The Myth of Papal Primacy

St Peter’s Square, Vatican City. Photo Credit: Michael Martinelli

Throughout history, religious institutions have been subject to political authority, as the Vatican was in its early years. However, the bishops of Rome suddenly earned a windfall after finding themselves as the only heirs of a power vacuum starting in 476 when the last Western Roman emperor was deposed. By contrast, the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire stayed in power for another thousand years, and the Patriarch of Constantinople remained…