Quarter 3Week 5: Sack of Rome/Barbarians Universal Theme Six: The Preservation of God's People (300-1000 AD). This week begins the study of the fall of the Roman Empire. We will explore the events that led up to the gradual dissolution of the Empire, and begin to look at some of the theories concerning why Rome fell. The reasons for the Fall of Rome are still discussed and debated by both historians and lay people. Some see parallels between the conditions that lead to the Fall of Rome and the cultural changes taking place in America. While we will look briefly at several persons of historic importance, St. Augustine (354-430) and Pope Leo I, known as Leo the Great (400-461) are the two men whose influence continues to be a force in Christian thought. St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (394-430 AD) One of the most influential pastor/theologians in the history of
the Christian Church! Leftoldest known portrait of Saint Augustine, from a 6th-century fresco in Rome. RightSaint Augustine taken to school by his mother Monica (Pietro, 1413-15) https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo St. Augustine (Continued): Dr. Bauer recounts the conversion of Augustine in p. 77-78
of the text. Soon after his conversion, Augustine was ordained as the Bishop of Hippo, in present-day Algeria. He served the Church as Bishop of Hippo from 394 until his death in 430. During this time, he preached, taught, wrote commentaries on books of the Bible, theological treatises, and was used by God to settle the pressing theological controversies of the day. Of Augustines writing concerning these controversies, his works demonstrate what many believe to be the solutions to these complex theological problems. Two of these are doctrinal controversies; the Donatist controversy and the Pelagian controversy. The last is both an apologetic stance and a work of assurance and comfort for Christians answering the question, how could God allow the Fall of Rome. The Donatist Controversy The Donatists were a group of people who separated from the Catholic Church over the issue of how the Church was to
shepherd professing Christians who recanted their faith during persecution and then sought readmission to the Church through confession and repentance. The Donatists argued that once a person recanted the faith, the person has permanently apostatized and could never be returned to the faith or to the Church. They held that the Church and her leaders were compromised by restoring those who had recanted the faith under pressure from persecution and then were restored. Because of this, the Donatists separated from the Catholic church, believing it to be corrupted beyond reform. Augustine wrote convincingly in his work Against the Donatists, that the Catholic Church was the continuation of the church of the apostles, and that the work of the Donatists was no true church. Packer, James I. "Augustine of Hippo." 130 Christians Everyone Should Know. (Nashville: Holman Reference, 2000). The Pelagian Controversy The next important controversy for our consideration is the
Pelagian Controversy. This controversy concerns the consequences of original sin in conversion and in the life of the Christian. Pelagius was a British monk who believed that each of us is in the moral and spiritual position of Adam; in other words, original sin has no consequences for those beyond Adam. Pelagius taught that people have the natural ability to fulfill the commands of God apart from converting or sanctifying grace. Augustine opposed this teaching, and taught the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit as the precondition for conversion to Christ and enabling grace for the believer to obey Gods commands. As a result, the Pelagian heresy was condemned at the Council of Carthage in 418 and again at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Augustine: The City of God Augustines magnum opus, The City of God, was published in 426. This is a book from which excerpts are read in Western
Thought I. Augustine writes for two main purposes. The first reason why he writes is to defend the faith and the Church from the charge that Christianity caused the Fall of Rome. Pagans asserted that since Christians did not continue in the worship of the gods, the gods were punishing Rome through its destruction. Augustine responds that since the pagan gods are not real, that Rome could not be destroyed because of the abandonment of pagan worship. Furthermore, he contends that Rome maintained her pre-eminence in the world as long as she did because of the grace, mercy, and patience of the God of the Bible. The second reason why Augustine writes is to comfort Christians who believe that God has abandoned them in the destruction of Rome. Augustine develops the concept of the two cities: the city of God and the city of man. The city of God is the kingdom of God. It is Gods working on earth through the spread of the
gospel for the conversion and the discipling of the nations. Augustine asserts, along with the Scripture, that no earthly power can stop the advancement of Gods kingdom. In contrast, earthly cities will rise and fall. God will use them to accomplish His purposes, but He is not bound by them. Rome achieved prominence for a time, and through the providence of God, the gospel spread throughout the known world and churches were established in every place. However, God does not need any civil government to advance His kingdom. Therefore, Christians are to put their faith and trust in the promises of God, recognizing that His purposes in the rise and fall of earthly nations may be inscrutable, but that there will not be a single one of His promises that will fail to be accomplished. Alaric, King of the Visigoths (b. 370; d. 410 AD) A nobleman by birth, Alaric served for a time as commander of Gothic troops in
the Roman army, but shortly after the death of the emperor Theodosius I in 395, he left the army and was elected chief of the Visigoths. Charging that his tribe had not been given subsidies promised by the Romans, Alaric marched westward toward Constantinople (now Istanbul) until he was diverted by Roman forces. He then moved southward into Greece, where he sacked Piraeus (the port of Athens) and ravaged Corinth, Megara, Argos, and Sparta. The Eastern emperor Flavius Arcadius finally placated the Visigoths in 397, probably by appointing Alaric magister militum(master of the soldiers) in Illyricum.
(/www.britannica.com/biography/Alaric). Key Events (Bauer, Ch. 11-12) 396: Augustine appointed bishop of Hippo Regius (North African coast just west of Carthage); Honorius (Stilicho) rule the West; Arcadius (Eutropius) in the East. 397: North African province under Gildo, supported by Eutropius, revolts but Stilicho subdues the revolt. 400: King Alaric of the Visigoths invades Northern Italy, forcing Honorius and court to take refuge in Ravenna. 402: Stilicho defeats Alaric at Battle of Pollentia and negotiates a treaty. Alaric withdraws, for the time being. 407: Roman army in Britain declares one of their generals emperor: Contantine III, moving to conquer Gaul/Iberia. 408: Honorius turns on Stilicho; charged with treason, Stilicho is executed; Alaric attacks againRome in siege. 409: The Senate negotiates a deal: Attalus replaces
Honorius and Alaric becomes magister militum. 3 Emperors! 410: The Sack of Rome. Attalus and Alaric have a falling out. Alaric sacks the Eternal Citythe first time foreign troops enter Rome since 387 BC (about 8 centuries). 426: Augustine publishes the City of God, an apologetic defending Christianity from the charge of causing the decline of Rome. It is one of Augustines most important works 408: Theodosius II, placed into the guardianship of the Persian king Yazdegerd I by his father, assumes the Eastern throne following the death of his father, Arcadius. Initially, there is peace between Persia and Constantinople. 420: Theodosius declares war on Persiafollowing Yazdegerds yielding to pressure and decision to sanction Christian persecution. 422: Bahram V (Yazdegerd Is second son) and Theodosius II, after a brief war, declare a trucethe eastern empire is
now at peace. 410: The Sack of Rome. Attalus and Alaric have a falling out. Alaric sacks the Eternal Citythe first time foreign troops enter Rome since 387 BC (about 8 centuries). 426: Augustine publishes the City of God, an apologetic defending Christianity from the charge of causing the decline of Rome. It is one of Augustines most important works 408: Theodosius II, placed into the guardianship of the Persian king Yazdegerd I by his father, assumes the Eastern throne following the death of his father, Arcadius. Initially, there is peace between Persia and Constantinople. 420: Theodosius declares war on Persiafollowing Yazdegerds yielding to pressure and decision to sanction Christian persecution. 422: Bahram V (Yazdegerd Is second son) and Theodosius II, after a brief war, declare a trucethe eastern empire is
now at peace. Among Theodosius IIs accomplishments during this period of stability: 429-438: The Codex of Theodosianus, a single, coherent law code the basis for Justinians later law code. He took credit for the new walls protecting Constantinople: the Theodosian Walls. He founded the University of Constantinople, one of the oldest universities in Europe. 431: Convened the Council of Ephesus at the request of Nestorius to settle conflict over the proper understanding of Christs human and divine natures. The Council of Ephesus, 431 AD Theodosius II convened the Council of Ephesus at the request of Nestorius to settle conflict over the proper understanding of
Christs human and divine natures. Nestorianism (Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople): Mary is Christotokos (Christ-bearer); emphasizes a distinctionanddisunity between the man Jesus and divine Son of Godbetween Christs human and divine naturestwo persons& naturesthus unable to affirm the Nicean view of the unity of Christs person while having two distinct natures. Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, was made president in absence of the Pope. He represented the Theotokos (Godbearer) party, aligned with the West (Rome) that upheld the Nicene view of the Christ as one person with two separate and distinct natures in hypostatic union. The council confirmed the Nicene Creed and the Marian title Theotokos. Nestorianism & its supporters were condemned. Key Events (Bauer, Ch. 16-18) The West Struggles for Survival; Huns; Leo; Councils 425: Valentinian III (6-yrs. old) becomes emperor after the
death of his uncle, Honorius, in 423. His mother Placida, regent, appoints the Roman general and former Hun hostage Aetius as magister militum, the essential power figure in the west. 429-431: North African is lost to the Vandals. Aetius leads various battles to reclaim disputed territories in the west, hiring the Huns as mercenaries. The Huns begin to coalesce as a nation. 434: Attila, a former hostage of the Romans who grew up in the Roman court, and his brother Bleda become joint chiefs of the Huns. The harass the Romans from 440-441. 443: The Huns lay siege to Constantinople and win a treaty with tribute from Theodosius II, then retreat; Attile kils Bleda. 444: Leo I becomes bishop of Rome and asserts the supremacy of the Roman bishopric, and is 445 is declared official head of the Church Catholic by Valentinian III. Leo
