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tv   Pope The Most Powerful Man in History  CNN  March 30, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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that was it for me. >> to use how chad is putting up helping design brighter futures for young people, go to cnn heroes.com and if you know someone who deserves to be a cnn hero nominate them. that's itor us tonight. thanks for watching. >> one of the most powerful men on rg earth holds a position existed for nearly 2,000 years. as the world changes and faith evolves his authority remains. what began with one apostle has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he is the head of the catholic church, the pope. and this is his path to power.
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inhis epide never-before-seen artifts fro the earliest day of christianity show how a small group of reasonablies turn an illegal movement into the largest religion on the planet. and how against all odds the papacy endures.
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clfrp. >> this is something that never happened before .vatican publicly displayed what's believed to be bone fragments from st. peter and an apostle of jesus christ. >> pope francis is the 266th leader of the catholic church. for the last 2,000 years, despite an ever changing world catholics have looked to the pope as a beacon of faith, morality and divine guidance. but who is this figure that means so much to so many? and how did he come to be one of
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the most powerful men on earth? >> people look to the pope to have somethingo say on almost everything. >> he transcends the cath rick church. >> i don't think there is any other religious figure that people recognize as much as they recognize the pope. >> but before the pope had the ear of 1.2 billion followers worldwide he was a philosopher, a leader of an underground movement and an outlaw. >> peter was one of the 12 apostles. he used to walk with jesus essentially. so he is an important figure for that reason alone. >> in the gospels when the apostles go fishing in galilee, peter is told you are rp, which
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means rock. and on this rock i will build my church and i will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. and jesus christ said to peter who do you say i am where you're the christ, the son of god. so he became the authenticating voice. >> peter himself as the one who voiced the confession becomes a symbol of the unwavering faith that jesus is the son of god, which is then the center of the christian church. >> though the word pope is not used for hundreds of years, the foundation of the sacred office is entwined in peter's legacy. >> the popes are if if you like the inheriters of the apostlic generation. >> it's the idea of the papacy being the rock, the source of permanence in the age of anxiety that people know is steady. >> peter preacheshat jes
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christ died for the sins of man and accepting that tth is the key to salvation. others teach different variations of that message. but regardless of interpretation in the first century any follower of christ is seen as a threat to the roman empire and hunted for his believes. >> when you think about the beginning of the christian movement it's astonishing the movement went anywhere. people are being arrested, tortured, killed in public. you see competition between different disciples, different versions of the message of jesus. >> all of christ's followers spread throughout the mediterranean preaching his message. but the apostles are the meant on earth who walked with jesus himself. >> there were all of the different cities that had healthiy christian churches in them but the only one with the
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apostle at the head was the church in rome where peter was centered. >> rome is a giant empire if you're a christian you're saying you believe in a man, jesus, who is a king above all kings and not the roman king, you put yourself in opposition to the roman empire. and that's a really dangerous situation for early christians. >> despite the dangers facing christians in rome, peter holds secret gatherings where he preaches the word of christ. >> rome is a society 75 to 80% slaves. they're not human, can't marry, can be bought and sold, whipped and raped. so suddenly there is this movement that is saying you're a person with dignity created in the image of god, that makes you worthwhile. so that's part of the power of this christian movement. >> christ's message strikes a
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chord with the mostdown troden of roman society. and peter's meetings become more and more popular. inevitably he catches the eye of one of the cruellest and most sadistic rulers in history. emperor nero. in the summer of 64 a.d., a raging fire burns rome six days, destroying two-thirds of the city. >> people say that emperor nero started the fire so he could advance his building projects. >> some of rome needed to catch on fire so he could build the temples and things he wanted to honor himself. >> rumors that nero started the fire himself began to fly. and he needs a scapegoat. >> people are already asking a
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lot of questions about his sanity, his capacity to rule and so on. he looks around for people that people don't like. >> the most convenient people were the christians. >> nero says these are the people who rts -- they're the problem. they are the ones who set the place on fire. >> let'so terrible this to them. >> nero orders the soldiers to round up as many christian as they can find. >> he them hung to poles and burned alive in his gardens. >> he had some of them torn up by wild animals. >> it isn't long before peter is swept up in the raids. he is convicted of insurrection and sentenced to die on the
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cross. >> he is crucified upside down which is a really horrible way to die. he says that he doesn't want to die the same way his lord and savior dies. he wants to die upside down because he isworthy to die in the same way jesus dies. >> peter's death is a devastating loss to the early christian community. but dying in the name of his god makes him a martyr and securing his legacy as the first true leader of the church that will one day become the most powerful force on the planet. history names peter the first pope. -if you told me a year ago where i'd be right now...
