First Council of Constantinople
The First Council of Constantinople was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople in AD 381 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. This second ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, except for the Western Church, confirmed the Nicene Creed, expanding the doctrine thereof to produce the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed, dealt with sundry other matters, it met from May to July 381 in the Church of Hagia Irene and was affirmed as ecumenical in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon. When Theodosius ascended to the imperial throne in 380, he began on a campaign to bring the Eastern Church back to Nicene Christianity. Theodosius wanted to further unify the entire empire behind the orthodox position and decided to convene a church council to resolve matters of faith and discipline. Gregory Nazianzus was of similar mind. In the spring of 381 they convened the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople; the Council of Nicaea in 325 had not ended the Arian controversy which it had been called to clarify.
Arius and his sympathizers, e.g. Eusebius of Nicomedia were admitted back into the church after ostensibly accepting the Nicene creed. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, the most vocal opponent of Arianism, was exiled through the machinations of Eusebius of Nicomedia. After the death of Constantine I in 337 and the accession of his Arian-leaning son Constantius II, open discussion of replacing the Nicene creed itself began. Up until about 360, theological debates dealt with the divinity of the Son, the second person of the Trinity. However, because the Council of Nicaea had not clarified the divinity of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, it became a topic of debate; the Macedonians denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. This was known as Pneumatomachianism. Nicene Christianity had its defenders: apart from Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers' Trinitarian discourse was influential in the council at Constantinople. Apollinaris of Laodicea, another pro-Nicene theologian, proved controversial.
In an over-reaction to Arianism and its teaching that Christ was not God, he taught that Christ consisted of a human body and a divine mind, rejecting Christ having a human mind. He was charged with confounding the persons of the Godhead, with giving in to the heretical ways of Sabellius. Basil of Caesarea accused him of abandoning the literal sense of the scripture, taking up wholly with the allegorical sense, his views were condemned in a Synod at Alexandria, under Athanasius of Alexandria, in 362, subdivided into several different heresies, the main ones of which were the Polemians and the Antidicomarianites. Theodosius' strong commitment to Nicene Christianity involved a calculated risk because Constantinople, the imperial capital of the Eastern Empire, was solidly Arian. To complicate matters, the two leading factions of Nicene Christianity in the East, the Alexandrians and the supporters of Meletius in Antioch, were "bitterly divided... to the point of complete animosity". The bishops of Alexandria and Rome had worked over a number of years to keep the see of Constantinople from stabilizing.
Thus, when Gregory was selected as a candidate for the bishopric of Constantinople, both Alexandria and Rome opposed him because of his Antiochene background. The incumbent bishop of Constantinople was a Homoian Arian. On his accession to the imperial throne, Theodosius offered to confirm Demophilus as bishop of the imperial city on the condition of accepting the Nicene Creed. After forty years under the control of Arian bishops, the churches of Constantinople were now restored to those who subscribed to the Nicene Creed. There ensued. A group led by Maximus the Cynic gained the support of Patriarch Peter of Alexandria by playing on his jealousy of the newly created see of Constantinople, they conceived a plan to install a cleric subservient to Peter as bishop of Constantinople so that Alexandria would retain the leadership of the Eastern Churches. Many commentators characterize Maximus as having been proud and ambitious. However, it is not clear the extent to which Maximus sought this position due to his own ambition or if he was a pawn in the power struggle.
In any event, the plot was set into motion when, on a night when Gregory was confined by illness, the conspirators burst into the cathedral and commenced the consecration of Maximus as bishop of Constantinople. They had seated Maximus on the archiepiscopal throne and had just begun shearing away his long curls when the day dawned; the news of what was transpiring spread and everybody rushed to the church. The magistrates appeared with their officers; the news of the brazen attempt to usurp the episcopal throne aroused the anger of the local populace among whom Gregory was popular. Maximus withdrew to Thessalonica to lay his cause before the emperor but met with a cold reception there. Theodosius committed the matter to Ascholius, the much respected bishop of Thessalonica, charging him to seek the counsel of Pope Damasus I. Damasus' response repudiated Maximus summarily and advised Theodosius to summ
Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles referred to as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament. Acts and the Gospel of Luke make up a two-part work, Luke–Acts, by the same anonymous author dated to around 80–90 AD; the first part, the Gospel of Luke, tells how God fulfilled his plan for the world's salvation through the life and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah. Acts continues the story of Christianity in the 1st century, beginning with Jesus's ascension to Heaven; the early chapters, set in Jerusalem, describe the Day of Pentecost and the growth of the church in Jerusalem. The Jews are receptive to the Christian message, but soon they turn against the followers of Jesus. Rejected by the Jews, under the guidance of the Apostle Peter the message is taken to the Gentiles; the chapters tell of Paul's conversion, his mission in Asia Minor and the Aegean, his imprisonment in Rome, where, as the book ends, he awaits trial. Luke–Acts is an attempt to answer a theological problem, namely how the Messiah of the Jews came to have an overwhelmingly non-Jewish church.
