Christianity in the early Middle Ages

Christianity in the early Middle Ages


At the beginning of the Middle Ages, Christianity for almost two centuries was the official religion of the Roman Empire. Support for the church by the state contributed to its administrative and economic strengthening.

From the middle of the IV century. there is a certain difference in the relations between church and state in the East and the West of the empire, which was explained by the peculiarities of political life. In the East, there was a strong imperial power, which led to the subordinate status of the church. At the same time, in the West, civil strife and constant attacks by the barbarians weakened state power, as a result of which the influence of the Roman bishops increased. It was strengthened by several factors: first, the authority of Rome as the old capital of a great empire; secondly, according to legend, the holy apostles Peter and Paul lived and preached in Rome and martyred; Third, the church taught that the Apostle Peter is the vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth. It was the apostle Peter who was the first Roman bishop. Already in the V century. The Roman bishops appropriated the title of head of the church and they were called popes.

The symbols of the papal authority were two crossed keys, gold and silver, the apostle Peter, before a simple fisherman. They are depicted on the coat of arms of the Vatican. It is believed that it was to Peter that Jesus Christ entrusted the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. The symbols of papal authority are also considered to be tiara – a triple crown with a cross, a staff and a fisherman’s ring. The basis of the tiara is the episcopal miter, three crowns are placed on it, they symbolize the triple authority of the pope: he is a judge, a legislator, and a high priest.

The popes inherited the authority and apostolic grace of St. Peter. This allowed them to seek supremacy over secular rulers. To establish this idea, the teaching of Bishop Augustine Aurelius was of great importance. He was an outstanding philosopher-theologian, who laid the ideological foundations of medieval Western Christianity. Augustine’s most famous work is Confession. In it, he analyzes his actions and desires from the perspective of conscience – a new moral and ethical Christian concept, unknown to the person of Antiquity. His vision of the problems of the state, the relationship of the church and secular authority Augustine described in the treatise “On the City of God.” In the



universe, he distinguished the heavenly and earthly.

Augustine the Blessed is the author of theological works

The City of God, based on the love of the Lord, is the heavenly world, Jerusalem; a hail of earthly evil and passion, the city of the devil, Babylon. The goal of mankind is the creation of the city of God on earth, the kingdom of justice, that one hundred is not possible, when a person stops sinning, will have good in the soul and perfection in actions. For Augustine, a person is more important than the state, because only faith and self-improvement bring him closer to the degree of God. Subsequently, Augustine was recognized as a saint and began to be called Augustine the Blessed.

In the West, the Christian church was headed by the Pope, and in the East Patriarch of Constantinople. Between them the endless disputes about primacy and importance in the Christian world did not cease, although the conditions for their existence were different. In the East, the actual statehood of the church continued, it depended on the will of the emperor, and in the West the pope tried to subordinate the secular rulers of his power.

A treatise is a scientific work, where a specific problem is examined in detail.

Conscience is awareness and a sense of moral responsibility for one’s own behavior and actions towards oneself, people, society.



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Christianity in the early Middle Ages