The Age of Division, volume two of my history of Christendom, has now been released by Ancient Faith Publishing.
Building on The Age of Paradise, it carries the story of the rise and fall of what the West once was beyond the first millennium. Opening with events surrounding the fateful Great Schism of 1054, it follows efforts by the papacy to impose a thorough-going reform of Western Christendom. In addition to improving the spiritual quality of church life, the Papal Reformation also unleashed other forces including the crusades and, more indirectly but tragically, a penitential piety that slowly eroded the place of paradise within Western culture.
The book also tells the story of Eastern Christendom during this period, when the Fourth Crusade and the Turkish onslaught finally brought Constantinople to its knees. Nevertheless, in Russia the Orthodox Church continued to nurture the culture of the old Christendom, despite growing isolation from the West and the depredations of Ivan the Terrible.
The Age of Division concludes with a reflection on the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, which both continued the process of transformation begun by the papacy in the eleventh century and, in very significant ways, brought it to an end.
For those interested in obtaining a copy, the book can be found at the Ancient Faith Store and Amazon.
It has been several months now since my last post, and I apologize to my readers for the long delay. It is due in part to obligations and tasks that arose soon after Christmas and which required my attention. It is also due to the fact that in presenting my reflections I came to a point that required a pause as I prepared for a new phase in the project. This post represents the beginning of that new phase, as I take a step back in time from from what for the most part has so far been reflections on the twentieth century. Modern Christendom, the subject of this blog, is after all the result or product of cultural shifts occurring over a period much greater than the few generations that separate us from the rise of things like militant atheism.
So far I have been interested mainly in recent history. I would now like to take my readers back beyond the twentieth century, beyond even the past five centuries, to the moment when, in my judgment, an event happened that symbolizes a shift away from traditional Christendom to the modern Christendom that would see a decline in Christianity and the rise of a secularized alternative to it. The event symbolized the decline of a civilization directed toward the kingdom of heaven. It symbolized the end of paradise and the birth of utopia. Continue reading