Papal Rome - PART I
The next period of time encompasses 1,260 years, and we're actually looking into the history before that, and probably a little bit afterward, to show how it matches up with the Bible. It's a really long period of time and there's a lot of history that happens all over Europe and beyond that plays into it, so we've decided it would be best to break this up into sections that are a little more easily digestible. You may have already read this part, but please bear with us as we adjust the posts accordingly.
Before we delve into the papal aspect of Rome's history, I want to look back a little bit further at the fourth beast in Daniel 7. When Daniel is describing what he saw, he only mentions that it has iron teeth. However, when he is speaking with the angel about it, it now describes iron teeth and bronze claws. It is interesting because this seems to pull in a bit of the imagery from the statue spoken of in Daniel 2. The statue had belly and thighs of bronze, and iron legs. The bronze section represented the kingdom of Greece, and the iron represented the kingdom that followed, which we have identified as Rome. It seems to indicate that the fourth beast contains aspects of both Greece and Rome. If you look closer at Roman history, you will see this is true. Despite the fact that Rome was in charge during Christ's life, the New Testament is written in Greek, not Latin. There are many times in the New Testament that referred to the Greeks as being somewhat the same as Gentiles, kind of looked down upon. Also, in the Roman Empire, people were given dual citizenship. They could be both citizens of their home country and citizens of Rome. They could literally be Roman and Greek at the same time.
You may have noticed that all of the previous kingdoms have a beginning date that corresponds to the ending date of the previous kingdom, with the exception of Babylon, of course, as it was the first kingdom we posted about. However, Pagan Rome is said to end in 476 A.D. and Papal Rome doesn't begin until 538 A.D., and if you're like me, you may be wondering why. Keep in mind that the kingdom of Rome never actually came to a close. When you look at the statue in Daniel Chapter 2, you see legs of iron, and feet consisting of a mix of iron and clay. The iron never ends, it's just that at some point, most likely during Constantine's reign, since he was the first to use Christianity for political reasons, the clay begins to mix in with it. The ten toes are supposed to represent the division of the kingdom between 10 Germanic tribes, much as the 10 horns in Daniel 7 and Revelation 12, 13, and 17 also represent the division of the Roman Empire by the Germanic tribes. 476 A.D. was considered the end of Rome's pagan period because the last of the Western Roman emperors was killed by a man named Odoacer, who was a Germanic tribe leader, and a Christian with Arian views. This means, in its simplest form, that he believed that Jesus was a good man, and a great teacher, but separate from God, not divine. The Germanic tribes had started coming into the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, pushed out of their homelands by the Huns. They were largely absorbed into the Roman culture, even joining the Roman military. Odoacer had actually risen to a position of command in the Roman army before he had killed the man in charge, Orestes, and deposed his young son, then emperor, Romulus Augustulus, in 476 AD, thus becoming the first Germanic "king" of Rome. He did this because Orestes had reneged on a promise to give land in Italy to tribal leaders. He had the support of the Roman Senate and was able to distribute land to his followers. He invaded other territories, and there were skirmishes between he and other Germanic tribes.
Gradually, the land was divided up between several major Germanic tribes in the area that is now Europe. In trying to account for the ten horns on the dragon, Bible scholars tend to agree on ten tribes that stood out the most. There were the Visigoths (Western Goths), Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths), Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Lombards, Heruli, Alamanni, Vandals, and Burgundians. This mass migration of tribes into Rome, however, was initiated by the invasion of the Huns into the regions of those other tribes, thus pushing them into Rome where they would rise up against the Romans and weaken the empire. The Huns were a nomadic tribe, and probably originated in the area of modern-day Kazakhstan. They were first mentioned in Roman writings in 91 AD as living in the area of the Caspian Sea, and at that time, did not represent any particular threat to the Roman empire, no more so than any other barbarian tribe. However, by 370 AD, they became more brutal and began to invade the other tribes, pushing those tribes into the Roman empire, where their frequent raids against the Romans weakened the empire. The Huns were very well-suited for mounted warfare. They almost seemed to be one with their horses, rarely seen dismounted, they even did negotiations on horseback. They would strike out of nowhere, attack like a whirlwind, and vanish away, almost before their advance had been noticed. This made them extremely dangerous opponents. It seemed they were nearly impossible to defeat or even defend against. No one had ever encountered an army like the Huns. Between 395-398 AD, there were actually Huns that had settled in Rome and were serving in the Roman Army, but there were also Huns destroying cities and farmlands in the areas of Syria and Thrace. They had no central ruler, only chiefs controlling small factions. However, in 430 AD, the Huns had a chief by the name of Rugila who seemed to control a vast number of them, and the Romans referred to him as the King of the Huns. Rugila had two nephews, Attila and Bleda, who succeeded him after his death in 433 AD. In 439 AD, Attila and Bleda brokered the Treaty of Margus with Rome. This treaty basically offered peace to Rome as long as Rome continued to pay the Huns. With this treaty in effect, the Romans were able to withdraw their troops from the Danube region and focus their attention on the Roman area of Sicily and North Africa, where the Vandals were threatening, and the Huns turned their attention eastward. However, as soon as the Romans left the territory, the Huns began to violate the treaty and ransacked the areas along the outer borders of the Roman empire, attacking profitable Roman trade centers. The Romans had to recall their Roman troops to the area and declare the treaty broken. Attila and Bleda responded with a full-scale