The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1


III. Imperial Provision of 533 Fully Operative in 538 for Pope

The full enthronement of the bishop of Rome in the church and the Catholic empire could hardly be recognized as an accomplished fact while so much of the West was under the domination of Arians, until Justinian’s armies in Africa and Italy overthrew the Vandal kingdom and broke the power of the Ostrogoths at the raising of the siege of Rome. And not until the Goths were driven from Rome in 538 was the bishop of Rome released from Gothic encirclement and control. 9 PFF1 935.1

The year-by-year outline of events may be summarized as follows: PFF1 935.2

533—Justinian’s general, Belisarius, embarks for Africa. 10 PFF1 935.3

534—Vandal kingdom destroyed. 11 PFF1 935.4

535—Belisarius lands in Sicily, beginning the Ostrogothic war. 12 PFF1 935.5

536—Belisarius garrisons Rome. 13 PFF1 935.6

537 (March)—Ostrogothic king Witiges, with 150,000 Goths, vainly seeks to retake Rome in a one-year siege. 14 PFF1 935.7

538 (March)—Another Roman army landing in Italy, Witiges in despair abandons the siege of Rome, falling back to Ravenna. 15 553—Defeat of Teias (Theia) and end of the Ostrogothic war. 16 PFF1 935.8

That the Ostrogoths did not perish as a nation until 552-555 is attested not only by history but by Ostrogothic coins in the British Museum and the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, where on the coinage of Baduila (Totila) and Teias the title “Rex” (king) appears. 17 PFF1 935.9

That events centering about the siege of Rome (March, 537-March, 538) were a turning point in church and state is evidenced by such statements as the following: PFF1 936.1

“With the conquest of Rome by Belisarius the history of the ancient city may be considered as terminating; and with his defense against Witiges [538] commences the history of the Middle Ages—of the times of destruction and of change.” 18 PFF1 936.2

Thus as the hampering Goths were swept away from Rome in 538 by the arms of Justinian, there was inaugurated a new era of legalized ecclesiastical supremacy of the popes, as they became increasingly not only heads of the church, but “men of the state,” and eventually “rulers of the state.” And this turning point in the time of Justinian, with the key dates 533 and 538, was many centuries later to be pointed to as the beginning of an important prophetic period, as is covered in Volume II. PFF1 936.3