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#400 – The Higher Clergy

The second of a series on the clergy at the end of the 4th century with a look at clerical ordination and responsibilities. We also look at the importance of deaconesses in the Eastern half of the Roman Empire.


Divine Liturgy by Michael Damaskinos

Apostolic Constitutions on the Clergy

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#400 – A History of the Catholic Church – The Higher Clergy


Catholic: Under The Hood Classics – Episodes 294-298


Presenting more of the back episodes of the History of the Catholic Church series no longer on the main podcast feed.

Episodes in this volume:
#294 – Martyrdom and Expansion
#295 – Saint Paul
#296 – The Council of Jerusalem
#297 – The Two Ways
#298 – Apostolic Succession

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Catholic: Under The Hood Episodes 294 to 298

#316 – A History Of The Catholic Church – The Bishop of Bishops


The conflict between Stephen and Cyprian comes close to causing a split between Carthage and Rome over the power and authority of the bishop of Rome. Emperor Valerian prepares another Empire-wide persecution of Christians.


Image: Bishop Stephen I of Rome

Material related to the conflict between Stephen and Cyprian

Cyprian and the Episcopal Synod of Late 254 by Geoffrey D. Dunn

On the different versions of Cyprian’s Unity of the Church

Fr. Seraphim’s Christmas Wish List at Amazon

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#315 – A History of the Catholic Church – The Bishop of Bishops

#315 – A History of the Catholic Church – One Must Have The Church For His Mother


The problem of dealing with those who had fallen away from the Church during the Decian Persecutions will greatly affect the Church in Rome and lead to the Novatianist Schism. But that won’t be the only problem as Carthage and Rome come into conflict and Bishop Stephen I of Rome claims power over the Church.


Image: Relics of Cyprian and Cornelius by ACBahn

Information on Novatian

Letters of Cornelius on Novatian

Letters between Cornelius and Cyprian on Novatian

Large searchable map of Roman Empire and surrounding areas

Fr. Seraphim’s Christmas Wish List at Amazon

Send e-mail questions and comments to

Check out the other great Catholic podcasts at the Starquest Production Network

To listen, just click on the link below:
#314 – A History of the Catholic Church – One Must Have The Church For His Mother

Pope Francis and his vist to Santa Maria Maggiore – The Hidden History

Ok, here is the picture that many of you have already seen:


Here is Pope Francis praying before the tomb of Dominican Pope St. Pius V.  Above the tomb is a monument of Conventual Pope Sixtus V who is also buried in Santa Maria Maggiore.

Now, perhaps Pope Francis, a Jesuit who has taken the name of Francis of Assisi, is trying to offer some support to the Dominicans.

However, for us of the Third Order of Saint Francis, this could be a bit ominous.  Pope St. Pius V almost destroyed our order in 1568 when he issued the bull Ea est officii nostri – that took away our Minister General and placed us under the Minister General of the Friars Minor.  Pius V claimed that this was intended to reform us, but the Friars Minor forbade us to accept any more novices and without novices we would would die out.

Fortunately, Pope Sixtus V [that’s his statue above the tomb of Pius V] restored our independence in 1586 with the Bull Romani Pontificis.  

So, needless to say, this is a place full of historical importance for the TOR Franciscans.  Indeed, at least one of our Order had a habit of visiting the tomb of Pope St. Pius V every year on his feast day and would stand before the tomb praying to St. Pius V in the words – “You owe us.” 😉

Today in Catholic History – Earthquake in Assisi

On 26 September 1997, two severe earthquakes struck Assisi killing ten people, including two Franciscan friars. The quakes severely damaged the Basilica of St. Francis, the mother church of the Franciscan community.

The first first quake struck in the early morning and measured 5.5 on the Richter Scale. It caused major cracks in the ceiling of the basilica and some damage to the basilica’s frescoes. The extent of the damage caused the custodian of the convent to close the basilica to visitors and alert local government officials.

Ten hours later, while two Franciscan friars and two art experts were examining the damage the first quake caused to the 13th basilica, a second quake struck – measuring 5.7 on the Richter Scale. Part of the ceiling and the frescoes painted by Cimabue crashed to the floor, killing the four men.

Since the earthquake, $40 million has been spent rebuilding, reinforcing and restoring the basilica. Seventy art restorers using computer programs have sorted through 320,000 fragments of frescoes to restore as much as possible. However, between 10 and 20 percent of the damaged frescoes are beyond repair.

Today in Catholic History – The Sack of Rome

On 27 August 410, Alaric and the Visigoths completed their three-day sack of the city of Rome which began on 24 August.

The Visigoths did relatively little damage to the city and the churches, however they did take much of the movable wealth. The Visigoths were Arians and treated the Romans as fellow Christians. Still, the sack of the city was traumatic to much of Christendom because it was the first time the city had been conquered by a non-Roman in 800 years.

St. Jerome wrote of the event, “My voice sticks in my throat; and, as I dictate, sobs choke my utterance. The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken.” St. Augustine will be inspired to write his work City of God to explain the sack of Rome against the arguments of many of the pagan Romans who blamed the fate of their city on the abandonment of the pagan gods. St. Augustine argued that all earthly cities were subject to falling as Rome did, only the heavenly city was eternal.

Today in Catholic History – Buddhist protest against South Vietnamese Government

On 30 May 1963, more than 500 Buddhist monks protested in front of the National Assembly in Saigon against the policy of the South Vietnamese government which promoted Catholicism but restricted Buddhism. While there had been a ban on public assembly, the monks evaded this ban by arriving at the National Assembly in buses with the blinds pulled down. The protest consisted of sitting for four hours while holding banners critical of the government.

While South Vietnam was composed 70 to 90 percent of Buddhists, the South Vietnamese government had enacted a very pro-Catholic policy. Catholics were favored for government positions, weapons were given only to Catholics, the Catholic Church was the largest landowner in the country, in 1959 Vietnam was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the Vatican flag was regularly flown at major public events in South Vietnam – however Buddhist flags were prohibited.

Opposition to the pro-Catholic policy and the restrictions on Buddhism motivated many protests which would reflect both political and religious problems in South Vietnam. The seriousness of these problems was graphically exemplified on 11 June 1963 when Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức immolated himself in front of a large crowd in South Vietnam in protest. Eventually, Buddhist opposition would contribute to the eventual coup against and assassination of South Vietnamese president President Ngô Đình Diệm.

The Buddhist Crisis

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#90 – Freedom of Choice

In this episode, I try to tackle the sticky problem of predestination – if God knows all we do, how can we be free? I also talk about some movie news.

The Nativity Story
Catholic Praise Cast
Catholic Rockers
Going Fourth

“Find A Way” by Road Trip from Podsafe Music

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#90 Freedom of Choice