attack, sacking and destroying Roman cities up to within 20 miles from the capitol, Constantinople. The city of Naissus was razed to the ground and would not be re-built for a century. During the time the Huns spent serving in the Roman empire, they learned a lot about seige warfare, and they put that knowledge to good use, wiping whole cities, like Naissus, off the map. They plundered the cities they attacked, bringing riches back to their homeland, but wealth was not all they were after. They seemed to truly enjoy warfare, and found it far more appealing than farming or tending to livestock. In 445 AD, Bleda vanishes from the historical record, and it is believed that Attila had him murdered. Attila was now the sole ruler and commander of the most powerful fighting force in Europe. Interestingly, despite being unstoppable on the battlefield, at a feast, he was not one who was driven to excess. He was never drunk, never over-ate, and only wore simple, clean clothes, not adorned with gold or jewels. In 451 AD, Attila's forces were defeated in battle for the first time at the Battle of the Cataluanian Plains, against the combined forces of the Romans and the Visigoths. In 452 AD, Attila invaded Italy and became indirectly responsible for the creation of the city of Venice, because the Italians fled to the marshes for safety and eventually built their homes there. His campaign in Italy was not successful and he retreated to his home base on the Hungarian Plain. By this time, Attila's empire ranged from parts of present-day Russia, through Hungary, across Germany, to France. He received regular tributes from Rome, and was even receiving a salary as a Roman general as he was sacking and destroying Roman cities. In 453 AD, Attila married a young lady named Ildico. In celebrating his wedding night, in an uncustomary fit of excess, Attila had too much to drink, passed out, and choked on blood that would have normally hemorrhaged from his nose. If you would like a more plausible scenario of Attila's death, Michael Babcock, Ph.D., in his book, The Night Attila Died, presents the case that Attila was more likely murdered, and the official story of drunken revelry is an ecclesiastical cover-up, an act of propaganda designed to protect Rome from revenge at the hands of the Germans. After the death of Attila, his army fell into intense grief. His horsemen cut off their long hair and slashed their cheeks and smeared their faces with blood. They rode in circles around the the tent that held his body. He was encased in three caskets, one of gold, one silver, and one iron. Then, it is said, a river was diverted, he was buried in the riverbed, and then the water was released to flow back over the spot where he was buried. Those who were involved in his burial were killed, so as to keep the location of his remains hidden forever. After his funeral, the empire was divided between his three sons, who fought one another for supremacy, and by 469 AD, the Huns had fallen apart and their people absorbed into the cultures of those they had formerly ruled over, but the damage was done. Barbarians had moved into Rome and were breaking up the empire.
The Visigoths (a term coined by the Roman writer Cassiodorus, who had lived among the Ostrogoths in the 6th century) were the first to arrive in the Roman Empire. They came from southern Scandinavia and assimilated well in the Roman world. They adopted an Arian form of Christianity and became members of the Roman army and even took offices of state in the capitol at Constantinople. When the Huns started invading the Ostrogoths, it was not difficult for the emperor Valens to allow the Visigoths to seek safety in the Roman Empire and help defend their Danube frontier. Apparently, imperial officials did not treat them well, however, and they took up arms and killed Valens, who was then succeeded by Theodosius I. Theodosius pacified them with gifts of land and the Visigoths returned the favor by furnishing troops for the imperial army. After Theodosius died, the Visigoths were not treated well by imperial forces, and they rose up, led by Alaric, and eventually sacked the city of Rome in 410 AD. They did not do much damage. They plundered some nobles' homes and set the Forum on fire, but they were Christian, and so left all churches alone, even taking some of their treasures to Saint Peter's to give to the pope. The Visigoths eventually settled into the area of southern France and Spain.
The Vandals began arriving in the empire before the Visigoths sacked Rome. They may have come from southern Scandinavia as well, or possibly from Poland. There is almost nothing in the early records that talk about their origins. They came in over the Rhine, crossed France, and settled in Spain, where the Visigoths came and pushed them out. They moved south to North Africa and built themselves a fleet of ships. They then proceeded to sack Rome in 455 AD. It is said that Pope Leo I came out to meet with the Vandal leader, Genseric, and offered to let them loot the city as long as they did not destroy it. True to their word, they did not destroy any buildings or kill any people. They looted the emperors' palaces on Palatine Hill and even took the tile from the roofs of the temples, then returned with their spoils to Carthage. (Considering they did so little damage, it is odd that we use the word vandalism to describe wanton destruction.) Like the Visigoths, the Vandals were Arian Christians, but they were not so tolerant of other views and persecuted the Catholics (Trinitarian Christians) in their realm severely. After Genseric's death, the Vandals began to go into decline. Genseric had ruled for 50 years, taking them from an insignificant band of wanderers to ruling a wealthy kingdom in northern Africa. Genseric's successors had economic problems, and faced conflict with the Moors from the south, who often raided the area, and also with the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire. The last of the Vandal leaders, a man named Gelimer, was particularly adamant about persecuting the Trinitarian Christians, which angered Emperor Justinian, who was a devout Catholic. Justinian mounted a crusade to drive the Vandals out of north Africa, offered to promote Gelimer to the rank of patrician if he would give up his Arian views and accept Catholicism. Gelimer refused and lived out the rest of his days in captivity. With no firm government in place, the Arians and Trinitarians continued to go after one another, and the Moors, seeing an opportunity, attacked again from the south. The Vandals dispersed and were not heard from as a cohesive group again.
