Compendium of Church History - Notre Dame


"As Jesus Christ, the God Incarnate, is the center of all history, so the divine institution of the primacy of the Holy See and the independence of the Catholic Church is the center of the Christian era. It is impossible to understand and appreciate the course of human events in its proper meaning and character without giving full consideration and weight to these two central facts of history."


Spread of the Gospel

The political condition of the world under the Roman Empire had prepared the way for the speedy propagation of the Kingdom of Christ. The military roads of Rome led from the Forum to Spain and Gaul; to the Rhine and the Danube; to Thebais in Egypt and the frontiers of Arabia.

The universal use of the two languages of the civilized world, Latin and Greek, afforded a means for the propagation, explanation, and defence of Christ's teaching; but the direct causes of the spread of Christianity were:

  • The force of truth embodied in the religion of Christ.
  • The miracles wrought by the Apostles and their successors.
  • The virtuous lives of the Christians.
  • The Apostolic zeal of the neophytes. The constancy of the martyrs.
  • The power of Christianity to satisfy every religious craving of the soul.

"When the Apostles went forth to teach all nations the doctrine of the Crucified, nearly all earthly power was possessed by the City of Rome. . . . How slow and uncertain might have been the spread of the Christian religion if its Apostles had been obliged at every step to deal with new governments, new prejudices, new languages! Hence the Christian Fathers saw in the unity of the Empire something providential and divine. . . . When St. Paul tells us (Romans 10, 18) 'Verily their sound hath gone forth into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the whole world,' he expresses a fact which the Christian society has looked upon as a historical marvel."


First Century
The Apostles and their Disciples

The Foundation of the Church

The Divine Founder and the Head of the Church is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. During the three years of Our Lord's public life He gathered around Him a band of faithful disciples whom He instructed. From among these, Our Divine Master chose twelve men, whom He called

Apostles :
Peter, Andrew, James, John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James of Alpheus, Thaddeus or Jude, and Simon his brother, and Judas Iscariot.

Powers of the Apostles.
To bring the fruits of redemption to mankind, Christ gave to the Apostles and their successors a threefold power:

  • Mission—To teach all nations His divine truth. (Matt., 28: 19-20.)
  • Orders—To dispense His grace through the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and the Sacraments. (St. Luke, 22: 19; St. Matt., 28: 19; St. John, 20:23.)
  • Authority—To guide and rule the lambs and sheep of His flock. (John. 21:17.)

Visible Head of the Church.
Our Lord appointed St. Peter the chief of the Apostles. He was the first pope, shepherd, and teacher of the flock of Christ. To him Christ gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and to him He promised infallibility. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church." (Matt., 16: 18.)

Divine Assistance.
That the teaching of the Apostles might remain always the same, Christ promised that the Holy Ghost would teach them all truth, and that He Himself would abide forever with His Church. (St. John, 14: 16; Matt., 28: 13.)

The Apostles, therefore, and their legitimate successors, are the persons to whom Christ entrusted the duty of forming in His name, among all nations and in all ages, a spiritual society—the Church.

The Ascension of Our Lord

On the fortieth day after the resurrection our Blessed Lord, in the sight of the Apostles, ascended into heaven from Mount Olivet. The Apostles immediately went back to Jerusalem, filled with great joy. They assembled around our Blessed Lady in the supper room which had witnessed the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, and where, in prayer and meditation, they awaited the coming of the Holy Ghost.

Election of Matthias.
While awaiting the coming of the Holy Ghost, Peter proposed that they should choose some one to supply the place of Judas. Asking God to guide them, they drew lots between Barnabas and Matthias. The choice fell upon Matthias.

Descent of the Holy Ghost

On the tenth day after Christ's ascension, the day of Pentecost, while they were "all together in one place, there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming; parted tongues, as it were of fire sat upon every one of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." They immediately "began to speak with divers tongues," and to declare the wonderful works of God, "according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak." Their souls were replenished with knowledge and with grace. They were no longer a mere assembly of individuals, but became the one mystical body of Christ, the Church of the living God.

Preaching of the Apostles and Extension of the Church

The preaching of the Apostles was confirmed by miracles, by the sublime holiness of their lives, their sacrifices, and especially by the shedding of their blood in testimony of the truth.

Although many of the Jews were converted, the leaders of the nation not only remained obstinate, but even persecuted the Christians. Therefore the Jewish nation was rejected by God and delivered into the hands of the Romans. In the year 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus.

Among the heathens the Apostles made numerous converts. In the principal cities of the Roman Empire they formed congregations over which the Apostles placed their disciples as bishops and priests. Such wonderful success could come from God alone, for to the proud and immoral heathen the doctrine of Christ crucified seemed folly, and the practice of Christian virtues a moral impossibility.

The life of the first Christians was so perfect that it influenced both Jew and Gentile even more than the miracles of the Apostles. The Sacrifice of the Mass was daily offered and all received Holy Communion. There were no poor among them. The rich sold their possessions and shared the price with those who had nothing. (Ananias and Sapphira.)

The Deacons.
As the number of the Christians increased, the Apostles chose seven holy men to help in the ministry. At first these deacons had charge of the poor, but later they assisted the priest at the altar during the celebration of Holy Mass.

St. Stephen.
St. Stephen was the first of the deacons. The splendor of his miracles, the zeal of his preaching, and the numerous conversions he wrought, drew upon him the special hatred of the unbelieving Jews. He was brought before the high priest on the charge of blasphemy. He confounded his accusers by words of divine wisdom and power, and boldly proclaimed the divinity of the Lord Jesus. The Jews drew him without the city, and stoned him to death. St. Stephen's last words were a prayer for his murderers, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." The fruit of this prayer was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who became the great Apostle St. Paul.

Conversion of St. Paul, A.D. 37.
The martyrdom of St. Stephen was the signal for a general persecution of the infant Church. Owing to the efforts of Saul, the persecutions continued with such force that the Faithful were dispersed throughout Palestine. They diffused the light of faith wherever they went.

Saul went to the high priest and begged to be sent to Damascus to search for the Christians living there, that he might bring them before the Jewish courts. While on his way he was suddenly dazzled by a great light, and he heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" He fell to the ground in terror, and asked humbly, "Who art Thou, Lord?" The voice answered, "I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest." And Saul, trembling, asked, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" And the Lord said to him, " Arise and go into the city, and there it will be told thee what thou must do." Saul was led to Damascus, where he was instructed and baptized by Ananias, one of the seventy-two disciples. He soon went to Jerusalem, and St. Peter received him into the number of the Apostles.

Conversion of the Ethiopian.
St. Philip, the Deacon, baptized many of the inhabitants of Samaria, and St. Peter and St. John went down from Jerusalem to confirm them. An angel told St. Philip to go from Samaria into the desert south of Jerusalem. Here he met and converted an Ethiopian officer returning from the Pasch. St. Philip explained a prophecy of Isaias, and then, at his request, baptized the officer in a stream of water running by the road-side.

Simon Magus.
A magician, Simon Magus, seeing the Holy Ghost descending upon the Faithful at the imposition of hands, offered money to the Apostles to purchase for himself the power of giving the Holy Ghost. St. Peter rebuked him. The sin of buying or selling spiritual things has ever since been known as Simony.

First Gentile Convert.
There was in Caesarea a Roman Centurion named Cornelius. One day, while he was praying, an angel appeared to him, declaring that "his prayers and his alms had ascended for a memorial in the sight of God." "And now," continued the heavenly messenger, "send to Joppa for a man called Peter, and he will tell you all that you must do to be saved." Cornelius sent three soldiers in search of the wonderful man. At the same time St. Peter had a vision which prepared him for this visit. He saw clean and unclean animals let down from heaven in a sheet, while a voice was heard saying, "Kill and eat." By this the Apostle understood from God that he was to receive the Gentiles into the Church. St. Peter went with the messengers, and Cornelius and his family were all baptized and received the Holy Ghost visibly.

This event shows that the uncircumcised Gentile was admitted to the Church without submitting to the Mosaic ceremonial law. The act of St. Peter was disapproved of by the Jewish Christians, but the matter was finally settled at the council of Jerusalem.

Labors of the Apostles

St. Peter.—Symbol, one or two keys.

  • Founded the Church in Jerusalem.
  • Fixed his see at Antioch.
  • Preached through Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor.
  • Transferred his bishopric to Rome, 42 A.D.
  • Presided at the Council of Jerusalem, 50—51 A.D.
  • Was martyred on the Vatican Hill, being crucified with his head downward, 67 A.D.

St. John.—Symbol, a chalice.

  • Became bishop of Ephesus.
  • Preached in Asia Minor.
  • Thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but was miraculously saved, and was later banished to the Island of Patmos. Here he had the revelations which he has left us in his Apocalypse.
  • Died at the age of one hundred years.

St. James the Greater.—Symbol, staff and wallet.

  • Preached in Palestine and the surrounding countries.
  • First of the Apostles to receive the crown of martyrdom, being beheaded by King Herod Agrippa, 44 A.D.
  • Tradition says that he visited Spain, and his body is still kept in the Church at Compostella.

St. Andrew.—Symbol, an oblique cross.

  • Preached in Scythia (Russia and Greece).
  • Was martyred by crucifixion at Patrx, in Greece.
  • St. Matthew.—Symbol, a short sword.
  • Preached among the Ethiopians, Persians, and Parthians.
  • Wrote for the Jewish converts the first of the Four Gospels.
  • Was martyred at Parthia.

St. James the Less.—Symbol, a fuller's bat.

  • Made bishop of Jerusalem soon after the Ascension.
  • Wrote one Epistle to the Jews scattered over the world.
  • He was stoned to death, A.D. 63.

St. Thomas.—Symbol, a spear or arrow.

  • Preached in Parthia, India, Media, and Persia.
  • Was martyred near Madras in India.

St. Philip.—Symbol, a double cross.

  • Preached in Phrygia and Scythia.
  • Was crucified at Hieropolis.

St. Bartholomew.—Symbol, a knife.

  • Preached in India, Arabia, Assyria, and Scythia.
  • Was flayed alive and crucified in Armenia.

St. Simon.—Symbol, a saw.

  • Preached in North Africa.
  • Was martyred in Persia.

St. Jude or Thaddeus.—Symbol, a club.

  • Preached in Samaria, Idumea, and Syria.
  • Was martyred in Persia.
  • Left an Epistle called the "Catholic Epistle."

St. Matthias.—Symbol, a lance.

  • Preached the Gospel in Ethiopia.
  • Some think he was martyred at Sebastopolis.

St. Paul.—Symbol, a sword.

  • After his conversion, St. Paul preached the word of God in the synagogues, to the astonishment of all who knew him and who had witnessed his bitter persecutions of the Christians.
  • His conversion and the number of the converts which he made angered the Jews, and they persecuted St. Paul so that he was obliged to leave first Damascus and later Jerusalem.
  • First Great Mission:  Accompanied by Barnabas, St. Paul preached in Cyprus and the southern part of Asia Minor. He returned to Jerusalem for the Council held there in 50 A.D.
  • Second Great Mission:About the year 52, St. Paul, with Silas, preached the gospel in Syria and nearly all Asia Minor. At Lystra he took St. Timothy as his disciple, and at Troas he was joined by St. Luke, who became his chronicler and evangelist. At Athens he preached the "Unknown God" adored by the Greeks.
  • Third Great Mission:  In his third mission, St. Paul revisited the churches he had founded in Asia Minor. Upon his return to Jerusalem he was arrested, but claimed the rights of a Roman citizen, and so was sent to Rome to be judged, A.D. 61.
  • During his two years' captivity he was allowed to preach freely.
  • A.D. 65, he was arrested and thrown into prison by Nero.
  • He was martyred on the same day as St. Peter.
  • St. Paul wrote fourteen epistles.
[Illustration] from Compendium of Church History by Notre Dame
[Illustration] from Compendium of Church History by Notre Dame

Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists.

  • Four gospels by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John.
  • The Acts of the Apostles by St. Luke.
  • Fourteen epistles by St. Paul:
    • 1 to the Romans
    • 1 to the Ephesians
    • 2 to the Corinthians
    • 1 to the Philippians
    • 1 to the Galatians
    • 1 to the Colossians
    • 2 to the Thessalonians
    • 1 to Philemon
    • 2 to Timothy
    • 1 to the Hebrews
    • 1 to Titus
  • One epistle of St. James.
  • Two epistles of St. Peter.
  • Three epistles of St. John.
  • One epistle of St. Jude.
  • The Apocalypse of St. John.

The writings of these Apostles and their Disciples form the New Testament.

The earliest witnesses of tradition which we have are the writings of some of the disciples of the Apostles. Among these the most noted are St. Clement, of Rome; St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch; St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna; and St. Barnabas.

Symbols of the Evangelists.

St. Matthew  youth    His Gospel speaks of the human generation of Christ.
St. Mark    lion    His Gospel begins with St. John in the desert, and treats of the kingship of Christ.
St. Luke    ox    He opens his Gospel with an account of sacrifice, and treats of the priesthood of Christ.
St. John     eagle   He soars unto the Divinity.

The Fall of Jerusalem

During forty years after the death of our Lord, the Jews continued to persecute the Christians; but they themselves were constantly treated with great cruelty by the Roman Governors. At last an awful day came when the punishment foretold by our Savior overtook the guilty nation. According to Josephus, the Jews rose against their harsh Roman rulers and massacred great numbers of the soldiers. A terrible and bloody revenge was taken by the Romans. The Christians withdrew to Pella, a little town beyond the Jordan. A large army commanded by Vespasian and his son Titus was sent against Palestine, and gradually advanced to Jerusalem, capturing the cities on their route. The Jews fought among themselves, and after two years of struggle, famine overtook them just as the Romans under Titus began the siege of Jerusalem.

Titus, drawing his army close around the city, unconsciously fulfilled our Lord's words: " And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand." (Luke, 2I:20.) All the Jews captured were crucified outside the city walls, while within the city the multitude suffered from the most cruel famine.

In spite of these calamities daily sacrifices were offered in the Temple, until after a siege of five months the Romans succeeded in capturing the fort called Antonia, that overlooked the Temple. Thousands took refuge in the Holy Place, which Titus ordered to be spared; but a soldier threw into the interior a flaming brand which at once set it on fire. Thus the Temple was destroyed and a terrible massacre followed. It is estimated that nearly a million persons perished in the siege. Jerusalem was leveled to the ground as our Blessed Lord had foretold. From that day to this the Jews have had no Sovereign, no Temple, no Nation. They are found scattered through every land.

Persecutions of the First Century

1. The Jews.
The first persecution against the Church was waged by the Jews. The Council ordered the disciples to be imprisoned, forbade them to preach the gospel, had them scourged, and sent Jewish minions into every town and district to bring the Faithful in chains to Jerusalem. They stoned St. Stephen; put to death St. James the Greater and St. James the Less; incited the heathen mob at Lystra to stone St. Paul. The instruments chosen by God to inflict punishment on the Jews were the Romans, and thus was avenged the blood of the Prophets, as well as that of the world's Redeemer and of His saints.

2. The Pagans.
The pagans lived only for pleasure. Vice was deified in its most repulsive forms. Poverty was deemed a crime. More than half the population consisted of slaves, who were treated as mere animals.

The Christians did the contrary of all this. They imitated our Blessed Lord, Who became poor for us. They helped all those who were suffering from want and poverty. They lived mortified lives. This brought down on them the anger of the rulers and the mockery and insults of the priests of the false gods. Nero and Domitian persecuted the Christians during the first century.

Heresies of the First Century

1. Cerinthians.
The Cerinthians took their name from Cerinthus, who denied the divinity of Christ. St. John wrote his Gospel against this sect.

