Church History:  The 700s


What happened in this century?

  • Islam swept across North Africa in the last decade of the 600s and then started moving up into Europe in this century.  The Muslims were defeated at the Battle of Tours by Charlemagne's grandfather, Charles Martel.

  • Western Christianity remained a small part of Europe until the rise of Charlemagne in the latter part of the century.

Contact Mark Nickens, Ph.D. in Church History, at  Questions, comments, and observations are welcome!


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2011  Mark Nickens

726        Emperor Leo III issued a statement that all images were idols and ordered their destruction

732        Charles Martel defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours (France).  This stopped the advance of the Muslims into western Europe. 

735       Bede died.  The title "Venerable" was given to him about 100 years later.  He is considered the father of English Church History and wrote The Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

756        Pepin the Short gave Pope Stephen II authority over Rome and the surrounding areas.  This was the beginning of the Papal States.

754       Boniface died.  He is consider the "Apostle of Germany"; he was born in England and sent to Germany by Pope Gregory II.   He helped unify Europe by working for a relationship between the papacy and the Carolingian family.  He famously cut down the Donar Oak, or Thor's Oak, which was a sacred site for the German pagan worshippers.  Boniface challenged the pagan gods to kill him if he cut down the tree, and when he did and was not killed, the Germans in that area agreed to accept Christianity.  Boniface built a chapel dedicated to Peter at that spot out of the wood from the Oak.

768        Charlemagne became King of the Franks.

781        Alcuin met Charlemagne; Alcuin became his religious and educational adviser and would be the inspiration for the Carolingian Renaissance.

787        Council of Nicea II.  The council reversed the ruling by Leo III (see 726) and established that icons could be venerated. 

787        The Carolingian Renaissance began when Charlemagne ordered that all monasteries include teaching and study.    It resulted in an increase in knowledge, education, copying of manuscripts, cultural awareness, art, architecture, and biblical studies.  


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