03A: The Church and Rome: Monasticism and the Papacy


  • Major institution in general, in and around Rome in particular
  • “Reform” movements of 11th c especially based in monastic experience


Origins to St Benedict (ca. 480-547)


  • Essenes
  • Jesus’s apostles

Rise of ascetics: especially in North Africa, East Mediterranean

  • Anthony of Egypt (251-356): organization of eremitic  monks
  • Rome ca 340: Athanasius of Alexandria and 2 other disciples of Anthony
  • Other early centers: Roman Gaul, Ireland


Cenobitic (community) monasticism: Benedict  ca. 480-547

  • Monte Cassino
  •  Rule
  • a community dedicated to the Service of God.
  • Main work (opus dei):  communal prayers (Offices)
  • Abbot

donations of land by pious

Rome: monasteries both in city and countryside; canons

Ex: Farfa, 6th c. Aerial View of Farfa Abbey, 6th-12th Century, Lazio, Italy' Photographic Print | AllPosters.com

Regulation of monasteries

  • Internal: abbot (and monks)
  • External: by region Roman law (diocese); non-Roman (independent or under lord)

10th c + efforts to being stronger, more consistent external organization



Byzantines and church hierarchy

Associations with Peter: seen by 3rd c

Triclinium Leoninum, detail

Rome: Triclinium Leoninum – – Corvinus –

Santa Prassede, Zeno Chapel, Saints Peter and Paul

Mosaic of St Peter and St Paul, Chapel of St Zeno, Santa Prassede, Rome

Constantine:   traditional Roman role: ruler as defender of religion

500 (ca) term exclusive to Bishop of Rome

Justinian: recognized 5 top church leaders: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem; Rome the highest Latin authority

Development of political powers

Northern Europe: often Christianized under direction of ruler

  •  Exception: England/Gregory the Great
  • Efforts at transition: 8th c with Boniface (672-754)



Pope as leader of Latin Christians versus Pope as ruler of Rome+


After the Carolingians: new disorders and migrations of peoples

Efforts to rebuild and return to order

Conflicts over those reform efforts: the papacy and Rome