The Ostrogoths were a tribe of Goths that lived in the northern area of the Black Sea. Their name actually meant "Goths who were glorified by the rising of the sun." Cassiodorus, a Roman writer who served the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, understood that to mean the eastern Goths, and came up with the term Visigoths to describe the other Goths who had fled when the Huns invaded. The Ostrogoths remained under Hun rule until the death of Attila the Hun in 450 AD. At that point, the Ostrogoths declared their independence and Theodoric the Great became their king. With the backing of the Byzantine Empire (formerly the Eastern Roman Empire) led a campaign into Italy to go after Odoacer, who, if you remember, had killed the last of the Western Roman emperors and became the first Germanic king of Italy. The Byzantines wanted the whole empire back in Roman control and thought Theodoric was just the man to bring that about. Theodoric did kill Odoacer, but then the kingdom became the Ostrogothic Empire. Theodoric embraced Roman art, literature, and culture, and was able to maintain friendly relations with the Byzantines. His daughter took over when he died, and then a cousin had her assassinated to claim what he felt was his right to the throne. This, however, sparked the wrath of Justinian I, then emperor of the Byzantine Empire. He sent his top general, Belisarius, to Italy to bring the area back into line with Eastern Rome. He took Rome in 536, and Ravenna in 539, where he tried to negotiate peace. The Ostrogoths didn't trust Justinian, but they liked and trusted Belisarius, who had always treated them fairly. They tried to crown Belisarius, who turned on them and seized all the lands and the treasury in the name of Justinian, but Justinian didn't really trust his motives, so he put someone else in charge. There were many skirmishes and uprisings over the years, and by 562, there was no more mention of the name "Ostrogoths." The people dispersed themselves into the populace of Italy, France and Germany. With the land de-populated and ravaged by eighteen years of war, the Lombards, another Germanic tribe, easily conquered northern Italy shortly after the end of the Gothic Wars and maintained the Lombard Kingdom for the next two hundred years.
The Lombards (translated as "long beards") originated in Scandinavia and migrated to the area of what is Hungary today and were originally called the Winnili. A sub-group of the Winnili migrated south and ended up in an area neighboring the Vandals. They Vandals wanted them to pay tribute in order to stay, or they would attack. The Winnili tribe were vastly outnumbered by the Vandals, but they decided it would be far more honorable to win their liberty through battle than by paying for it. There is a legend that says both the Vandals and Winnili worshiped the god, Odin. Both tribes appealed to Odin to win the battle, and that whoever Odin saw first on the battlefield would win. The mother of the rulers of the Winnili tribe appealed to Odin's wife Freia, and was told to have the women of the tribe take down their hair and arrange it across their faces to look like beards. They did this and stood out on the battlefield with the men. It is said that as the morning sun touched the battlefield, Odin saw all those women with their hair arranged so, and asked who were all these long-beards? Freia then told Odin that, since he had just given the tribe their name, he should also give them the victory. The tribe, from that point forward, became known as the long-beards, which in time, became the Lombards. It is not known how they really got their name. It could simply be because of the length of the men's beards, which they refused to trim. In any case, after their defeat of the Vandals, they had a difficult time finding food and decided to move on from that area, settling into the area of modern-day Austria. Here, they were overpowered by the Saxons, and then moved on again in 487 AD to the region of the Danube, most likely due to overpopulation and lack of resources, or possibly to get away from the Huns. It was there that they were noticed by the Byzantine Empire and around 526 AD were invited to come defend the area of Pannonia, which was between the Danube River and the Alps. They defeated the Heruls who were there and took over their ancestral lands. Due to a political rivalry with a tribe called the Avars, and possibly at the invitation of the Roman general Narses, the Lombards left Pannonia and headed into northern Italy. By 572, the Lombards had conquered most of Italy. The Byzantine Empire frequently employed the Lombards to get the Ostrogoths out so they could reclaim Italy for themselves, but now the Lombards were claiming Italy separate from the Byzantines, and they weren't happy about it. They set up a military base at Ravenna in an attempt to reclaim Italy, but the people of Italy remembered the exorbitant taxes they had paid to the Roman Empire and weren't keen to relinquish control to the imperial power and see their tax money going to finance foreign wars instead of making improvements in their own land. The Byzantines allied themselves for a time with the Franks, who regained some of Italy for the Byzantines. When a new king, Agilulf, took control of the Lombards, he secured peace with the Franks, secured his borders, and got tighter control of all of Italy. The Byzantines were busy fighting Avars, Slavs, and Persians and had no resources to spare to regain control of Italy, so the Lombards lived in relative peace. Like many of the other barbarian tribes, by the 5th century the Lombards were mostly Arian Christians, but they did not have so much contention with Trinitarian Christians. In fact, many of them also practiced Catholicism in an effort to imitate and embrace the Roman culture. The Lombard rule ended in 774 AD when Charlemagne broke the Frank-Lombard alliance and seized control of Lombard lands. The people were absorbed in with the Franks, but the town of Lombardy, Italy still stands testimony to their reign long ago.