Luke–Acts can be seen as a defense of the Jesus movement addressed to the Jews: the bulk of the speeches and sermons in Acts are addressed to Jewish audiences, with the Romans serving as external arbiters on disputes concerning Jewish customs and law. On the one hand, Luke portrays the Christians as a sect of the Jews, therefore entitled to legal protection as a recognised religion; the title "Acts of the Apostles" was first used by Irenaeus in the late 2nd century. It is not known whether this was one invented by Irenaeus; the Gospel of Luke and Acts make up a two-volume work. Together they account for 27.5% of the New Testament, the largest contribution attributed to a single author, providing the framework for both the Church's liturgical calendar and the historical outline into which generations have fitted their idea of the story of Jesus and the early church. The author is not named in either volume. According to Church tradition dating from the 2nd century, he was the "Luke" named as a companion of the apostle Paul in three of the letters attributed to Paul himself.
The author "does not share Paul's own view of himself as an apostle. He was educated, a man of means urban, someone who respected manual work, although not a worker himself. While no proposed date for the composition of Acts is universally accepted, the most common scholarly position is to date Luke–Acts to 80-90 AD, on the grounds that it uses Mark as a source, looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem, does not show any awareness of the letters of Paul; the earliest possible date for the composition of Acts is set by the events with which it ends, Paul's imprisonment in Rome c. 63 AD, but such an early dating is a minority position. The last possible date would be set by its first definite citation by another author, but there is no unanimity on this. A minority of scholars in the latter camp, conclude that Acts dates to the 2nd century, believing that it shows awareness of the letters of Paul, the works of Josephus, or the writings of Marcion. There are two major textual variants of the Western text-type and the Alexandrian.
The oldest complete Alexandrian manuscripts date from the 4th century and the oldest Western ones from the 6th, with fragments and citations going back to the 3rd. Western texts of Acts are 6.2–8.4% longer than Alexandrian texts, the additions tending to enhance the Jewish rejection of the Messiah and the role of the Holy Spirit, in ways that are stylistically different from the rest of Acts. The majority of scholars prefer the Alexandrian text-type over the Western as the more authentic, but this same argument would favour the Western over the Alexandrian for the Gospel of Luke, as in that case the Western version is the shorter; the title "Acts of the Apostles" would seem to identify it with the genre telling of the deeds and achievements of great men, but it was not the title given by the author. The anonymous author aligned Luke–Acts to the "narratives" (διήγησ
Decius known as Trajan Decius, was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. A distinguished politician during the reign of Philippus Arabus, Decius was proclaimed emperor by his troops after putting down a rebellion in Moesia. In 249, he defeated and killed Philip near Verona and was recognized as emperor by the Senate afterwards. During his reign, he attempted to strengthen the Roman state and its religion, leading to the Decian persecution, where a number of prominent Christians were put to death. In the last year of his reign, Decius co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus, until they were both killed by the Goths in the Battle of Abritus. Decius, born at Budalia, near Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior, was one of the first among a long succession of future Roman Emperors to originate from the Danube provinces simply called Illyricum. Unlike some of his immediate imperial predecessors such as Philip the Arab or Maximinus who did not have extensive administrative experience before assuming the throne, Decius was a distinguished senator who had served as suffect consul in 232, had been governor of Moesia and Germania Inferior soon afterwards, served as governor of Hispania Tarraconensis between 235–238, was urban prefect of Rome during the early reign of Emperor Philip the Arab.
Around 245, Philip entrusted Decius with an important command on the Danube. By the end of 248 or 249, Decius was sent to quell the revolt of Pacatianus and his troops in Moesia and Pannonia. After the collapse of the revolt, Decius let. Philip advanced against him and was killed at Verona, Italy, in September 249; the Senate recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus in reference to the emperor Trajan. According to the Byzantine historian Zosimus, Decius was clothed in purple and forced to undertake the government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness. Decius' political program was focused on the restoration of the strength of the State, both militarily opposing the external threats, restoring the public piety with a program of renovation of the State religion. Either as a concession to the Senate, or with the idea of improving public morality, Decius endeavoured to revive the separate office and authority of the censor; the choice was left to the Senate. But Valerian, well aware of the dangers and difficulties attached to the office at such a time, declined the responsibility.
