Saint Peter known as Simon Peter, Simon, or Cephas, according to the New Testament, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, leaders of the early Christian Great Church. Pope Gregory I called him the "Prince of the Apostles". According to Catholic teaching, Jesus promised Peter in the "Rock of My Church" dialogue in Matthew 16:18 a special position in the Church, he is traditionally counted as the first Bishop of Rome—or pope—and by Eastern Christian tradition as the first Patriarch of Antioch. The ancient Christian churches all venerate Peter as a major saint and as the founder of the Church of Antioch and the Roman Church, but differ in their attitudes regarding the authority of his present-day successors; the New Testament indicates that Peter's father's name was John and was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis. His brother Andrew was an apostle. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of twelve apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples.
A fisherman, he played a leadership role and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration. According to the gospels, Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, was part of Jesus's inner circle, thrice denied Jesus and wept bitterly once he realised his deed, preached on the day of Pentecost. According to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero, it is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus. Tradition holds, his remains are said to be those contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope Paul VI announced in 1968 the excavated discovery of a first-century Roman cemetery; every 29 June since 1736, a statue of Saint Peter in St. Peter's Basilica is adorned with papal tiara, ring of the fisherman, papal vestments, as part of the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. According to Catholic doctrine, the direct papal successor to Saint Peter is the incumbent pope Pope Francis.
Two general epistles in the New Testament are ascribed to Peter, but modern scholars reject the Petrine authorship of both. The Gospel of Mark was traditionally thought to show the influence of Peter's preaching and eyewitness memories. Several other books bearing his name—the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, Judgment of Peter—are considered by Christian denominations as apocryphal, are thus not included in their Bible canons. Peter's original name, as indicated in the New Testament, was "Simon" or "Simeon"; the Simon/Simeon variation has been explained as reflecting "the well-known custom among Jews at the time of giving the name of a famous patriarch or personage of the Old Testament to a male child along with a similar sounding Greek/Roman name". He was given the name כֵּיפָא in Aramaic, rendered in Greek as Κηφᾶς, whence Latin and English Cephas; the precise meaning of the Aramaic word is disputed, some saying that its usual meaning is "rock" or "crag", others saying that it means rather "stone" and in its application by Jesus to Simon, "precious stone" or "jewel", but most scholars agree that as a proper name it denotes a rough or tough character.
Both meanings, "stone" and "rock", are indicated in dictionaries of Syriac. Catholic theologian Rudolf Pesch argues that the Aramaic cepha means "stone, clump, clew" and that "rock" is only a connotation; the combined name Σίμων Πέτρος appears 19 times in the New Testament. In some Syriac documents he is called, in Simon Cephas. Peter's life story is told in the four canonical gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, New Testament letters, the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews and other Early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus' ministry. Peter became the first listed apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church. Peter was a fisherman in Bethsaida, he was named son of Jonah or John. The three Synoptic Gospels recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum. 1 Cor. 9:5 has been taken to imply that he was married. In the Synoptic Gospels, Peter was a fisherman along with his brother and the sons of Zebedee and John.
The Gospel of John depicts Peter fishing after the resurrection of Jesus, in the story of the Catch of 153 fish. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus called Simon and his brother Andrew to be "fishers of men". A Franciscan church is built upon the traditional site of Apostle Peter's house. In Luke, Simon Peter owns the boat that Jesus uses to preach to the multitudes who were pressing on him at the shore of Lake Gennesaret. Jesu
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
The Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem or Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and titular church in rione Esquilino, Italy. It is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. According to tradition, the basilica was consecrated circa 325 to house the relics of the Passion of Jesus Christ brought to Rome from the Holy Land by Empress St. Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine I. At that time, the Basilica's floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem, thus acquiring the title in Hierusalem; the most recent Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Crucis in Hierusalem was Juan José Omella, since 28 June 2017. At one time the site of the temple of El Gabal, or Sol Invictus, the god of Emperor Elagabalus, the Basilica was built around a room in Empress St. Helena's imperial palace, the Palazzo Sessoriano, which she converted into a chapel circa AD 320. Relics were once in the ancient St. Helena's Chapel, subterranean. Here the founder of the Basilica had some soil from Calvary dispersed.
Some decades the chapel was converted into a basilica, called the Heleniana or Sessoriana. In the eighth century, the basilica was restored by Pope Gregory II. After falling into neglect, the Pope Lucius II restored the Basilica, it assumed a Romanesque appearance, with a nave, two aisles and porch. The Cosmatesque pavement dates from this period. In the vault is a mosaic designed by Melozzo da Forlì before 1485 depicting Jesus Blessing, Histories of the Cross, various saints; the altar has a huge statue of St. Helena, obtained from an ancient statue of the pagan goddess Juno discovered at Ostia; the Basilica was modified in the 16th century, but it assumed its current Baroque appearance under Pope Benedict XIV, its titular prior to his elevation to the Papacy. In 1601, during his first stay in Rome, Peter Paul Rubens completed his first altarpiece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross for the Chapel of St. Helena. Rubens was commissioned by Archduke Albert of Austria to paint an altarpiece with three panels for the Chapel.