The Anglo-Saxons were actually a conglomeration of three major Germanic tribes: Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who took over Britain in the 5th century. They were said to have originated in Jutland (southern Scandinavia), Schleswig, and Holstein, areas near the North Sea in Germany and Denmark. The Angles took their name from the Angeln region near Schleswig where they originally came from, and the Jutes came from Jutland. The Saxons, however, derived their name from their weapon of favor, a distinctive knife called a seax. South of where the Saxons lived were the Franks, who were a pretty powerful group of people, and beyond them was the Roman territory, which made expansion toward the south a bit problematic, so they opted for expansion by sea. Late in the third century, they were joined by the Franks in the southern part of the North Sea and the English Channel, where together they preyed on shipping lanes and raided the coast of Britain and northern Gaul (present-day France). Rome had a presence in Britain at that time, and they built several forts with thick stone walls to protect their cities along the coast. The pirates were broken up by a legion officer under emperor Maximian in 286 AD. Maximian accused the officer of being in league with the pirates and ordered the officer's death, but the officer felt the charges were unjust, declared Britain an independent nation, and reigned there until 293 when he died. At that point, Britain went back into Roman rule. As they came into the fourth century, the Saxon confederacy on the main continent began to break up, with more and more of them moving to Britain. By the early fifth century, Roman control in Britain was decreasing, and most of Rome's military resources were needed to keep control on the main continent. In 410, the Roman army completely left Britain and the area was left to warring groups vying for political control. As this was occurring, more Saxons continued to arrive. You see evidence of their existence in the names of kingdoms like Wessex (West Saxons) and Sussex (South Saxons). By the end of the fifth century, Britain was largely under the control of various Saxon groups. Because the Roman Britons were displaced by these Germanic tribes, they were mostly outside the influence of Latin and continental Germanic languages, so their dialects blended to become Old English. The Anglo-Saxons were pagans when they arrived in Britain, but many of them converted to Christianity over time.
The Franks were originally a conglomeration of several tribes that lived between the Rhine and the Weser Rivers. The two most prominent tribes among them were the Salians and the Ripuarians. They were a threat both by land and by sea, as the Salians excelled in naval combat and the Ripuarians on land. The name "Franks" was most likely given to them as a result of the weapon they most favored using in battle, a throwing axe, which in Latin, is called a francisca. Early writings tried to claim their origins were in Troy, but it is much more likely that they formed their confederation in the area of present-day Mainz, Germany. They were first mentioned in Latin sources in 257 AD as an enemy of Rome somewhere near northern Gaul, and as mentioned before, late in the third century, some of them joined the Saxons in raiding ships around the North Sea and the English Channel, as well as raiding the coast of Britain and Gaul. Under emperor Maximian, the Romans signed a treaty with the Franks in 287 AD, which caused many of the Franks to enlist in the Roman army. More and more Franks enlisted, so that during the 4th century, the Franks were the largest non-Roman contingent of the western Roman fighting force. By 350 AD, the Franks already had a solid presence in northern Gaul, but in the second half of the 5th century, under the leadership of Childeric (440-481 AD), they initiated a new expansion and became a major power. In 451, the Huns invaded Gaul and the Franks joined the Visigoths and the Romans to resist the invasion and managed to push the Huns back out. The Franks were pagans, and created stories to provide a noble pedigree for their rulers that were in keeping with their pagan explanations for the birth of demi-gods. They had a story that explained the birth of their leader, Childeric, but in 481, they had a new ruler, Childeric's son Clovis I, who eventually converted to Catholic Christianity and was baptized after his marriage to the Burgundian princess Clotild and defeating the Alemanni in 496 AD, thus causing most of the other Franks to convert to Catholicism as well. It is said that Clovis had political motivation for converting to Christianity, as he was hoping to win support from the Eastern Roman Empire. By the time Clovis died, many aspects of the Frankish kingdom were a mix of the Germanic and Roman cultures, which included language, religion, and law. Other things, like some of their manufacturing industries, were distinctly Roman, yet, retained Germanic traditions in their arts and craftsmanship. In 536 AD, Clovis I's grandson, Theudebert, was in charge of most of the Franks and emperor Justinian was in charge of the eastern Roman empire and was desperate to regain control of the western half. Justinian enlisted help from the Franks to defeat the Goths in Italy, but Theudebert decided it would be to his own advantage to support both sides, assisting both the Romans and the Ostrogoths, then took control of Provence from the Ostrogoths, and in 539 AD, moved to sack Milan, and occupy much of Liguria. Theudebert's son, however, had to give control of northern Italy back to the Byzantines (eastern Rome) in 548 AD. Due to the way power was handed down after Clovis I died, the Frankish kingdom was divided into four regions to be ruled by each of Clovis' four sons, but by 567, when one of his great grandsons who were in charge died, civil war broke out and the kingdom ended up in three major sub-divisions: Austrasia, Nestria, and Burgundy. Despite the new divisions, war continued to break out frequently between them, until the last of the Merovingian rulers was deposed by Pope Zachary in 752 AD, thus bringing the Merovingian Dynasty that had lasted 200 years to a close, and ushering in the Carolingian Dynasty with Pepin the Short as the new king of the Franks in 754 AD, who was later succeeded by Charlemagne in 768 AD. It was under Charlemagne's rule that the Franks defeated the Lombards in 774 AD and annexed their territory. The Franks became the most powerful political entity since the fall of Western Rome and entered the medieval period occupying most of western Europe, absorbing many of the other "barbarian" groups into their cultural fabric, and with Charlemagne as their king.