Cerinthus distinguished between Jesus and Christ. Jesus was mere man, though eminently holy. Christ, or the Holy Ghost, dwelt in Jesus from the moment of his baptism until the Passion, when Jesus suffers alone and Christ returns to heaven.

2. Simonians.
The Simonians followed the teachings of Simon Magus. He claimed to be the Messiah, and separated from the Church after being rebuked by St. Peter.

The heresies of the Apostolic Age, as well as those of the two following centuries, lacked the support of temporal power, and disappeared under the anathemas of the Church. The Cerinthians, Simonians, Gnostics, and Nazarenes—in fact, all the early Eastern sects—were but fanciful speculators whose tenets soon lost their hold on the minds of the people.

Second Century
The Christian Apologists

Besides the attacks made on the Church by persecution, many of the pagans tried to shake the faith of the Christians by writing against Catholic teaching, and accused the Faithful of crimes which they had never committed. Thus the Christians were held up as Atheists, because they would not adore the false gods of the Romans; they were also accused of being enemies of the state, and disloyal to the Emperor.

But God raised up many learned and holy men who, by their teaching, and especially by their writings, defended the Church against these dangerous attacks.

Principal Apologists

St. Justin.
St. Justin was surnamed the Philosopher, because he had passed many years in the schools of pagan philosophy, seeking in vain for that truth which he finally discovered in the Christian Church. A.D. 150, he went to Rome and opened a school of theology. St. Justin wrote two "Apologies." The first was to the Roman Emperor, Antoninus Pius, and his senate. His letter was favorably received by the Emperor, who granted his request that the Christians were to be punished only for crime, and not because they were Christians. His second "Apology" was written to Marcus Aurelius, who answered it by causing St. Justin to be martyred, A.D. 166.

St. Irenaeus.
St. Irenaeus, a disciple of St. Polycarp, was Bishop of Lyons. He wrote a refutation of the heresies of the time, and said they could all be condemned by the tradition of the Church, established in Rome by the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. He sealed his faith with his blood in the year 202.

Tertullian, born at Carthage, A.D. 160, was the earliest defender of the faith who wrote in Latin. First a lawyer, and afterwards ordained priest, he was a man of persuasive eloquence, great ability, and varied, deep, and solid knowledge. With talent and energy he defended Christianity against the attacks of pagans, Jews, and heretics. Unhappily, for want of true humility, this otherwise faultless man fell later into the error of the Montanists. He died about the year 220, but it is feared that he was never reconciled to the Church.

Origen was the son of Leonidas, who lived in Alexandria. When his father was martyred, Origen burned with a desire to lay down his life for Christ, but his mother hid his clothes so that he could not go out to declare himself a Christian. On account of his indefatigable industry he was called "adamantus, the man of iron." In his eighteenth year he succeeded Clement in the professor's chair at Alexandria, and notwithstanding some errors, won for himself immortal fame by maintaining the purity and explaining the meaning of the Holy Scriptures.

His "Apology for the Christian Religion" is specially directed against the calumnies of Celsus, a pagan philosopher. He wrote the "Hexapla," which contained in six parallel columns different versions of the Old Testament. He died from the effects of imprisonment and torture for the Faith, under Emperor Decius, about the middle of the third century.

Founding and Growth of the Church in Asia

All the Apostles except St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Andrew, and St. Simon remained in Asia. A rich harvest sprang up here from the seed sown by Christ and His Apostles. Antioch, Tyre, Ephesus, Smyrna, Sebaste, Seleucia, and Bostra became flourishing gardens in the vineyard of the Lord during the first three centuries.

But soon the dark night of infidelity enveloped the continent, and these Eastern nations, gradually forgetting that they were deeply indebted to the Gospel of Christ, cultivated pride of intellect and rebellion of heart and began to look upon the maxims of Christianity as an intolerable burden. Then came the visitation of Divine justice on these ungrateful people, and they received their death-stroke from the hand of Mohammed.

Founding and Growth of the Church in Africa

It is not known who founded the Church in Africa, but it is certain that St. Mark the Evangelist was the first bishop of the magnificent city of Alexandria, in Egypt. The Faith spread rapidly, and soon all the north of Africa was filled with Christians. The Church made such rapid progress in Egypt that about the year 30o there were more than one hundred bishops in the land.

The Faith having been carried from Rome into the northwestern portions of Africa, Carthage here became the center of Catholicity. Tertullian said to the pagans as early as the year 200: "We Christians are but of yesterday, yet we occupy all the places once filled by you. . . . We constitute the majority in every city." In the year 429 the invasions of the Vandals caused a great loss to the Church, and in the seventh century Mohammedanism invaded the north of Africa and buried the once flourishing African Church.

Founding and Growth of the Church in Europe

1. Rome is the center of Christianity. Here the infant Church, baptized in the blood of the twin Aposties, Peter and Paul, grew so rapidly that in the third century she counted one hundred and fifty priests besides her Chief Bishop.

2. Spain claims St. James the Greater as its first Apostle.

3. France received the faith from the disciples of Our Lord. Some Christian emigrants from Asia Minor founded the Church at Lyons, about the year 150. The infant Church in France was threatened with destruction during the great and violent incursions of the Franks; but the Lord protected and saved her by the conversion of Clovis.

4. England was early converted to the Faith, and tradition mentions a Christian king about the year 180.

Heresies of the Second Century

The Gnostics opposed the teachings of the Church on Creation. They maintained that the material composing the earth had, like God Himself, existed from all eternity; that an evil spirit took possession of chap i matter and formed the world; that the material was in itself evil.

The system of morality of the heretics was very aus rt , Duttthe lives of most of them were dishonest and vicious. The chief leaders of the Gnostics were Cerinthus, Marcion, and Manes.

The Montanists were founded by Montanus about A.D. 173. He claimed to be a prophet of Christ. He denied the power to forgive all mortal sin, and the cooperation of the Holy Ghost in the work of Christ. Tertullian was led into this heresy.

Persecutions of the Second Century

There were violent persecutions against the Church during this century under the Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. During these persecutions the Christians found refuge in the Catacombs. These were underground labyrinths excavated in the soft tufa on which the city of Rome was built. At first the Catacombs were used as burial places, but later were turned into chapels, where the Faithful met for Holy Mass.

Third Century
The Century of Origen

Persecutions of the Third Century

During the third century the Christians were persecuted by the Emperors Septimius Severus, Maximin, Decius, Valerian, and Diocletian.

Heresy of the Third Century

Manichean. The Persian Manes taught that there were two Eternal Beings, Light and Darkness, constantly warring with each other for supremacy. They also held that Jesus Christ took a human body only in appearance.


Even from the time of the Apostles there were men and women who consecrated their lives to the service of God and their neighbor. St. Paul makes special mention of holy women who spent their time in prayer and good works. These "widows and deaconesses," as they were called, lived in their own homes during the times of the persecutions, and served the churches and the poor. Among these were St. Agnes, St. Cecilia, St. Dorothea, and St. Agatha.

Later on, in order to be free from worldly cares, many Christians withdrew into solitude, each living in a separate cell near some town or village. These were called Anchorites.

But it was in the third century, during the persecution of Decius, 25o, that monastic life really originated. Christians no longer free to exercise their religion fled in great numbers into the deserts, principally of Egypt, either to give themselves entirely to God or to escape the torture. These were called hermits, the most famous of whom was St. Paul, the first hermit. At an early age he retired into the desert, and for nearly a hundred years he was fed by a raven, which brought him half a loaf daily.

When St. Paul was one hundred and thirteen years old, another hermit, St. Anthony, directed by God, came to visit this venerable recluse. While they were conversing the raven flew down and dropped a whole loaf of bread between the Saints. They ate together this heaven-sent loaf and gave thanks to God. After a night spent in prayer, St. Paul informed St. Anthony that his life was about to close, and requested him to bring for his shroud a cloak which St. Athanasius had given to him. When St. Anthony returned he found St. Paul dead. Hardly had St. Anthony enveloped the remains of his friend in the cloak when two lions approached and began to dig a grave for the body of St. Paul.

The sanctity of St. Anthony drew a large number of disciples around him. These solitaries lived in little cells, and the community was called a "Laura." Soon monasteries were founded wherein the monks lived under a common rule and were governed by one superior. The first rule was drawn up by St. Pachomius. Convents for women were also established. The religious of these convents and monasteries spent their time in prayer and hard work.

Monasticism spread from Africa into other parts of the world. St. Hilarion introduced it into the East. St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome founded monasteries in the West, but it was St. Basil who gave the final perfection to the religious congregation by causing the members to take vows with the sanction of the Bishop.

The Ten Persecutions

During the first three centuries after Christ it rarely happened that the Church was free from persecution, but when we speak of the ten General Persecutions we mean those periods during which the laws against the Christians were more severe, and when greater numbers suffered for the Faith.

First Persecution, under Nero, A.D. 64-68.

MARTYRS: St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Andrew.

The cause of the first persecution was the burning of Rome in the year 64. Nero set the city on fire and then accused the Christians of the crime. The martyrs endured most horrible torments. Some were cast into the Tiber with stones around their necks, others were crucified, others again were covered with the skins of wild beasts and exposed to be devoured by dogs. Many were covered with inflammable materials, and set on fire to illuminate the circus at night.

The most illustrious martyrs were St. Peter and St. Paul, who suffered together. While confined in the Mamertine prison they converted the guards and the two captains, and baptized them in the waters of a miraculous spring. St. Peter was crucified with his head downward, at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to die in the same posture as his divine Master. St. Paul, being a Roman citizen, was beheaded. St. Andrew was fastened to a cross made in the form of the letter X.

Second Persecution, under Domitian, A.D. 95-96.

MARTYRS: St. John the Evangelist, Flavius Clemens, and Acilius Glabrio.

The second persecution was caused by the Emperor's hatred of virtue and the advice of wicked counsellors. During the persecution, which continued for two years, many suffered martyrdom in Rome and in other parts of the Empire. Among these martyrs were Flavius Clemens, a cousin of the Emperor, and Glabrio, who had been consul with Trajan. The two Domitillas, the niece and grandniece of Domitian, were beheaded. One of the most famous of the Catacombs was constructed by the younger Flavia Domitilla. St. John the Evangelist was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but being miraculously preserved, he was banished to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse.

Third Persecution, under Trajan, 106--117.

MARTYRS: St. Simeon, St. Ignatius of Antioch, and St. Symphorosa with her seven sons.

Trajan did not begin his persecuting policy until the ninth year of his reign. When he returned victorious from the conquest of the Scythians, Dacians, and other nations, the Christians refused to take part in the public service of thanksgiving to the gods, and thus brought down his anger upon themselves.

In addition to the old laws of Nero and Domitian, new ones were added against secret assemblies. These new edicts forced the Christians into the Catacombs, where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered.

Trajan gave the following inconsistent reply to Pliny the Younger, Proconsul of Pontus and Bithynia, "Do not search for the Christians, but punish them if they persevere in the profession of their Faith." St. Simeon, a kinsman of Our Lord and a cousin of St. James the Less, was condemned to death and crucified at the advanced age of one hundred and twenty years. St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, was torn to pieces by the lions in the Roman amphitheatre.

Hadrian, who succeeded Trajan, put to death the widow Symphorosa and her seven sons.

Fourth Persecution, under Marcus Aurelius, A.D. 161-180.

MARTYRS: In Rome—St. Felicitas and her seven sons, St. Justin and his disciples.
In Asia Minor—St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Germanicus.
In Gaul—St. Symphorian, St. Blandina, and St. Pothinus.

Marcus Aurelius, although the most virtuous of the Pagan Emperors, signalized the first year of his reign by issuing a decree against the Christians. The persecution raged with greatest severity in Rome, Asia Minor, and Gaul.

St. Felicitas gave a beautiful example of Christian fortitude to her seven sons, whom she encouraged to suffer their various torments. St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and a disciple of St. John, was placed on a pyre, but the flames encircled without injuring him. He was killed by a spear thrust by one of the soldiers. St. Germanicus, after encouraging his fellow martyrs, was devoured by wild beasts.

Marcus Aurelius put a stop to the persecution on account of a remarkable favor which the Christian soldiers obtained from heaven. The Roman troops were engaged against the Quadi in Bohemia and were cut off from all supply of water. The suffering of the soldiers was intense. In one of the legions there was a number of Christians, who prayed to God for relief. An abundant shower of rain came as an answer to their prayer, while at the same time a violent thunderstorm drove full against the Quadi, who were cut to pieces by the Romans. The Christian troops who had obtained this favor received the name of the Thundering Legion. The Emperor ceased to persecute the Christians for a time, and on his return to Rome erected a monument representing in bas relief this glorious event.

Three years after the persecution broke out again in Gaul. At Lyons, the venerable St. Pothinus, first Bishop of that city, St. Blandina, a young slave, and a great number of others, perished. At Autun, the youthful St. Symphorian displayed his courage.

Fifth Persecution, under Septimius Severus, A.D. 202-211.

MARTYRS: In Africa—St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and St.Leonidas. In Gaul—St. Irenaeus. In Rome—St. Cecilia.

Septimius Severus was at first favorable to the Christians, but in the tenth year of his reign he issued against them the most bloody edicts which were put in force, with such severity that many believed the time of Anti-Christ had come.

The persecution raged in Africa, Italy, and Gaul.

At Carthage many suffered. Among them St. Perpetua and St. Felicitas, who, with three other Catechumens, were tormented and thrown to the wild beasts. Perpetua's father used every device to induce her to sacrifice to the gods; but, although deeply affected by his pleading, she could only reply that all was in God's hands. St. Leonidas, the father of Origen, also suffered for the Faith.

In Gaul, the Emperor himself conducted the persecution. Hearing that Lyons had become entirely Christian through the labors of St. Irenxus, its Bishop, he surrounded the city with troops and more than 19,000 of the inhabitants were massacred. This number does not include women and children.

The successors of Septimius Severus did not persecute the Christians, but inferior officers under Alexander Severus took advantage of the absence of the Emperor to put into effect the old edicts. Among the martyrs of this period is St. Cecilia. Descended from a noble Roman family, St. Cecilia was espoused to Valerian, a pagan.. He was converted by the prayer of his holy spouse, and with his brother Tiburtius suffered martyrdom before she was apprehended.

Sixth Persecution, under Maximin, A.D. 235-238.

MARTYRS: The Popes St. Pontianus and St. Antherus.

This persecution was directed chiefly against the clergy. The Emperor Maximin thought to shake the faith of the people by taking from them their pastors. After two years of persecution the Church enjoyed peace for eleven years.

Seventh Persecution, under Decius, A.D. 249-251.

MARTYRS: Pope St. Fabian, St. Alexander of Jerusalem, and St. Agatha.

In the year 249 the Emperor Decius resolved to destroy Christianity. All means of torture that human cruelty could invent were called into use. Many who would have met speedy death bravely recoiled before the horrible torments, and renounced their religion. These were known as "Lapsed."

It was during this persecution that many of the Faithful fled to the deserts, and thus began the eremitical life.

Eighth Persecution, under Valerian, A.D. 257-260.

MARTYRS: St. Cyprian of Carthage, Pope St. Sixtus, St. Lawrence, and St. Cyrille.

Valerian, like several of his predecessors, was at first favorable to the Christians, but later issued two edicts against them. The first forbade Christians even to go to the Catacombs, and banished bishops and priests who refused to sacrifice to the gods. The second ordered all the clergy to be beheaded and the property of the senators and knights to be confiscated.

While Pope Sixtus II was celebrating Mass in the Catacombs, he was seized and led away with his deacons. Later he was condemned and put to death. St. Lawrence, one of the deacons, was required to deliver up the treasures of the Christians. He collected the poor of the city and presented them to the prefect as the only treasure the Church possessed. St. Lawrence was placed on a gridiron and slowly roasted to death.

