Augustine to Early Middle Ages - Album

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Part 01 - Troubles in the Roman Imperium: 376 A.D. Onwards

Dr. John Rao discusses the difficulties faced by the Empire from the time of the entry of the Goths in 376 A.D. onwards. Here one learns of the Gothic move westward, the eruption of the Vandal alliance into Gaul and Spain, the fragmentation of authority and the attempts by the emperor in Constantinople to control the situation through the expedition of Theodoric and Justinian's reconquest of Italy.

Part 02 - The Church and the Theodosian Emperors

What was the situation of the Church under the Theodosian Emperors who supported Orthodoxy versus the Arian Heresy? Dr. John Rao discusses here the building of an orthodox Roman Christendom and the roles of the "Patriarchs" of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople. 

Part 03: Christology and the Council of Ephesus

The first great threat to the new orthodox order of things came through the divergences over Christology emerging out of Antioch and Alexandria. These fought their first open battle at the Council of Ephesus over the ideas and work of Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople who was a representative of the "school" of Antioch.  

Part 04: From the Collapse of the "Union" to the Council of Chalcedon

The highly confusing and divisive history of the Council of Ephesus seemed to reach a happy conclusion with the "Act of Union" signed by the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch after the end of that synod. Dr. John Rao discusses here the collapse of that hopeful (but temporary) end to the controversy.  

Part 05: Reactions to Chalcedon and the Monophysite Movement: Part 1 of 3

This and the following two talks by Dr. John Rao cover the controversial Council of Chalcedon and reactions to it from those who could not accept Pope St. Leo's definition of Christ as possessing two natures united in one Divine Person--the so-called Monophysites.

Part 06: Reactions to Chalcedon and the Monophysite Movement: Part 2 of 3

 Monophysites were active in both Egypt and Syria. Eventually they developed a parallel hierarchy which split the Church in the Middle East into pro and anti-Chalcedon factions. Dr. John Rao explores the development of a "Monophysite Church" in this second talk. 

Part 07: Reactions to Chalcedon and the Monophysite Movement: Part 3 of 3

The Emperor Justinian, himself pro-Chalcedon, tried a number of different approaches to resolve the dilemmas posed by two opposing Churches. These brought many problems of Caesaro-Papism, including fights with Rome, in their train. 

Part 08: Lombards, Persians, Moslems and Rome

The situation of the Empire was worsened due to invasions by the Lombards in Italy and the Persians and Arab Moslems in the East. These wreaked havoc with the still strong ancient urban character of the Greco-Roman world. During the all too short period of imperial revival under Heraclius a last attempt to resolve the Monophysite Heresy, that developing Monothelitism, was made. 

Part 09: Rome, the East and the Monothelite Controversy

Highly gifted intellectual and spiritual exiles from the East, like St. Maximus the Confessor, stirred up the Papacy to a greater sense of its Primacy and its duty to fight Monothelitism. This lead to severe confrontations with the emperors in Constantinople, especially under the reign of Pope St. Martin.

Part 10: Gaul and the Background of the Papal-Frankish Alliance: Part 1 of 2

Both papal pragmatism as well as frustration with a political/religious order under the authority of the emperors in Constantinople gradually led Rome to contemplate a break with the imperium. That break would bring with it a new alliance, one with the German tribes, especially that of the Franks in Gaul. Here, Dr. John Rao traces the growth of the importance of the Franks in a still quite Roman Gaul under Clovis and the Merovingian Family.  

Part 11: Gaul and the Background of the Papal-Frankish Alliance: Part 2 of 2

Dr. John Rao continues his discussion of Christianity in Merovingian Gaul. The Kingdom of the Franks under the descendents of Clovis experienced many difficulties dangerous to the Faith and conducive to the growth of another, ultimately more competent family: the Carolingians.  

Part 12: The Contribution of Britain and Ireland: Part 1 of 3

In three talks, Dr. John Rao discusses the crucial role played in the growth of Christianity in Merovingian and Carolingian Gaul of influences coming from Britain and Ireland. In the first of these conferences, the horror of post-Roman British life is explained, as well as hopeful developments beginning with the work of St. Patrick and Irish monasticism. 

