Mister Richardson's
Church History Class


Chapter 10


A. The Donation of Constantine
1. The Bishop of Rome came to possess worldly power due to the fall of the Empire, the Barbarian invasions, the Muslim conquests, missionary activities, and the gaining of lands.
2. This tended to corrupt the papacy and attract men who were more interested in power than in prayer.
3. The Donation of Constantine is an example of this corruption.
4. This document materialized in the mid-700's and claimed that Constantine had been cured of leprosy by Pope Sylvester in the early 300's.
5. Constantine, in gratitude, moved the capital to Constantinople so that the Roman Bishop could rule the Western Empire.
6. It also legitimized the Pope's claim on lands in Italy.
7. No one questioned the authenticity of this document at the time.

B. The Isidorian Decretals
1. In the mid-800's, another document appeared.
2. The Isidorian Decretals was a list of decisions that had been collected by Isidore of Seville.
3. These decretals had been collected from Clement in the 1st Century up to Gregory II in the 8th Century.
4. According to this document, neither popes nor bishops were subject to secular power.
5. It also said that all the rights and powers that popes claimed in the 9th Century had been exercised by popes from the beginning.
6. In 1433, Nicholas de Cusa was the first to claim that the Decretals were forgeries.
7. In 1440, Lorenzo Valla proved the Donation of Constantine was a forgery.

C. Pope Nicholas I
1. Nicholas I was pope from 858 to 867.
2. He claimed that the pope is the ruler of the entire church and that the church should be over all earthly powers.
3. This idea has been the cause of much trouble ever since.


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