire and the substantial region of Armenia. They required the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs in Constantinople to obey their rules & policies. The Ottoman Turks employed their Christians subjects in key positions in the military & government. The bureaucrats who’d served the labrynthine Byzantine system made excellent court officials in the new realm. And thousands of young Christian boys were inducted into the Janissaries; elite fighting units renowned for their ferocity and loyalty to the Sultan. If you want to read some fascinating history, dig into the story of the Janissaries. Throughout Turkish lands, Christians and Jews were given a measure of autonomy in running their own affairs. Note I said “a measure.” They weren’t free to live however they pleased. While there was a general, persistent low-grade animosity between Christians and their Turk-masters, there were periods of intense oppression and outright persecution. Western European governments were indifferent to the plight of Eastern Christians. They were anxious to maintain a favorable posture...

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140-Up North, Then South file | Play in new windowWe wrap up our review of the Enlightenment effect on the Church in Europe by looking at Scandinavia, The Dutch United Provinces, Geneva, and Italy. This 140th episode is titled Up North, Then South. This will be the last episode where we take a look at Christianity in Europe following the Enlightenment. This narrative is nowhere near exhaustive. It’s more an exhaustING summary of Scandinavia, The Dutch United Provinces, Austria, and Italy. We’ve already looked at Germany, France, and Spain. The end of the 17th C proved to be a brutal time in Scandinavia. Some 60% of the population died from 1695-7 due to warfare & the disease & famine so often associated with its aftermath. As if they hadn’t had enough misery, the Great Northern War of 1700–1721 followed. In the desperation of the times, Lutheran provide devotionals offering hope & comfort, while at the same time calling on their people to pray & repent. As in northern Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, & Finland were Lutheran strongholds. Citizens were required to swear loyalty to the Lutheran state church which was in league with the king who practice absolutism. But during the Great Northern War, the Swedish King Charles XII suffered a massive defeat at by the Russian armies of Peter the Great. Sweden lost large tracts of land and the throne lost...

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139-Pressed file | Play in new windowIn this episode we finish off our look at the French Church of the 17th to 18th Centuries, then consider the impact of the German Enlightenment on the church in Germany. This 139th episode is title “Pressed.” In our last episode, we took a look the French church of the 17th C and considered the contest between the Catholic Jansenists & Jesuits. It’s interesting realizing the Jansenists began as a theological movement that looks quite similar to Calvinism. Their theology eventually spilled over into the political realm and undercut the Divine Right of Kings, a European political system that had held sway in Europe for centuries, & reached its apex in France under Louis XIV. In this episode we’ll take a look at what happened to the French Protestants, known as the Huguenots. By the mid 16th C, Huguenots were 10% of the French population. They hoped all France would one day adopt the Reformed Faith. But their hopes were shattered by defeat in 9 separate political & religious wars. You may remember from an earlier episode that the Henry IV, a Catholic convert from Protestantism, his conversion being a purely pragmatic and political maneuver, granted the Huguenots limited rights in the Edict of Nantes in 1598. 30 years later, those rights were revoked by the Peace of Alais. Then the fortified Protestant...

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138-Backing Up file | Play in new windowWe back up a bit in this episode to take a look at what happened in France in the 17th Century with the demise of the Divine Right of Kings. The Title of this 138th Episode is Backing Up. And its titled that because once again we’re backtracking a bit to hop into the story of Church History earlier than where our last few episodes have taken us. We’re focusing this episode on what happened in France during the late 17th & into the 18th C. This period saw a massive struggle between the French monarchy & 2 groups; Catholic  Jansenists & Protestant Huguenots. At stake was the throne’s claim that it alone had the power to determine the religion of the French people. France was the most populous and wealthy country of Europe. It was also the most feared,  admired, and imitated. By the time of the French Revolution in 1789, the population was a notable 28 million. From the late 17th C to the Revolution, the Court at Versailles, main residence of the Bourbon kings, was the center of French political life. But a mix of disparate factors led to a growing disillusionment with the Crown. Philosophes engaged each other in Parisian salons in political discussions that implemented dangerous new ideas; dangerous to the Crown anyway. And once the King found...

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