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It is then that Jesus named Simon his chief disciple, giving him the name Peter meaning “rock”. At the point of the naming, Jesus blessed Simon and made his promise of building an everlasting and Holy Church upon the “rock” that was Simon Peter. Upon the death of Jesus Christ, Simon Peter became the Chief priest and head of the other disciples to spearhead the apostolic era spread of the Gospel. It then happened that Simon Peter became the first person among the disciples to establish the very first church in Rome (Dowley 195). As believed by many Catholics, the murder of Peter took place in Rome, where he also served as the head of Christians in the region and across the world. Guettee notes that many Christian believers and particularly Catholics believe that the Roman bishop received Peter’s mantle to lead the Christian flock across the world. Catholics also believe that before Peter died, he entrusted the bishop of Rome with the responsibilities of building and caring for established Church. With the existing belief and honor granted to the bishop of Rome as the leader and head of largest section of the Christian Church, and as an attribute to Peter, Adrian I declared himself as the Pope, a trend matured by Nicholas I and upheld further by King Gregory VII. Episcopacy is a form of government organization developed to rule the church (Dowley 196.). The rise of episcopacy in Christianity in the early Church attaches to the presbyter. Presbyter was a priest and overseer in the various churches and believed to develop from the Apostles of Jesus Christ during the spread of the Gospel. Papandrea explains that the concurrent growth and increase in population of Christians facilitated the formation of higher position of bishop of Rome, also considered as father bearing the great responsibility of exercising control of the Catholics in Rome and beyond (23). As the churches grew with characterization of multitude of followers, it became hard for the bishop to manage the churches single handedly, thus, the need to develop some other positions and offices to help manage the churches. The newly formed positions comprised the priests who were still presbyters and deacons, all of whom had the responsibilities of serving various divisions of Christians. Both the priest and the deacons were answerable to the bishop. It is worth noting that the deacons were assistants of the priests and, therefore, every church or congregation had the two dignitaries. Bishop of Rome enjoyed exclusive rights to appoint, dismiss the priests and deacons, approve church members and even baptize church members. Bishop of Rome also exercised absolute control over the finances of the various churches under his control and settled disputes among the church members. The Bishop of Rome also headed other bishops serving in other cities and countries. The entire system was what entailed the episcopacy. The bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the Pope, played various functions, center of which was the unification of the Christian religion (Dowley 200). Bishop of Rome mediated between Christians upon emergence of any conflicts and differences. For instance, Leo the Great met with the barbarians of Hun in 452 and the barbarians of Vandal in 455 to negotiate the modalities of restoring peace in Rome through withdrawal of the threats posed by the barbarians. Pope Gregory 1 also led negotiation with the Lombard barbarians in 592 to ensure withdrawal of the ...Show more
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Institution Date EAST AND WEST Pope is a term from Greek word “papas”, which means “father”. In the historical Christian beliefs, the word “father” signified respect and honor preserved to the top most preachers who were bishops or casual priests…
East and West
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