St. Cyprian was beheaded before the walls of Carthage. At Utica, in Africa, one hundred and fifty-three Christians were cast alive into pits and covered with quicklime. Their relics are known as the white mass—massa candida.

We have a beautiful example of courage and faith in the conduct of a little child called Cyrille. His father was a pagan, and in hatred of the name Christian had driven his son from his house. To the persuasions of the Governor, Cyrille answered, "I rejoice to be driven from my father's house; God will give me one more grand and beautiful." The bystanders wept when they saw him receive the crown of martyrdom.

Ninth Persecution, under Aurelian, A.D. 274-275.

MARTYRS: St. Felix, Bishop of Rome, and St. Denis, Bishop of Paris.

In the fourth year of his reign, the Emperor Aurelian conceived the idea of extirpating Christianity from the Roman Empire. He who formed such an idea of his own power was destined to be less successful than his predecessors, for he was assassinated eight months after he had issued this edict against the Christians. In the meantime, however, many had suffered martyrdom, among them St. Felix, Bishop of Rome, and St. Denis, Bishop of Paris.

Tenth Persecution, under Diocletian, A.D. 303-305.

MARTYRS: The Theban Legion, St. Sebastian, St. Januarius, St. Eulalia, St. Lucy, St. Agnes, St. Catherine of Alexandria.

The Tenth Persecution was the severest which the Church had to endure. For fourteen years after Diocletian became Emperor the Christians enjoyed freedom of worship. Many belonging to the highest grades of society professed their faith; among these were Prisca, the wife of Diocletian, and Valeria, the wife of Galerius, Governor of Illyricum.

In the division of the empire of Diocletian, Maximinian received Gaul. Here he began to persecute the Christians, about A.D. 286. He ordered the Theban Legion, which was composed entirely of Christians, to seek out their fellow Christians and put them to death. As the whole legion with their captain, St. Maurice, refused to obey, the head of every tenth man was struck off, by the Emperor's command. A second decimation followed with no better result. Maximinian at last caused them to be surrounded by the rest of the army and slain as they stood. It is said that six thousand received the crown of martyrdom.

Another celebrated martyr was St. Sebastian, captain of the Praetorian Guard. He was denounced by Diocletian for visiting and encouraging the imprisoned Christians. In Spain, St. Eulalia, a child of twelve, was torn with iron hooks, and afterwards burned with torches. St. Justus and St. Pastor, school-boys of thirteen and seven, were beheaded. St. Lucy suffered at Syracuse, St. Agnes at Rome. The latter was only fifteen years of age and very beautiful; so the Prefect's son wanted to make her his wife. But St. Agnes had chosen Jesus Christ as her Spouse, and refused all worldly offers. She was placed on a funeral pile, but the flames separated without touching her, and the Prefect ordered her to be beheaded, A.D. 304. St. Catherine, of Alexandria, who had fearlessly reproached Caesar Maxentius for his cruelty against the Christians and had refuted the pagan philosophers of his court, died by the sword.

So great and general was the bloodshed that Diocletian had a coin struck "Diocletian, Emperor, destroyed the Christian name."

Fate of the Persecutors.

  • NERO had to flee before the open revolt of his subjects and stabbed himself in despair.
  • DOMITIAN was assassinated.
  • HADRIAN became insane.
  • MARCUS AURELIUS, heartbroken over the ingratitude of his only son, Commodus, starved himself to death.
  • SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, whose life had been attempted by his only son, died in despair.
  • DECIUS ended miserably in a swamp, during a battle with the Goths.
  • VALERIAN was taken prisoner by Sapor, King of Persia, and flayed alive.
  • MAXENTIUS was drowned in the Tiber.
  • DIOCLETIAN starved himself to death.

Fourth Century
The Century of the Church Fathers

With Constantine ends the "Age of Martyrdom" and begins the period of the great Fathers of the Church.

The Church Fathers

For the Church to bestow the title of "Doctor "on any of her members she requires:

  1. That he should be learned in all matters concerning religion.
  2. He must be eminently holy.
  3. The title must be confirmed by the Pope or a general Council.

The term Father was in early times given to all bishops, but later it came to mean only those writers whose works were of sound doctrine and of great value in the Church, and who had led holy lives.

Greek Fathers.

  • St. Athanasius,
  • St. Basil,
  • St. Gregory Nazianzen,
  • St. John Chrysostom.

Latin Fathers.

  • St. Ambrose,
  • St. Augustine,
  • St. Jerome,
  • St. Gregory the Great (sixth century).

St. Athanasius, the ablest opponent of Arianism, was born in Alexandria in 296. When he was thirty years of age he was consecrated Bishop of Alexandria, and the history of his episcopate is told in the history of his controversies with the Arians, and his sufferings endured in defense of the Nicene Creed—five times he was exiled from his see.

St. Basil the Great was born at Caesarea in 330. His name, Basilius, signifies royal, and truly princely was he in mind and heart. He was a bulwark against the Arians, and at the same time a hero of Christian charity and a mine of sacred knowledge. He drew up the first code of rules for religious life.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, the friend of St. Basil, was born about the year 330. The theater of his triumphs was Constantinople, which he purged of error with irresistible power and success. He closed his long, active life in holy solitude.

St. John Chrysostom, the "Golden-mouthed," was born at Antioch about 344. He was distinguished as an expounder of Holy Scripture. His invectives against the vices of the imperial court caused his banishment from Constantinople.

St. Ambrose, the "Athanasius of the West," was born about 344. When the See of Milan became vacant in 374, Ambrose, though yet a Catechumen, was elected by both Catholics and Arians as their bishop. He protected the property of the Church against the Arian empress, Justina, and was equally firm in his dealings with the Emperor Theodosius. This emperor had ordered a massacre of seven thousand of the inhabitants of Thessalonica. In punishment of this conduct, St. Ambrose refused to admit Theodosius into the Church until he had done full penance. The hymn Te Deum is attributed to St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, whom he converted.

St. Augustine, born in the year 354, was one of the most remarkable men of all time. Although he received a Christian education from his mother, St. Monica, he fell into sin and heresy. He was converted by the soul-stirring words of St. Ambrose. In the year 395 Augustine was made Bishop of Hippo, in Africa, and by his numerous and invaluable writings, by the apostolic discharge of his duty, and by the holiness of his life, he became the adviser and friend of all Christian writers of his time.

St. Jerome was born in 331. He prepared himself by travel, and by the austerities of an eremitical life for the duties of his high calling. Pope Damasus entrusted to him the translation of the Holy Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. This translation is known as the Latin Vulgate. His learned works constitute some of the choicest treasures of the Church.

St. Gregory the Great was born in 540. On his accession to the Chair of St. Peter, in 590, he found Italy in a deplorable condition. He labored with wonderful zeal and success to uproot heresy, to heal schism, and to revive religious fervor among the Christians. He sent missionaries to England, which resulted in the conversion of the country. He was a true reformer of Church discipline, and is the father of a plain chant called after him "Gregorian Chant."

Other Church Fathers are:

  • St. Ephrem of Syria, Priest of Edessa.
  • St. Cyril of Jerusalem, the Catechist, who wrote twenty-three catechisms.
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria, the principal adversary of Nestorius.
  • St. Leo I, Pope, opponent of Eutyches.
  • St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of Salamis, compiler of the first history of the heresies.
  • St. Gregory of Nyssa, champion of the Church against Arianism.
  • St. John Damascene, the last of the Church Fathers in the East.
  • St. Hilary of Poitiers, who saved France from Arianism.

Triumph of Christianity

It was by the conversion of Constantine to Christianity that God restored peace to the Church after three centuries of persecution. The imperial crown was disputed with this prince by Maxentius, who had made himself master of Rome. Constantine was approaching the city to give him battle. While encamped close to the Milvian Bridge, awaiting the final struggle which was to decide the supremacy of the Western Empire, Constantine saw in the heavens at midday a cross of light with the words, "In this sign thou shalt conquer." Our Savior appeared to him the following night and commanded him to use as his standard in war the symbol, promising that it would be the pledge of victory. Constantine did as he was commanded. He had a standard constructed, known in history as the $$Labarum##, which was destined to displace the Roman Eagle.

This standard consisted of an upright lance, with a transverse beam at its upper extremity. From this beam hung a banner, beautifully decorated with gold; the monogram of Christ was worked on the banner.

Under this standard Constantine marched to victory. Twelve years later, 324, another war broke out, which ended in the death of the Eastern Emperor, Licinius. Thus Constantine became sole Ruler of the Roman Empire, and openly proclaimed himself a Christian.

Constantine favored Christianity by: LIST Putting an end to all persecution. Granting great privileges to Christians and restoring their churches. Forbidding death by crucifixion out of respect for our Lord. Commanding the observance of Sunday. Bestowing the Lateran Palace on the Pope.

He helped Pope Sylvester I to assemble the first Council of Nicaea, 325. The correctness of views held by Constantine on the relation between Church and State may be inferred from his remarks at this Council. "God has placed you as leaders of the Church," he said; "me He has appointed merely to protect and defend its temporal part."

According to Eusebius, Constantine was baptized only a few days before his death at' Nicomedia; but the Roman local tradition is that he was baptized at the Lateran by Pope Sylvester, about 312.

The Heresies of the Fourth Century

The Heresy of Arius.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity had been assailed in the third century by Paul of Samosata and the African Priest Sabellius. But in the fourth century Arius, an apostate priest, taught that God the Son is not equal in all perfections to God the Father; that He is not co-eternal with the Father, but is created by Him as first and chief among creatures. God raised up in the person of St. Athanasius a formidable adversary of this heresiarch, whose errors were condemned in the General Council of Nicaea, 325. However, owing to the hypocrisy of its teachers and to the influence of the imperial court which had banished St. Athanasius, Arianism spread over a large part of Christendom.

The Heresy of Macedonius.
Allied with Arianism was the heresy of Macedonius, who taught that the Holy Ghost is not of the same nature and essence as the Father, but less than either Father or Son. This error was condemned in the Council of Constantinople, 381.

The Nicene Council had added explanations to that part of the Creed which teaches us what we must believe about Jesus Christ, true God and true man; the Council of Constantinople did the same to the Eighth Article, explaining more fully the Catholic Doctrine about the Holy Ghost.

The Creed called the Nicene, which is said on Sundays and the Feasts of Our Lady, and of the Apostles and Doctors of the Church, consists of two parts. The first part was drawn up at Nicaea to explain the first seven articles of the Apostles Creed. The second part, the explanation of the last five articles, was added at Constantinople.

  • Supporters of Arianism
    • Constantia, sister of Constantine the Great
    • Constantius, son of Constantine
    • Valens, the Roman Emperor

Julian the Apostate treated Arians and Catholics alike while endeavoring to restore paganism. Desirous to falsify the prophecy of Christ concerning the Temple of Jerusalem, he issued orders to rebuild it, but his designs were thwarted. While engaged in war with Persia, he was struck by a javelin. His blood spouted out, and in despair, Julian threw some of it toward heaven, crying out, "Galilean, Thou has conquered."

The death of Julian ended the struggle of paganism with Christianity, for Jovian, who succeeded him as Emperor, was himself a Christian, and had suffered for his faith under Julian.

The Schism of the Donatists
In 311, certain bishops headed by one Donatus pretended that the ordination of Cecilian, Bishop of Carthage, was unlawful. The question being submitted to the Pope, he decided in favor of Cecilian. This enraged the Donatists, who took possession of the churches by main force and destroyed the alters and sacred vessels.

St. Augustine took the greatest trouble to bring back the Donatists, and succeeded in converting many of them. All the African bishops were ordered to meet at Carthage, there to settle the dispute by a conference presided over by the tribune Marcellinus. At the end of three days Marcellinus decided in favor of the Catholics. St. Augustine had hoped that the heretics could be conciliated by an appeal to reason, but acts of violence and cruelty on the part of the Donatists and their adherents, gave evidence that stringent measures were needed.

To protect their lives and property, as well as to ensure their freedom of religious opinion, the Catholics were obliged to call upon the civil power. Many of the Donatists returned to the Church; however, the schism lasted in Northern Africa till the arrival of the Saracens in the seventh century. The works of St. Augustine show that much was written in defense of the Donatist schism, but little remains of these writings.

Fifth Century
The Century of Pope Leo the Great

The invasion of the barbarians which, a century and ' a half after the death of Constantine, caused the downfall of the Roman Empire, 476, had already begun. Uncivilized tribes of Goths, Huns, and Vandals overran Gaul, Spain, and Italy. The Church, through the energy and piety of her bishops, missionaries, and monks, established social and political order, and saved Europe from lapsing into barbarism.

Pope Leo I became, in the hands of God, an instrument to protect and honor the Church during the decay of the Roman Empire. When Attila, King of the Goths, after laying waste a great part of Italy, was about to attack the City of Rome, Pope Leo went forth as the temporal representative of the people as well as the spiritual and temporal representative of Christ, to meet and check the ruthless invader. By the dignity of his presence, but more especially by the wisdom and power of his words, the Pope touched the heart of Attila, who at once retraced his steps and left Italy. In like manner Leo I saved Rome from Genseric the Vandal.

Conversion of Ireland
It is not known when Christianity was first introduced into Ireland. Palladius is called the first bishop sent to the Irish, but "it was not to Palladius," says Jocelyn, "but to Patrick, that the Lord vouchsafed the conversion of Ireland." While still a boy, St. Patrick was carried off by Irish pirates from his home either in Brittany or in Scotland. He escaped after some years and went to Gaul to St. Martin of Tours, his uncle. Afterwards he accompanied the great St. Germanus to Britain, on a mission against the Pelagians.

Ever since his captivity, St. Patrick had yearned to preach the faith to the Irish. At last his prayer was heard, and Pope Celestine sent him to preach in Ireland about 432. His efforts were so blessed that in a few years the whole people had become most faithful and fervent Catholics; and so numerous were the holy, learned, and indefatigable missionaries whom she sent abroad that Ireland received the glorious title of "The Island of Saints."

Among the missionaries were:

  • St. Columbkille, the Apostle of Scotland;
  • St. Aidan, who brought the faith into Northumberland;
  • St. Columban, who traversed Gaul, Switzerland, and Italy;
  • St. Gall, the founder of Christianity in Switzerland.

Conversion of the Franks
The German tribes that inhabited the country lying along the Rhine were known by the name of Franks. Clovis became king of the Salic Franks in 481. Some of this tribe had been converted during the wars with the Romans; the majority, however, were still pagans. In the year 496 Clovis, who was married to Clotilda, a Christian princess of Burgundy, was hard pressed by the Alemanni in the battle of Tolbiac. He appealed to the God of Clotilda, promising to become a Christian if victory should attend h'is arms. The Alemanni were defeated, and Clovis, faithful to his promise, received baptism at the hands of St. Remigius on Christmas Day, 496. His example was followed by many thousands of the army, and later by the majority of his subjects.

Heresies of the Fifth Century

The Heresy of Nestorius
One hundred years after Arius, Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, attacked the Catholic doctrine concerning the unity of the person of Christ. He taught that there are two persons in Christ, and that the Blessed Virgin is not the Mother of God, but only of Christ's human person. St. Cyril, of Alexandria, defended the glories of Our Lady, but Nestorius held to his error. A general council was called at Ephesus, 431, and the heresy of Nestorius was formally condemned. The joy of the people of Ephesus, when they heard that the title "Mother of God "was acknowledged by the Church, was unbounded.