Records of the Heruli started as early as 58 BC in writings by Julius Caesar. Heruli is actually the Latin term for the Germanic "heruloz" (plural) or "herilaz" (singular), which literally means "belonging to the marauding band." The Heruli, part of the larger Suebian family of tribes, were known as the tallest, fastest, strongest, and fiercest of the Germanic warrior tribes. They were small, but widely spread out, and mostly acted as bands of mercenaries and pirates. They fought only on foot, were scantily clad, and had only the simplest of weapons in order to prove their manliness and courage. They often paired with a man from another tribe on horseback. Holding onto the horse's reins or mane with one hand, and his spear or sword with the other, as the horse charged into battle, the Herul warrior would run alongside, keeping up with the horse. If his partner was unseated, a group of Heruli would surround him until he was able to get back in his saddle. Their other main mode of attack was to paint themselves and their shields all black on a night of the new moon (no moonlight) and would slaughter enemies in their camps. They lived by a warrior code and didn't take kindly to the idea the Romans and Catholics were trying to push on them, to settle down and become farmers. Because of this, they were often hired out, more than any other tribe, to be mercenaries and to attack other tribes. They did this without discrimination, taking jobs from the highest bidders, even if it meant going after a tribe closely related to their own. In 267 AD, they captured Byzantium and sacked some major Greek cities like Athens, then went on to suffer one of their most crushing defeats by the Romans in the Battle of Naissus in 269 AD. They joined forces with Odoacer, who was the first of the Germanic kings of Rome, in 476 AD. They established a kingdom of their own somewhere around the middle of the Danube River, and were defeated by the Lombards around 508 AD, forcing them to leave. Some joined Roman forces, others migrated north to Scandinavia. The Heruli were primarily pagan, but most had converted to an Arian form of Christianity by 512 AD. There are records of various deeds of those Heruli who joined the Roman forces in several battles until around 560 AD, when Emperor Justinian was forcing the barbarians out of Italy. The leader of the Heruli was subdued, and hung from a gallows by the exarch. From here, the Heruli disappear from history.
The Alemanni and Suevi are thought to be the same people. The Suevi were first mentioned by Tacitus in 98 AD, and the Alemanni (translated as "All Men" or "Men United") weren't mentioned until 213 AD by Cassius Dio. Both Alemanni and Suevi were described as being a confederation of different tribes, although the Suevi were described as more fragmented and individualized, by the time they were known as Alemanni, they had become more unified, in large part because they had become very Romanized, wearing Roman attire and emulating Roman social customs while still retaining their Germanic language. They occupied the region south of the Main and east of the Rhine Rivers in the area of present-day Germany. They started out pagan, practicing a form of druidism, until they converted to Christianity sometime between the 500s and 700s AD. In 213 AD, they appealed to the emperor for help with a neighboring tribe, but the emperor at the time, Caracalla, decided he'd rather conquer the Alemanni. He arrived, pretending to assist them, but telling them to build forts, and name cities after him, and when they didn't comply, raised his shield and sent his armies down on them, treating them as bitter enemies. It isn't known whether the Alemanni had been friendly to Rome prior to 213, but after this event, they became the bitter enemies Caracalla treated them as. Over the next two hundred plus years, there were a number of battles between the Romans and the Alemanni. The Alemanni fought alongside the Huns in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, the first time Attila was defeated, in 451 AD, but in 496 AD, when they were defeated by Clovis I, they were no longer strong enough to keep fighting, and were subjugated by the Franks. Some took up residence with the Franks in Gaul, while others continued to live in their former region of Germania. It is interesting to note that the word for Germany in some languages was taken from them; Allemagne in French, and Alemania in Spanish, for example.
The Burgundians were an East-Germanic tribe who migrated from Scandinavia. In 406 AD, the Rhine River froze over, and this allowed Germanic peoples to expand into the province of Gaul, which is modern-day France. Their king, Gundahar, settled his tribe west of the Rhine, in an area that was, at the time, Roman territory, in 411 AD. This became the foundation of the first Burgundian kingdom. He took three major cities along the Main River from the Alemanni: Strasbourg, Speyer, and Worms. This same year, the emperor Constantine III was killed, and the Burgundians supported the ascension of Jovinus, in hopes of securing their position in the Roman Empire, but Jovinus' reign was brief. He was killed in 413 AD by the Visigoths. However, the next emperor, Honorius supported their claim to the land and accepted them as Federates of the Empire, meaning they were pledged to guard the border of the empire from its enemies. The Burgundians were originally pagan, worshiping the god, Odin, among others. By the time of Gundahar's death at the hands of the Romans and the Huns in 436 AD, they had become Arian Christians. Gundahar's son Gundioc took charge and resettled the Burgundians further south in the city of Lugdunum (modern Lyons). To protect them, he allied himself with famous Roman generals, including the one who was responsible for the death of his father, and helped to fight Attila the Hun in 451 AD. He married the sister of the Chief Roman general Ricimer, and had four sons with her. After his death, the kingdom was eventually divided between those four sons through war, and was eventually brought back together under the rule of the victor, Gundobod. Because Gundobod was not only the son of Gundioc, but also the nephew of General Ricimer, he had a lot of political clout in Rome. He held the office of Patrician for nearly a year after Ricimer's death, before returning home to take control of the kingdom from his bickering brothers in 473 AD, where he ruled until his death in 516 AD. He achieved many things during his reign, including marrying his niece Clotilde to Clovis I of the Franks, thereby sealing an alliance with them. Clovis worked to convert the Burgundians to Catholicism. Together, they fought the Visigoths and Ostrogoths, gaining more influence in Gaul. After Gundobod's death, control went to his son Sigismund, under whom the nation of Burgundy began a slow expansion into Italy, Switzerland, and France. In 523 AD, Clotilde brought the Franks down on the Burgundians out of revenge for her father's death at the hands of Gundobod years before. Sigismund was captured and executed. His brother Godomar took control in 524 AD, and with the help of the Ostrogoths, was able to take back much of the kingdom, but lost it again in 535 AD, as the Franks came after them and killed Godomar in their final conflict, at which point Burgundy was absorbed into the Frankish kingdom. However, their legacy remains in the form of a province in France still named Burgundy.