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after peter's violent death, christians realized they must organize their movement if they have any hope of survival in the face of roman tyranny. >> they thought rather like the american revolutionaries as one of them said, we all have to hang together or we shall surely all hang the separately. >> they created an agreement with a set of rules. >> deep within the private library of the greek patriarch in jerusalem lives the first document that outlines the first cohesive guidelines of christianity. it's called the dedekai. >> this document presents the
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formation of the church in its primitive state. >> this sacred text was lost until 1883 when a greek translation from the 11th century was found. out of fear of theft or desecration it has never before been seen on camera until now. >> you don't have a bible back then. how do you transmit the faith? how do you tell them how to behave? how do you tell them what it to do in a service? the dedekai does all of that for you. >> but outlining the rules is the first step. christians need an infrastructure to enforce the behaviors. >> we tend to think about christianity as being all these basilicas around the wrl. but before that you had house churches. and if you had a series of small
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house churches you need someone over that. >> christians tried to set up an organized community to recognize the members we. a hierarchy melled on the roman army. >> the bishop means the most senior churchman in that particular city. >> because rome is the capitol and the center of the empire, the bishop of rome becomes the leader of the other bish ops, a position that eventually becomes known as pope. the 200 years after peter's crucifixion, bishops and followers continue to be persecuted and executed by roman emperors. until an unlikely hero, emerges. >> konstantin was a great military commander. when it was his turn to become a
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junior emperor he decided to fight the competition. >> consequence tanten, the pagan commander of roechl's army declares war on the emperor of east to decide who is emperor of roam. before the battle he has a startling vision. >> he looks up and he sees the sign of the cross. >> and he thought it was a promise from jesus that he would win the battle. >> he does win the battle. and the new emperor is forever changed by his vision. >> he decides he is going to be a christian. >> one of his first official acts as the first christian emperor of rome is to issue the edict of milan. this not only makes christianity
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legal but favored. >> this is a big one. for the first time a roman emperor decided to ally with the church. that meant the whole of the known world was at the disposal of the church. >> as consequence tanten moves christianity from outlaw to exalted. state and church become intertwined >> konstantin saw in christianity a way of ewe thieting the everyone entire, giving everybody the same god, the same moral values. >> konstantin by legalizing christianity opened up a space where the bishop of rome could, a permanent fix you'ren the political and religious scene. >> what he did was take the bishops previously persecuted and made them agents. treating them like members of his administration. he took the bishop of egypt, the bishop of jerusalem and agentens
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and state power would go through them. >> bishops become important in the local community. if people have disputes with each other, they are as likely to go to a bishop to get it sorted out. >> you had to go to him for the food supply. that made him enormously wealthy and influential. >> konstantin gives romans a political and financial incent toef convert to christianity. he gives cistians tax breaks and makes churches tax exempt. >> konstantin is the reason why churches are in the u.s. tax-free sbints. he is the reason why churches have the special status. >> from the time of konstantin wsh the church had been the ally of the emperor and the church became the ally of rulers as rulers became christian process there was feeling of a separation between church and state. they worked together.
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>> to honor his new found faith konstantin commissions spectacular building brojts in christ's name throughout the empire. among the most famous, the church of the holy sepulchre in jerusalem. >> it's one of the holiest places in christiandom. the slab on the floor is the place where they say jesus was originally buried. >> but almost soonz christians are free from roman persecution they begin fighting with each other. >> the biggest problem during this time was doctorate. in some people's ideas jesus was born of a woman he can't be divine there is questions about whether he is human, is he divine, both? >> this is hair splitting doctrinal difference here but some people were willing to kill you for that. christians willing to kill other
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h under constantine and the bishop of rome, christianity has gone from an outlawed sect to the ruling force of the western world. >> constantine was both the head of the state and the head of the church. he was still a roman in the old roman religion the emperor was the chief priest. constantine definitely took that approach to his faith, rather than what we would now think of as more of a separation of powers. >> but despite christianity's new political advantage, after centuries of being persecuted for not believing in romen gods christians are killing each other over disputes in church doctrine. >> constantine needed a way to bind this empire together. he conjured it but it was crumbling. >> he was angry and he said look, these things you are
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quarreling about are trifl. i stopped the persecutions. you should be grateful. he called a council to unify the church. >> the council at nicea is the first time you bring the bishops together and have them talk to each other. >> the council marks the first meeting of senior church leaders, the foundation of the pope's college of cardinals today. >> the bishops were commissioned to write what a christian should believe. >> constantine manages to get the bishops to agree on a singular statement of faith still used to unify christians today, the nicene creed. >> the cede says we bleebl in jesus christ the maker of heaven and earth and they decide he is fully human fully divine. >> constantine said if you sign it you're a christian and part of us. if you don't you're out and will probably go to hell.
