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The Holy Roman Empire

Europe has had a long and fascinating history. A very large part of all that has happened on the continent, over the many centuries, has been the result of the relationship between two very powerful and influential rulers. Sometimes they were steadfast allies, at other times they were bitter enemies, but together the Germanic kings in north-central Europe, and the Roman Catholic Popes at The Vatican in Rome (and elsewhere) eventually formed the "Holy Roman Empire."

Emperors and Popes The empire called itself "Roman" because it claimed succession to The Ancient Roman Empire, and "holy" because it held control over mainstream European Christianity. It was as much political as it was religious - the church was the state.

On February 2, 962, Pope John XII crowned Otto I as the Holy Roman Emperor. When Otto succeeded his father Heinrich (Henry) as German king in 936, the people raised their right hand to show approval and shouted "Sieg und heil" ("victory and salvation"). Most historians view 962 as the beginning of what would later officially be known as the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanica ("the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation") - the First Reich.

The octagonal imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, made especially for the coronation of Otto, became the very symbol of European unity for centuries to come. In recent years, Otto von Habsburg (whose ancestors were some of the Holy Roman emperors, and whose oldest son, Karl, is the now the potential heir to that heritage) called attention to the possible role of that crown of the Holy Roman Empire in the New Europe - which will actually be an extremely powerful reawakening of the old Europe.

Over the centuries, there has been a see-saw struggle between the German, or Austrian, Holy Roman emperor and the Pope as to who was the actual ruler of the empire. To summarize their respective claims of superiority -

  • The Popes claimed leadership by saying that the empire was merely the political arm of the church, established and maintained by "God and the Papacy." Under this arrangement, the emperor was answerable to the Pope who could dispose of the king at will - a situation that actually occurred a number of times.

  • The Imperial Frankish theory claimed that the emperor had the leadership (which fits exactly with the prophecy of end-time events) because the "divine" emperor (some of the emperors actually claimed to be God - absolute blasphemy) had a direct responsibility to God, and that the Pope was merely the emperor's "prophet" between God and the empire. The emperors claimed the right to appoint or dispose of popes at will - a situation that also actually occurred a number of times.

Many students of Bible Prophecy (see also Daniel's Statue) believe that the new Europe is going to play a very big part in events leading the The Return of Jesus Christ. Are they right? Time will soon tell.

Fact Finder: What title will be written on the robe of Jesus Christ on the day of His Return?
Revelation 19:16


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