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    • 9th Century • 800--On Christmas day Charlemagne (Charles the Great, c. 742-814) is crowned the first "Holy Roman Emperor" by Pope Leo at St. Peters in Rome. Charlemagne noted for military conquests, strong central government, ecclesiastic reform and educational patronage. • 831--Radbertus (c. 790-865) publishes first writing in the West on the Eucharist. It provokes controversy and anticipates later Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. • John Scotus Erigena (c. 810-877), one of greatest theologians of early middle ages, helps pave way for scholasticism. Involved in eucharistic controversy with Radbertus and maintains in the supper we partake of the Lord "mentally not dentally." • Anskar (801-865), "Apostle of the North," lays foundation for Christianity in Scandinavia. • Significant missionary efforts make further inroads among heathen peoples of Europe. Cyril (826-869) and Methodius (c. 815-885), the "Apostles of the Slavs," work in Moravia and invent an alphabet for the Slavs. • Photius (c. 820-895), a renowned scholar and layman, made Patriarch of Constantinople in 858. Later deposed and reinstated at least twice. Conflicts with pope and Rome over spiritual jurisdiction and doctrine ("filioque controversy") foreshadow deepening rift and eventual split between churches in East and West. • Alfred the Great is King of Wessex in England. Translated Christian writings into the language of the common people. Set up a palace school and founded two monasteries. Devoted half his time and money to religious purposes.
    • 8th Century • 731--The "Venerable Bede" (c. 673-735) completes his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. • Spain is invaded by the Moors, Moslems from North Africa; Charles Martel defeats them at the Battle of Tours in 732--a decisive juncture in Christian resistance to Moslem advance. • Boniface of England is a missionary to the Germans for 40 years. Finally is murdered by pagans in 754. • Iconoclastic controversy over the veneration of images divides the Byzantine Emperor and the Pope. • Papacy asserts its earthly rule and establishes the papal states in Italy. Pope Leo III (d. 816) separates from the Eastern Empire and becomes supreme bishop in the West. • Charlemagne becomes sole King of the Franks in 771; later is crowned "Holy Roman Emperor," establishing dream of a kingdom with a Christian king. • Nestorian Christians in China develop missionary activities and build Christian monasteries. • Schools for church music are established at Paris, Cologne, Soissin, and Metz. • 781--Alcuin of York, England becomes advisor to Charlemagne and catalyzes the "Carolingian Renaissance." • 793--The North Men invade Lindisfarne and invade Iona in 795.
    • 7th Century • 600-636--Isidore, Bishop of Seville. His writings provide invaluable and encyclopedic knowledge for the Middle Ages. He is known for important efforts to resist barbarism and heresy in Spain, found schools and convents and evangelize Jews. • 609--Pagan pantheon in Rome consecrated as church of St. Maria Rotunda. As part of the dedication, Pope Boniface (609-610) confirmed All Saints' Day. • Organs begin to be used in churches. Church bells are used to call people to worship and to give the hours to the monks in the monasteries. • Learning flourishes in Anglo-Saxon monasteries • 648--Emperor Constans II issues "The Typos" limiting Christian teachings to that defined in first five ecumenical councils. Pope Martin I (d. 655) refuses to sign Typos. Martin is seized and banished to Crimea and dies. He is last pope to be venerated as a martyr. • 664--After conflict between the original Celtic church and the Roman missionaries, England adopts the Roman Catholic faith at the Synod of Whitby. • Mohammed (c. 570-629) begins the religion of Islam, which begins to supplant Christianity across the Middle East and North Africa. • 638--Islamic capture of Jerusalem • 690--Two Anglo-Saxon bishops, Kilian and Willibrord, carry on extensive evangelistic mission on the continent among the Franks.
    • 6th Century We are now in the early Middle Ages. Frankly, this, the longest era in Christian history, is the one we find most difficult to grasp and interpret. It seems such an alien time, yet there was an amazing and gradual progression that paved the way for us to receive the gospel. Then, as now, the pure molten gold of the gospel went forth in crucibles of iron. At the risk of gross oversimplification, let me suggest ten "M" words to give some overview hooks for the Middle Ages: As one who has always had difficulty understanding monks and popes, this by historian Norman Cantor has given me much to think about: The Latin church was preserved from extinction, and European civilization with it, by the two ecclesiastical institutions that alone had the strength and efficiency to withstand the impress of the surrounding barbarism: ...monasticism and the papacy. • 529--Responding to growing secularization of the church, Benedict of Nursia establishes monastery of Monte Cassino and the Benedictine Order. Benedict's "Rule" for monks (c. 540) will become the most influential over future centuries. • 530-532--Boniface II, first pope of Germanic ancestry • Church and State are becoming more closely intertwined. Emperor Justinian (483-565) closes 1,000-year-old School of Philosophy in Athens 529, issues Code of Civil Laws reflecting Christian morals, sends missionaries as spies to China to smuggle out silkworms, reconquers N. Africa from the Vandals. • Church buildings become more monumental. Justinian builds Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, dedicated to Christ as the "Holy Wisdom." Constructed 532-537. • Dionysius Exiquus (d. c. 550), a monk in Rome, establishes modern system of dating, using events after Christ as "Anno Domini," in the year of our Lord. (He missed the date of Christ's birth by a few years.) • Columba (c. 521-597) goes as missionary to Scotland. Mission headquarters at Iona. • Conversion of barbarian groups continues. Recared, Visigoth King in Spain and an Arian, becomes Roman Catholic. • By the end of century the Western church tolerates magic and other manifestations of pagan spirituality as diverse cultures are incorporated into the church. • Pope Gregory the Great ((c.540-604) gives the mass much of the shape it has today.
    • 5th Century As the barbarians increasingly threatened the Empire, sacking the city of Rome, Augustine wrote City of God (413-426), showing that the true movement of history was the unseen conflict between sin and salvation, between the city of man and the kingdom of God. • Nestorianism spreads in the eastern church, emphasizing a distinction between Christ's human and divine natures. Chalcedon creed describes Jesus Christ as fully human and fully divine, with the two natures existing together without confusion. • As the emperor's power declines, the Bishop of Rome's increases. Pope Leo I (440-461) negotiates and saves Rome from Attila the Hun (452). He asserts authority over other bishops, claiming bishop of Rome is successor to Apostle Peter. • Patrick (c. 390-460) sold as slave at age 16. He later escapes, goes to Ireland where he undertakes monumental mission. • 496--Frankish King Clovis converted to Christianity and baptized. Conquers half of France and paves the way for Charlemagne's "Holy Roman Empire." • Church calendar with the Christian year begins to be in place. Cult of martyrs and relics widespread, and glorification of Virgin Mary grows. Incense is first introduced into a Christian church service in the West. • With upheavals and disintegration of secular society, church hierarchy becomes more established and influential.
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