Two of these paintings, St. Helena with the True Cross and The Mocking of Christ, are now in Grasse, France; the third, The Elevation of the Cross, was lost. New streets were opened to connect the Basilica to two other Roman major basilicas, San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore; the façade of the Basilica, designed by Pietro Passalacqua and Domenico Gregorini, shares the typical late Roman Baroque style of these other basilicas. In May 2011, the Cistercian abbey linked to the Basilica was suppressed by a decree of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, following the results of an apostolic visitation prompted by years of serious problems, including significant liturgical disputes. According to a Vatican spokesman, "an inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were not in keeping with that of a monk." According to Il Messaggero, Simone Fioraso, an abbot described as a "flamboyant former Milan fashion designer", "transformed the church, renovating its crumbling interior and opening a hotel, holding regular concerts, a televised bible-reading marathon and attracting celebrity visitors with an unconventional approach."
Several famous relics of disputed authenticity are housed in the Cappella delle Reliquie, built in 1930 by architect Florestano Di Fausto, including part of the Elogium or Titulus Crucis, i.e. the panel, hung on Christ's Cross. A much larger piece of the True Cross was taken from the Basilica on the instructions of Pope Urban VIII in 1629 to St. Peter's Basilica, where it is kept near the colossal statue of St. Empress Helena sculpted by Andrea Bolgi in 1639; the apse of the Basilica includes frescoes telling the Legends of the True Cross, attributed to Melozzo, Antoniazzo Romano, Marco Palmezzano. The Museum of the Basilica houses a mosaic icon which, according to the legend, Pope Gregory I had made after a vision of Christ; the icon, however, is believed to have been given to the Basilica around 1385 by Raimondo Del Balzo Orsini. Notable is the tomb of Cardinal Francisco de los Ángeles Quiñones sculpted by Jacopo Sansovino in 1536. Raimondo Besozzi, La storia della Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
Marie-Théodore de Busierre, Les sept basiliques de Rome Tome second, pp. 157-178. Paolo Coen, Le Sette Chiese. Claudio Rendina, La Grande Enciclopedia di Roma Belkin, Kristin Lohse. Rubens. Oxford Oxfordshire: Phaidon. Pp. 63–6. ISBN 0-7148-3412-2. Official Site Description in the site of the "Soprintendenza Speciale per il Colosseo, il MNR e l'Area archeologica di Roma" High-resolution 360° Panoramas and Images of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme | Art Atlas
Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto II, called the Red, was Holy Roman Emperor from 973 until his death in 983. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto II was the youngest and sole surviving son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy. Otto II was made joint-ruler of Germany in 961, at an early age, his father named him co-Emperor in 967 to secure his succession to the throne, his father arranged for Otto II to marry the Byzantine Princess Theophanu, who would be his wife until his death. When his father died after a 37-year reign, the eighteen-year-old Otto II became absolute ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in a peaceful succession. Otto II spent his reign continuing his father's policy of strengthening Imperial rule in Germany and extending the borders of the Empire deeper into southern Italy. Otto II continued the work of Otto I in subordinating the Catholic Church to Imperial control. Early in his reign, Otto II defeated a major revolt against his rule from other members of the Ottonian dynasty who claimed the throne for themselves.
His victory allowed him to exclude the Bavarian line of the Ottonians from the line of Imperial succession. This strengthened his authority as Emperor and secured the succession of his own son to the Imperial throne. With domestic affairs settled, Otto II would focus his attention from 980 onward to annexing the whole of Italy into the Empire, his conquests brought him into conflict with the Byzantine Empire and with the Muslims of the Fatimid Caliphate, who both held territories in southern Italy. After initial successes in unifying the southern Lombard principalities under his authority and in conquering Byzantine-controlled territory, Otto II's campaigns in southern Italy ended in 982 following a disastrous defeat by the Muslims. While he was preparing to counterattack Muslim forces, a major uprising by the Slavs broke out in 983, forcing the Empire to abandon its major territorial holdings east of the Elbe river. Otto II died in 983 at the age of 28 after a ten-year reign, he was succeeded as Emperor by his three-year-old son Otto III, plunging the Empire into a political crisis.
