With Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he will abdicate the papacy, he will make history as the first Pope to do so since July 4th, 1415. While Benedict cites his “advanced age” for his reason to leave his position, the last Pope to resign, Pope Gregory XII, left due to a terrible divide in the Roman Catholic Church called the Great Western Schism.
During his reign there were at least two “antipopes”, or men who claimed to be Pope, Antipope Benedict XIII and Antipope John XXII. Due to this chaos Gregory XII was unable to do much throughout his reign, and may have been but a blip on the historical radar if not for Benedict XVI’s announcement of resignation.
Gregory XII’s nearly 10 year reign came to a conclusion at The Council of Constance in 1414, where John XXII and Gregory XII were convinced to resign and become cardinals. Benedict XIII was not persuaded to resign his unofficial papacy and therefore was excommunicated and lived the rest of his life in obscurity off the coast of Spain.
Pope Martin V was chosen as the successor to this chaotic period, but Gregory XII should be given credit for stepping down for the good of the church. In that there can be a correlation between Gregory XII and Benedict XVI. Benedict has stated that the church needs someone younger to deal with the problems facing the church and he feels in his current state of health he is unable to do the necessary job.
With his resignation comes the question of who will succeed him. There has been talk about possibly the first non-European Pope, possibly from Africa or the Americas. Either way, whoever is elected into the papacy will surely have their hands full.
Most people are familiar with crucifixion from the accounts of Jesus of Nazareth’s death on the orders of Pontius Pilate. However, that form of execution dated back at least to the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) and was popular with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, as well as the Romans. The practice was discontinued from widespread use by Constantine in 337 CE in deference to Jesus’ crucifixion.
Shortly after the ascension of Jesus Christ, Saint Mark of Alexandria began to instruct the people of Alexandria in the teachings of Jesus. Christianity took hold in Alexandria and quickly spread throughout Egypt. By the 3rd Century AD, Christianity was the major religion of the area and the Church of Alexandria became one of the original four Apostolic Sees, second only to Rome. Sean McLachlan reports on the discovery an ancient Christian city in Egypt for Gadling.
An ancient Christian city dating to the fourth century AD has been discovered in Egypt.
Archaeologists digging at the Ain al-Sabil area of the New Valley Governorate have discovered the remains of a basilica and buildings to serve the priests. This is the first excavation at the site and researchers hope more discoveries will be made under the Egyptian sands.
Egyptian Christians trace their history back to just after the Crucifixion, when Saint Mark preached in the country. Called the Copts, these Christians make up anywhere from 5-23% of the population. Estimates vary so widely because the actual number is a politically contentious issue. Most sources agree that about 10% is the correct figure, meaning slightly more than 8 million people.
Read the rest of the story at Ancient Christian city discovered in Egypt | Gadling.com.
After reading this review, I have to read this book! For my second bachelor’s degree, I majored in Popular Culture and a large part of that study was looking at icons, mostly 20th Century figures and understanding their contexts and impact to the society built around them. In his new book, , Martin Kemp examines some of the most important images turned icons throughout history. In his review of Kemp’s book, Ed Voves for the California Literary Review writes how Kemp hit the nail on the head for most of his analysis, even if he may have missed for a couple of subjects.
It is still shocking to see the photo of Kim Phuc, a nine-year old Vietnamese girl screaming in pain, her naked body seared by napalm in 1972. I am old enough to remember seeing the Associated Press photo when it first hit the front pages of newspapers. The Vietnam War had been shredding bodies and hopes for so long that it hardly seemed possible that a single image of human conflict could pierce through the war’s futility and touch our hearts.
And then photographer Nick Ut captured “The Girl in the Picture” on film. He aimed his Leica M-2 camera and with one quick “click,” Phan Thi Kim Phuc, became a symbol of the horror of the Vietnam War and by extension all wars.
“The Girl in the Picture” is one of eleven images which have achieved the status of icons. These instantly recognizable images are the subjects of Martin Kemp’s new book, Christ to Coke. Kemp, a leading authority on the work of Leonardo da Vinci, analyses the process by which certain statues, paintings, photos, commercial “brands” and scientific formulas grab onto our imaginations and won’t let go.
Read the rest of the review Book Review: Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp | California Literary Review.
Alcala de Henares was originally settled by the Romans in the 1st Century BC. It fell into the hands of the Visigoths, who in turned lost the city to the Moors in 711. In 1118, Alcala de Henares was taken in the name of the Kingdom of Castile during the Reconquista. The Reconquista was a period of close to 800 years, where the rulers of several Christian kingdoms fought to recapture the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors. In a newly found 700-year old document discovered by College of William & Mary professor George Greenia shows how the city of Alcala de Henares tried to sway the court of the Spanish King Fernando IV as reports Megan Shearin at William & Mary.
It’s been a decade and a half since manuscript hunter George Greenia discovered a missing medieval Spanish document in the archives at the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library.
Now Greenia, who serves as professor of Hispanic studies at the College of William and Mary, has chronicled his discovery and the historic contents of the 700-year-old manuscript in “The Lost Privilegio de Alcalá de Henares de 1295.” His essay is one of several pieces written by a group of medievalists in the anthology, La pluma es la lengua del alma: Ensayos en honor de E. Michael Gerli, published in September 2011.
The document, dated Aug. 8, 1295, is a concession of royal privileges signed by King Fernando IV granting freedom and liberties to the citizens of Alcalá during the Spanish Reconquista. According to Greenia, it’s also the fourth oldest document to mention the city, which lies about 20 miles east of Madrid.
The single sheet of sheepskin parchment, measuring 24 by 18 inches, is in immaculate condition considering its age, said Greenia. What it provides scholars is an invaluable piece of history into medieval democracy, he added.
“The emerging town council of Alcalá is flexing its muscles and asking for all the bishops and cardinals present at the royal parliament to be expelled,” said Greenia. “And so the King did – for a few days – and then they came back.”