Chapter 11 Saints in our History The First 1000 Years

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1 Introduction to Chapter 11: Chapter 11 Saints in our History The First 1000 Years Almost 2000 years have elapsed since the founding of our Church at Pentecost. We ve seen the Church grow and spread throughout the world. During this time the Church has faced many difficult times, but it remains here with us as Christ promised it would. Recall Matt 16:18 You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it This Church teaches the same truths today as it was back then. The Church could not have survived without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God has raised up many holy men and woman (Saints) to protect and preserve the Faith. The Saints used their special graces from God (talents) in the service of the Church. Apostles & Martyrs The early days of the Church were marked by the Apostles carrying out Jesus instructions: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. (Mk 28:19) From the very first days we see the Apostles spreading the Gospel and growing the Church. o SAINT PETER (5 BC 64 AD): Saint Peter was our first Pope. Right away we see Peter baptizing 3000 people and as the Bible says they were added to the Church. Peter was imprisoned, suffered, labored, and performed miracles. He continued to preach and teach with authority. Peter traveled to Antioch (Modern Day Turkey) and finally to Rome where he spent the rest of his life. Peter was martyred under the Roman Emperor Nero in around 64 AD. It was said that he was crucified upside down because he stated that he was not worthy to die like his Master. Peter is buried on Vatican Hill and this is where St. Peters Basilica was built.

2 o SAINT PAUL (5 BC 67 AD) Recall that before Saint Paul converted he was Saul and he persecuted the Church. He preached throughout modern day Turkey, Greece, and Rome. He preached to the Gentiles (Non-Jews) and is considered the Apostle to the Gentiles. Saint Paul endured bitter persecutions for the faith. He was imprisoned and was stoned for preaching. Saint Paul was martyred for his faith in ~68 AD, but the exact details of his death are uncertain. The next 250 years the church continued to grow and spread rapidly though out the known world. The Roman Empire was the mightiest empire at the time and it started to fear the Church. Recall that the Roman s were pagans. The Roman Empire started putting Christians to death for their faith in Christ. Those who died for the faith were called Martyrs Means witness. Many martyrs were recent converts and many were not even baptized yet, but they had one thing in common. They willingly accepted to be horribly tortured and murdered for the faith rather to deny Christ. Many were baptized by Blood. (Recall the 3 forms of baptism: Water, Desire, Blood) One Christian of the time wrote the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Tertullian There were many saints who died during this time including several Popes, and Saints Agatha, Lucy, Cecial, and the Apostles. Two famous Saints who were martyred were: o SAINT PERPETUA & SAINT FELICITY (203 AD) Perpetua was a young married woman from a wealthy family while Felicity was a servant in her household. Shortly after Perpetua gave birth to a baby she and her family including Felicity were arrested because they were Christians. Felicity was pregnant at the time of the arrest. They both refused to deny the faith, but because Felicity was with child the Roman law would not permit her to be put to death. After the birth of her child Felicity and Perpetua were beheaded after being mauled by wild animals.

3 Fathers and Doctors of the Church The great age of martyrdom ended around the year 313 AD when the Roman Emperor Constantine issued a decree (Edict of Milan) allowing Christianity to be practiced freely and without persecution. He eventually converted. In 380 AD Christianity became the official Religion of the Roman Empire. Trouble now began within the Church in the form of Heresy. Heresy: is a denial of a basic doctrine of the faith. Those who teach heresy are called heretics. After the Edict of Milan there was a priest in Egypt named Arius who was teaching that Jesus the Son was not the same nature as the Father and that Jesus was not true God. The Heresy is called: Arianism Arius was a forceful speaker and his heresy spread rapidly. In 325 AD the Council of Nicea was called to correct the errors of Arianism. o SAINT ATHANASIUS ( AD) Father of the Church Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt He was a great defender against the Arian heresy and faced many threats to his life. He wrote many books during his life defending the faith. When he died in 373 AD the Arian heresy had not be completely conquered. Arianism was denounced in 381 AD. He wrote one of the creeds approved by the Church. Many other heresies followed after Arianism, but God raised up other Saints to combat them. One of the greatest Saints to defend the Church was: o SAINT AUGUSTINE ( AD) - Father of the Church He was Bishop, teacher and theologian. His early life was one of sin and his life reminds us that sinners can become saints. He was born of Saint Monica. He was very bright and a good student, but he had bad habits and broke the commandment of purity. His mother, Saint Monica, prayed for him patiently. Augustine was baptized at the age of 33 and later became a priest and then a bishop.

