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Leo I, confronts two dangerous men on a more purely diplomatic basis. During Leo's pontificate Rome is threatened by Attila the Hun (in 452), and Gaiseric the Vandal (in 455). He negotiates with both and is traditionally credited with persuading Attila to turn back short of Rome and with convincing Gaiseric that the city should not be destroyed. Whatever the exact truth of his achievement, his actions predict a broader role for the papacy. Leo I, had more political skills than any spiritual power to achieve this.
The Ostrogothic Papacy period ran from 493 to 537. The papal election of March 483 was the first to take place without the existence of a Western Roman emperor. The papacy was strongly influenced by the Ostrogothic Kingdom, if the pope was not outright appointed by the Ostrogothic King. The selection and administration of popes during this period was strongly influenced by Theodoric the Great and his successors Athalaric and Theodahad. This period terminated with Justinian I's reconquest of Rome during the Gothic War, inaugurating the Byzantine Papacy of Eastern Orthodox Church(537–752).
The role of the Ostrogoths became clear in the first schism, when, on November 22, 498, two men were elected pope. The subsequent triumph of Pope Symmachus (498–514) over Antipope Laurentius is the first recorded example of simony in papal history. Symmachus also instituted the practice of popes naming their own successors, which held until an unpopular choice was made in 530, and discord only ended with the selection in 532 of John II, the first to rename himself upon succession.
King Theodoric was tolerant towards the Catholic Church and did not interfere in dogmatic matters. He remained as neutral as possible towards the pope, though he exercised a preponderant influence in the affairs of the papacy, institute of Church. Ostrogothic influence ended with the reconquest of Rome by Justinian, who had had pro-Gothic Pope Silverius (536–537) deposed and replaced with his own choice, Pope Vigilius (537–555).
Justinian I re-conquered Rome and appointed the next three popes. The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, which was made acorcing to ancient Roman Church customs. Many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii (liaisons from the pope to the emperor) or the inhabitants of Byzantine Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–54) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna. With the exception of Pope Martin I, no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur; however, theological conflicts were common between pope and emperor in the areas such as "monotheletism" and "iconoclasm". Greek speakers from Greece, Syria, and Byzantine Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy of that period.
Pope Gregory I (590–604) was a major figure in asserting papal primacy and gave the impetus to missionary activity in northern Europe, including England.
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