Part 13: The Contribution of Britain and Ireland: Part 2 of 3

Irish monasticism came to play an essential part in the Christianization of Anglo-Saxon Britain. But so did the influence coming from a different kind of monasticism, that of St. Benedict and the Benedictines. In this talk, by Dr. John Rao the distinctions between these two monastic "rules" are developed. 

Part 14: The Contribution of Britain and Ireland: Part 3 of 3

Ultimately, Anglo-Saxon Britain was Christianized by Benedictine and Irish monks who clashed but also complemented one another in important sections of what can now be called England; areas like Northumbria. Christian England's close ties with the Greco-Roman world are emphasized by Dr. John Rao.

Part 15: The Irish Monks, the Merovingians and Carolingians

Irish monasticism emphasized the need of going into exile for Christ's sake. They became great evangelists. One of these, St. Columbanus, was instrumental in stirring up tepid Christian belief in a Merovingian Gaul disturbed by civil wars. Much of the Frankish nobility, the Carolingian Family prominent among it, took Irish Monasticism to heart. 

Part 16: The Growth of Frankish Power, the Carolingians and St. Boniface: Part 1 of 2

The Kingdom of the Franks expanded eastward underneath the strongest of the Merovingians and the Carolingian "Mayors of the Palace". The German tribes they encountered were either still pagan or only slightly touched by Christianity. Irish monks and then "Benedictines" from Britain, like St. Boniface, would come to work with the Kingdom of the Franks to become apostles to the unconverted and tepid.  

Part 17: The Growth of Frankish Power, the Carolingians and St. Boniface: Part 2 of 2

St. Boniface realized that working with the Franks and the Carolingians was a necessary but tricky business. Dr. John Rao discusses some of the hopes and dangers of cooperating with Charles Martel and Pippin in this talk. 

Part 18: The Iconoclast Controversy

Before the popes could bring themselves to make a final break with subjection to the emperor in Constantinople one final blow was needed. This came with the Iconoclast Controversy, which brought with it not only a religious conflict but also a political one. Eastern exiles made Rome a center of opposition to an image smashing whose errors were discussed by St. John of Damascus.  

Part 19: The Sealing of the Papal-Frankish Alliance

The years around 750 A.D. were crucial ones for the final sealing of the alliance of Rome and the Carolingian Family. Rome needed a protection from the Lombards which iconoclast emperors in the East could not give. Pippin wanted to be named King of the Franks. St. Isidore of Seville had already provided the argument for what came next. 

Part 20 - St Augustine I - The Neo-Platonic Environment

The great formative thinker for western Christianity was St. Augustine. Still, St. Augustine did not appear from out of nowhere. Here, Father Richard Munkelt discusses the Third and Fourth Century Neo-Platonic environment, that of Plotinus and his followers in particular, which exercised such a great influence on Augustinian philosophy and theology.  

Part 21 - St Augustine II - Sin, Grace and Redemption

 Father Richard Munkelt, in the second of three talks, tackles the great issues that moved St. Augustine to conversion and shaped his thinking. Here he discusses the African Doctor's theology of Sin, Grace and Redemption. 

Part 22 - St Augustine III - Conclusion

In this third talk on St. Augustine, Father Richard Munkelt develops some of the arguments made in the preceding lecture and answers several of the questions emerging from it. 

Part 23 - St. Isidore of Seville and Visigothic Spain

The influence of Visigothic Spain in Ireland, Britain and Gaul was enormous and central to an understanding of how the West could break with submission to the emperors in Constantinople. Hispano-Romans had a great appreciation for Classical Culture, both secular and Christian. The greatest of the Spanish thinkers, St. Isidore of Seville, is symbolic of the glory of Christian Visigothic life as a whole, and is the topic of this talk by Father Ignacio Barreiro. 

Part 24 - The Beginning of the Pontificate of Benedict XVI

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, who worked in Rome for Human Life International, was an on-the-scene observer of developments in the Vatican. In this talk, he takes a break from historical subjects in order to explore the hopes emerging from the first year of Pope Benedict's reign. 

Part 25 - The Liturgy in the Early Middle Ages

The liturgy held an enormous appeal for the newly Christian Germans of the Early Middle Ages. Here, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro discusses developments in liturgical life in the period under discussion. 

Taken from the series: "From Augustine and Chrysostom to the Papal-Frankish Alliance Christianity in the Early Middle Ages (395-752) - 2006 Hildebrand Institute"

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