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Dark Ages Missions (or Early Middle Ages) 500-1000 Part 2


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Title: Dark Ages Missions (or Early Middle Ages) 500-1000 Part 2

Dark Ages Missions (or Early Middle
Ages) 500-1000 Part 2
  • The corrupting influence of power, prestige and
    unlimited finances changed the Church to a myopic
    view of ministry in its attempt to create a
    Christian Kingdom, instead of spreading out over
    the world.

Nestorians in the East
  • Spread throughout the caravan cities of central
    Asia to China and beyond.
  • Syrian Christians had a global vision, whereas
    Western Christians sought to build a Christian
  • By 578 the first recorded Chinese Christian a
    monument for their work from 8th cent discovered
    in 1625.
  • Well received by Chinese emperor, spread
    throughout 10 provinces and over 100 cities
  • By 1000 Nestorian Christianity had reached India,
    Mongolia, Tibet, Korea, China and JapanWestern
    missions had barely left the empire
  • Remnants of Nestorians found when Franciscans
    entered China in 1294
  • Their strict monastic nature prevented them from
    identifying with the Chinese culture, thus
    limited their impact
  • Persian Church had 8 million followers by 760,
    before the Muslim conquest reached their area

Christianizing of Europe
  • Britain
  • Strong churches before 300 wiped out by
    Anglo-Saxon invasions
  • Irish Celtic missionaries re-evangelized Britain
    from Ireland from island of Iona
  • Pope sent Augustine to convert pagans and Celtics
    to Roman Christianity by 7th century
  • Mainland Europe
  • Celtic missionaries spread out in Europe (Columba
    and Columbanus) starting monasteries
  • Roman missionaries sent to N. Europe to
    Christianize warring pagan tribes primarily as
    emissaries of Christian kings (Willibrord and
  • Valiant English missionaries attempted to win the
    Vikings who were raiding their homeland
  • Emperor sends missionaries to Denmark who convert
    the king Herald
  • Pope and Emperor sent Anskar (801-865), French
    monk trained by Columba, to be the official
    legate to the Swedes, Danes, Slavs of N. Europe.
    He created a training center to send out
    missionaries to Scandinavia.

Unholy Alliance of Church and State
  • Successful missions were the result of winning
    the kings to Roman Christianity
  • Sponsors of mission efforts were kings, emperors
    and popes granting imperial credentials and
    diplomatic authority to deal directly with the
    pagan kings.
  • Political leaders saw the financing of Catholic
    missionaries as practical, rather than conquering
    pagan states militarily.
  • As nations became Christian they could be
    incorporated into the Christian coalition of the
    Holy Roman Empire the missionary became the arm
    of the state, an instrument of imperialism. Local
    churches were useless.
  • However, Charlemagne was more interested in his
    own people becoming Christian, than in a bold
    mission outreach to Scandinavia a pivotal
    mistake that would undo his empire

Vikings in the North
  • As Charlemagne consolidate mainland Europe, by
    800 the Vikings began to create chaos for the
    next 250 years
  • The Tribes that invade Rome (400-600) were mostly
    Arian Christians but the Vikings were pure
  • As men of the sea they attacked the islands and
    shorelines where mission training centers and
    monasteries existed and destroyed everything
    Christian (churches, monasteries, priests, monks)
  • The captured slaves and forced marriages would
    eventually evangelize the pagan leaders
  • Viking warriors based in Ireland followed trail
    of the Peregrini. The wealthier the monastery,
    the greater the attraction for looting
  • Wherever the Northmen Vikings conquered, they
    eventually became Christian Normans this
    resulted in a new form of Christian culture
    spreading back to Scandinavia.
  • What Satan means for evil, God turns to His

Islam in the South
  • In 622 Mohammed moved from Mecca to Medina
    (Hegira) in first step of conquest, which would
    unite all the Arab tribes by the time of his
    death in 632.
  • 25 years after his death (657) Islam reached East
    to Afghanistan and west to Tunisia.
  • By 732 had reached to France. It would take 760
    years before Christian Europe was free of Islam
  • Some reasons for the quick yielding to Islam in
    N. Africa
  • Superficial, non-indigenous Christianity of N.
  • Simple monotheistic theology gave hope of wealth
    and sensual salvation
  • Roman Empire was defenseless due to
    multiple-front wars (left a power vacuum)
  • Byzantines demanded high taxes for war-costs with
  • Most Middle Eastern and Egyptian Churches were
    excommunicated anyway
  • People in this area had more in common with Arabs
    than with Europeans
  • Muslims did not destroy everything only
    non-Muslims had to pay taxes
  • Use of statues and Icons appeared polytheistic,
    thus Islams strict monotheism seemed purer
  • Quran compiled in final form in 933
  • By 949 50 of all former Christendom now captured
    by Islam

Rise of the Papal State
  • After the reconquest of Italy from Islam, Italy
    was devastated
  • Lombards entered Italy from the North, defeated
    the Byzantine authority leaving Italy vulnerable
  • Pope had Pepin of the Franks crowned Patrician
    of the Romans to secure military aid against
    Lombards in 754-6
  • Pepins victory granted the Byzantine Exarchate
    (seat of Constantinoples power) to the Papacy
    (called the Donation of Pepin)

Rise of the Holy Roman Empire AD 962
  • Christmas AD 800 Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne
    Emperor of the Romans
  • Everyone born within his kingdom territory had to
    become Catholic or be executed
  • Charlemagne ordered the establishing of schools,
    regulated the clergy
  • Charlemagnes son and grandsons could not hold
    the empire together, so it split into France
    (Charles), Germany (Louis) and the Lowlands
  • As the Carolingian line (from Charlemagne)
    disintegrated, so the power of the Pope declined
    paid tribute to Muslims in South
  • To raise money the church sold high positions

Investiture controversy
  • Medieval churches owned privately by wealthy
    laymen, monasteries or bishops owners profited
    personally appointed priests, had him ordained,
    and paid him.
  • The appointment of church officials was being
    done by Emperor or princes by simony (sale of
    church office)
  • Pope Gregory in 1059 declared no secular leader
    could determine the next pope, rather a College
    of Cardinals
  • Gregory declared the absolute and infallible
    authority of the Pope, which the Emperor refused,
    denouncing him as pope and selected another.
  • Pope Gregory excommunicates Emperor Henry IV,
    forcing his humiliating repentance at Canossa in
  • Succeeded in separating secular power from the
  • Power of papacy grew, preparing for Crusades
    and the Inquisition

Great Schism of the Church
  • Officially divided the Mediterranean Christendom
    into Eastern (Greek) Orthodox, and Western
    (Latin) Roman Catholic.
  • Reasons for Split
  • Controversy over Icons
  • Filioque clause the procession of the Spirit
    Who proceeds from the Father in the Nicene
    Creed -- (Rome added, and of the Son) to assure
    Arians declared a trinity view
  • Personality conflicts between Pope and Patriarch
  • Boundary disputes in the Balkans, S. Italy, and
  • Prohibition of Icons in the East, rejected in the
  • Liturgical difference unleavened bread (West)
  • Celibacy among Western priests
  • Absolute submission to the Papal Primacy and
  • Resulted in a mutual excommunication in 1054
  • 4th Crusade when Western army sacked

Early Reform Movements
  • Bogomilism (968) a dualistic Gnostic Manichaean
    sect that gave birth to the Cathars and
    Albigencians in the next centuries
  • Paulicians (872) were a Gnostic Manichaean
    Christian group opposed the formalism of the
    Church of Rome
  • Other groups would become dissident groups as
    corruption and abuses increased but it would be
    another 300 years before movements began

A Bogomil Temple in Bosnia
Key Missionaries
Slavic worlds
  • Cyril and Methodius
  • Two Greek brothers from Thessaloniki became
    missionaries to the Slavs of Moravia and Pannonia
  • Studied in Constantinople, became professor of
    philosophy and theology
  • Devised the Glagolitic or Cyrillic alphabet
  • Little known but their translations and teaching
    transformed the Slavs
  • Ansgar, Christianized Denmark, Norway, Sweden,
    but they returned to paganism

Mission Methods Used
  • Art works and majestic cathedrals gave heavenly
  • Civilization was organized in parishes.
  • Bishops authorized priests to preach in rural
  • Latin, literature, Bible commentaries, theology
    had to be taught, thus emperor backed monasteries
  • Military conquest of force conversions
  • Political alliances, wealthy partnerships
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