The Church in the Dark Ages, Volume 2
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By Henri Daniel-Rops
The Church in the Dark Ages is the second installment in Henri Daniel-Rops’ monumental History of the Church of Christ. This volume includes the last five chapters of that work, surveying the threats to the Christian East, from the rise of Islam and onslaughts of jihad to the Iconoclastic Controversy, burgeoning heresy, and imminent schism; the greatness of Charlemagne and the Carolingian Renaissance; the subsequent era of disorder in the West, counteracted by the first great medieval pope, St. Nicholas I; the Byzantine Revival, emergence of “Caesaro-Papism,” and conclusive Great Schism; and, lastly, the tragic dawn of the new millennium, whose light finds the Church inspired by a spirit of renewal, manifest in the monastic reforms of the Abbaye de Cluny.
When we look at the power for action which the Church displayed in the Dark Ages, we must not forget that this capacity rested on supernatural graces, on a deep spiritual life, and a permanent contact with God. (Henri Daniel-Rops)
A magnificent presentation of six centuries of Church history, The Church in the Dark Ages proves the aptness of the term les temps barbares. From 400 a.d. to 1050 a.d., the world endured—in Rops’ eloquent phrasing—“a night in which humanity seemed to be groping blindly amid the bloody confusion of today and the anguish of the morrow. Only the Church, guided by a transcendent ambition, pursued her course unwaveringly, and in working to her own supernatural ends she became the most effective means of ensuring the salvation of civilization.”
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Henri Daniel-Rops (1901–1965), the nom de plume of Henri Petiot, was a French Catholic historian. His bibliography comprises seventy books—written over a span of just thirty years—and includes Sacred History, Jesus and His Times, and the monumental, ten-volume History of the Church of Christ. He also served as editor for the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, which consisted of one hundred and fifty volumes. Phenomenally successful in his own time, Daniel-Rops made religious history accessible and popular; in 1955, he was elected to the Académie française and in 1956 he received the Order of St. Gregory from Pope Pius XII.
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