The Holy Roman Empire


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Three great men, three decisive steps into the formation of the West in the eighth century of the Christian era: Charles Martel, who stopped the Arab expansion at Poitiers in 732 A.D., his son Pepin III the Short, who supported the Church of Rome against the Lombards and who donated land to the Pope in 756 A.D. which became the beginning of the state of the Holy See, and the son of the latter, Carolus, who was named Great (Magnus in Latin) or Charlemagne, and who played a particularly definitive role in the European and Medieval genesis.

Carolus was very intelligent, thirsting for knowledge. He loved reading or others to read to him. He learnt Latin and a little Greek. His favourite book was “The city of God” by Saint Augustine. The situation on Italy and in the Frankish kingdom was rather fluid.

As soon as he took office, after his father’s death, and after complicated strives. with great energy he succeeded in unifying and pacifying the Frankish lands as well as expanding his sovereignty into Austria, Southern Germany, Friesland and the Western Low Countries.

On Christmas Day of the year 800 Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Emperor of the West, in an attempt to reconstitute the Western Roman Empire.

As an emperor, Charlemagne led the west into a certain renaissance, protecting the Catholic faith and at the same time promoting the letters and the arts, causing homogeneity to his state, expanding the usage of the Roman liturgical rite everywhere and legislating with the Christian faith and morality as a rule.

The priests were responsible for the education of the children and every Cathedral had its own “higher school”.

The monasteries multiplied and around  the numerous monastic communities many people were attracted because of their spiritual radiance with the result of a surge in productive activities and the development of the economy. Little by little, the first nuclei of the medieval cities were created.

carolus-magnusOn the left Charlemagne is between the P{opes Gelasius I and Gregory I in a liturgical book of 870 A.D., an indication of the important role he played in the defense of the Church and faith.

The ninth century sees the conquest of Crete by the Saracenes of Spain in 826 A.D. and that of Sicily in 827 A.D.

Moreover, the Norwegian colonize Iceland (850-875 A.D.) and the Viking sally to the British Isles and Ireland, where they found Dublin in 841 A.D.

In the Arab peninsula coffee is discovered (850 A.D.) while in Japan tea is imported for the first time for medicinal use.

In 864 A.D. the Slaves are christianized by the saints Cyril and who invent the so-called “Cyrillic alphabet” in order to facilitate their missionary work.

So, once more, the Church becomes the carrier not only of the faith, but also of the cultural development of the peoples she evangelizes.

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