The invasion of the Goths and Decius' death put an end to the abortive attempt. During his reign, he proceeded with several building projects in Rome, "including the Thermae Decianae or Baths of Decius on the Aventine", completed in 252 and survived through to the 16th century. In January 250, Decius is said to have issued one of the most remarkable Roman imperial edicts. From the numerous surviving texts from Egypt, recording the act of sacrifice, it appears that the edict itself was clear: All the inhabitants of the empire were required to sacrifice before the magistrates of their community'for the safety of the empire' by a certain day; when they sacrificed they would obtain a certificate recording the fact that they had complied with the order. That is, the certificate would testify the sacrificant's loyalty to the ancestral gods and to the consumption of sacrificial food and drink as well as the names of the officials who were overseeing the sacrifice. According to D. S. Potter, Decius did not try to impose the superiority of the Roman pantheon over any other gods.
It is probable that the edict was an attempt to legitimize his position and to respond to a general unease provoked by the passing of the Roman millennium. While Decius himself may have intended the edict as a way to reaffirm his conservative vision of the Pax Romana and to reassure Rome's citizens that the empire was still secure, it sparked a "terrible crisis of authority as various Christian bishops and their flocks reacted to it in different ways." Measures were first taken demanding that the bishops and officers of the church make a sacrifice for the Emperor. The sacrifice was "on behalf of" the Emperor, not to the Emperor, since a living Emperor was not considered divine. Certificates were issued to those who satisfied the commissioners during the persecution of Christians under Decius. Forty-six such certificates have been published, all dating from four of them from Oxyrhynchus. Anyone, including Christian followers, who refused to offer a sacrifice for the Emperor and the Empire's well-being by a specified date risked torture and execution.
A number of prominent Christians did, in fact, refuse to make a sacrifice and were killed in the process, including Pope Fabian himself in 250, "anti-Christian feeling led to killings at Carthage and Alexandria." In reality, towards the end of the second year of Decius' reign, "the ferocity of the persecution had eased off, the earlier tradition of tolerance had begun to reassert itself." The Christian church, despite no indication in the surviving texts that the edict targeted any specific group, never forgot the reign of Decius whom they labelled as that "fierce tyrant". At this time, there was a second outbreak of the Antonine Plague, which at its h
The Papal States the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche and Romagna, portions of Emilia; these holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy. By 1861, much of the Papal States' territory had been conquered by the Kingdom of Italy. Only Lazio, including Rome, remained under the Pope's temporal control. In 1870, the Pope lost Lazio and Rome and had no physical territory at all, except the Basilica of St Peter and the papal residence and related buildings around the Vatican quarter of Rome, which the new Italian state did not occupy militarily.
In 1929 the head of the Italian government, at the time the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, ended the crisis between unified Italy and the Holy See by negotiating the Lateran Treaty, signed by the two parties. This recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See over a newly created international territorial entity, the Vatican City State, limited to a token territory; the Papal States were known as the Papal State. The territories were referred to variously as the State of the Church, the Pontifical States, the Ecclesiastical States, or the Roman States. To some extent the name used varied with the preferences and habits of the European languages in which it was expressed. For its first 300 years the Catholic Church was persecuted and unrecognized, unable to hold or transfer property. Early congregations met in rooms set aside for that purpose in the homes of well-to-do individuals, a number of early churches, known as titular churches and located on the outskirts of Ancient Rome, were held as property by individuals, rather than by the Church itself.
Nonetheless, the properties held nominally or by individual members of the Roman churches would be considered as a common patrimony handed over successively to the legitimate "heir" of that property its senior deacons, who were, in turn, assistants to the local bishop. This common patrimony attached to the churches at Rome, thus under its ruling bishop, became quite considerable, including as it did not only houses etc. in Rome or nearby but landed estates, such as latifundias, whole or in part, across Italy and beyond. This system began to change during the reign of the emperor Constantine I, who made Christianity legal within the Roman Empire, restoring to it any properties, confiscated; the Lateran Palace was the first significant new donation to the Church, most a gift from Constantine himself. Other donations followed in mainland Italy but in the provinces of the Roman Empire, but the Church held all of these lands as a private landowner, not as a sovereign entity. When in the 5th century the Italian peninsula passed under the control of Odoacer and the Ostrogoths, the Church organization in Italy, with the pope at its head, submitted of necessity to their sovereign authority while asserting its spiritual primacy over the whole Church.
