What was the Role of the Medieval Roman Catholicism in Christianity?
Published 25 Apr 2017
Jesus is the Lord of Christianity who was born as a Jew two thousand years ago in Palestine, a Roman colonized nation. He was a Jew yet, the Christianity, which he instituted, had been established in Europe known as Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. After his resurrection, his followers through his disciples spread the new faith that despite persecution for three hundred years, the faith became an official religion of the Roman Empire. Since then, Christianity continued to define and organize itself from the first century onward (Fishers, p. 280). The spread of Christianity as the world’s largest religion can be attributed to the Roman Catholicism because their conversion led to the strengthening of the Christian faith. Fishers accounted the vital roles that Roman Catholicism had in the growth of Christianity especially at the fall of Roman Empire in 4th century AD.
The medieval period marked the crucial role of the Roman Catholics in Christianity especially with the rise of Protestantism. Here, it is important to define Christianity, as during this time, Orthodoxy and Protestantism is both sect of Christianity. William C. Clark (2006) in his introduction pointed out that the concept of bishop and his role in church hierarchy was one of the contributions of the Roman Catholicism in Christianity in the same way that it did to Orthodox Christianity (p. xl). Clark noted that despite that concept of church hierarchy seemed to be evident in the apostolic times, “there is little evidence of an established church hierarchy before the late third and or early fourth century A.D.” (Clark 2006, p. xl).
Furthermore, the roles of medieval Roman Catholicism to Christianity were the “conversion of the migrating hordes of Teutonic tribes to Christianity and the integration of the Greco-Roman culture and Christianity with Teutonic institutions (Cairns, E. 1994 p.26). According to Cairns, the Roman Empire at this time was in danger of falling into Islam, a rival religion that “took much of its territory in Asia and Africa (Cairns p. 26). With the effort of Gregory I alliance between the pope and Teutonic was established that paved the way for the rise to the throne of the old Roman Empire the Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne.
During 1054-1305, the great contribution of medieval Roman Catholicism to Christianity was the rise to prominence of the Roman Catholic religion that had helped spread the Christian faith under Gregory VII and Innocent III. Cairns cited that during this time, Thomas Aquinas integrated with Christianity the Greek learning of Aristotle brought by the Arabs of Spain to Europe, which became the theology of the Roman Catholicism expressed through intellectual cathedral or as the so-called “a Bible in stone” for the faithful (Cairns 2006, p. 26). This marked the beginning of the construction of beautiful religious buildings of the Roman Catholicism.
Overall, the role of the medieval Roman Catholicism to Christianity can be seen in three categories namely; the establishment of the hierarchy in the church, the spread of the Christian Faith, and the rise of the intellectual cathedral that served as “the Bible in stone” for the believers. These roles had greatly served the church to become more prominent, more organized, and more accommodating. These roles had a lasting impact on the church that it remains the structure both in the Roman Catholicism and even in most protestant churches. However, the medieval Roman Catholicism
- Guisepi, Robert (ed.) Christianity, Roman Catholicismn http://history-world.org/roman_catholicism.htm
- Cairns, E. (2006) Christianity Through the Centuries USA: Zondervan Publishing
- Clark, W. (2005) Medieval Cathedrals USA: Greenwood Press
- Fishers, Mary Pat (1997) Living Religions: An Encyclopaedia of the World’s Faiths. B. Tauris.