Otto II was born in 955, the third son of the King of Germany Otto I and his second wife Adelaide of Italy. By 957, Otto II's older brothers Henry and Bruno had died, as well as Otto I's son from his first wife Eadgyth, the Crown Prince Liudolf, Duke of Swabia. With his older brothers dead, the two-year-old Otto became the Kingdom's crown prince and Otto I's heir apparent. Otto I entrusted his illegitimate son, Archbishop William of Mainz, with Otto II's literary and cultural education. Margrave Odo, commander of the Eastern March, taught the young crown prince the art of war and the kingdom's legal customs. Needing to put his affairs in order prior to his descent into Italy, Otto I summoned a Diet at Worms and had Otto II elected, at the age of six, co-regent in May 961. Otto II was crowned by his uncle Bruno the Great, Archbishop of Cologne, at Aachen Cathedral on May 26, 961. While Otto I had secured succession of the throne, he had violated the Kingdom's unwritten law that succession rights could only be granted to a child who has reached the age of majority.
He was motivated by the high-risk associated with his expedition into Italy to claim the Imperial title from the Pope. Otto I crossed the Alps into Italy, while Otto II remained in Germany, the two Archbishops and William, were appointed as his regents. After three and a half year absence in Italy, Otto I returned to Germany early in 965 as Holy Roman Emperor. In order to give the hope of dynastic continuity after his death, Otto I again confirmed Otto II as his heir on February 2, 965, the third anniversary of Otto I's coronation as Emperor. Though Otto I was crowned Emperor in 962 and returned to Germany in 965, the political situation in Italy remained unstable. After two years in Germany, Otto I made a third expedition to Italy in 966. Bruno was again appointed regent over the eleven-year-old Otto II during Otto I's absence. With his power over northern and central Italy secured, Otto I sought to clarify his relationship with the Byzantine Empire in the East; the Byzantine Emperor objected to Otto's use of the title "Emperor".
The situation between East and West was resolved to share sovereignty over southern Italy. Otto I sought a marriage alliance between the Eastern Macedonian dynasty. A prerequisite for the marriage alliance was the coronation of Otto II as Co-Emperor. Otto I sent word for Otto II to join him in Italy. In October 967, father and son together marched through Ravenna to Rome. On December 25, 967, Otto II was crowned Co-Emperor by Pope John XIII, securing Otto II's succession to the Imperial crown following his father's death. Otto II's coronation allowed marriage negotiations to begin with the East. Only in 972, six years under the new Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes, was a marriage and peace agreement concluded, however. Though Otto I preferred Byzantine Princess Anna Porphyrogenita, daughter of former Byzantine Emperor Romanos II, as she was born in the purple, her age prevented serious consideration by the East; the choice of Emperor John I Tzimisces was his niece Theophanu, the soldier-emperor's niece by marriage.
On April 14, 972, the sixteen-year-old Otto II was married to the fourteen-year-old Eastern princess, Theophanu was crowned empress by the Pope. After his coronation, Otto II remained in the shadow of his overbearing father. Though the nominal co-ruler of the Empire, he was denied any role in its administration. Unlike his earlier son Liudolf, whom Otto I named Duke of Swabia in 950, Otto II was granted no area of responsibility. Otto II was confined to northern Italy during his father's time
Roman Catholic Diocese of Vic
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Vic is a diocese with its seat in the city of Vic in the ecclesiastical province of Tarragona in Catalonia, Spain. Its cathedral is a basilica dedicated to Saint Peter. A diocese was first established at Vic in the fifth century. After the Islamic conquest of Spain in 711, the diocese was abandoned; the diocese was re-established in 886, shortly after the official re-settlement of the Plain of Vic had begun in 878. According to one theory, the new diocese was a product of the initiative of the Sunyer II, count of Empúries, Teuter, bishop of Girona, to spread their influence westward at the expense of Count Wifred I of Osona, it is more that the see was re-founded with the support of Wifred, who petitioned the archdiocese of Narbonne to accept it as a suffragan. Although Vic was the traditional capital of the County of Osona, the county and the bishopric were not coterminous; the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll, one of the most important in the diocese, lay within the County of Besalú.
So long as the counts of Osona were counts of Barcelona, they appointed viscounts to rule in Osona, these resided at the castle of Cardona in the diocese of Urgell. As a result, the bishops of Vic came to control the city itself, blending public and ecclesiastical power there. There is a surviving charter of King Odo dated 889, in which the king appears to grant the count of Osona to the bishop, but most of the text is of a date and is unreliable; the king did grant the fortress at Artés to the bishop, as well as one third of public revenue in the county. By 911, when the will of Count Wifred II granted a third of the profits of the mints in Osona to the bishop, the latter had replaced the viscount as the most powerful person in the county. During the reign of Louis IV, the bishop of Vic received royal confirmation of his monetary right. In 957, without any authority to do so, the bishop began keeping back all the profits of the mints for the church. Throughout the 10th century the counts of Osona sought to re-settle the west of the county and fortify the frontier.
