Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine Emperor who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the theme of Macedonia, he rose in the Imperial court, he entered into the service of Theophilitzes, a relative of Emperor Michael III, was given a fortune by the wealthy Danielis. He gained the favour of Michael III, whose mistress he married on the emperor's orders, was proclaimed co-emperor in 866, he ordered the assassination of Michael the next year. Despite his humble origins, he showed great ability in running the affairs of state, he was the founder of the Macedonian dynasty. He was succeeded upon his death by his son Leo VI. Basil was born to peasant parents in late 811 at Chariopolis in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia; the name of his father was Bardas, the name of his grandfather was Maïktes. His ethnic origin is unknown, has been a subject of debate. During Basil's reign, an elaborate genealogy was produced that purported that his ancestors were not mere peasants, as everyone believed, but descendants of the Arsacid kings of Armenia, of Constantine the Great.
The Armenian historians Samuel of Ani and Stephen of Taron record that he hailed from the village of Thil in Taron. In contrast, Persian writers such as Hamza al-Isfahani, or al-Tabari call both Basil and his mother Saqlabi, an ethnogeographic term that denoted the Slavs, but can be interpreted as a generic term encompassing the inhabitants of the region between Constantinople and Bulgaria. Claims have therefore been made for an Armenian, Slavic, or indeed "Armeno-Slavonic" origin for Basil I; the name of his mother points to a Greek origin on the maternal side. The general scholarly consensus is that Basil's father was "probably" of Armenian origin, settled in Byzantine Thrace; the author of the only dedicated biography of Basil I in English has concluded that it is impossible to be certain what the ethnic origins of the emperor were, though Basil was reliant on the support of Armenians in prominent positions within the Byzantine Empire. One story asserts that he had spent a part of his childhood in captivity in Bulgaria, where his family had been carried off as captives of the Khan Krum in 813.
Basil lived there until 836, when he and several others escaped to Byzantine-held territory in Thrace. Basil was lucky enough to enter the service of Theophilitzes, a relative of the Caesar Bardas, as a groom. While serving Theophilitzes, he visited the city of Patras, where he gained the favour of Danielis, a wealthy woman who took him into her household and endowed him with a fortune, he earned the notice of Michael III by his abilities as a horse tamer and in winning a victory over a Bulgarian champion in a wrestling match. Symeon Magister describes Basil as "... most outstanding in bodily form and heavy set. On Emperor Michael's orders, Basil divorced his wife Maria and married Eudokia Ingerina, Michael's favourite mistress, in around 865. During an expedition against the Arabs, Basil convinced Michael III that his uncle Bardas coveted the Byzantine throne, subsequently murdered Bardas with Michael's approval on April 21, 866. Basil became the leading personality at court and was invested in the now vacant dignity of kaisar, before being crowned co-emperor on May 26, 866.
This promotion may have included Basil's adoption by himself a much younger man. It was believed that Leo VI, Basil's successor and reputed son, was the son of Michael. Although Basil seems to have shared this belief, the subsequent promotion of Basil to caesar and co-emperor provided the child with a legitimate and Imperial parent and secured his succession to the Byzantine throne; when Leo was born, Michael III celebrated the event with public chariot races, whilst he pointedly instructed Basil not to presume on his new position as junior emperor. When Michael III started to favour another courtier, Basil decided that his position was being undermined. Michael threatened to invest Basiliskianos with the Imperial title and this induced Basil to pre-empt events by organizing the assassination of Michael on the night of September 23/24, 867. Michael and Basiliskianos were insensibly drunk following a banquet at the palace of Anthimos when Basil, with a small group of companions, gained entry.