(the Great) becomes the first pope. 449: Thedosius II convenes the 2nd Council of Ephesus (the so-called Robber Synod), led by the Dioscorus I of Alexandria. It exonerated Eutyches, who held a view of Monophyistism (Christ has only ONE nature), and, under Dioscorus, excummincated the Leo I and the bishop of Constantinople. Pop Leo I in turn excommunicated everyone at the council! The Council of Chalcedon would later repudiate this council and its decisions. Meanwhile, the east and western empires negotiate a peace with Attila, who had threatened invasion but soon defy Attila. 450: Marcian marries the deceased Theodosius IIs sister and empress Pulcheria. They defy Attila. Attila marches west! 450: Attila the Hun expands his holdings in western Europe and threaten Rome.
451: Aetius assembles a coalition of Visogoths, Franks, and Burgundians defeats Attila the Battle of Chalons-sur-Marne. Meanwhile, the east and western empires negotiate a peace with Attila, who had threatened invasion but soon defy Attila. 452: After bidding his time, Attila counterattacks, and successfully pushes deep into Italy. Leo I (The Great) intercedes and Attila agrees to peace (see Bauer, p. 117, for reasons Attila agreed). Attila withdraws, never to return. 453: Attila dies after too happy a celebration of his marriage! 455: Without effective leadership to unite them, the Huns were defeated and fade into history. Pope Leo I (The Great)440 to 461 AD Raphaels The Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila
Leo IBishop of Rome & the First Pope Leo the Great was the other towering historical figure of this period. Leo is known as one of the great preachers in the history of the Church, an efficient administrator, and a gifted diplomat. He is known both for being the outstanding statesman of his era, and the earliest pope to claim that the Bishop of Rome is the heir of St. Peter and the head of the Church. He was also known as the savior of Rome. Attila the Hun held territories in Asia and Eastern Europe and was seeking to expand his empire. Between 450 and 455, his army of half a million men moved westward, threatening both capitals of the Roman Empire.1 1
Bauer, 114. Leo recognized the threat of Attila and travelled up to the Po River to intercede for Rome. He never wrote of what transpired between him and Attila, but the result was that Attila withdrew his forces and Rome was left in peace. This was the first time that a bishop had played the role of a diplomat rather than the emperor. One of the consequences of this would be that as heads of states weakened in Europe, popes would claim the temporal power of the papacy, meaning that Christs vicar on earth, the pope is not only the head of the Church, but also the governors and institutions of the faithful. While this position was not fully articulated until the 12th and 13th centuries, one may trace back the beginnings of this claim to Leos deduction that if the pope is the head of the church and the survival of the
church and her members are at stake, then the pope has the authority to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the survival of the church.1 1 Ibid., 117. The Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD Marcian, the new Roman emperor of the eastern empire and an orthodox Christian, convened this council to resolve previous conflicts regarding Christs nature, particularly because of the ills of the Robber Synod of 431 AD. Chalcedon is now a district of modern-day Istanbul, Turkey. The Council condemned the teaching of Eutychus (the two
natures of Christ coalesce into one nature), as well as Arianism and Nestoriansim. Further, put on trial And found guilty Dioscorus and any other bishops thet had supported the Second Council of Ephesus. Disscrous was defrocked. The council prepared and adopted a confession which denied a single nature of Christ and affirmed the Nicene understanding of the two natures of Christhuman and divine which coexist in hytostasis in His one person. It rejected the claims to supreme authority of the bishop of Constantinople and confirmed the primacy of Romes bishop. A Portion of the Chalcedonian Confession Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father
according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Onlybegotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.
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