To this end they granted many frontier castles to the bishop to hold. Basilica of Santa Maria, Igualada Basilica of Santa Maria de la Seu, Manresa Medieval period886–899 Gotmar, first bishop of the restored diocese 899–914 Idalguer 914–947 Jordi 948–957 Guadamir 957–971 Ató 972–993 Frujà 993–1010 Arnulf 1010–1017 Borrell 1017–1046 Oliba 1046–1076 Guillem de Balsareny 1076–1099 Berenguer Seniofred de Lluçà 1099–1101 Guillem Berenguer 1102–1109 Arnau de Malla 1109–1146 Ramon Gaufré 1147–1185 Pere de Redorta 1185–1194 Ramon Xetmar de Castellterçol 1195–1233 Guillem de Taverte...1424–1445 Jordi d'OrnósModern periodBishop Romà Casanova Casanova Bishop Josep Maria Guix Ferreres Bishop Ramon Masnou i Boixeda Bishop Joan Perelló i Pou, M. S. C. Patriarch Francesc Muñoz i Izquierdo Bishop Josep Torras i Bages Bishop Josep Morgades i Gili Bishop Pere Colomer i Mestres Bishop Antoni Lluís Jordà i Soler Bishop Joan-Josep Castanyer i Ribas Bishop Antoni Palau i Térmens Bishop Llucià Casadevall i Duran Bishop Pau Jesús Corcuera i Caserta Bishop Ramon Strauch i Vidal, O.
F. M. Bishop Francesc de Veyan i Mola Bishop Antoni Manuel de Hartalejo López, O. de M. Bishop Bartolomé Sarmentero, O. F. M. Bishop Manuel Muñoz Guil Bishop Ramon de Marimon i de Corbera-Santcliment Bishop Manuel de Santjust Pagès Bishop Antoni Pascual Bishop Jaume Mas Bishop Jaume de Copons i de Tamarit Bishop Brauli Sunyer Bishop Francesc Crespí de Valldaura i Brizuela Bishop Ramon de Senmenat i Lanuza Bishop Gaspar Gil i Miravete de Blancas Bishop Pere de Magarola i Fontanet Bishop Andrés de San Jerónimo, O. S. H. Bishop Antoni Gallart i de Treginer Bishop Onofre de Reard Bishop Francesc Robuster i Sala Bishop Joan Vila Bishop Pere Jaime Bishop Joan Baptista de Cardona Bishop Pere d'Aragó Bishop Bernat de Jossa i de Cardona, O. S. B. Bishop Benet de Tocco, O. S. B. Bishop Braulio Sunyer Archbishop Acisclo Moya de Contreras Bishop Joan de Tormo Bishop Joan d'Enguera, O. P. Notes SourcesFreedman, Paul. Diocese of Vic: Tradition and Regeneration in Medieval Catalonia. Rutgers. External linksGCatholic.org Catholic Hierarchy Diocese website Bishops of Vic Diocese website
Pope Sixtus I
Pope Sixtus I, a Roman of Greek descent, was the Bishop of Rome from c. 115 to his death c. 124. He was in turn succeeded by Pope Telesphorus, his feast is celebrated on 6 April. The Holy See's Annuario Pontificio identifies him as a Roman who served from 117 or 119 to 126 or 128. According to the Liberian Catalogue of popes, he served the Church during the reign of Hadrian "from the consulate of Niger and Apronianus until that of Verus III and Ambibulus", that is, from 117 to 126. Eusebius states in his Chronicon that Sixtus I was pope from 114 to 124, while his Historia Ecclesiastica, using a different catalogue of popes, claims his rule from 114 to 128. All authorities agree. Sixtus I instituted several Catholic administrative traditions. Like most of his predecessors, Sixtus I was believed to have been buried near Saint Peter's grave on Vatican Hill, although there are differing traditions concerning where his body lies today. In Alife, there is a Romanesque crypt, which houses the relics of Pope Sixtus I, brought there by Rainulf III.
He was a Roman by birth, his father's name was Pastor. According to the Liber Pontificalis, he passed the following three ordinances: that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels. Alban Butler states that Clement X gave some of his relics to Cardinal de Retz, who placed them in the Abbey of St. Michael in Lorraine; the Xystus, commemorated in the Catholic Canon of the Mass is Xystus II, not Xystus I. In the oldest documents, Xystus is the spelling used for the first three popes of that name. Pope Sixtus I is the sixth Pope after Peter, leading to questions as to whether the name "Sixtus" might be fictitious. List of Catholic saints List of popes Image of Pope Saint Sixtus as seen on a fresco at Chalivoy-Milon in the Berry. Pope St. Sixtus I Sixtus I. in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints Collected works in Migne Patrologia Latina
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
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope