10th Century

This was the Century that ended on the millennial year 1000. Seemed like a good year for Christ's return. Some writers have suggested that greedy churchmen had encouraged millennial fears deliberately so that people would give their material possessions to the church in hopes of salvation. While this most likely is true, modern studies suggest that there was no general Y1K panic. This was mainly due to the fact that back then most folks were completely consumed with just trying to eek out a living — growing crops, managing livestock, gathering materials for heat and building. Life was so rough back then that for many, the end of the world would have been something to look forward to.


Olga of Kiev embraces Christianity after visiting Emperor Constantine VII in Constantinople. He admired her looks and intelligence, noting: 'You are fit to reign in this city with us.' So she agreed to be baptized and became a Christian. Thirty years later she would influence her grandson Prince Vladimir when he was deciding which religion to bring to Russia. (See 988)    [Read more ...]


Pope John XII is deposed by a Roman Synod.  The young Pope's father was named Alberic; he was a much-beloved ruler of Rome. Before he died, Alberic made the civic leaders promise that they would make his son Octavius pope at the first vacancy. This they did in 955. However Octavius, who changed his name to John, was not the man his father was. Accounts of the time suggest he preferred battles to Bible study, hunting to holiness and was a notorious adulterer and liar. The prestige of the papacy plummeted. So a church council (synod) was convened. John was called to defend himself against charges of adultery, incest, murder, perjury, sacrilege, and selling church offices. John refused to appear. Instead, he sent a letter: "To all the bishops — We hear that you wish to make another pope. If you do I excommunicate you." In spite of this threat, the synod tossed him out.    [Read more ...]


Unpopular Pope Boniface VII dies.   This was a tough age for the papacy. In those days, in addition to a Pope, there was also a Holy Roman Emperor, who often had his hand in church matters more than the Pope. Rules for selecting a new Pope were different back then, and the Emperor often forced his selection on the Church. This made for some unpopular Popes, of which Boniface was included. The story of Boniface's multiple attempts at being Pope is interesting. Folks were so unhappy with him as Pope that upon his death, they dragged his naked body through the streets of Rome. Although there were Holy Roman Emperors until the 1800's, the procedures for selecting a Pope were eventually changed to keep them out of the loop. (See 1179)    [Read more ...]


Prince Vladimir brings Christianity to Russia.   Tradition has it that Vladimir listened to envoys from Islam, Judaism, and both the Greek and Roman Christian churches seeking to convert him and evangelize his people. The prince sent several wise envoys to investigate these religions. They were especially impressed with the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople and the splendor of its religious services. So Vladimir, with a little encouragement from his grandmother (See 957), decided to adopt the form of Christianity practiced at the Byzantine court, the center of what is today the Eastern Orthodox faith.    [Read more ...]