The seeds of the Papal States as a sovereign political entity were planted in the 6th century. Beginning in 535, the Byzantine Empire, under emperor Justinian I, launched a reconquest of Italy that took decades and devastated Italy's political and economic structures. Just as these wars wound down, the Lombards entered the peninsula from the north and conquered much of the countryside. By the 7th century, Byzantine authority was limited to a diagonal band running from Ravenna, where the Emperor's representative, or Exarch, was located, to Rome and south to Naples, plus coastal enclaves. With effective Byzantine power weighted at the northeast end of this territory, the pope, as the largest landowner and most prestigious figure in Italy, began by default to take on much of the ruling authority that Byzantines were unable to project to the area around the city of Rome. While the popes remained Byzantine subjects, in practice the Duchy of Rome, an area equivalent to modern-day Latium, became an independent state ruled by the pope.
The Church's independence, combined with popular support for the papacy in Italy, enabled various popes to defy the will of the Byzantine emperor. The pope and the exarch still worked together to control the rising power of the Lombards in Italy; as Byzantine power weakened, the papacy took an ever-larger role in defending Rome from the Lombards through diplomacy. In practice, the papal efforts served to focus Lombard aggrandizement on Ravenna. A climactic moment in the founding of the Papal States was the agreement over boundaries embodied in the Lombard king Liutprand's Donation of Sutri to Pope Gregory II; when the Exarchate of
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from the Eastern Mediterranean throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. This progression was connected to established Jewish centers in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora; the first followers of Christianity were Jews or proselytes referred to as Jewish Christians and God-fearers. The Apostolic sees claim to have been founded by one or more of the apostles of Jesus, who are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem sometime after the crucifixion of Jesus, c. 26–36 following the Great Commission. Early Christians gathered in small private homes, known as house churches, but a city's whole Christian community would be called a church – the Greek noun ἐκκλησία means assembly, gathering, or congregation but is translated as church in most English translations of the New Testament. Many of these Early Christians were merchants and others who had practical reasons for traveling to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia and other places. Over 40 such communities were established by the year 100, many in Anatolia known as Asia Minor, such as the Seven churches of Asia.
By the end of the first century, Christianity had spread to Rome and major cities in Armenia and Syria, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity throughout the world. Jerusalem was the first center of the church, according to the Book of Acts, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the location of "the first Christian church"; the apostles taught there for some time after Pentecost. James, the brother of Jesus was a leader in the church, his other kinsmen held leadership positions in the surrounding area after the destruction of the city until its rebuilding as Aelia Capitolina, c. 130, when all Jews were banished from the city. In about 50, Barnabas and Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with the "pillars of the church", James and John. Called the Council of Jerusalem, this meeting, among other things, confirmed the legitimacy of the mission of Barnabas and Paul to the gentiles, the gentile converts' freedom from most Mosaic law circumcision, repulsive to the Hellenic mind.
Thus, the Apostolic Decree may be a major act of differentiation of the Church from its Jewish roots although the decree may parallel Jewish Noahide Law and thus be a commonality rather than a differential. In the same time period Rabbinic Judaism made their circumcision requirement of Jewish boys stricter; when Peter left Jerusalem after Herod Agrippa I tried to kill him, James appears as the principal authority. Clement of Alexandria called him Bishop of Jerusalem. A second-century church historian, wrote that the Sanhedrin martyred him in 62. In 66, the Jews revolted against Rome. Rome besieged Jerusalem for four years, the city fell in 70; the city, including the Temple, was destroyed and the population was killed or removed. According to a tradition recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius of Salamis, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt. According to Epiphanius of Salamis, the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian's visit in 130. A scattered population survived.
The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia. Prophecies of the Second Temple's destruction are found in the synoptics in the Olivet Discourse. In the 2nd century, Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina, erecting statues of Jupiter and himself on the site of the former Jewish Temple, the Temple Mount. Bar Cochba led an unsuccessful revolt as a Messiah, but Christians refused to acknowledge him as such; when Bar Cochba was defeated, Hadrian barred Jews from the city, except for the day of Tisha B'Av, thus the subsequent Jerusalem bishops were gentiles for the first time. The general significance of Jerusalem to Christians entered a period of decline during the Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, but resumed again with the pilgrimage of Helena to the Holy Land c. 326–28. According to the church historian Socrates of Constantinople, Helena claimed to have found the cross of Christ, after removing a Temple to Venus, built over the site. Jerusalem had received special recognition in Canon VII of Nicaea in 325.
