21 January 2011

The Rise and Fall of Christendom

Food for thought on the trajectory of Western History over the last 2,000 odd years. Somebody who is better at math than I am ought to graph that curve and see if we can't predict when the impending criminalization of Christianity will arrive, as well as the ever-popular end of the world ;-)

~A.D. 1.
The Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Flesh.

~~A.D. 313.
The Edict of Milan: Legalization of Christianity.

~~~A.D. 380.
The Edict of Thessalonica: Establishment of Christianity as the Religion of the State.

~~~~A.D. 800.
The Coronation of Charlemagne: Triumph of the Church over the Power of the State.

~~~~~A.D. 1302.
The Bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII: Exposition of the Doctrine of the Two Swords.

~~~~A.D. 1789.
The French Revolution: Triumph of the State over the Power of the Church.

~~~A.D. 1918.
The Great War (WWI): Disestablishment of Christianity as the Religion of the State.

~~A.D. ????.
The Criminalization of Christianity.

~A.D. ????.
The Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ to Judge the Living and the Dead.


The World of Our Concern said...

Is 'Unam Sanctam' meant to be the culmination of the ascendancy of Christianity, or the beginning of its decline, or both, or neither? Also, why is WWI given as the event in which Christianity ceased to be the religion of the 'state'?

John said...

Hi WOC, congratulations on the birth of your most recent child. I hope that the whole family is doing well.

Ad 1: Unam Sanctam just happens to fall almost exactly in between Charlemagne and the French Revolution, which is very convenient. In point of fact, however, the reign of Pope Innocent III at the beginning of the 13th century would be the real high-water mark of Christendom in practice, whereas Unam Sanctam is merely the theoretical high point.

Ad 2: It is true that Christianity ceased to be the religion of the state at different times in different states, but WWI brought both the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire to their respective ends, destroying thereby the last real remnants of Christendom. Obviously, Spain, Malta, and a few others remained officially Catholic and others, such as France, had long since ceased to be, but there seems to me to be something final in WWI's destruction of all empires.

Having said all of that, my outline is certainly open to revision if there are other more suitable suggestions.