Last Updated on :
Saturday, November 22, 2014


sp spacer



The Papacy In History And Prophecy



Important Events In The Elevation of the Papacy




AD 378 The emperors Gratian and Valentinian II empowered the metropolitans to judge the inferior clergy and the bishop of Rome to judge the metropolitans of the Western Empire.


AD 380 Catholicism was introduced as the religion of the Roman world by edict of Gratian, Valentinian II and Theodosius I.

End of 4th century Rome introduced images into churches. The bones of martyrs were also hawked about as relics, the tombs of saints became the resort of pilgrims, whilst monks and hermits infested the country. Pagan festivals, slightly disguised, were adopted into Christian worship and the homage offered anciently to the gods was transferred to martyrs. The smoke of incense and the blaze of tapers filled the churches and the clergy appeared in gorgeous robes, crosiers, mitres and jewels.

AD 410 The Goths, who controlled Rome from 410-476 conceded to the bishops of that place a large degree of liberty. During this time the Pope boldly cast himself upon an element of much greater strength than unstable political power, namely that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter. This principle was now openly advanced and the Pope's dignity was now transferring to a pontifical foundation.

AD 431 The legate of Celestine proclaimed in the council of Ephesus: "It is a thing undoubted that the holy and most blessed Peter, the Exarch and Head of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith, the foundation of the Catholic church, received the Keys of the Kingdom: and to him was given the power of binding and loosing sin, which Peter still lives and exercises judgment in his successors even to this day and always."

440-461 This was the reign of Pope Leo III who dogmatically formulated the sovereign supremacy of his see. When the Council of Chalcedon, gave equal privileges to the bishops of Constantinople and Rome, it assumed that the high rank of the Roman Bishop arose out of the fact that Rome was the ancient capital of the empire. Leo rejected the idea and later on said "He (the Pope) is not only the president of this see but also the primate of all bishops, wherefore believe that it is Peter speaking to you whose office we occupy in his stead."

AD 445 In this year Leo overstepped his authority and reinstated a bishop who had been deposed by Hilary, Metropolitan of SE Gaul. Hilary objected and Leo dictated to the emperor, Valentinian III, an edict which subsequently became law. The edict declared the Pope supreme head of the Western Church and resistance to this authority was affirmed to be an offence against the Roman state. The reason for this supremacy was on the grounds that "the primacy of the Apostolic See is assured by the mention of St. Peter." Amongst other advantages enjoyed by Leo and his successors was the ready access to the court and when his suggestions were submitted and approved by the Emperor, the power of Roman bishops advanced beneath the protection of Imperial rule itself.

461-468 The succeeding Pope, Hilarus, stated: "It has been decreed by law of the Christian princes


that whatever the. high priest of the Apostolic See has deliberately appointed for the churches and their rulers, for the peace of all the Lord's priests and the observance of discipline, is to be reverently received and strictly observed nothing fixed by decree both ecclesiastical and regal can ever be uprooted."

468-483 Pope Siplicius wrote, "the pattern of apostolic doctrine remains constant in the succession of him on whom the Lord hath laid the care of all the sheepfold."

AD 492 Pope Gelasius also wrote, "the first see both confirms every synod by its authority and guards by its continual rule, by reason to wit, of its supremacy which, received by blessed Peter the apostle by the voice of the Lord, the Church, nevertheless complying, has both always held and retains. "By this continual assertion of supremacy the Popes spread their decrees far and wide and it was Gelasius who asserted that it was the duty of kings to learn their duty from bishops but especially from "the Vicar of the Blessed Peter."

494-495 Gelasius wrote to the Byzantine Emperor, Anastasius I, sketching his famous two power theory. He wrote "There are two authorities by which the world is governed, the Pontifical and the Royal; the sacerdotal order being that which has charge of the sacraments of life and from which thou must seek the causal of thy salvation. Hence in Divine things it becomes kings to bow the neck to priests, especially to the head of priests, whom Christ's own voice has set over the universal church." At the close of the Council of Rome in 495 when Gelasius had finished asserting Rome's supremacy, the assembled bishops shouted 6 times, "We see that thou art the Vicar of Christ."

AD 496 Clovis, King of the Franks, in fulfillment of a vow when he was victorious in battle, was baptised at Rheims. Rome rewarded Clovis with the title "Eldest Son of the Church" and attached herself to this growing political power.

AD 503 There was a dispute between two bishops, Symmachus and Laurentius over the Papal chair and when it was settled the Council decreed that: "the Pope was God's vicar, was the judge of all and could himself be judged by no one."