The traditional founding date for the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre is 313 which corresponds with the date of the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. Jerusalem was named as one of the Pentarchy, but this was never accepted by the church of Rome. See East–West Schism#Prospects for reconciliation. Antioch, a major center of Hellenistic Greece, the third-most important city of the Roman Empire part of Syria Province, today a ruin near Antakya, was where Christians were first called Christians and the location of the Incident at Antioch, it was the site of an early church, traditionally said to be founded by Peter, considered the first bishop. The Gospel of Matthew and the Apostolic Constitutions may have been written there; the church father Ignatius of Antioch was its third bishop. The School of Antioch, founded in 270, was one of two major centers of early church learning; the Curetonian Gospels and the Syriac Sinaiticus are two early New Testament text types associated with Syriac Christianity.
It was one of the three whose bishops were recognized at the First Council of Nicaea as exercising jur
The pope known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy; the current pope is Francis, elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI. While his office is called the papacy, the episcopal see and ecclesiastical jurisdiction is called the Holy See, it is the Holy See, the sovereign entity of international law headquartered in the distinctively independent Vatican City State, established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 between Italy and the Holy See to ensure its temporal and spiritual independence. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is derived from his role as the apostolic successor to Saint Peter, to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus, giving him the Keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built; the apostolic see of Rome was founded by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in 1st century, according to Catholic tradition.
The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. In ancient times the popes helped spread Christianity, intervened to find resolutions in various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages, they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs. In addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and doctrine, the popes are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, the defense of human rights. In some periods of history, the papacy, which had no temporal powers, accrued wide secular powers rivaling those of temporal rulers. However, in recent centuries the temporal authority of the papacy has declined and the office is now exclusively focused on religious matters. By contrast, papal claims of spiritual authority have been firmly expressed over time, culminating in 1870 with the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility for rare occasions when the pope speaks ex cathedra—literally "from the chair"—to issue a formal definition of faith or morals.
Still, the Pope is considered one of the world's most powerful people because of his extensive diplomatic and spiritual influence on 1.3 billion Catholics and beyond, as well as the official representative of the Catholic Church being the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, with a vast international network of charities. The word pope derives from Greek πάππας meaning "father". In the early centuries of Christianity, this title was applied in the east, to all bishops and other senior clergy, became reserved in the west to the Bishop of Rome, a reservation made official only in the 11th century; the earliest record of the use of this title was in regard to the by deceased Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Heraclas of Alexandria. The earliest recorded use of the title "pope" in English dates to the mid-10th century, when it was used in reference to the 7th century Roman Pope Vitalian in an Old English translation of Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.
The Catholic Church teaches that the pastoral office, the office of shepherding the Church, held by the apostles, as a group or "college" with Saint Peter as their head, is now held by their successors, the bishops, with the bishop of Rome as their head. Thus, is derived another title by which the pope is known, that of "Supreme Pontiff"; the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus appointed Peter as leader of the Church, the Catholic Church's dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium makes a clear distinction between apostles and bishops, presenting the latter as the successors of the former, with the pope as successor of Peter, in that he is head of the bishops as Peter was head of the apostles. Some historians argue against the notion that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, noting that the episcopal see in Rome can be traced back no earlier than the 3rd century; the writings of the Church Father Irenaeus who wrote around AD 180 reflect a belief that Peter "founded and organized" the Church at Rome.
Moreover, Irenaeus was not the first to write of Peter's presence in the early Roman Church. Clement of Rome wrote in a letter to the Corinthians, c. 96, about the persecution of Christians in Rome as the "struggles in our time" and presented to the Corinthians its heroes, "first, the greatest and most just columns", the "good apostles" Peter and Paul. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote shortly after Clement and in his letter from the city of Smyrna to the Romans he said he would not command them as Peter and Paul did. Given this and other evidence, such as Emperor Constantine's erection of the "Old St. Peter's Basilica" on the location of St. Peter's tomb, as held and given to him by Rome's Christian community, many scholars agree that Peter was martyred in Rome under Nero, although some scholars argue that he may have been martyred in Palestine. First-century Christian communities would have had a group of presbyter-bishops functioning as leaders of their local churches. Episcopacies were established in metropolitan areas.
Antioch may have developed such a structure before Rome. In Rome, there were many who claimed to be the rightful bishop, though again Irenaeus stressed the validity of one line of bishops from the time of St. Peter up to his contemporary Pope Victor I and listed them; some writers claim that the emergence of a single bishop in Rome did not occur until the middle of the 2nd century. In their view, Linus and Clement were prominent presbyter-bishops