Scholars tend to agree that Rome (or at least Western Rome) "fell" in 476 AD. We've already talked about Odoacer conquering the Western Roman emperor, thus transferring power from Roman to Germanic hands. This is a significant event, to be sure, but I'm not sure it actually "fell" as much as evolved into something different. The ancient world and its classical ideals were disintegrating, and the medieval world, governed by the dogmas of the Church, was being built in its place. This slow mix of church and state began during the rule of Constantine I (Constantine the Great), as he gifted the then Bishop of Rome with the Lateran Palace, and then later with his involvement in the Council of Nicaea, among others. This is detailed in the post about Constantine.
We need to spend some time talking about the Roman Catholic Church and how it came to be both a spiritual power AND a political power. After all, it did not start out that way. Its beginnings were humble enough, with not much documented in the early days. In its earliest days, the church was run by a group of presbyters, or church elders, who collaborated and worked together. The title of Pope as it is used today wasn't started until around the ninth century. The word "pope," which was derived from the Greek word papas, meaning "little father," would have been applied to any senior member of the community back then.
The Church, however, claims that Peter, of Jesus' disciples, the so-called "rock" on which His church was built, was their first Pope, that Jesus handed his supernatural powers to Peter, and Peter then handed them to the next Pope, and it has gone on like that in succession, even to today's Pope Francis. The reference comes from Matthew 16:18-19, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." The only problem is, Peter could not possibly have founded the Roman Catholic Church. According to the book, Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich, Peter was not in Rome, unless possibly just before his death, but was definitely not there long enough to plant a church. Peter was to be the apostle to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. This website lays out other scriptural arguments that are hard to refute: http://www.kevininman.org/25-reasons-peter-was-not-the-first-pope/. The first point he makes is that, in the original Greek, it's really clear that Jesus is using two different versions of the word "rock" when he's talking. Peter's name, petros, means "little stone," and is in the masculine. The word Jesus uses to describe the rock he'll build his church on is petra. It's in the feminine, and it is referring to the confession of who Peter claimed Jesus to be, the Son of the Living God in Matthew 16:16 - Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And then the website reminds us, in many ways, that Jesus never said that ANY of the apostles would be the greatest in the kingdom. The humble would be. Please also be sure to read the comments below, as well. One of those lists even more reasons, including excerpts from the Catholic Encyclopedia that prove that Peter was not anywhere near Rome during his ministry because he was traveling between Asia Minor and Jerusalem. He was supposedly martyred and buried in Rome, however, as was Paul. It is the possession of the bones of both martyrs that the church has tried to use to claim its supremacy over other major centers of Christianity, including Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, which had been around longer and held some very great theological thinkers. The reign of Constantine saw an end to the persecution of Christians. Not only did Constantine announce his conversion to Christianity and issue the Edict of Milan with his co-regent, but on his visit to Rome in 326 AD, he commissioned the building of several basilicas and cathedrals, one of which was to be built right on top of the necropolis where Peter's bones were said to be laid to rest, St. Peter's Basilica. This could have been enough to position Rome as the major center for Christianity, but Constantine decided to move the capital to his "New Rome," the city being built on the site of the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium, what would be named Constantinople, and is modern-day Istanbul, Turkey. At the same time he was commissioning those buildings in Rome, he also commissioned a number of large cathedrals in other cities, including Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, those very cities with whom the Roman church was competing for supremacy. I feel a need to point out that there were a few times in the Bible where the disciples argued about who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Luke 9:46-48, Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 18:1-4)(look below the graphic for scriptures). Each time, Jesus had to set them straight. Those who are the least, like little children, will be great. It is my opinion that the same applies to churches. There is not much point in fighting over supremacy. The fight can, and likely will, cause you to lose sight of what Jesus came to teach us, to love and serve one another.
Sylvester I was the Bishop of Rome at the time of Constantine. By the time Constantine decreed that the markets should be closed on the venerable Day of the Sun, Sylvester had already, for five years, been encouraging Christians to observe that same day (the first day of the week) as the Lord's Day, in honor of Jesus' resurrection on the first day, and even recommended transferring the rest taken on the Sabbath to the new Lord's Day. He was making an attempt to differentiate the Christians from the Jews. The Jews were despised by the Christians for being responsible for Jesus' death, and also because they refused to acknowledge Him as their Savior. There must have been quite a few early Christians who were still keeping the Sabbath, despite Sylvester's encouragement. Constantine did not like any threats to unity in Rome, and already was showing signs of wanting to use Christianity to his own ends of keeping Rome united, so that is likely why he decided to legally mandate rest on Sunday, to encourage the Christians in the direction Sylvester was trying to take them.