The locks to the chamber doors had been tampered with and the chamberlain had not posted guards. On Michael III's death, Basil, as an acclaimed co-emperor, automatically became the ruling basileus. Basil I became an effective and respected monarch, ruling for 19 years, despite being a man with no formal education and little military or administrative experience. Moreover, he had been the boon companion of a debauched monarch and had achieved power through a series of calculated murders; that there was little political reaction to the murder of Michael III is due to his unpopularity with the bureaucrats of Constantinople because of his disinterest in the administrative duties of the Imperial office. Michael's public displays of impiety had alienated the Byzantine populace in general. Once in power Basil s
Pope Adrian II
Pope Adrian II was Pope from 14 December 867 to his death in 872. He was a member of a noble Roman family who became pope despite his objections, he maintained, but with less energy, the policies of his predecessor Nicholas I. Lothar II, king of Lotharingia, who died in 869, left Adrian to mediate between the Frankish kings with a view to assuring the Holy Roman Emperor Louis II the inheritance of Lothar II, Louis's brother. Adrian sought to maintain good relations with Louis, since the latter's campaigns in southern Italy had the potential to free the papacy from the threat posed by the Muslims. Photius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, shortly after the council in which he had pronounced sentence of deposition against Pope Nicholas I, was driven from the patriarchate by a new emperor, Basil the Macedonian, who favoured his rival Ignatius. An Ecumenical Council was convoked as the Fourth Council of Constantinople to decide this matter. At this council Adrian was represented by legates who presided at the condemnation of Photius as a heretic, but did not succeed in coming to an understanding with Ignatius on the subject of jurisdiction over the Bulgarian church.
Like his predecessor Nicholas I, Adrian was forced to submit in temporal affairs to the interference of the emperor Louis II, who placed him under the surveillance of Arsenius, bishop of Orte, his confidential adviser, Arsenius' nephew Anastasius, the librarian. Adrian had in his youth married a woman named Stephania, by whom he had a daughter, both were still living at his election, following which they lived with him in the Lateran Palace. In 868, they were carried off and murdered by Arsenius' son Eleutherius, who had forcibly married the daughter. Adrian died in 872 after five years as pope. Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Latina with analytical indexes List of Catholic saints List of popes Dvornik, Francis; the Photian Schism: History and Legend. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Siecienski, Anthony Edward; the Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195372045. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Adrian s.v. II". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1. Cambridge University Press. P. 215. Loughlin, James Francis. "Pope Adrian II". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company
First Vatican Council
The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This, the twentieth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned on 20 October 1870. Unlike the five earlier general councils held in Rome, which met in the Lateran Basilica and are known as Lateran councils, it met in the Vatican Basilica, hence its name, its best-known decision is its definition of papal infallibility. The council was convoked to deal with the contemporary problems of the rising influence of rationalism and materialism, its purpose was, besides this. There was discussion and approval of only two constitutions: the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith and the First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, the latter dealing with the primacy and infallibility of the Bishop of Rome; the first matter brought up for debate was the dogmatic draft of Catholic doctrine against the manifold errors due to rationalism.
The Council condemned rationalism, liberalism and materialism. The Catholic Church was on the defensive against the main ideology of the XIX century; this council was summoned by Pope Pius IX by a bull on 29 June 1868. The first session was held in St. Peter's Basilica on 8 December 1869. Preliminary sessions dealt with committee assignments. Bishop Bernard John McQuaid complained of inadequate heating facilities and boredom. Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley of Newark, New Jersey, noted the high prices in Rome; when Lord Houghton asked Cardinal Manning what had been going on, he answered:“Well, we meet, we look at one another, we talk a little, but when we want to know what we have been doing, we read the Times”. The doctrine of papal infallibility was not new and had been used by Pope Pius in defining as dogma, in 1854, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, the proposal to define papal infallibility itself as dogma met with resistance, not because of doubts about the substance of the proposed definition, but because some considered it inopportune to take that step at that time.
