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However how were such choices made? Why did Orthodoxy gain more prominence in the East whereas Roman Christianity was stronger in the West? Why did some regions end up becoming Catholic while others went to the Orthodox Church?
Malatant of Shadow wrote:After Jesus was crucified, his followers continued to pursue his teachings as a Jewish sect centered in Jerusalem under the leadership of his brother James and of Peter, and possibly of Mary Magdalene. The sect diverged from the orthodox Judaism of the time in its belief that the Messiah had already come and emphasis on the teachings of Jesus, but these people regarded themselves as Jews.
Paul's mission to the gentiles after his conversion separated the teachings of Jesus from their Jewish roots and added ideas from Paul's own beliefs. Pauline Christianity was much more diverse than Nazarene Christianity.
Political Interest wrote:The schism of 1054 which split the Church into East and West left Christendom divided. In some parts of the Christian world loyalty was given to Rome. In others Orthodoxy was what was followed. However how were such choices made? Why did Orthodoxy gain more prominence in the East whereas Roman Christianity was stronger in the West? Why did some regions end up becoming Catholic while others went to the Orthodox Church?
I don't think populations, or kings, sat down and had a theological discussion about which one was the better faith.
Malatant of Shadow wrote:The history of Christianity has been punctuated by six seminal events, each of which defined a type or phase of the religion.
1) The Crucifixion.
2) The mission of Paul of Tarsus.
3) The founding of the Imperial Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325.
4) The fall of the Western Roman Empire and subsequent division of the Imperial Church into the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.
5) The Protestant Reformation.
6) The Enlightenment and subsequent rise of religious toleration and secularism
After Jesus was crucified, his followers continued to pursue his teachings as a Jewish sect centered in Jerusalem under the leadership of his brother James and of Peter, and possibly of Mary Magdalene. The sect diverged from the orthodox Judaism of the time in its belief that the Messiah had already come and emphasis on the teachings of Jesus, but these people regarded themselves as Jews.
Paul's mission to the gentiles after his conversion separated the teachings of Jesus from their Jewish roots and added ideas from Paul's own beliefs. Pauline Christianity was much more diverse than Nazarene Christianity. It had a lot of different "denominations" as we would put it today and was if anything even more diverse than today's Christianity, particularly after Paul himself died. During this period, from roughly 50 to 325, there was no such thing as a canonical New Testament, some Christians considered themselves bound by the Jewish scripture and some didn't, sexual morality ranged from strict asceticism to free love, economic beliefs from conventional to communistic, and ideas about the nature of Christ were all over the map. Among the more authoritarian strains, leaders called "bishops" emerged, but by no means all Christians recognized their authority. The Gnostics were one category of Christian who obviously diverged from what would become official Christian doctrine but hardly the only ones.
During this time, Christianity had no authority capable of enforcing orthodoxy by any means except words, and was officially an illegal religion in the Roman Empire although the laws against it were seldom enforced. The fact that "seldom" =/= "never" further discouraged any central authority from emerging because such leadership would make a prominent and obvious target on the rare occasions when a persecution did happen, as they occasionally did.
So we see two different Christianities here emerging from these two events. A third emerged from the third event, which was the decision of Emperor Constantine I to make Christianity into a new state religion for the Empire. Contrary to popular Christian belief he was not himself a convert, or anyway not a devout one; his endorsement of Christianity was political, not spiritual. In order to make Christianity suitable as a state religion, he had to give it a uniform authoritarian aspect and empower the "official" church to suppress "heretical" Christianity. Hence the Council of Nicaea, the first of the Ecumenical Councils in 325. Rather than dictate the doctrines of Christianity himself, which wouldn't have worked, Constantine called together the "bishops" who led the authoritarian Christian believers and had them iron out any differences and decide on an official doctrine for the faith. It had to be authoritarian and supportive of the state; otherwise, he left it up to them. The result was the Nicene Creed, the New Testament, and the Imperial Church: official Christianity as an arm/ally of the Roman state.
Over the next few centuries, the Imperial Church targeted dissident Christians with increasing ferocity and eventually targeted non-Christians for forcible conversion as well. The diversity of Pauline Christianity was suppressed through argument, excommunication, exile, and execution, and replaced by enforced uniformity.
The next signal event was the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Church in the West became the only central authority, while the Empire continued in the East. As a result, the Western Church became more centralized and the Bishop of Rome evolved into the Pope, while in the East the Church continued more in the form established in the early Ecumenical Councils with the Emperor as head of the Church, no Pope needed (or recognized). This was the main issue leading to the schism although there were some others as well. The two branches of the Imperial Church officially went their separate ways in 1054, but the breach had begun several centuries earlier.
The fifth shaping event was the Protestant Reformation in which new denominations split off from the Catholic Church to restore a measure of diversity. The sixth shaping event has been the ongoing secularization of society with separation of church and state and the rise of religious toleration. This has encouraged Christianity (as well as other religions) to separate further into various beliefs and ideas, becoming nearly as diverse as it was before the Imperial Church was formed.
Nattering Nabob wrote:So you had a dead western Roman empire whose church survived and exercised influence over the vibrant, thriving eastern Roman empire, and soon the eastern empire found reasons not to obey the church based in the city of Rome and split off and called themselves Orthodox Christians while those remaining in the west were known as Catholics...
Malatant of Shadow wrote:Contrary to popular Christian belief he was not himself a convert, or anyway not a devout one; his endorsement of Christianity was political, not spiritual.
Dehellenization wrote:Dehellenization is the disillusionment with Greek Philosophy stemming from the Hellenistic Period and the use of reason in particular, usually committed by a religion or faith-based system. Strictly, it means an undoing of Hellenization: the spread of Greek culture and philosophy. It was coined by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 during his speech entitled “Faith, Reason, and the University: Memories and Reflections,” in order to refer to the attempt of some recent scholars to separate Christianity from Greek philosophical thought. It has since been used by Robert R. Reilly in his book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, to describe the religion of Islam’s divorce from reason and rationality.....
Pope Benedict XVI proposes that a dehellenization of Christianity has stemmed from three different sources. The first stage of Christian dehellenization can be attributed to the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Reformers believed that faith had turned into a mere element in abstract philosophy, and that the religion needed to return to the idea of ‘’sola scriptura’’ (scripture only).
The second stage occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries due to the theology of Adolf von Harnack. Harnack advocated focusing on the simple life of Jesus Christ, and his humanitarian message in particular. Theology and belief in a divine being, according to Harnack, was a scientific history completely separate from the modern reason of humanitarian aid.
The last stage, occurring currently in the twenty-first century, is a product of modern cultural pluralism. Cultural pluralism encourages other cultures to simply return to the simplicity of the New Testament, and refuse it with their own culture. The Pope affirms that such a method cannot work because the New Testament “was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit.” 
3, Peter's chosen successor housed himself at Rome, end of story.
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