The Church Divided
It was also during this time that a priest from Alexandria by the name of Arius began talking about Jesus in a way that caused some serious division in the church. He believed that Jesus was God's creation, his Son, yes, and a perfect man, but human through and through, and therefore always subordinate to God, not equal to Him, or of the same substance as Him. The archbishop Alexander of Alexandria felt that this doctrine was dangerous and immediately took steps to stamp it out. In 320 AD, Arius arraigned in front of nearly a hundred bishops from Egypt, Libya, and Tripolitania, and was excommunicated as a heretic, but the Arian doctrine had spread like wildfire. Arius, it turns out, was an incredibly good publicist. Rabble-rousing speeches were given on the streets, flyers were handed out, slogans chalked on the walls, and he even wrote songs and jingles that people couldn't get out of their heads, much like commercials today. People would sing and whistle them in the streets. It's hard to imagine this today. Anyone out preaching at the top of their lungs on the streets, trying to get the populace going about Jesus would be looked at as weird today, and people would steer far clear of them. But in those days, the whole Greek-speaking world was passionate about theology and everyone had an opinion. People were either for or against Arius. He had developed quite a following. He fled Alexandria after his excommunication, but didn't stop. He appeared before two synods in Asia Minor. Both declared overwhelmingly in his favor. Within a couple years, he was in Alexandria again, demanding his job back.
Finally, Constantine, seeing a serious threat to Roman unity, decided to intervene. In 324, he created a universal Council of the Church, with delegates from East and West who held the highest authority, so there would be no need to dispute its rulings. No more local synods to threaten unity. He even chose to chair the organization. In 325, the Council of Nicaea came together to decide the matter of Arianism vs Trinitarianism once and for all. Trinitarianism refers to the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, all being of one substance, co-equal, and co-eternal. As the bishops argued, Constantine did his best to calm matters, urging unity, and encouraging compromise. He even added a word to the document, homoousios, meaning "of one substance," which pretty much sealed the argument against Arianism. The Nicene creed was written, and is still recited in many churches today. Arius and his remaining followers were condemned, his writings placed under anathema (formal denouncement of the doctrine) and were ordered to be burnt. Arius was exiled to Illyricum, the Roman province running along the Dalmatian coast, and forbidden to return to Alexandria. However, he was soon back in Nicomedia (current-day Izmit, Turkey), still causing problems for the authorities. Constantine finally had him summoned to Constantinople in 336 AD for further investigation of his beliefs, and it is here that he died. Ironically, Constantine died a year later, and on his deathbed, was finally baptized...by an Arian priest...
The death of Arius did not, however, end Arianism. It was still a widespread belief throughout the empire, until, in 381 AD, the emperor Theodosius the Great, a fanatical anti-Arian Spaniard, summoned the second Ecumenical Council, where he issued a general ban on all pagan and heretical cults. Heresy (any at all) would now be a crime against the state. The Jews became heavily persecuted for their role in the crucifixion of Christ, and Arianism was virtually wiped off the map of the Empire, although it was still widely accepted among the Germanic tribes for at least another 300 years.
The Fight for Papal Supremacy
The bishops of Rome steadily gained power, developing a quasi-monarchical position in the West. The emperor, mostly involved in the East, exempted the church from taxes and granted the bishops jurisdiction over matters of faith and civil law. Damasus I, Bishop of Rome from 366-384, was known for commissioning the Vulgate Bible, which was a new, and vastly superior translation of the Bible into Latin. He also seems to be the first pope on record to use the declaration in Matthew 16:18 to claim an "apostolic" seat and support his claims of power. I think it's important to remember that the original Greek that the New Testament was written in loses something in translation to Latin. Latin does not have the subtle nuances that Greek has, and I can understand why Damasus may have made that mistake, thinking Peter was the Rock. But that doesn't change the fact that it was a mistake. His successor, Siricius (384-399) was the first to use the title "Pope," giving it much of the same significance it has today, and after him, Pope Innocent I (401-417) insisted that all important matters discussed at synods be submitted to himself for a final decision. Of course, in the East, he was ignored. All important matters were sent to the emperor, and HE made the final decision. However, the bishops of Rome had begun to come of age. They were using Latin, not Greek, for their liturgy, and as popes, they were coming to find themselves in their new role as defenders of Rome.
Pope Leo the Great
Pope Leo I (440-461), also known as Leo the Great because he was able to keep Attila the Hun from attacking Rome, was the next to experience a huge schism due to theology. He was another who claimed that papal authority was the authority of St. Peter himself, and that the pope was Peter's unworthy spokesman. He spread this message throughout the Western world, and attempted to also spread it to the East, that he and he alone was the guardian of orthodoxy. In the East, for over a century,there had already been a question regarding the nature - or natures - of Christ. Did he possess two separate natures, both human and divine, or did he possess only one, and if one, which? A man named Nestorian, the Archbishop of Constantinople for a time, had already been deposed in a council at Ephesus in 430 AD for his belief that Jesus had two separate and very independent natures, both human and divine, that they were two persons loosely united in the person of Jesus. Later, in 431, a man named Eutyches, an archimandrite at Constantinople, came forward with the view that Jesus had only one nature, that his human nature was absorbed into the divine. This belief was called monophysitism. He was found guilty of heresy, condemned, and degraded. He then turned around and appealed to Pope Leo, the emperor Theodosius, and the monks at Constantinople, which unleashed a whirlwind of ferocity. For the next several years, the church was in an uproar, summoning councils, discrediting other councils, unseating and restoring bishops to power, and curses and anathemas being thrown back and forth between Rome and Constantinople, Ephesus and Alexandria. Pope Leo sent a copy of his Tome to the Bishop Flavian, a successor to Nestorian. He felt this established once and for all that Christ has two natures, human and divine, that coexist. This finding was upheld by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and monophysitism was condemned in all of its forms. All of this reminds me of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 3:3-9, 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. In other words, stop worrying about what another person believes. If someone has planted a seed in your heart, and someone has watered that, that's great! But then, let God grow you, and let God grow that other person. No one else can do that.