Richard McBrien divides the bishops attending Vatican I into three groups. The first group, which McBrien calls the "active infallibilists", was led by Henry Edward Manning and Ignatius von Senestréy. According to McBrien, the majority of the bishops were not so much interested in a formal definition of papal infallibility as they were in strengthening papal authority and, because of this, were willing to accept the agenda of the infallibilists. A minority, some 10 per cent of the bishops, McBrien says, opposed the proposed definition of papal infallibility on both ecclesiastical and pragmatic grounds, because, in their opinion, it departed from the ecclesiastical structure of the early Christian church. From a pragmatic perspective, they feared that defining papal infallibility would alienate some Catholics, create new difficulties for union with non-Catholics, provoke interference by governments in ecclesiastical affairs; those who held this view included most of the German and Austro-Hungarian bishops, nearly half of the Americans, one third of the French, most of the Chaldaeans and Melkites, a few Armenians.
Only a few bishops appear to have had doubts about the dogma itself. On 24 April 1870, the dogmatic constitution on the Catholic faith Dei Filius was adopted unanimously; the draft presented to the council on 8 March drew no serious criticism, but a group of 35 English-speaking bishops, who feared that the opening phrase of the first chapter, "Sancta romana catholica Ecclesia", might be construed as favouring the Anglican branch theory succeeded in having an additional adjective inserted, so that the final text read: "Sancta catholica apostolica romana Ecclesia". The constitution thus set forth the teaching of the "Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church" on God and faith. There was stronger opposition to the draft constitution on the nature of the church, which at first did not include the question of papal infallibility, but the majority party in the council, whose position on this matter was much stronger, brought it forward, it was decided to postpone discussion of everything in the draft except infallibility.
The decree did not go forward without controversy. The Pope rejected Guidi's view of the bishops as witnesses to the tradition, maintaining that "I am the tradition."On 13 July 1870, a preliminary vote on the section on infallibility was held in a general congregation: 451 voted in favour, 88 against, 62 in favour but on condition of some amendment. This made evident what the final outcome would be, some 60 members of the opposition left Rome so as not to be associated with approval of the document; the final vote, with a choice only between placet and non placet, was taken on 18 July 1870, with 433 votes in favour and only 2 against defining as a dogma the infallibility of the pope when speaking ex cathedra. The two votes in opposition were cast by Bishop Edward Fitzgerald; the dogmatic constitution states that the Pope has "full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church".
First seven ecumenical councils
In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. These seven events represented an attempt by Church leaders to reach an orthodox consensus, restore peace and develop a unified Christendom. Eastern Orthodox Christians, Oriental Orthodox Christians, the Church of the East, Old Catholic, Roman Catholics, all trace the legitimacy of their clergy by apostolic succession back to this period and beyond, to the earlier period referred to as Early Christianity; this era begins with the First Council of Nicaea, which enunciated the Nicene Creed that in its original form and as modified by the First Council of Constantinople of 381 was seen by all councils as the touchstone of orthodoxy on the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church accept all seven of these councils as legitimate ecumenical councils. The Oriental Orthodox Churches accept only the first three, while the Church of the East accepts only the first two. There is one additional council, held between the sixth and seventh ecumenical councils, which issued organizational and canonical rules but did not discuss theology, it is accepted as ecumenical by the Eastern Orthodox Church alone, however the Eastern Orthodox do not give it a number, but rather count it as a continuation of the sixth council. The Catholic Church does not accept the Quinisext Council, but both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church consider that there have been more ecumenical councils after the first seven; these seven ecumenical councils are: Emperor Constantine convened this council to settle a controversial issue, the relation between Jesus Christ and God the Father. The Emperor wanted to establish universal agreement on it.