Heresy of Eutyches
Eutyches, an aged priest, who lived in a monastery near Constantinople, while opposing Nestorianism, fell into an opposite error and taught that Jesus Christ has only one nature, a mixture of the divine and human. Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople, held a synod, 448, which excommunicated Eutyches and condemned his heresy. Against this error and those who, under the name of Monophysites, maintained and defended it, St. Leo the Great fought with the zeal and ability of an apostle. The heresy was condemned in the year 451 by the General Council at Chalcedon. As several Eastern Emperors continued to favor Eutychianism, the heresy, under different forms, spread rapidly, and was again condemned at the General Council at Constantinople, 553, after which it gradually died out.

Heresy of Pelagius
Pelagius was a native of Britain, but went to Rome at the end of the fourth century and commenced to teach false doctrines. He denied original sin and the necessity of grace, maintaining that man without the aid of grace can fulfill the commandments of God. When Rome was sacked by the Goths, 410, Pelagius went to Carthage, where St. Augustine soon pointed out the errors of the pernicious doctrine. By deceiving his judges, Pelagius had himself acquitted of the charge of heresy. St. Augustine brought the question before two synods, which condemned the teaching. The decrees of these synods were sent to Rome, and when the Pope confirmed them, St. Augustine said, "Rome has spoken, the cause is ended." The formal condemnation was at the Council of Ephesus.

Sixth Century
The Century of Saints Benedict and Gregory

St. Benedict.
St. Benedict, by his monastic rule as well as by his founding of the Benedictine Order, worked undying good for the civilization of Europe and for the development of the Church. With Pope St. Gregory I, he shares the glory of the sixth century.

St. Benedict was born in the year 480. He attended the public schools of Rome, and in early life retired into the solitude of Subiaco, where he lived the life of a hermit. Here he gathered about him a multitude of disciples. Later he went to Monte Casino, where he founded the mother-house of his order, and compiled that renowned rule of monastic life remarkable for its simplicity and its suitableness to the requirements of the Western Church. It is based on the two great principles of prayer and labor.

Bands of fervent religious were sent out from these Benedictine monasteries who, settling among distant people, began the work of conversion and civilization. It was Benedictine monks who cleared the primeval forests of Europe, dug canals, laid out roads, built bridges, and transformed barren solitudes into blooming gardens. Their monasteries were the beginnings of flourishing settlements, and the nucleus of prosperous cities.

The power for good of the Benedictine Order may be inferred from the fact that at the time of its greatest development it numbered thirty-seven thousand monasteries and colleges; that it has given to the Church thousands of canonized saints and martyrs; that innumerable bishops have been trained in its cloisters; and that it has given twenty-eight popes to the Christian world.

St. Gregory the Great
(see Fathers of the Church). The first monk to be raised to the Chair of St. Peter was Pope Gregory the Great. He was successively a monk, a cardinal, an ambassador, an abbot, and a pope. During his pontificate no kind of need escaped his vigilant care. After fourteen years as pope he died, A.D. 604. He is truly Gregory the Great, not only because of the difficulties he overcame, the lands he conquered for the Church, the power he won for the Holy See, but "for the renown of his virtue, the candor of his innocence, the humble tenderness of his heart."

Fruits of Pope Gregory's Zeal.
Pope St. Gregory labored long and earnestly at the conversion of the pagan nations of Europe, sending missionaries, encouraging the clergy, writing letters and exhortations to bishops and sovereigns. He had the happiness of seeing the Lombards of Northern Italy, the Spaniards, the Portuguese, and the English enter the true fold.

The Three Chapters

The Three Chapters were the works of three bishops in favor of Nestorianism. The Council of Chalcedon which had condemned the Eutychians had not mentioned the Three Chapters. The Eutychians, who were anxious to discredit the Council of Chalcedon, tried to form a party against it, contending that if the Council had erred in leaving these writings uncondemned, it plight also have made a mistake in condemning Eutychiani3m.

At last the Fifth General Council at Constantinople was called. The Three Chapters were examined and condemned, but without any prejudice to the Council of Chalcedon. On the contrary, Pope Vigilius, in confirming the first four general councils, gave special authority to the decrees, published by the Fathers at Chalcedon. This put an end to the contest.

Seventh Century
The Century of Mohammedanism

As it was in the Eastern Church that heresy and schism had so well succeeded up to the seventh century, it was also in that Church that God, by a just effect of His wrath, permitted the devil to carry out his destructive schemes. Mohammed was the instrument used by Satan to inflict upon religion the deepest wound it had yet received.

Mohammed was born at Mecca, in Arabia, 570. While still young he undertook to manage the affairs of a rich widow, and later he married her. In 609 he announced himself as commissioned by God to do away with paganism, and to reform both Judaism and Christianity. This he pretended to do by blending the three religions into a new creed, which he preached to his relatives and neighbors. They did not believe in him, and finally drove him out of the town. Mohammed fled to Medina in 622, from which date the Mohammedans reckon their chronology. This event is the Hegira.

Moral Code.
The doctrines of Mohammedanism are set forth in the Koran, which means the Book above Books. The principal moral duties inculcated are:

  • Prayer. Mohammedans must pray five times a day.
  • Almsgiving. They must give from five to twenty per cent of their income in charity.
  • Fasting. They fast during one month of each year.
  • Pilgrimages. Every Mohammedan whose means and health will permit, must make at least one pilgrimage to the Temple of Mecca.


  • Medina, 622-661.
    Founded by Mohammed.
  • Damascus, 661-750.
    Founded by Moaviah. He supplanted Mohammed's own children and transferred the Caliphate to Syria, selecting Damascus as his capital.
  • Cordova, 755-1031.
    Founded by Abd-er-Rahman. Here he built a magnificent mosque. His rule was wise and able, and conciliatory to the Christians.
  • Bagdad, 763-1238.
    Founded by Abu-Jaafar. He built Bagdad, and made it the seat of his caliphate. For more than four centuries the Abbassides continued at Bagdad.

The Spread of Mohammedanism.
The spiritual and temporal sway of Mohammed was acknowledged throughout Arabia before his death. His successors conquered Syria and Palestine, Persia, and North Africa. From Africa they crossed over into Spain under the name of Moors, and in a single battle overthrew the power of the Goths in that country.

Destruction of the Mohammedan Power in Europe.

1. Battle of Poitiers, or Tours, 732.
The Moors, or Mohammedans, crossed the Pyrenees and threatened France. They were met by Charles Martel at Poitiers, and for seven days the armies were face to face. The Moors were finally routed in what is often styled one of "the decisive battles of the world."

2. Battle of Lepanto, 1571.
A fleet under Don John of Austria was commissioned by Pope Pius V to stay the advance of the Turks. The site of the conflict was the Gulf of Lepanto. The Christian forces encountered a powerful fleet of 430 Turkish vessels, and after a stubborn fight, which lasted all day, a panic seized the Turks. A fierce storm completed the havoc, and the Turkish power on sea was broken forever. The festival of Our Lady of the Rosary commemorates this triumph, which the voice of Christendom attributes to our Blessed Lady.

3. Siege of Vienna, 1683.
When in the year 1683 the Turks laid siege to Vienna, the Pope and the Emperor called on John Sobieski for help. A rapid march across the plains toward Vienna brought him unexpectedly in sight of the Turks. These made a desperate resistance, but finally fled, leaving the ground strewn with silks and jewelry, splendid tents, and implements of war. Pope Innocent XI thanked Sobieski in the name of Europe for his victory over the Moslems.

4. Battle of Belgrade, 1717.
In 1717 Prince Eugene destroyed the Turkish power on land in the Battle of Belgrade.

Different Names for the Followers of Mohammed.

  1. Moslems, Muslims, or Mussulmans; that is, be longing to the sect of Islam—resignation.
  2. Arabs, people from the West.
  3. Saracens, people from the East.
  4. Moors, inhabitants of Morocco.
  5. Turks, inhabitants of Turkey.

Heresy of the Seventh Century

The Heresy of the Monothelites.
The Monothelite heresy was the outgrowth of an attempt to effect a reconciliation between the Catholics and the Eutychians. According to this heresy, there are two natures in Christ, but only one will, the human will being merged into the divine.

The author of this heresy was Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople. Sergius tried to deceive Pope Honorius I by urging that if all debates on the subject could be stopped, the trouble would cease. Honorius did not suspect Sergius, and replied in words that might easily be misconstrued; and unfortunately they were.

The Emperors took part in this controversy, defending the heresy and persecuting the popes. The miserable contest went on for nearly a hundred years, until Pope Agatho called the Sixth General Council of Constantinople, A.D. 680. This Council condemned the heresy, stating the true doctrine thus: That in Jesus Christ there are two distinct wills and operations, the one Divine, the other Human, never conflicting, but the Human will always subject to the Divine,

Eighth Century
The Century of St. Boniface

Conversion of the Teutons.
The vast countries lying east of the Rhine and north of the Alps remained pagan long after the south and west of Europe had embraced the true faith. There were tribes who had received Christianity when the Romans were masters, but gradually the Faith lost all hold on them. The attempt at reconverting them made by St. Columban and the Irish monks had produced but little fruit, and up to the close of the seventh century the great mass of the Teutonic people was pagan.

During the eighth century a great missionary made his appearance in the person of St. Boniface. "He was a man of untiring zeal, high intellect, and child-like simplicity; a hero in his faith, in his dependence on Providence, and in his charity; yea, a vessel of election like St. Paul."

St. Boniface was born in England about the year 680. He received the name Winifred at his baptism, and at an early age entered the order of the Benedictines. In 716 he began missionary labors, first in Friesland, afterwards in Thuringia and among the Hessians. Here he cut down the sacred oak tree to which the inhabitants paid divine honor, and from the timber built a chapel in honor of St. Peter. By this act, paganism among the Hessians fell to rise no more. He also labored in Bavaria, in the Rhine countries, and even in France.

Finding that his life was drawing to its close, Boniface resolved to make a final effort to convert the Frisians. Shortly after his arrival in that country, as a reward of his zeal, he received the crown of martyrdom at Dorkum, on the fifth day of June, 753.

He received from Pope Gregory II the significant name of Boniface, or "doer of good,"  the dignity of Archbishop of Mayence, and was named papal legate for all Germany. His good work was continued by his disciples, to the great blessing of Germany.

Temporal Power of the Popes.
In 330, Constantine the Great left Rome to the popes and built himself a new capital at Constantinople. He also endowed Pope St. Sylvester with property in Rome yielding an income of $50,000 annually.

In 493, Theodoric endowed the Church, and up to the time of St. Gregory the Great, 570, the land estates of the Church were called Patrimonies—twentythree in number.

During the eighth century the Lombards threatened Rome, and Pope Stephen called on Pepin the Short, King of the Franks, to come to his aid. Pepin assented to the Pope's wishes, and led an army against the barbarians. He reconquered the Exarchate of Ravenna with twenty-two towns taken by Luitprand, and compelled the invading sovereign to content himself with Lombardy. Pepin then offered the regained province and towns to the Holy See. This donation, or the Patrimony of St. Peter, as it was called, was the commencement of the Temporal sovereignty of the popes, who were no longer subject to the control of any ruler.

This donation was confirmed by Charlemagne and succeeding emperors.

Heresy of the Eighth Century

The Heresy of the Iconoclasts.
From the earliest ages of the Church sacred images have been in use, and have been looked on as most useful in assisting Christians in their exercises of devotion. "Images," says St. John Damascene, "are for the unlearned what books are for those. who can read: they are to the sight what words are to the ear.

In the seventh century abuses began to creep into the Oriental Church, and this fact furnished a pretext to the Greek Emperor, Leo the Isaurian, in the year 726, to forbid all veneration of images. The conflict lasted nearly one hundred and twenty years, during which time many of the Emperors neglected the welfare of their subjects to meddle in Church affairs, and by repeated orders, fines, and penalties, endeavored to root out the veneration of images.

The Empresses Irene and Theodora upheld this ancient Christian custom, and the seventh and eighth general councils at Nicaea and Constantinople defended the veneration of images.

Ninth Century
The Century of the Greek Schism

Every branch of the history of Europe meets and blends in the story of Charlemagne. This German Prince, one of the greatest rulers the world has ever known, was the son of Pepin the Short.

The Teutonic nations of Northern Europe had been gradually brought under the power of the Frankish kings. The last of the great tribes to hold out against Carlovingian arms were the Saxons, and Charlemagne had many a struggle with them during the first eleven years of his reign. At last they yielded, and became faithful subjects of the empire. At the accession of Charlemagne all these tribes were separate nations. Charlemagne made them one people, though he permitted each country to keep its own laws.

Object of Charlemagne's Conquests.
Conquests were undertaken by Charlemagne mainly with a view to spreading the blessings of Christianity and civilization. The conversion of a nation speedily followed its conquest. The whole of the vast territory which he governed was mapped out into dioceses. Churches were built everywhere, assemblies of clergy, monks, and learned laymen were held twice a year, to regulate matters of law and order, both spiritual and temporal. The decrees formulated by these assemblies were known as the "Capitularies of Charlemagne."

Charlemagne's Coronation.
At the end of the year 800 Charlemagne went to Rome. While praying after the midnight Mass of Christmas Day, in St. Peter's, he was crowned by Pope Leo III, who placed on his head the imperial diadem and saluted him as Charles the First, Caesar Augustus, Emperor of the West.

Charlemagne's Attitude to the Church.
Throughout his reign Charlemagne treated the Sovereign Pontiff with unvarying affection, esteem, and submission. He went to Rome four times to aid or consult the Pope, and twice he received the Holy Father in Germany. One of his chief glories was the union he brought about between Church and State.

The grand character of Charlemagne was not without blemish. His early years were marked by some disgraceful acts, but his sincere penitence in later life amply atoned for them. He died in 814, after a reign of forty-eight years.

The Greek Schism

In the ninth century the Greek Schism severed the faithful of the Greek Empire from the unity of the Catholic Church. No point of doctrine was attacked, so the dispute ended, not in heresy but in schism; that is, in a revolt against the government of the Church and a breaking away from Catholic unity.


  1. During the many heresies to which the East gave birth, ill-feeling grew up among the Greeks against the Holy See.
  2. Since Constantinople was the chief city of the Empire, the Patriarchs of Constantinople thought that the chief pastor of the Church ought to preside over that city rather than over Rome.
  3. When the Western Empire was restored by the coronation of Charlemagne, another cause of animosity was added to those already existing.
  4. The real question at issue was, "Who is the lawful Patriarch of Constantinople?"

History of the Schism.
The court of Michael III was the scene of shocking misconduct, the principal leader in iniquity being the young sovereign's uncle, Bardas. The Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Ignatius, excommunicated Bardas, publicly refusing him Holy Communion. Bardas, in revenge, induced the weak Emperor to imprison Ignatius and to name Photius, a clever but wicked layman, in his place. Photius consented to the crime, and received Orders, contrary to canon law.

Both parties appealed to Pope Nicholas I. He upheld St. Ignatius and condemned Photius. The latter rebelled and the schism began. Photius had the boldness to condemn the Roman Church as having departed from the faith and discipline of the Fathers, Michael III died, and was succeeded by the Emperor Basil, who, from political motives, turned out Photius and brought back Ignatius. A general council was called to settle the dispute, and in its sessions at Constantinople decided:

  1. That Ignatius was lawful Patriarch.
  2. Photius was to be deprived of his See.
  3. Constantinople was recognized as second in rank after Rome.

Jealousy of the Holy See and the Latin Church continued even after the death of Photius and Ignatius, and in 1043, when the ambitious Michael Cerularius was raised to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, he revived the old charges against Rome and renewed the schism. Pope Leo IX excommunicated the Patriarch, and the separation between the Eastern Church and the Western was complete.

In the year 1439 the Greek bishops submitted to the Council of Florence and were received into the Church. A few years later the schism was renewed, and God gave the Greeks into the hands of the Turks and made the Greek Church. a slave to the Turkish Sultan.

The Greek Church is at present stagnant and barren; like. a cut-off branch, it lies withering, while the parent tree grows and spreads over the world.

Conversion of the Northern Nations

Nothing contributed to the establishment of peace and order in Europe more than the conversion of the Nations of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. God chose as His Apostle to these people the holy monk Ansgar, afterwards Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen. He was indefatigable in his labor to establish the Church throughout all the countries over which his authority extended.

The Greek monks, Methodius and Cyrillus, converted the Slavonic races about the year 87o. These Apostles of the Slays were brothers, who labored as missionaries in Moravia. Despite their success, they were distrusted by the Germans first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and secondly because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language.

Pope Adrian II, convinced of their orthodoxy, commended their missionary zeal, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and consecrated Cyrillus and Methodius bishops.

Tenth Century
The Century of the Servitude of the Popes

The period between 888 and 1046 is the darkest in the history of the Papacy. It was a period of enslavement, when the Church had little or no freedom in the selection of her rulers, but was forced to accept the nominees of the different factions that happened for the time to hold sway in Rome. The natural result of such a state of things was that some of the popes thus appointed were unworthy of their exalted office, and that others, personally good, were prevented from exercising influence over the Church.

Causes that Led to the Enslavement of the Papacy.

  1. Power of the nobles.
  2. Rivalry between different factions.
  3. Civil wars.

Notwithstanding the deplorable condition of the Holy See during this period, the number of unworthy popes was far less than we would naturally expect; there are but three of whose depravity no doubt exists.

The Order of Cluny.
In the year 911 a Benedictine monastery was founded at Cluny which was destined to play an important part in the revival of monasticism and the spread of civilization through Europe during the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries. The monastery became a center of religious fervor.

Most of the abbeys of France, Italy, and Spain submitted themselves to the abbots of Cluny, of whom the first six were raised to the altar as canonized saints.

Conversions of the Tenth Century

Hungary was brought under the sway of the Church by the monk Hierotheus, who became its first bishop in 950. Two holy bishops, Pilgrim of Passau and Adelbert of Prague, together with the King St. Stephen, completed the conversion of this warlike nation in the year 1000.

At this same period Iceland was also evangelized by missionaries from Scandinavia. From Iceland, Greenland was settled and converted.

The conversion of Iceland was brought about after long and laborious efforts and the careful instruction of the people. In 1056 an episcopal see was erected at Skalholt. During the sixteenth century, Lutheranism was introduced into Iceland. At present the Catholic community is small, although missionary labors were resumed in 1895.

There are two periods of religious history in Greenland, namely, the Catholic from 1000 to 1450, and the Protestant period since 1721, but all missionary activity has ceased since 1900.

Eleventh Century
The Century of Pope Gregory VII

With the Pontificate of Gregory VII a new era opens in the Church. An era of freedom and independence succeeds one of enslavement; an era of reformatory zeal succeeds one of moral and religious decay. Gregory VII is "one of the few men who have made and molded the history of their own and subsequent times."

Pope Gregory VII, better known in general history as Hildebrand, was the son of a Tuscan craftsman. He passed his youth in the shelter of the cloister, and completed his studies at the famous monastery of Cluny, where the Abbot Odilo foretold that he "should one day become great in the sight of the Lord." From Cluny he passed to the court of Henry III, of Germany, where his preaching impressed everyone by its apostolic vehemence. In I044 he went to Rome to assist Pope Gregory VI. After the death of the latter he returned to Cluny with the intention of spending the remainder of his life in that holy solitude, but as Pope Leo IX passed to Rome, on his way to take possession of the Holy See, he called at Cluny and requested Hildebrand to accompany him to Rome.

Created a cardinal-deacon by Leo IX, and appointed administrator of the Patrimony of St. Peter, Hildebrand at once gave evidence of that extraordinary faculty for administration which later characterized his government of the Church.

For twenty-five years Hildebrand was the counsellor of the six popes who followed one another in rapid succession. At the funeral of Alexander II, in 1073, the people and clergy with a sudden outcry declared, "Let Hildebrand be Pope." All remonstrances were vain, Hildebrand's protestations were futile, and he ascended the papal throne with the title of Gregory VII.

Difficulties of Gregory's Pontificate.

  • Nomination of Unworthy Pastors.
    The Feudal System left the Church at the mercy of sovereigns and nobles; as a result, unworthy persons were nominated to sees, abbeys, and other benefices.
  • Vices of the Clergy.
    These lay nominees were often men of scandalous lives, who purchased their benefices with heavy bribes.
  • Investiture by Laymen.
    This was an abuse arising from feudal customs by which sovereigns took to themselves the right of giving the ring and crozier to their nominees.

The Struggle Between the Papacy and the Empire.

In 1074 Gregory forbade all ecclesiastical investiture by laymen.

The opposition to this decree was headed by Henry IV, of Germany. Gregory VII called Henry to Rome. The Emperor not only refused to obey, but convened an assembly of bishops and abbots at Worms and pretended to depose the Pope. Such a crime deserved excommunication, and the sentence was pronounced. Never was the authority of the Holy See more completely vindicated than when, on the publication of the sentence, Henry was immediately deserted by all his followers with the exception of his wife and a few attendants. A Diet of the German nobles met and declared, that unless Henry became reconciled with the Church within a year, he should forfeit the crown. They begged the Pope to preside at the coming Diet of Augsburg. Henry, fearing that the decision of the Diet would be adverse to him, determined to seek reconciliation with the Church before the electors met.

Setting out for Rome, Henry met the Pope at the Castle of Canossa, and after a penance of three days the Emperor was released from the censure of ex-communication. Faithless to his promises to the Pope, Henry was deposed by his nobles, and Rudolph of Swabia was chosen Emperor. Civil war ensued, which continued to distract Germany until the death of Rudolph decided the struggle in Henry's favor. Henry's misgovernment drew on him a second sentence of excommunication, to which he retaliated by setting up an antipope, Clement III, in Germany. Crossing the Alps with his antipope, Henry besieged Gregory in Rome. The siege lasted for three years, after which the Germans were put to flight by the approach of Robert Guiscard. Gregory withdrew to Salerno and died, uttering these words: "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile." Twelve years after, Henry IV died in exile at Liege, unreconciled to the Church.

The question of Investiture was settled in the Concordat of Worms by this compromise: Investiture given to the Pope and homage for land given to the Emperor.

Heresy of the Eleventh Century

Heresy of Berengarius.
The first Christian who can be said with any certainty to have denied the doctrine of the Real Presence was Berengarius. As teacher in the ecclesiastical school of Tours, this heresiarch publicly maintained that Our Lord is present only in figure in the Holy Eucharist; that the Sacrament produces its effects only in virtue of the faith of the receiver, and not from the real and true presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1078 Berengarius abjured his errors, and, retiring to an island monastery in the Loire, he spent the ten remaining years of his life in penitence. He is the only heresiarch who returned to the allegiance of the Church.

Truce of God.
One of the greatest benefits conferred on Europe was the Truce of God, that wonderful institution which put an end to the continuous strife between the feudal nobles.

Provisions of the Truce.

  1. Not to fight in private quarrels during Lent and Advent, on any festival, from Wednesday night until Monday morning of every week.
  2. Not to attack unarmed persons.
  3. Not to violate the sanctuary—churches, burial grounds, and monasteries.

Though Chivalry did not attain its full development till the twelfth and succeeding centuries, its origin can be traced back to the beneficial influence of the Truce of God.

Twelfth Century
The Century of the Crusades

The Crusades were military expeditions undertaken for the deliverance of the Holy Land from Mohammedan oppression. The name is derived from the Cross which the warriors wore on their breast.

First Crusade (Knights' Crusade), 1097-1099.

Preached by Peter the Hermit.
Led by Godfrey de Bouillon.
Result: Jerusalem taken.

Peter the Hermit having gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in 1093, witnessed the sufferings of his fellow-Christians in the East, and on his return to Europe described what he had seen to Urban H. The Pope commissioned him to preach a Crusade.

The First Crusade started early in the year 1097, to the number of about 600,000 fighting men, under the lead of Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine. The army came in view of the Holy Land on June 6, 1099, and, after an obstinate siege of forty days, Jerusalem was taken on Friday, July 15, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

Second Crusade (St. Bernard's Crusade), 1147-1149.

Preached by St. Bernard.
Led by Emperor Conrad III, of Germany, and King Louis VII, of France.
Result: A failure.

The conquest of Edessa by the Mohammedans in 1144 gave rise to the second crusade. At the command of Pope Eugene III, this Crusade was preached by St. Bernard. It was a complete failure, owing partly to the treachery of the Greeks and partly to the dissensions among the leaders.

Third Crusade (Kings' Crusade), 1189-1192.

Preached by William of Tyre.
Led by Frederick Barbarossa, Philip Augustus, and Richard the Lion-hearted.
Result: Turkish advance stayed and the cities of Ascalon and Acre taken.

The taking of Jerusalem in 1187 by Saladin, a Kurdish chief, was the cause of the Third Crusade. Frederick Barbarossa started first by an overland route and took the city of Iconium, thus opening the way for the other armies. He was drowned while crossing the Cydnus.

Richard and Philip continued the Crusade against Saladin. Philip soon returned to France, but Richard signed a truce with Saladin, who agreed that Christians should have free access to the Holy Places. For a time at least the advance of Mohammedan conquests in the direction of Europe was arrested.

Fourth Crusade (Pseudo Crusade), 1202-1204.

Preached by Fulk, of Neuilly.
Led by Baldwin, of Flanders.
Result: Latin Empire of Constantinople founded.

Pope Innocent commissioned Fulk, pastor of Neuilly, to preach this Crusade in France. Led by Baldwin of Flanders, the Crusaders set out for the East early in the year 1202. Profiting by the disorders in Constantinople, they seized this city and set up a Latin Empire, with Baldwin of Flanders as Emperor. The Empire lasted fifty-seven years. The Crusaders did nothing for the Christians in the East.

Fifth Crusade (Hungarian Crusade), 1218-1220.

Preached by Pope Innocent III.
Led by Andrew II, of Hungary.
Result: A failure.

Innocent III appealed for a new Crusade. Frederick II, Emperor of Germany, promised to lead it, but broke his promise. Andrew II, King of Hungary, then took command, but, foiled in his first attempt, he returned disheartened to Europe. John of Brienne then took his place, entered Egypt, and captured Damietta. As the only means of securing a peaceable retreat for the Crusaders who were shut in by the rising of the Nile, Damietta had to be restored to the Saracens.

Sixth Crusade (German Crusade), 1228-1230.

Preached by Pope Honorius III.
Led by Frederick II.
Result: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tyre, and Sidon surrendered to Frederick on conditions which scandalized the Christian world.

During ten years Honorius vainly urged Frederick II, of Germany, to lead the Crusade, but it was only after he had been excommunicated that Frederick started for the Holy Land. It was said that he bribed the Sultan to a shameful peace, and Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tyre, and Sidon surrendered to Frederick on condition that the Mohammedans should have liberty of worship there. The Holy City to this day remains in the hands of the Mohammedans.

Seventh and Eighth Crusades (Crusades of St. Louis), 1248—1250 and 1270—1274.

Preached by Popes Innocent IV and Clement IV.
Led by St. Louis, of France, and Charles, of Anjou.
Result: Damietta taken by St. Louis in the Seventh. Pestilence broke out in the Eighth. Death of St. Louis.

Pope Innocent preached a new Crusade, and Louis IX. of France was the only king to respond. After four years of preparation he set out and took Damietta. A prolonged delay here relaxed discipline, and an epidemic attacked the troops. Owing to the rashness of the Count of Artois, brother of the King, St. Louis was defeated and taken prisoner at Mansurah. On the surrender .of Damietta and the payment of a large ransom, St. Louis was released. The death of his mother, in 1254, obliged him to return to France.

Hearing that Antioch had been taken by the Sultan of Egypt, in 1268, St. Louis resolved to make a final effort for the redemption of the Holy Land. He set out at the head of 60,000 men, but adverse winds directed his course toward Tunis. He had scarcely landed when a plague broke out among the soldiers, and its noblest victim was the King of France himself.

Children's Crusade, 1212.

In the year 1212 thousands of children formed an army, and went singing and praying through Europe for the deliverance of the Holy Land. They perished on the route or fell into the hands of the Saracens.

Results of the Crusades:

  1. A great revival of religious fervor.
  2. Elevation of the standard of Christian Knighthood.
  3. Advancement of knowledge, science, and art.
  4. Development of commerce and navigation.
  5. Improvement of the lower and middle classes; increase of the spirit of liberty and public charity.
  6. Advance of Turks on Europe stayed.
[Illustration] from Compendium of Church History by Notre Dame

Military Orders

Knights Hospitallers, 1099.
The earliest religious order to combine military with monastic duties was that of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. This institution dates back to Io48, when some merchants of Amalfi built a hospital for pilgrims in honor of St. John the Baptist. Many of the Crusaders entered among the Hospitallers, and gave the Order a military character. The religious were grouped into three ranks: Chaplains, Knights, and Brothers Servants-at-Arms. All served the sick and the poor in hospitals, and wonderful tales are told of their heroic charities.

When Jerusalem was evacuated they settled at Acre, where they remained for a hundred years, until the Seljukian Turks besieged that city. Only a boatful of the knights escaped and took refuge in Cyprus. Later the knights succeeded in gaining possession of the Island of Rhodes, where they ruled over a prosperous people for two hundred years. In 1523 the Turks forced the knights to capitulate, and they retired to Malta. Their record is one of unstained honor.

Knights Templars, 1118
The Knights Templars, founded in Jerusalem, were so called because their first dwelling stood on the site of Solomon's Temple. The Templars were governed by a grand master, and were exempt from episcopal control, being subject to the Pope alone. Their life was austere, their devotion to the sick tender and generous, but their valor was their grandest feature. They kept up their reputation as long as fighting was needed, but when the Crusades were over their distinctive work was finished, and their end was very sad.

Suppression of the Order.

  1. Their privileges, enormous riches, assumption of unequalled prowess, awakened jealousy.
  2. The charges brought against the Templars were apostasy, profligacy, and impiety.
  3. Their immense possessions excited the cupidity of Philip IV, of France. His hostility to the Templars was public, and he ordered their arrest.
  4. To protect the Order, Pope Clement V suspended the power of the French inquisitors and appointed his own. Under torture, the Grand Masters de Molay and de Charney acknowledged, retracted, then acknowledged again, then retracted, the accusation.
  5. Philip IV interfered and without awaiting for sentence had the two Grand Masters and fifty-four other knights burned to death.
  6. In 1312, at the Council of Vienna, Pope Clement V suppressed the Order of the Knights Templars as a matter of prudence.

Teutonic Knights, 1143.
The Order of Teutonic Knights was founded by merchants from Lubeck and Bremen. It was never as numerous as the other orders, and was at first confined to Acre, but later withdrew to Germany, where the members carried on a warfare against the pagan Russians and Poles. Thus they acquired large possessions and founded the Duchy of Prussia. The Order lost its territory when the last Grand Master, Albert of Brandenburg, became a Protestant, secularized its possessions, and made them hereditary in his family.

[Illustration] from Compendium of Church History by Notre Dame

Henry II and the Church

St. Thomas a Becket.
One of the bravest defenders of Church liberties against lay investitures was St. Thomas a Becket. Henry II, King of England, had promoted this gentle and cultured man to the dignity of lord chancellor in the hope of making him a tool for the furtherance of his designs. When, in 1164, Henry II promulgated the Constitutions of Clarendon, St. Thomas opposed him and fell a victim to the King's wrath. The Saint had been exiled, and on his return excommunicated some of the bishops who had violated ecclesiastical laws in obedience to Henry's command. "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest? "said Henry II, when told of the excommunication. The words were caught up by a few of his knights; four of them immediately set out for Canterbury, found the archbishop assisting at Vespers, and murdered him at the foot of the altar, December 29, 1170.

Constitutions of Clarendon.
Sixteen propositions, falsely represented as customs, were presented by Henry II. at Clarendon, in 1164. The propositions may be reduced to the following:

  1. Revenues of the vacant sees to be held by the king, and bishops appointed by him.
  2. Clergy to be tried by secular judges in secular courts.
  3. No officer of the court to be excommunicated without the permission of the king.
  4. No archbishop or bishop to go outside the realm without the permission of the king. This was to prevent appeals to the Pope.

Religious Orders of the Twelfth Century

The Cistercians were founded by St. Robert, of Molesme, who began a reform in a monastery of Citeaux. The greatest glory of this Order is St. Bernard. He entered in 1113, at a time when the abbey was reduced to great distress. St. Bernard was accompanied by thirty young men of his family, four of his own brothers among the number. Two years later he was sent to found the monastery of Clairvaux. The fame of his disciples and his own preaching brought immense numbers to the cloister.

Pope Eugene III, formerly a monk of Clairvaux, commissioned St. Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The undertaking was a failure, and St. Bernard was attacked as having been the cause of the loss of so many lives. He justified himself by pointing out that the conduct of the crusaders had drawn down on them the anger of God.

St. Bernard is classed among the greatest of mystical theologians. His hymns overflow with heartfelt devotion. Jesu Dulcis Memoria is the best known. He is ranked among the Fathers of the Church. The Reformation swept the Order of the Cistercians from Europe.

Rivaling the Cistercians in fervor were the Carthusians, founded in io86 by St. Bruno, of Cologne, in the desolate valley of La Chartreuse. These hermits lived more like angels than men, spending their time in work and prayer. They practised the strictest poverty.

St. Bruno had the happiness to see his new order spread over all Europe. When he felt his last end approaching, he called his disciples around him and made a profession of faith against Berengarius.

The spirit of the holy founder was kept up by his followers, and the Order of the Carthusians has never required reform.

Councils of the Twelfth Century

Ninth General Council.
The First Lateran Council, in the year 1123, declared the independence of the Church from the civil power of the emperor.

Tenth General Council.
The Second Lateran Council, in the year 1139, rejected and condemned the doctrines of Arnold of Brescia.

Eleventh General Council.
The Third Lateran Council, in the year I179, condemned the errors of the Albigenses and the Waldenses and issued many decrees for the reformation of morals. This reformation was taken up still more vigorously by the great Pope Innocent III, whose accession to the Papal throne was the closing event of the twelfth century.

Thirteenth Century
The Century of Saints Francis and Dominic

Religious Orders of the Thirteenth Century

The Franciscans, or Grey Friars (Friars Minor).
The Franciscan Friars, founded between the years 1204 and 1226 by St. Francis of Assisi, were the "providence of the poor." Their characteristic traits were Christian humility and self-sacrifice.

St. Francis was born at Assisi in 1182. In his youth he was a gay spendthrift, but a dangerous sickness made him take the resolution of renouncing the world and of devoting himself to God. This resolution was displeasing to his father, who in consequence disinherited him. Francis took refuge in a half-ruined church called "Our Lady of the Angels," which was given to him by a Benedictine abbot. This church he restored by means of alms, calling it Portiuncula (Little Legacy); here he built his first convent. Two years before his death, in 1226, St. Francis received the Stigmata, or the imprint of the Five Wounds.

The Franciscan rule was approved by Pope Honorius in 1223, and at the death of the founder the order counted its members by thousands.

The spiritual sons of St. Francis distinguished themselves by their learning and piety. Among these are:

  • St. Anthony, the wonder-worker of Padua.
  • Alexander of Hales, Irrefutable Doctor.
  • St. Bonaventure, Seraphic Doctor.
  • John Duns Scotus, Subtle Doctor.
  • Roger Bacon, Wonderful Doctor.

The Dominicans, or Black Friars (Friars Preachers).
The Dominicans were founded to keep alive the light of divine faith amid the darkness of error in the Middle Ages. St. Dominic, the instrument the Lord made use of to spread the gospel, was born in Old Castile, about the year I17o. His ardent piety and penetrating intellect made him renowned from his university days. Having received Holy Orders, Dominic was sent by Pope Innocent III to labor against the Albigensian heretics. Worthy and zealous men soon joined him, and the results of their preaching were marvelous. The devotion of the Holy Rosary, which St. Dominic always combined with his sermons, imparted efficacy to his words, and thus was established the Order of Preachers called after their founder Dominicans. St. Dominic founded sixty-five convents, grouped into eight provinces. He died August 4, 1221.

The Dominican rule was approved by Pope Honorius simultaneously with the approval of the Franciscan Order.

To the Dominicans the Church is indebted for:

  • St. Thomas of Aquin, the Angelic Doctor.
  • Durandus, the Most Resolute Doctor.
  • Albert the Great.

St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure.
St. Thomas, the chief ornament of the Dominican Order, became the wonder of his age. During his school days the saint concealed his learning so well that his fellow students called him "the ox." He composed a great number of works, in which the deepest learning is combined with the tenderest piety. His most learned work is the Summa; his most devotional work is the Office of the Blessed Sacrament, which he wrote for the newly instituted feast of Corpus Christi. St. Thomas died in 1274, on his way to the Council of Lyons.

St. Bonaventure did no less honor to the Order of St. Francis than St. Thomas to that of St. Dominic. Having been cured of a sickness by the prayers of St. Francis, he entered his order, and shortly after the death of the holy founder was chosen General. Pope Gregory X raised him to the dignity of Cardinal. St. Bonaventure died shortly after at the Council of Lyons, 1274. The deep, practical piety that characterizes all his writings has secured for him the title of the Seraphic Doctor.

Pope Innocent III, 1198-1216.
In the pontificate of Innocent III was secured the independence of the Holy See which his predecessors had striven so long to attain, and never has a pontiff held more absolute mastery over sovereigns of Europe than Innocent III.

His Influence.

  1. He arbitrated between the two claimants for the imperial throne on the death of Henry VI of Germany.
  2. It was at his instigation that Richard of England was set free from the captivity into which he had been trapped on his way home from the crusade.
  3. He obliged King John of England to accept Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury.
  4. He excommunicated Philip Augustus of France, and forced him to take back his lawful wife.
  5. He restrained the encroachments on the rights of the Church practised by the Kings of Portugal, Norway, Sweden, and Poland. The only unsuccessful enterprises undertaken by Innocent III were the attempt to win back Russia to the unity of the faith, and the Fourth Crusade.

In 1215, Innocent III convoked the twelfth General Council. After a pontificate of eighteen years this great Pope died in 1216. All historians acknowledge his genius, his learning, and his masterful character, but Protestants attribute to unbounded ambition his intrepid action with regard to European sovereigns.

The Founding of the Universities

When men ceased to look upon war as the business of life, there arose a craving for intellectual culture. The Crusades were largely instrumental in bringing about this result, as the rough Western warrior, when brought into relationship with the Eastern enemy, often found himself inferior in learning and accomplishments.

All through the history of the church every monastery had its school, every bishop his seminary. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries these seminaries had an immense development. As the number of the pupils in the monastic schools increased, they overflowed into the town, and when the Pope, or an Emperor, or a King granted a charter, the school became a university and a regular course of lectures was given.

Principal Universities.
The principal universities were: Paris, Bologna, Oxford, Salamanca, Lisbon, and Rome.

Heresies of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

The Petrobrusians were the followers of Peter, of Bruys, a silenced priest. He rejected infant baptism; he condemned churches as unnecessary; he denied the doctrine of the Real Presence, and maintained that no respect should be paid to the Cross.

The author of this heresy was thrown by a mob of infuriated Catholics into a fire which he had himself kindled for the purpose of destroying crosses and other pious images.

The author of this heresy was Arnold, of Brescia, who taught that salvation was impossible for any cleric holding property; and, therefore, advocated a complete separation between the spiritual and temporal powers. He was condemned at the Second Council of Lateran and sent into exile across the Alps. He returned to Italy in 1145. He was at length arrested and hanged, after which his body was burned, and the ashes cast into the Tiber.

The founder of the Waldenses is said to have been Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant of Lyons. His disciples were known as "the poor men of Lyons." They denied the authority of the Holy See, and taught that the Church was an invisible society, that laymen had the right to administer the Sacrament of Penance, and consecrate the Eucharist in case of necessity; they rejected the doctrine of Purgatory, and the veneration of the saints.

These heretics took refuge from persecution in Bohemia and Piedmont. In Bohemia they merged into the Hussites, and in Piedmont they are to be found as a distinct sect to the present day.

The Albigenses or Cathari were a mixture of they Manichaeans and the Gnostics, who sprang into existence in Southern France and Spain at the beginning of the thirteenth century. They denied the Incarnation and Redemption, and taught that the world had been created by an evil spirit, and held doctrines destructive of marriage and of order in Church and State.

St. Dominic preached against this heresy with great effect. Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, who favored the heresy, was excommunicated by the legate of the Holy See. The latter was assassinated by one of the count's followers. Pope Innocent III ordered a crusade against them, and the chief cities of the Albigenses easily fell to the crusaders. Simon de Montfort was the hero of this crusade, and the Council of Lateran conferred the county of Toulouse on him.

The son of Raymond VI became reconciled to the Church and the heresy died out soon after.

Councils of the Thirteenth Century

Twelfth General Council.
The Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215 made an effort to reunite the Greek Church with the Latin Church. The true Catholic doctrine regarding the Real Presence was firmly established and the term "transubstantiation "was adopted.

Thirteenth General Council.
The First Council of Lyons in the year 1245 exhorted all Christendom to take up arms and to defend themselves against the incursions of the Saracens.

Fourteenth General Council.
The Second Council of Lyons in the year 1274 renewed and confirmed the doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son. The union of the Greek and Latin Churches was established. This union was not permanent.

Pope Boniface VIII.
The struggle between the temporal powers of Europe and the Papacy began in the Pontificate of Boniface VIII, 1294-1303.

Boniface was the first pope to proclaim a jubilee. He defended the rights of the Church with dignity in accordance with the principles accepted since the time of Pope Gregory VII. To prevent a war between France and England, Boniface threatened to excommunicate the kings of these two countries, and Philip the Fair denied the pope's right to dictate in such matters.

In 1301, Pope Boniface wished to organize a crusade, and sent a special envoy to the King of France. This envoy was imprisoned and the Pope demanded his release and at the same time convoked a council of the French clergy to consider certain complaints against Philip the Fair. To defend himself Philip laid before the council many charges against Boniface. In 1303 Philip demanded the deposition and seizure of Boniface. Pope Boniface fled to Anagni, where he was made a prisoner, and was loaded with insults; but two days later the inhabitants took up arms, drove off the traitors, and restored the Pope to liberty. One month later Pope Boniface died at Rome.

The Glory of the Thirteenth Century.
The thirteenth century is one of the most glorious periods of church history. The piety of the religious orders, the learning spread by the universities, and the masterpieces of painters, sculptors, and poets make this century a golden age in the story of the world's progress.

Fourteenth Century
The Century of the Popes at Avignon

Babylonian Captivity and the Schism of the West

In passing from the story of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries to that of the fourteenth and fifteenth, the transition is sharp from glory to decay.

Causes of Decline.

  1. The immense growth of the power and wealth of European nations, and the attendant luxury of living.
  2. The disrepute into which the Papacy fell in consequence of the disputes about succession.
  3. The spread of erroneous opinions on faith and morals.

The Popes at Avignon

The event which led up to the Schism of the West was the removal of the Papal residence from Rome to Avignon, a city on the Rhone held by the king of Naples.

When, in 1305, Bertrand de Got, Archbishop of Bordeaux, became Clement V by the influence of Philip the Fair, he was induced by that monarch to remain in France. Six popes in succession, Frenchmen by birth, followed his example, and as the majority of the Cardinals were natives of France, French influence prevailed in the Papal court. This sojourn of the Popes at Avignon lasted for seventy years, and was called by the Italians the Babylonian exile.

The six Popes who lived at Avignon were:

  1. Clement V. Suppressed the Knights Templars.
  2. John XXII. Published a crusade against the Ghibellines.
  3. Benedict XII. Built the famous palace of the Popes.
  4. Clement VI. Purchased Avignon from the Queen of Naples.
  5. Innocent VI. Opposed the heresy of Wickliffe.
  6. Blessed Urban V. Endeavored to reform the clergy.

Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome in answer to the demand of the Romans, the desire of the Christian world, and especially to the pleadings of St. Catharine of Sienna.

When Gregory XI died, the College of Cardinals numbered only twenty-three; seven were at Avignon, and of the sixteen who formed the conclave at Rome, eleven were Frenchmen. The inhabitants of Rome, fearing lest a French Pope might return to Avignon, clamored for a Roman, or at least an Italian Pope. The Archbishop of Bari was elected, and assumed the name of Urban VI. Dissatisfied with his rule and claiming that the election had been forced, the French cardinals seceded and chose an anti-pope, Clement VII, who fled to Avignon.

Schism of the West

France became the chief support of Clement VII, who gradually won the obedience of the Paris University, Spain, Scotland, Savoy, Naples, and Cyprus.

England, Brittany, and Portugal, the greater part of Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Flanders, Sweden, Norway, and the Catholic Orient remained true to Urban VI.

Urban VI died in 1389, and the fourteen cardinals who had adhered to him elected his successor, Boniface IX. At the death of the latter the legitimate Roman line was continued by Innocent VII and Gregory XII. After the schism had lasted thirty years, during which time two anti-popes had been chosen by the cardinals at Avignon, several cardinals convened a synod at Pisa to end the schism. They declared the elections both in Rome and in Avignon null and void, and named Alexander V as pope. Three popes now claimed the recognition of the Christian world.

At the solicitation of the Emperor Sigismund, John XXIII, the successor of Alexander V, called a general council at Constance, 1414. It was decided to demand the abdication of all three popes. Pope Gregory freely resigned, John XXIII and Benedict XIII were deposed. Cardinal Otto Colonna was then elected, with the title of Martin V.

The schism lowered the prestige of papal authority, destroyed the fervor of the faithful, and finally contributed more than anything else to the great apostasy of the sixteenth century.

Heresies of the Fourteenth Century

Heresy of Wickliffe and Huss.
Coincident with the Western Schism there arose in England and Bohemia a dangerous heretical movement. In his early career, John Wickliffe, a scholar of Oxford, had lost a suit against the Archbishop of Canterbury. This disappointment and the failure to obtain the bishopric of Winchester turned him into a bitter enemy of the Church. He denied Transubstantiation, the primacy of St. Peter, oral tradition, and other dogmas. His doctrine gave rise to the sect of Lollards.

When Anne of Bohemia became the queen of Richard II, of England, John Huss accompanied her train to London as chaplain, where he heard John Wickliffe preach and imbibed his false doctrines. As he was a professor in the University of Prague, he had every opportunity of teaching others the new tenets.

In 1414 the Council of Constance formally condemned John Huss, and handed him over to the civil authority. According to the law of the empire, he was burned as a heretic. The next year Jerome of Prague met the same fate. He was an Oxford scholar and an admirer of Wickliffe, whose writings he brought to John Huss in Bohemia.

The doctrines of Wickliffe and Huss were later adopted by the followers of Luther. The insurrections of Watt Tyler in England and the bloody Hussite wars in Bohemia were but the attempts to reduce these doctrines to social facts.

Council of the Fourteenth Century

Fifteenth General Council.
The Council of Vienne in the year 1312 suppressed the order of the Knights Templars, condemned errors against faith, and enacted disciplinary canons for the better government of the Church.

Fifteenth Century
The Century of Genuine Reformation

The great Schism of the West was ended, but the evils which it had wrought in the Church were still present. The Papacy, which had suffered most, preserved its faith intact; it enforced the reformatory statutes of the Councils of Constance and Basle; it sent legates throughout Europe to reform and elevate monastic life; it labored earnestly to bring about the reunion of the schismatic Greeks; it alone of all the European powers strove to defend Christendom against the military genius of Mohammedanism.

The crowning manifestation of the true spiritual life in this age was the holiness of the saints raised up by God in His Church.

  • St. John Nepomucen, martyr to the Seal of the Confessional.
  • St. Catherine of Sienna, helped in the reform of the Papal Court.
  • St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal.
  • St. Catherine of Sweden.
  • St. Vincent Ferrer.
  • St. John Capistran.
  • St. Casimir, Prince of Poland.
  • St. Rita of Cassia.
  • St. Frances of Paula.

Foremost among the men who undertook to bring back the practice of the laws of the Church was Jerome Savonarola. He was a Dominican Friar who, in 1489, was appointed Lenten preacher at St. Mark's, in Florence. His words, full of passionate earnestness, found an echo in the hearts of his hearers. He denounced the wickedness of the Florentines and spared none, however high their station. The face of the city was changed. Many reforms were commenced, and though Savonarola took no part in the council of state, it was he who led the whole movement. Those who would not join the converted Florentines in their new way of living became violent enemies of the man who had wrought the change, and they accused him to Pope Alexander VI.

The Dominican was called to Rome to answer for himself. A letter is extant in which he laid before the Pope his inability to leave Florence. Then he was forbidden to preach. For a time he obeyed, but at last, sheltering himself behind the statement that the Pope had been wrongly informed, recommenced his sermons. This is the fault which blots an otherwise fair memory, and which brought on him the sentence of excommunication.

In 1498 Savonarola was accused of heresy, and when challenged to an ordeal of fire by a Franciscan, would not consent. The tide of popular feeling turned against him. Fierce mobs raged around his convent at St. Mark's. Savonarola was carried off and imprisoned. At the trial which followed he made some statement that was construed into guilt. As he afterwards corrected this, he was condemned, as a relapsed heretic, to be strangled. He died in complete submission to the Holy See. In later years his memory was cleared from the charge of heresy.

The Inquisition.
At the Fourth Council of Lateran, 1215, Pope Innocent III condemned the Albigenses and established the Inquisition. This was an ecclesiastical tribunal by which persons accused of heresy were tried, and, if penitent, reconciled to the Church; if obstinate, handed over to the secular power. This Roman Inquisition still exists, but has never shed a drop of blood.

The Spanish Inquisition, established by Ferdinand and Isabella and authorized by Pope Sixtus IV in 1478, was a secular institution. Its purpose was to protect the kingdom of Spain against Moors and Jews who had remained in the country and, pretending to be converts, conspired with the African Moors for the overthrow of Christian Spain. The severities practiced by this tribunal were such that Rome frequently interfered. The Spanish Inquisition was abolished in 1813.

Sixteenth Century
The Century of Protestant Revolt

The opening decades of the sixteenth century witnessed a revolt which, ere the century was little more than half over, had torn all the Teutonic nations from the unity of the Church, and had spread a spirit of rebellion against all authority. This movement, erroneously styled the Reformation, had its origin in Germany.



  1. The weakening of the bonds of Catholic union and Faith during the two preceding centuries.
  2. Opposition to the Holy See emphasized by the deplorable Western Schism.
  3. The spread of Gallican principles.
  4. The rebellion of the German Princes against the emperor.
  5. The relaxation of morals, brought about by the Fraticelli, Flagellantes, and other fanatics.
  6. Simony, nepotism, worldliness, and unscrupulous state policy of the clergy.—Guggenberger.

Leader of the Revolt.
Martin Luther was born at Eisleben, Saxony, in 1483. The friendship of a liberal lady furnished him with the means of his education. He took his degree in philosophy at Erfurt. On one occasion, during a violent thunderstorm, a companion was struck by lightning while riding at his side. Terrified by the incident, Luther entered the Augustinian Convent, and received Holy Orders in 1507. Three years Iater he was called to the chair of philosophy in the University of Wittenberg. His nature was passionate and led him into errors. In his lectures he began to develop the doctrine that "faith alone will save us."

In 1517 Pope Leo X granted an indulgence obtainable on certain conditions, one of which was the giving of an alms toward the building of St. Peter's Church, Rome. The preaching of the indulgence was entrusted to John Tetzel, a Dominican. When the preacher arrived at Wittenberg, Luther challenged him to a debate. In the controversy which followed Luther denied the authority of the Church Councils and the Holy See, for which he was excommunicated. Then Luther publicly declared his heresy, broke his vows, and married.

False Doctrines of Luther.

  1. He denied free-will in man.
  2. He taught that man is saved by Faith alone; that the Bible is the sole rule of Faith; that man is totally depraved; that in consequence of original sin, all man's works are sinful.
  3. He rejected the authority of the Church; the doctrine of Purgatory; Indulgences; the Evangelican Counsels; and the Sacraments, except Baptism and Holy Eucharist.

Disciples of Luther:

  • Calvin, who added to Luther's doctrines that of predestination, carried Protestantism into Switzerland and France.
  • Zwinglius adopted many of the errors of Luther and denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
  • John Knox propagated Calvinism in Scotland.
  • Melancthon wrote out a declaration of Protestant views to be presented at the Diet of Spires. It was at this Diet that the followers of Luther received the name Protestants.
  • Anabaptists taught that the baptism of infants is invalid.

Spread of Protestantism.
In a few years this blighting heresy infected Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and a part of Germany and Switzerland.

Its rapid spread was due to:

  1. Doctrine of a "depraved nature," and of salvation by "faith alone," gave full reign to human passions.
  2. Deception of the people by the misrepresentation of Catholic doctrine.
  3. Private interpretation of Sacred Scripture.
  4. Apostasy of kings and princes.
  5. Rulers saw great advantages for themselves from confiscation of Church property.
  6. Indifference, lukewarmness, and apostasy of some of the clergy.

Political Effects of Protestantism.
The family unity of Catholic Europe was destroyed. While the world was Catholic the law of Christ had regulated the dealings of the nations with one another; the pope had been the arbitrator in political disputes; but this revolution destroyed all discipline and law, and substituted anarchy, treason, and rebellion for patriotism, leading the way finally to social revolution.

Protestantism in England.
In Germany and Switzerland, Protestantism was a secession from the Church; in France and Scotland it was a rebellion against the State as well; but in England it was brought about by the king, who forced the nation into a schism which gradually developed into a heresy.

King Henry VIII demanded a divorce from his lawful wife, Catherine of Aragon, with whom he had lived happily for seventeen years. He wished to marry Anne Boleyn, a maid of honor to the Queen. When Pope Clement refused the plea for divorce, Henry fell away, contracted this unlawful marriage, and proclaimed that the Pope had no longer any jurisdiction in England. The King became the head of the English Church, and exacted from all, under penalty of death, an oath in recognition of his supremacy. In consequence, Cardinal Fisher, Sir Thomas More, and seventy-two thousand Catholics were put to death.

The schism continued to widen during Henry's reign and that of his son, Edward VI. Queen Mary's reign brought promise and hope, but Elizabeth, by unheard-of cruelties, inaugurated a bloody persecution which fell heavily on the Church in Ireland. Under James I, Cromwell, and William of Orange, the condition of the Catholics in England and Ireland was deplorable.

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century England treated Ireland tyrannically; notwithstanding, Ireland has always remained faithful to the Church. In 1829 Daniel O'Connell forced England to grant religious liberty to Ireland.

Calvinism in France.
The Calvinists or Huguenots were French Protestants. They were persecuted by the Catholic rulers Francis I, Henry II, Francis II, and Charles IX. These persecutions were the cause of the civil wars

France, which began in 1562 and continued for more than half a century, until La Rochelle, the stronghold of the Huguenots was taken by Richelieu in 1628. This put an end to the Protestant party in France.

The principal events connected with the Huguenots are:

  1. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24, 1572.
  2. The Conversion of Henry IV, 1593.
  3. The Edict of Nantes, 1598.

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day.
Charles IX succeeded his brother Francis, with his mother, Catherine de Medici, as regent. Coligny, the leader of the Huguenots, won the confidence of the king, and Catherine, seeing her power waning, resolved to assassinate Coligny. She failed in this and the Huguenots swore revenge. Catherine decided to crush the Huguenot party with one blow, and prevailed on her son to consent to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day.

The Huguenots had assembled in Paris for the marriage of the young leader, Henry of Navarre. Before daybreak, at a given signal from Catherine, lights gleamed from the windows and bands of murderers thronged the streets. Coligny fell among the first victims.

One incident of this massacre has been misrepresented by some historians. The Te Delon sung at Rome was ordered by Pope Gregory XIII, who was under the false impression that the massacre was commenced by the Calvinists, and that it grew out of a foiled conspiracy against the French State and the Catholic Church.

Henry IV and the Edict of Nantes.
On the death of Henry III the crown of France came by right to Henry of Navarre. Being a Huguenot, he had to fight for his throne; but three years later he removed all grounds of opposition by becoming a Catholic.

In 1598 Henry IV granted civil and political rights to the Huguenots by the Edict of Nantes, thus putting an end to the civil and religious wars of France.

Councils of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

The four councils held in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have been termed Reformation Councils because in them regulations were laid down with a view of putting 4n end to abuses.

Sixteenth General Council.
The Council of Constance, in the year 1414, healed the divisions caused by schismatical anti-popes and condemned the errors of Huss and Wickliffe.

Seventeenth General Council.
The Council of Florence, in the year 1438, effected a short-lived reunion between the churches of the East and the West.

Eighteenth General Council.
The Fifth Council of Lateran, in the year 1512, decided that the authority of the Holy See is above that of a general council.

Nineteenth General Council.
The Council of Trent, in the year 1545, rejected and condemned the errors of the so-called reformers.

This council brought forth a new life of sanctity, learning, and zeal in the Church, resulting in the establishment of religious orders for the promotion of Christian education and charity.

Religious Orders.

The Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540, gave the Church a number of men illustrious for their sanctity, zeal, and learning. This order delivered Europe from the errors and miseries of Protestantism, and sent missionaries to evangelize pagan lands.

The Capuchins, founded by Matthew Bassi in 1528, effected great good by their austere, holy lives.

The Oratorians, founded by Philip Neri, lent effective aid to the popes and bishops in carrying out the decrees of the Council of Trent by training good priests.

The Discalced Carmelites, reformed and regenerated by St. Teresa in 1562, have been the means of drawing down God's blessing on the Church by their cloistered lives of prayer and penance.

Seventeenth Century
The Century of Religious Agitation

Throughout the seventeenth century the Church had to struggle against absolutism and secularism in monarchies; Jansenism, Gallicanism, and Febronianism in religion. The Papacy was utterly ignored in concluding the Treaty of Westphalia, and in consequence the Church lost all influence in the affairs of State and political movements. Yet, while Louis XIV was setting aside the authority of Pope Alexander VII, by declaring "Gallican Liberties," and Germany was rent asunder by the Thirty Years' War, God raised up zealous missionaries to bring the light of the gospel to distant countries laid open by Catholic discoverers.

Gunpowder Plot.
The Gunpowder Plot, in 1605, was a scheme on the part of some rash Catholics to blow up the House of Parliament. Its failure brought increased persecution to the Catholics of England during the reign of James I. Parliament added seventy articles to the penal code.

The Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War grew out of the Protestant revolt in Germany. It began in 1618 and ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Germany was divided into three religious parties, which Ferdinand, successor of Charles V, tried in vain to unite. The Bohemians renounced their Catholic leader to choose a Protestant prince instead. This fact made the Emperor Ferdinand II determine to crush the Protestants.

Meanwhile Calvin, a disciple of Luther, had preached his pernicious doctrines in France, and French Protestants under the name of Huguenots joined in this war. Cardinal Richelieu, in opposition to the Catholic House of Austria, aided these Huguenots. The Catholics would have been victorious and thus restored political and religious unity to Germany had it not been for Richelieu.

The most subtle heresy that afflicted the Church appeared in France about the middle of the seventeenth century. The author was Jansenius, Bishop of Ypres, whose tenets were contained in a book, published after his death, entitled Augustinus. This volume was a collection of perverted texts from St. Augustine's works, and the doctrines set forth:

  1. Man cannot resist grace.
  2. Jesus Christ did not die for all men.
  3. Some of the Commandments of God are impossible, not only to sinners, but to the just.

In 1713, by the Bull Unigenitus, Pope Clement XI declared, in words which left no loophole for evasion, that all who adopted or supported the tenets of the Augustinus  were unmistakably in opposition to the doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church.

The heresy of Jansenism was combated by the devotion of the Sacred Heart revealed to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, toward the close of the seventeenth century. One of the most pernicious doctrines of the sect has been offset by Pope Pius X, whose decrees concerning daily Communion have silenced, once and forever, the disputes of theologians on the subject of frequent Communion.

"The poison of Jansenism," he says, "did not entirely disappear "after the decrees of various popes. "The controversy as to the dispositions requisite for the lawful and laudable frequentation of the Holy Eucharist survived the declarations of the Holy See; so much so, indeed, that certain theologians of good repute judge that daily Communion should be allowed to the faithful only in rare cases and under many conditions."

While Jansenism attacked the Church from within, Gallicanism oppressed it from without. The four articles embodying the "Gallican Liberties "were drawn up by Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux:

  1. The Pope could not interfere with the temporal concerns of princes, directly or indirectly.
  2. In spiritual matters the Pope was subject to a general council.
  3. The rules and usages of the Gallican Church were inviolable.
  4. The Pope's decision in points of faith was not infallible, unless attended by the consent of the Church.

Gallicanism meant the slavery of the Church to the State. The belief in the Holy See as a central authority in matters of Faith gradually slackened under the influence of unprincipled men holding office in Church or State. Gallican pretensions lasted through the dark days of the French Revolution, were renewed by Napoleon Bonaparte, and did not die out until the definition of Papal Infallibility by Pius IX in 187o.

Religious Orders of the Seventeenth Century.

The Visitation Nuns were founded by St. Jane Frances of Chantal, to carry on the work of Christian education.

The Lazarists were founded by St. Vincent de Paul to give missions.

The Sisters of Charity were founded by St. Vincent de Paul to protect and care for the sick and destitute.

The Trappists, a branch of the Cistercians, were founded by Bouthillier De Rance, to further by labor and prayer the welfare of the Church.

The Brothers of the Christian Schools
were founded by St. John Baptist de la Salle, for the education of youth.

Eighteenth Century
The Century of Free Thought

The self-styled philosophers of the eighteenth century were the next enemies the Church had to encounter. Their system was the natural and logical outcome of the religious upheaval of the sixteenth century. Man had cast off his allegiance to lawful authority, denied the right of the Church to be his guide, and set up his own private judgment as a beacon-light, and as a result he became a prey to the demon of free thought.

Free thought had its origin in Protestant England, and was fostered by the writings of English sceptics who rejected the Bible, revelation, and Christianity and asserted the sufficiency of natural religion.

These men were first called Deists or Rationalists. John Locke became the forerunner of materialism, and the substitution of Deism, Pantheism, and Atheism for Christianity went by the name of "Philosophy." About the middle of the eighteenth century a reaction set in against this scepticism, and most of the English free-thinkers retired into the secrecy of Freemasonry.

Freemasonry had its first lodge, 1717, in London, whence it spread to every state of Europe, to North America, and to East India. In no country did the new philosophy have a more destructive influence than in France, under the leadership of the Encyclopedists to whom belong D'Alembert, Diderot, and Voltaire. Diderot had the supervision of an encyclopedia, a dictionary ostensibly devoted to the sciences, but in reality a blasphemous work. Voltaire for half a century did not cease to attack the Catholic Church. Rousseau was the author of a work called Social Contract, aimed at all government and the rights of private ownership. As head of the Socialists he denied all authority to religion and state.

Suppression of the Society of Jesus.
The great obstacle to the growth of Philosophism was the zeal of the Society of Jesus. These religious therefore became the target for the enemies of the Church, who knew no rest until the ruin of their powerful foe was accomplished.

The conspiracy of the ministers Pombal of Portugal, Aranda of Spain, Tannucci of Naples, supported by Voltaire and the Jansenists in France, brought pressure to bear on the Holy See. The Sovereign Pontiff had to choose between two evils: the suppression of the Society of Jesus or the desertion of the Church by the Catholic rulers of Europe.

Clement XIV chose the former alternative, and reluctantly signed the brief for the suppression in 1773, protesting that he did so only for the sake of peace in the Church. The Jesuits obeyed, and had it not been for the protection of the Protestant King, Frederick of Prussia, and the schismatic Empress, Catherine of Russia, they would have ceased. to exist as an Order. These two sovereigns obtained from the Pope permission for the Jesuits to continue in their dominions as if the suppression had not taken place.

The Emperor Joseph II, of Austria, infected by the prevailing Philosophism of the eighteenth century, directed his energy against religion. He oppressed the Church in some of her most sacred rites from 178o to 1790. He closed monasteries, forbade pilgrimages and processions, and restricted the ceremonies even at Mass. To subject the Church to the state, he assumed the direction of seminaries.

This system of injudicious meddling fell to the ground in 1799. Josephinism in Austria holds much the same place in Church history as Gallicanism in France, though with less far-reaching consequences.

The French Revolution

In 1789 a fearful storm burst over the Church of France. The causes of this outburst lay deeply buried under the ruins of the Faith, wrought among the Teutonic races during the sixteenth century.

The secret societies, and chief among them Free-masonry, with its handmaid Philosophism combined with infidel literature, had gained ground with alarming rapidity. The so-called Reformation disintegrated the foundations of society so carefully laid in the Ages of Faith.

The property of the Church was confiscated, convents and monasteries were closed, and the National Assembly formed a civil constitution for the clergy which bound them by oath either to commit perjury or to forsake their flocks. Priests who refused to take this oath were sent into exile or put to death. The greater part of the clergy stood firm, preferring to lose all and to suffer all rather than to betray the Faith. After the execution of Louis XVI, in January, 1793, all religious worship was forbidden; the churches were demolished; relics, sacred vessels, and the Holy Mysteries were trampled under foot; and to crown all, an infamous woman, decked as the goddess of reason, was placed on the very altar of Notre Dame.

All this upheaval was in the name of liberty, but the Revolution failed to obtain its end. When Pope Pius VI died a prisoner at Valence, the prospects of the Church seemed hopeless.

The Religious Orders of the Eighteenth Century

The Redemptorists were founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri in 1732, to serve as "missionaries for the poorest and most neglected sheep "of Christ's flock.

The Ladies of the Sacred Heart were founded by Blessed Sophie Barat, to provide for the education of girls of the upper classes.

The Sisters of Notre Dame were founded by Blessed Julie Billiart, to instruct the children of the poor.

Nineteenth Century
The Century of the Faithful and the Unbelievers

Napoleon and the Church.
Pius VI was succeeded in the chair of St. Peter by Pius VII. In July, 1800, the new Pontiff entered Rome, greeted by the plaudits of an enthusiastic people. While Bishop of Imola, Pius VII had seen the expediency of a reconciliation between the Church and the republican institutions of the time.

Napoleon as First Consul, convinced that government without religion is impossible, hastened to open negotiations with Pius VII. In 18oi a "Concordat "was proposed, and in spite of many obstacles was carried through. The Pope's advisers thought he was too lenient, while the French ministry blamed Napoleon for his concessions to the Holy See. The oppression of the Church seemed to be at an end. Persecution, however, soon recommenced, and Pius VII, finding himself under the necessity of opposing the ambition of Napoleon, who as Emperor wished to place the Church in subjection to his rule, was brought a prisoner to France. Here he remained until the defeat of the Emperor at Leipsic, four years later.

Restoration of the Jesuits.
Pope Pius VII returned to Rome, and one of his first official acts was to restore the Society of Jesus. This restoration was welcomed with joy by Spain, Switzerland, and France; in fact, the only countries to show opposition were Portugal and Brazil, and the government of both these places was dominated by the Freemasons.

Catholic Emancipation.
The infidelity of the eighteenth century, followed by the excesses of the French Revolution and the desolating wars of Napoleon, had opened the eyes of the European nations, and especially those of Great Britain. In Ireland the attempts of the people to improve their condition and obtain justice had always ended disastrously until Daniel O'Connell, one of the noblest characters in history, took the leadership of the Catholic party. Evading the technicalities of the penal laws, he forced his way into the British Parliament. After repeated trials and failures, he finally succeeded in having the Catholic Emancipation Act passed. By this Act the Church was once more free to practise and preach God's word throughout Great Britain.

The disestablishment of the Anglican Church followed after an agitation lasting for forty years.

The Oxford Movement.
The Anglican Church at the beginning of the nineteenth century, like the Catholic Church in France before the Revolution, was hampered by being too closely united to the State. A liberal school of theologians had arisen at Oxford, which became the center of the Tractarian movement.

Imbued with strong anti-Catholic prejudices, the leaders of this movement found themselves drawn toward the Church by the logic of truth, and many of them were enrolled as members of the true Church. Some.of the leading spirits of the Oxford movement were: Newman, Lockhart, Formby, Oakley, Dalgairns, Faber, and Manning.

In 1840, while the Oxford movement was in progress, Pope Gregory XVI saw fit to increase the number of Vicars-Apostolic in England. This was owing to the large addition of Catholics since the passing of the Emancipation Act. Ten years later Pope Pius IX restored the English Hierarchy, which had been suppressed by the Elizabethan persecution. The year 185o saw the realization of many hopes when the Archbishopric of Westminster, with twelve suffragan dioceses, was erected. The first archbishop was Cardinal Wiseman, who had been admitted to the Sacred College two years before.

Pope Pius IX.
The pontificate of Pope Pius IX was the longest on record, and one of the most memorable in history. This great Pontiff reestablished the Catholic hierarchies in England and Holland and the Latin Patriarchate in Palestine, erected nearly two hundred new sees, concluded concordats with all the Christian states of the two hemispheres, and defended the rights of the Church.

The three greatest acts of his pontificate:

  1. The definition of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1854.
  2. The Syllabus of 1864, a collection of propositions which condemned the errors of the age.
  3. Vatican Council, December 8, 1869.

Two years after his election, in the Revolution of 1848, Pope Pius IX was exiled from Rome, and in 1870 the Piedmontese government seized Rome and made it the capital of United Italy. Since then the Pope has been a captive of the Italian government.

Early in 1878 Pope Pius IX died, full of years and honors. He had been preceded to the grave by his persecutor, Victor Emmanuel.

The Catholic Church in Germany.
From the close of the Congress of Vienna up to the year 1848 the Catholic Church in Germany was almost banished from public life. Especially in Prussia did the ministers of the crown aim at subjecting the Church to the State. While the oppression of the Church issued from high places, a Catholic revival was started from the very heart of the people, and brought into the Church such men as the artist Overbeck and the writer Frederick von Schlegel.—Guggenberger.

After the Franco-German War, when Prince Bismarck was made chancellor, a series of persecutions was begun against the Church. His excuse for this persecution was that the prelates and priests were against the New Empire. The May Laws made the Church completely subject to the State in all matters. Pope Pius IX declared these laws null and void, and as a consequence state support and exemption from military service were restricted to those alone who would subscribe to them.

The German Catholics remained loyal to the Holy See, and under the leadership of Ludwig von Windthorst formed a political party called the Catholic Center, which steadily grew in power until, in 1878, Bismarck was forced to open negotiations with Pope Leo XIII. Concessions were made on both sides, and in 1888 William II pledged himself to maintain religious peace in his dominion.

The Church in Other Countries.
The Russian Czars have employed religious soldiers and police agents to suppress Catholicism in Poland.

In France and Italy, and for a time in Belgium and Spain, many laws against the Church and Christian education were passed by Freemason influence. In France the Third Republic has shown itself ungrateful for the services of the Church. The legislation against the religious congregations and Catholic free schools has become stringent. Religious houses have been closed and their inmates thrust upon the world with no other object than the destruction of religious teaching.

In the United States, meanwhile, as well as in England, the Church is enjoying peace and prosperity.

China, Japan, Korea, and most of the Indian and Pacific islands, have their Catholic missions well established.

Africa has become a vast network of apostolic enterprise.—Guggenberger.

Pope Leo XIII.
On the death of Pope Pius IX, the cardinals assembled at the Vatican before the enemies of the Church had time to concert any hostile plan, and there chose as supreme Pontiff, Cardinal Pecci, Archbishop of Perugia, who assumed the name of Leo XIII.

His pontificate of twenty-five years brought blessings of peace and enlightenment to all nations. The encyclicals of this Pope were of universal application, being addressed to reason and justice as well as to faith.

Encyclicals.—Some of the most important are those that deal with:

  1. Modern Errors, 1878.
  2. Scholastic Philosophy, 1879.
  3. Christian Marriage, 1880.
  4. Origin of Civil Power, 1881.
  5. Christian Constitution of the State, 1885.
  6. The Labor Question, 1891.

Principal Works of Leo XIII

  1. Pope Leo XIII arbitrated between Spain and Germany concerning the possession of certain of the Caroline Islands, and settled the dispute to the satisfaction of both nations.
  2. He aided the French Republic by counselling obedience to that form of government.
  3. He established the Hierarchies of Poland, Russia, and Japan, and reestablished the Hierarchy of Scotland.
  4. He decided the question of Anglican Orders.

Anglican Orders.
To fill the sees which had been deprived of Catholic bishops, Queen Elizabeth, in 1559, invested Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury. As no Catholic bishop could be found to consecrate Parker, the Queen, "through the plenitude of her ecclesiastical authority," supplied all the defects of his election and consecration. Accordingly, Parker was consecrated by Barlow, the heretical ex-Bishop of Bath and Wells, who had been removed under Queen Mary. Barlow was most probably never consecrated himself, and believed neither in priesthood nor sacrifice. Consequently, Parker, from whom all Anglican Ordinations are derived, was never consecrated.—Guggenberger.

From the foregoing account it can be readily understood why the practice of re-ordaining convert clergymen has subsisted. Anglicans maintain that the Holy See could never have sanctioned re-ordination had facts been properly presented. In 1894 the matter was brought to the notice of Leo XIII, and the Pope determined to have the whole question investigated. A consultative commission, consisting of. eight members, sifted the evidence on both sides. The results of their discussion were laid before a council of Cardinals, who, under the presidency of the Pope, decided that Anglican Orders were invalid.

In February, 1893, Pope Leo XIII commemorated the golden jubilee of his episcopate, and died on July 20, 1903. The spirit of Leo XIII marked itself deeply on the Church.

The Council of the Nineteenth Century

The Twentieth General Council.
The Vatican Council, in the year 1869, promulgated the dogma of the Infallibility of the Pope—that is, that the Holy Father, when speaking ex Cathedra, is incapable of error in faith or morals.

After the second session of this Council, in July, 1870, Victor Emmanuel II invaded Rome, and the Council was indefinitely suspended.

Twentieth Century

Pope Pius X.
On August 4, 1903, Cardinal Sarto was proclaimed Pope under the title of Pius X. He set himself from the beginning "to renew all things in Christ."

Some of the most important are those that deal with:

  1. The teaching of the Catechism.
  2. Church Music.
  3. Modernism.
  4. The Laws of Christian Marriage.

Principal Works.

  1. The formation of a Biblical Commission.
  2. The codification of Canon Law.
  3. The arrangement and organization of the Roman Congregations.

Pope Benedict XV.
On September 3, 1914, Cardinal Giacomo della Chiesa was proclaimed Pope with the title of Benedict XV. He will be known as the Peacemaker, unceasing in his efforts to persuade the warring Powers to end the fratricidal strife of the great World War.

Notable among his numerous messages to the Catholic world were those in which he treated of:

  1. Plea for Peace.
  2. St. Joseph and family life.
  3. The five great social evils demoralizing the world.
  4. Amity among nations based on justice, not force.

Principal Works.

  1. Concluded code of Canon Law begun by Pius X.
  2. New impetus to study of the Scriptures.
  3. Improvement of seminaries and preaching.
  4. Canonization of Jeanne d'Arc, Beatification of Oliver Plunkett and 257 Irish martyrs.
  5. Measures in welfare work and relief of war impoverished nations.

The Chief Heresies

Heresy Author Error
Arian Arius, a Priest Denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ
Manichean Manes Taught there were two gods; one author of good, the other of evil.
Macedonian Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople Denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost
Pelagian Pelagius, British Monk Denied Original Sin and the necessity of Grace.
Nestorian Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople Taught two persons in Christ and that the Blessed Virgin Mary was not the Mother of God.
Eutychian Eutyches, an abbott. Denied two natures of Jesus Christ.
Semi-Pelagian New form of Pelagianism Taught that grace is necessary to continue but not to begin good actions.
Monothelite Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople. Taught only the divine will in Jesus Christ.
Iconoclast Leo III, Isaurian, Emperor of Constantinople. Aimed at the destruciton of Holy Images.
Greek Schism Photius Refused allegiance to the Holy See.
Berengarian Berengarius, deacon of Angers. Denied Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.
Albigensian Followers of Arnold of Brescia. Denied incarnation, redemption, etc.
Waldensian Peter Waldo. Taught every sin was mortal; no indulgences; two sacraments.
Wickliffite Wycliff in England, Husss in Germany Taught predestination; private interpretation; revolutionary doctrine.

The Councils of the Church

Council Date Decision
I. Nicaea 325    Condemned Arius.
I. Constantinople 381    Condemned Macedonius.
Ephesus    431    Condemned Nestorius.
Chalcedon    451    Condemned Eutysches.
II. Constantinople    553    Condemned Theodorus, who favored Nestorius.
III. Constantinople    680    Condemned Monothelites.
II. Nicaea    787    Condemned the Iconoclasts.
IV. Constantinople    870    Condemned Photius, author of the Greek Schism.
I. Lateran    1123    Regulated the rights of Church and State in election of Popes.
II. Lateran    1139    Condemned Peter of Bruys and Arnold of Brescia.
III. Lateran    1179    Condemned the Waldenses and Albigenses.
IV. Lateran    1215    Regulated general legislation; established the Inquisition.
I. Lyons    1245    Decreed a General Crusade.
II. Lyons   1274    Confirmed doctrine of dual procession of the Holy Ghost.
Vienne   1312    Abolished Knights Templars.
Constance    1414-18    Elected Martin V; ended Western Schism.
Florence    1438    Effected the reconciliation of the Greeks.
V. Lateran    1512    Reestablished Church Discipline.
Trent    1545-63    Condemned Luther, Calvin and others.
I. Vatican    1869-70    Declared Infalliability of Pope.