AD 533 Justinian, the emperor in the East proclaimed the Pope supreme head of all the churches.

536-553 Justinian won the empire back from the Goths.

AD 572 Lombards invaded Italy but not Rome.

AD 588 The patriarchs of Constantinople refused to acknowledge Justinian's decree in acknowledging the Pope as supreme and claimed it for themselves. These equal pretensions involved east and west in much strife until the Greek bishop John assumed the title, Universal Bishop, which was confirmed to him by a council. The pope vehemently opposed but died a year later achieving nothing.

AD 590 The new pope, Gregory the Great wrote to the Emperor Maurice asking for the title to be abolished because


it caused pride to reign, but Maurice was unyielding.

AD 602 Maurice was murdered by an abandoned villain named Phocas. Gregory joyfully applauded this change of power and wrote to Phocas, "we are glad that the benignity of your piety hath arrived at the imperiaI dignity."

AD 604 Gregory died and Phocas wrote to his successor, Boniface III transferring the title "Head of all the Churches" or "Universal Bishop" from Constantinople to Rome.

6th & 7th CENTURIES During this era Europe or rather the Barbarians in Europe submitted to the Catholic faith. One such example was Recared the first papal King of Spain. In 586 his ambassadors respectfully offered upon the threshold of the Vatican his rich presents of gold and gems. They accepted as a lucrative exchange the hairs of St. John the Baptist, a cross which enclosed a piece of the true wood and a key that contained some particles of iron which had been scraped from the chains of St. Peter.

AD 726 Emperor Leo III issued a decree for the complete removal of all pictures and idols from all churches. The Pope resisted and thus began the dispute between East and West, called the Iconoclast Schism.

AD 731 The Lombards planned an invasion of Italy and the Pope, remembering his alliance with the Franks, attempted to lure Charles Martel, king of the Franks, to Italy to aid him. Nothing ensued and the Lombards were pacified,

AD 741 Charles died and Pepin, his brother, succeeded.

AD 745 Pope made an uneasy alliance with Liutrand, the king of the Lombards.

AD 749 Aistulf succeeded Luitrand and was determined to rule over all Italy and take Rome. This caused the Pope to look to the Franks again,

AD 751 Aistulf conquered Ravenna, brought the rule of the exarchs to an end and split the west from the east. The Pope managed to renew the treaty of peace made with Luitrand but was subjected to a heavy tribute.

AD 753 Pope Stephen III then went personally to France to see Pepin. It was indeed a momentous occasion in which the alliance between the church of the old empire and the new kingdom of the West was made. At the pope's abasement Pepin promised to restore that which the Lombards had siezed and to free the Church from their power.

AD 754 The pope as "Vicar on earth of St. Peter and of Christ" consecrated Pepin and his 2 sons, Charles and Karlman, as Kings of the Franks. Their title, previously borne by the exarch of Ravenna, was now transferred to the Franks. Legally this could only be conferred by the emperor but the pope began his claim for making men kings.

AD 755 Pepin consequently defeated the Lombards but the agreements were broken as soon as his presence left.

AD 756 Aistulf's army circled Rome and Pope Stephen hurriedly wrote to Pepin in the name of Peter himself, which was a forgery of the first magnitude: "Peter, called an


apostle by Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God etc. As through me the whole catholic, apostolic and Roman Church, the mother of all other churches, if founded on a rock: and to the end that Stephen, Bishop of the beloved church of Rome, and that virtue and power may be granted by our Lord to rescue the Church of God out of the hands of its persecutors. To you most excellent princes, Pepin, Charles, and Karloman, and to all the holy bishops and abbots, priests and monks as also to dukes, counts and people, I, Peter the apostle, injure you and the Virgin Mary who will be obliged to you, gives you notice and commands you, as do all the thrones, dominations etc. If you will not fight for me, I declare to you by the Holy Trinity and by my apostleship that you shall have no share in heaven." Whether or not Pepin believed this he marched to Italy. On his way he was urged by messengers from the deposed emperor urging him to restore his power to Ravenna, but Pepin refused and asserted that the land belonged to Peter and the Pontiffs of the Holy See. Aistulf was again defeated and the land was given to the Pope as a gift. THIS WAS THE FORMAL ACT ON WHICH WAS LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE PAPACY, INVESTING A BISHOP WITH THE POWERS OF A TEMPORAL PRINCE UNDER THE PROTECTION OF A NEWLINE OF FRANKISH KINGS.

AD 757 Aistulf and Stephen died.

AD 768 Pepin died.

AD 771 Charles took control of the Western Empire.