Representatives came from across the Empire, subsidized by the Emperor. Previous to this council, the bishops would hold local councils, such as the Council of Jerusalem, but there had been no universal, or ecumenical, council; the council drew up the original Nicene Creed, which received nearly unanimous support. The council's description of "God's only-begotten Son", Jesus Christ, as of the same substance with God the Father became a touchstone of Christian Trinitarianism; the council addressed the issue of dating Easter, recognised the right of the See of Alexandria to jurisdiction outside of its own province and the prerogatives of the churches in Antioch and the other provinces and approved the custom by which Jerusalem was honoured, but without the metropolitan dignity. The Council was opposed by the Arians, Constantine tried to reconcile Arius, after whom Arianism is named, with the Church; when Arius died in 336, one year before the death of Constantine, the controversy continued, with various separate groups espousing Arian sympathies in one way or another.
In 359, a double council of Eastern and Western bishops affirmed a formula stating that the Father and the Son were similar in accord with the scriptures, the crowning victory for Arianism. The opponents of Arianism rallied, the First Council of Constantinople in 381 marked the final victory of Nicene orthodoxy within the Empire, though Arianism had by spread to the Germanic tribes, among whom it disappeared after the conversion of the Franks to Christianity in 496. In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans. Little else is known. For example, it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, that Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta and Codex Alexandrinus, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles; the council approved what the current form of the Nicene Creed as used in most Oriental Orthodox churches is.
The Eastern Orthodox Church uses the council's text but with the verbs expressing belief in the singular: Πιστεύω instead of Πιστεύομεν. The Latin Rite of the Catholic Church uses the singular and, except in Greek, adds two phrases, Deum de Deo and Filioque; the form used by the Armenian Apostolic Church, part of Oriental Orthodoxy, has many more additions. This fuller creed may have existed before the Council and originated from the baptismal creed of Constantinople; the council condemned Apollinarism, the teaching that there was no human mind or soul in Christ. It granted Constantinople honorary precedence over all churches save Rome; the council did not include Western bishops or Roman legates, but it was accepted as ecumenical in the West. Theodosius II called the council to settle the christological controversy surrounding Nestorianism. Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, opposed use of the term Theotokos; this term had long been used by orthodox writers, it was gaining popularity along with devotion to Mary as Mother of God.
He taught that there were two separate persons in the incarnate Christ, though whether he taught this is disputed. The council deposed Nestorius, repudiated Nestorianism, proclaimed the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos. After quoting t
Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period. This diocese is one of the few for which the names of its bishops from the apostolic beginnings have been preserved. Today five churches use the title of Patriarch of Antioch: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Maronite Church. There has been a Latin Patriarch of Antioch. According to church tradition, this ancient Patriarchate was founded by the Apostle Saint Peter; the patriarchal succession was disputed at the time of the Meletian schism in 362 and again after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when there were rival Melkite and non-Chalcedonian claimants to the see. After a 7th-century succession dispute in the Melkite church, the Maronites began appointing a Maronite Patriarch as well.
After the First Crusade, the Catholic Church began appointing a Latin Rite Patriarch of Antioch, though this became titular after the Fall of Antioch in 1268, was abolished in 1964. In the 18th century, succession disputes in the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Churches of Antioch led to factions of those churches entering into communion with Rome under claimants to the patriarchate: the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and the Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, respectively, their Orthodox counterparts are the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, respectively. In Roman times, Antioch was the principal city of the Roman Province of Syria, the fourth largest city of the Roman Empire, after Rome and Alexandria, it was in the city of Antioch. According to church tradition, Saint Peter established the church in Antioch, was the city's first bishop, before going to Rome to found the Church there. Ignatius of Antioch, counted as the third bishop of the city, was a prominent apostolic father.
By the 4th century, the bishop of Antioch had become the most senior bishop in a region covering modern-day eastern Turkey, Lebanon and Palestine, Jordan and Iran. His hierarchy served the largest number of Christians in the known world at that time; the Synods of Antioch met at a basilica named for Julian the Martyr. Despite being overshadowed in ecclesiastical authority by the Patriarch of Constantinople in the years of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Antiochene Patriarch remained the most independent and trusted of the Eastern Patriarchs; the Antiochene church was a centre of Christian learning, second only to Alexandria. In contrast to the Hellenistic-influenced Christology of Alexandria and Constantinople, Antiochene theology was influenced by Rabbinic Judaism and other modes of Semitic thought—emphasizing the single, transcendent divine substance, which in turn led to adoptionism in certain extremes, to the clear distinction of two natures of Christ: one human, the other divine. Lastly, compared to the Patriarchates in Constantinople and Alexandria which for various reasons became mired in the theology of imperial state religion, many of its Patriarchs managed to straddle the divide between the controversies of Christology and imperial unity through its piety and straightforward grasp of early Christian thought, rooted in its primitive Church beginnings.
The Christological controversies that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451 resulted in a long struggle for the Patriarchate between those who accepted and those who rejected the Council. The issue came to a head in 512, when a synod was convened in Sidon by the non-Chalcedonians, which resulted in Flavian II being replaced as Patriarch by Severus; the non-Chalcedonians under Severus came to be called the Syriac Orthodox Church, which has continued to appoint its own Syriac Patriarchs of Antioch. The Chalcedonians refused to recognise the dismissal and continued to recognise Flavian as Patriarch forming a rival church. From 518, on the death of Flavian and the appointment of his successor, the Chalcedonian Church became known as the Byzantine Church of Antioch. In the Middle Ages, as the Byzantine Church of Antioch became more and more dependent on Constantinople, it began to use the Byzantine rite; the internal schisms such as that over Monophysitism were followed by the Islamic conquests which began in the late 7th century, resulting in the Patriarch's ecclesiastical authority becoming entangled in the politics of imperial authority and Islamic hegemony.
Being considered independent of both Byzantine Imperial and Arab Muslim power but in essence occupied by both, the de facto power of the Antiochene patriarchs faded. Additionally, the city suffered several natural disasters including major earthquakes throughout the 4th and 6th centuries and anti-Christian conquests beginning with the Zoroastrian Persians in the 6th century the Muslim Arabs in the 7th century the Muslim Seljuks in the 11th century; the Great Schism began in 1054, though problems had been encountered for centuries. Cardinal Humbert, legate of the deceased Pope Leo IX, entered the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople during the Divine Liturgy and presented Ecumenical Patriarch Michael I Cerularius with a bull of excommunication; the patriarch, in turn, excommunicated the deceased Leo IX a
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history; the ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and the resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the politics of the Orthodox world, in spreading Christianity among the Slavs. In addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and the Eastern Orthodox doctrine, the patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions.
Within the five apostolic sees of the Pentarchy, the Ecumenical Patriarch is regarded as the successor of Andrew the Apostle. The current holder of the office is Bartholomew I, the 270th bishop of that see; the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is first among equals, or first in honor among all Eastern Orthodox bishops, who presides in person—or through a delegate—over any council of Orthodox primates or bishops in which he takes part and serves as primary spokesman for the Orthodox communion in ecumenical contacts with other Christian denominations. He has no direct jurisdiction over the other patriarchs or the other autocephalous Orthodox churches, but he, alone among his fellow primates, enjoys the right of convening extraordinary synods consisting of them or their delegates to deal with ad hoc situations and has convened well-attended Pan-Orthodox Synods in the last forty years, his unique role sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in some sources, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate.
The Orthodox Church is decentralized, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role, having synodical system canonically, is distinguished from the hierarchically organized Catholic Church whose doctrine is the papal supremacy. His titles primus inter pares "first among equals" and "Ecumenical Patriarch" are of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan; the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the direct administrative superior of dioceses and archdioceses serving millions of Greek, Ukrainian and Albanian believers in North and South America, Western Europe and New Zealand, Korea, as well as parts of modern Greece which, for historical reasons, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Church of Greece. The Orthodox Church in America, while acknowledging the Ecumenical Patriarch's role in "guiding and preserving the worldwide unity of the family of self-governing Orthodox Churches" emphasizes that he carries no sacramental or juridical power over bishops outside of his own Patriarchate, further states that "it is possible that in the future this function may pass to some other church."His actual position is Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, one of the fourteen autocephalous and several autonomous churches and the most senior of the four orthodox ancient primatial sees among the five patriarchal Christian centers comprising the ancient Pentarchy of the undivided Church.
In his role as head of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, he holds the title Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is sometimes called the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople to distinguish him from the Armenian Patriarchate and the extinct Latin Patriarchate, created after the Latin capture of Constantinople in 1204, during the Fourth Crusade; the see of Byzantium, whose foundation was ascribed to Andrew the Apostle, was a common bishopric. It gained importance when Emperor Constantine elevated Byzantium to a second capital alongside Rome and named it Constantinople; the see's ecclesiastical status as the second of five Patriarchates were developed by the Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople in 381 and Chalcedon in 451. The Turkish government recognizes him as the spiritual leader of the Greek minority in Turkey, refer to him as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Fener; the Patriarch was subject to the authority of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, until the declaration of Turkish Republic in 1923.
Today, according to Turkish law, he is subject to the authority of the state of Turkey and is required to be a citizen of Turkey to be Patriarch. The Patriarch of Constantinople has been dubbed the Ecumenical Patriarch since the 6th century; the exact significance of the style, used for other prelates since the middle of the 5th century, is nowhere defined but, according to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, the title has been criticized in the Catholic Church as incompatible with its own claims by the Holy See. The monastic communities of Mount Athos are stauropegic and are directly under the jurisdiction of Ecumenical Patriarch, the only bishop with jur
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of central Europe during the Early Middle Ages, he was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire, he was canonized by Antipope Paschal III. Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage, he became king in 768 following his father's death as co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom, he continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden.
He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica. Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe", as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule, his rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire, as did the French and German monarchies. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church views Charlemagne more controversially, labelling as heterodox his support of the filioque and the Pope's recognition of him as legitimate Roman Emperor rather than Irene of Athens of the Byzantine Empire; these and other machinations led to the eventual split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054. Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for 14 years and as king for 46 years.
He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son Louis the Pious survived to succeed him. By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the Franks had been Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion of Clovis I. Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire. Following the Battle of Tertry, the Merovingians declined into powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the rois fainéants. All government powers were exercised by their chief officer, the mayor of the palace. In 687, Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the strife between various kings and their mayors with his victory at Tertry, he became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom. Pepin was the grandson of two important figures of the Austrasian Kingdom: Saint Arnulf of Metz and Pepin of Landen. Pepin of Herstal was succeeded by his son Charles known as Charles Martel.
After 737, Charles declined to call himself king. Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. In 743, the brothers placed Childeric III on the throne to curb separatism in the periphery, he was the last Merovingian king. Carloman resigned office in 746. Pepin brought the question of the kingship before Pope Zachary, asking whether it was logical for a king to have no royal power; the pope handed down his decision in 749, decreeing that it was better for Pepin to be called king, as he had the powers of high office as Mayor, so as not to confuse the hierarchy. He, ordered him to become the true king. In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by the archbishop, raised to the office of king; the Pope ordered him into a monastery. The Merovingian dynasty was thereby replaced by the Carolingian dynasty, named after Charles Martel. In 753, Pope Stephen II fled from Italy to Francia, appealing to Pepin for assistance for the rights of St. Peter.
He was supported in this appeal by Charles' brother. In return, the pope could provide only legitimacy, he did this by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding his young sons Carolus and Carloman to the royal patrimony. They thereby became heirs to the realm that covered most of western Europe. In 754, Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation to visit Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing with the Lombards. Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an area including most of Western Europe. Orman portrays the Treaty of Verdun between the warring grandsons of Charlemagne as the foundation event of an independent France under its first king Charles the Bald; the middle kingdom had broken up by 890 and absorbed into the Western kingdom and the Eastern kingdom and the rest developing into smaller "buffer" nations that exist between Fr