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.