4 He wrote over 100 books his most famous being The Confessions which was about his conversion. He also wrote the City of God which contracts the evils of the world to the Christian life. The Monasteries In the Fifth century barbarians tribes began to threaten the stability of the Roman Empire. They were warlike, uncivilized tribes living in northern Europe outside the boundaries of the empire. The Church recognized the need to convert them to Christianity and to civilize them. Much of this work was done by Monks. Monk: men who live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience together in a community serving God. They live their lives according to a set of disciplines and rules in a community Monasteries. Usually live in isolated areas. They generally support themselves through agriculture. They dedicate their time to God. Gradually over time they formed schools of study within their monasteries. It was through their works that they were able to Christianize and educate much of Europe/ Monks did not become very numerous until: o SAINT BENEDICT ( AD) Considered the Father of Western Monasticism He s famous for after having performed a miracle he lived by himself as a hermit in a cave. After years of prayer, word of his holiness brought nearby monks to ask for his leadership. He warned them he would be too strict for them, but they insisted -- then tried to poison him when his warning proved true. The story goes, the monks attempted to poison Benedict's drink, but when he prayed a blessing over the cup - it shattered. Established a famous monastery in Monte Cassino in Italy. Founder of the Benedictine Order. He established the Rule of St. Benedict which is a guide to the daily activities of his monks.

5 Prayer: daily prayer, Divine Office, daily celebration of Mass, and Chant. Work: considered a prayer, farming, building, copying of manuscripts, writing books, and educating. As time passed monasteries also became centers for missionary work in which the monks set out to spread the faith. These missionaries helped convert the Germanic pagan tribes to the Faith. The Germanic Barbarian Herds sacked Rome in 470 AD ultimately leading to its fall and ending its 1000 year reign. The Church Faces Problems ISLAM (632 AD) o While the monks were busy converting the barbarian tribes a new threat emerged. Islam. o Islam was a completely new religion emerging in Arabia early in the 7 th century around 632AD. o Followers of Islam are called Muslims. o Its founder is Muhammad started having visions and hearing voices. He believed that the Angel Gabriel, over a 20 year period, dictated to him the words of God in the form of the Koran (Quran). o Islam began spreading into North Africa and the eastern parts of the old Roman Empire. o Eventually Islam gained control of the Mediterranean Sea separating the Christians living in Europe creating more problems for the Church. o This intensified problems which had existed for a long time within the Church. o Like Protestantism, Islam is now divided into sects (Sunni & Shi-ite) because they are a religion of the book (Koran/Quran), which requires interpretation. EASTERN SCHISM (1054 AD) o Schism To split. o After Rome adopted the Catholic Faith Constantine split up the Roman Empire into two parts. East and West The Roman and the Byzantine o These areas were separated by great distances, cultural differences, and different languages. o There had been a long running debate between the two sides of the Church concerning certain doctrines and over the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

6 o In 1054 AD the Eastern Church split (Schism) from the Roman Catholic Church denying the authority of the Pope. o While some of these Churches have recently been reunited with Roman some are still separated MIDDLE AGES ( AD) o The great corruption of the clergy. Is this happening now? o With the collapse of the Roman Empire the Church was the only power left leaving the church and the clergy as the only stable force left in the world. o The clergy was educated so it was up to them to take on the responsibility to govern society. o Many church leaders then exercised not only spiritual power but temporal power as well. o After a while many bishops, priests, and monks began to forget their primary roles as spiritual leaders. o Many became too concerned with their earthly powers and lost sight of their primary spiritual roles. o Sadly, we did have Popes who were very sinful, corrupt, and worldly. o The need for reform was badly needed. What do you think happened? How did God combat this? He sent more Saints over the next few centuries! That s next week s lesson! Questions: 1) What is a Monastery? Monk: men who live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience together in a community serving God. They live their lives according to a set of disciplines and rules in a community Monasteries. 2) What is a Heresy? A denial of a basic doctrine of the faith. Those who teach heresy are called heretics. 3) What is a Schism? To split. A Prayer by Saint Benedict for Seekers of Faith Gracious and Holy Father, give us the wisdom to discover You, the intelligence to understand You, the diligence to seek after You, the patience to wait for You, eyes to behold You, a heart to meditate upon You, and a life to proclaim You, through the power of the Spirit of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

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