Because Pope Leo took the initiative to go meet with Attila the Hun, rather than the emperor of Rome doing that, AND was successful at turning Attila and his armies away from Rome, and then later met with Gaiseric, the leader of the Vandals, and convinced him to spare the city and its citizens when it came in to plunder the loot, and again was successful, the pope established himself as a strong political leader. His vigorous pursuit of doctrinal purity in appealing for the Council of Chalcedon, and his administrative savvy led to his becoming known as Pope Leo the Great, and this built the foundation for the bishop of Rome to become the most powerful figure in the West during the Middle Ages.
Pope Leo died in 461 AD and became the first Bishop of Rome to be buried in St. Peter's Basilica. 15 years later, the last Western Roman emperor was killed and Odoacer the barbarian was crowned in his place. Odoacer wanted to rule as a patrician under Emperor Zeno in Constantinople, but Zeno had other plans. He was tired of the Ostrogoths in his kingdom and talked their ruler Theodoric into moving to Italy to unseat Odoacer and rule in his stead. Theodoric's aim all along had been to find a permanent home for his people, so early in 488, the Ostrogoths began the great westward migration. Odoacer put up a good fight, but Theodoric wore him down, and the two eventually agreed to rule jointly from Ravenna, sharing the palace. On March 15, 493, Theodoric invited Odoacer, his family, and his chief officers to his wing of the palace for a feast to seal their agreement. As Odoacer took his place of honor, Theodoric stepped forward and killed him with his sword, and dispatched the rest of his retinue shortly thereafter. For 33 years, he ruled mostly in peace and prosperity, but the pope and the emperor were none too happy about the fact that Theodoric was uncompromisingly Arian. Theodoric died in 526. One year later, Justinian I took the throne in Constantinople, and from the moment he came to power, he planned to bring Italy back to imperial power. It should also be pointed out that in 533 AD, Justinian had addressed the pope as “the head of all churches,” and again the same year he repeated a previous decision, that “all affairs touching the church shall be referred to the pope, 'Head of all bishops, and the true and effective corrector of heretics.' ” But in terms of bringing Italy back into imperial power, he felt there was no one better to accomplish this task than the Byzantine general Belisarius. In 535, Belisarius started toward Italy with an army of 7,500 men. He took Sicily without much struggle, then crossed the Strait of Messina, he took Naples, and finally, after a yearlong siege, he took Rome in 538.
A couple years prior, in 536 AD, Pope Agapetus I was visiting Constantinople, accompanied by his deacon, Vigilius, in an attempt to get Emperor Justinian to call of his attack on Rome. Unfortunately, while he was there, Agapetus died. Vigilius was fully expecting to be named his successor, but found out that another man, Silverius, had been named in his place back in Rome. Vigilius was furious. He decided to cozy up to Justinian's wife, Theodora, to get her assistance in becoming Pope. Theodora was a devout believer in monophysitism, so he agreed that once he was pope, he would overthrow the decree from the Council of Chalcedon that named monophysitism heretical. She was friends with Silverius, so she sent word to him from Constantinople, asking for his assistance with the war effort. Silverius had wanted nothing to do with the war. Every time the Ostrogoths got close to the walls, he would close the gates, and the same for every time Belisarius' army, when they got close. On Theodora's request, when Belisarius' back was to the gate, Silverius let him in, and was promptly removed from his post. Vigilius slid in, neat as you please, in 537, under the military protection of Belisarius. However, he had no intention of doing anything about the order that had been passed at the Council of Chalcedon. As far as he was concerned, monophysitism was still heretical.
After Belisarius took Rome in 538 AD, he still needed to go after Ravenna in order to take back all of Italy. The new Ostrogothic King Vitiges offered to give the city over if Belisarius agreed to become the new Western emperor. Just to end the war, Belisarius agreed, but he was extremely loyal to Justinian and had no intention of holding any power of his own. He began the trip back to Constantinople in 540, although he had to return to stamp out some uprisings from the Ostrogoths before they were completely vanquished. When all was said and done, the Western Roman Empire was left without an emperor to take charge. The people needed a leader, and in the days of Pope Leo, the papacy had already established itself capable of political rule, as well as spiritual.
Vigilius and Justinian never did see eye to eye, and due to some very poor choices and dishonesty, starting with using Theodora to get onto the papal throne, Vigilius made a mess of things for the papacy. He lost the respect of many of his peers. The holy sees in Milan and Aquileia completely broke off ties to Rome, and it was a good 50 years before they could reestablish a relationship with Milan, and closer to 150 years before Aquileia was willing to return.
In the next section, we will be looking into the Catholic church and its fight to become the dominant Christian religion in all of Europe and Asia. Please stay tuned!
9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. 11 It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the LORD; it took away the daily sacrifice from the LORD, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 Because of rebellion, the LORD’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. 23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” 3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come. 9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. 12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” 15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”
33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.