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so became the battling cry for catholics throughout the world. >> but the church unified after nicea, constantine looks to further stabilize the religious foundation of his empire. he establishes a second hub of church power in the east. he names the new capital after himself, and calls it constantine oble. >> there was a pick of back and forth between rome and constantine oble. >> they look at the christians in the west are barbarians they say they baptize the church in wolf sal iva. the westerners look at the east as not strong, effete. >> the hierarchy of cherjy under
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bishops reporting to the bishop of rome had been working well. but now with the second capitol there is a second bishop who believes he should be in charge. >> there were disputes between the bishop of rome wsh the bishop of constantine ople. each one saw himself as a powerful leader and each one competing with the others for authority. >> despite constantine's best efforts to unify his empire under one church, the east and west remain at odds. seven years after the council of nicea constantine dies, leaving the church still divided and rome without a strong military leader. for over 100 years following
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constantine's death rome is under attack from pagan barbarians to the north. after a series of invasions and bloody clashes, the barbarians overthrow the last emperor of rome. the eternal city, once home to 2 million people, is reduced to less than 30,000. once the political and spiritual center of the empire, rome is now almost abandoned and stays that way for nearly 200 years. >> rome in the sixth century was muddier and messier and perhaps less efficiently governed than it had been in the te of constantine. >> roam is not a good place to live. it's very dangerous.
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the standard of living is very low. >> rome was virtuially gone. the church was centered in constantine oble. >> as rome falls and constantine ople much of the church terminology begins greek rather than latin. the greek word for father papas or pope. during this period of barbarian invasions there is no centralized government left in rome. the church is the only institution capable of addressing the needs of the suffering community. >> this is a time when the pope is not just the head of the church. he is also the ruler of rome. >> the people of rome were enormously dependent on the church as a state not as overseeing the relationship between god and man but as the church seeing overseeing food, water, safety. >> but powerful pagan families
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by 795 pagan barbarian
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families have been battling for control of rome for almost two centuries. and the papacy is all that stands in their way. >> the lombards are one of the barbarian invaders of the peninsula. they seek to invade rome and take over the territory ruled by the papacy. >> during an easter procession, the lombards viciously attack pope leo iii. >> their faction wrestles him to the ground and cuts off his tongue. but he lives through it. >> pope leo iii realizes he needs protection. with no army of his own, he must make an alliance.
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he chooses the most powerful king in the western empire, charles the great of france, better known as charlemagne. in christmas day in 800 pope leo crowns chalemagne holy roman emperor. >> he took on the role of defender of the faith. >> the moment he was found it puts the church back together with the empire. if you have the pope crowning a king that means the pope is giving that earthly king temporal and divine power. >> pope leo iii's decision to crown empire marks the pivot away from the eastern church.
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>> the relations between rome and eastern chrtians had not been good for a while. >> charli main in his have you he was the only legitimate christian emperor left. as he developed in power he developed a stand offish relationship with the ruler of constantinople. >> that's the start of the skichl between the orthodox and catholic church. >> in the two centuries after charlemegan unite europe under the western papacy in rome, the eastern part of the empire breaks off and calls itself the greek orthodox church under the. >> until the 11th century there was just one church. it wasn't until a church at constantinople broke off from its allegiance to the pope that we see the references to the
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roman catholic church as no longer universal but meaning the church centered at rome. >> 200 years after the historic alliance between charlegmane and leo iii backup pope urban the second rules from rome opinion and reigns over the east from consntine on pl until constantinople finds itself facing an imminent threat. >> islam is the superpower of the med evil power. if i was betting at the time i would have bet that islam and the islam empire was the wave of the future. >> muslim armies have been steadily making their way through the arabian peninsula conquering new lands and uniting under islam.
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they had long since conquered jerusalem and were headed for the next christian stronghold. >> muslim swept through modern turkey and getting close to constantinople itself. >> when you can almost see muslims across the water, it's time to find the christian left to help you. >> emperor alexis i of constantinople writes to urban be ii in rome pleading for aid against the muslims. >> alexis is asking a few hundred knights to help him defend his city. what he gets is something entirely different. urban ii is in part sponing to the appeal from alexis. as the leader of the church he
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is loong to improve the spiritual well being of the people. but he is also a politician. >> seeing an opportunity to unite eastern and western christians and solidify his place as their leader, pope urban ii calls an emergency gathering of clergy, knights and towns people. >> it was probably the most famds speech during the middle ages. urban told about the polite of christians in east who had lands conquered, horrible mutilatations of nuns and clergy and pilgrims because of their faith. and what urban did was very clever. rather than just ask them to go and fight for the east. he also asked them to go all the way to jerusalem to restore the lands that had been taken by muslims. >> the response is amazing. people shout god wills it. this is the moment the crusading
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begins across western europe. >> pope urban was an example of a new kind of pope. austere, powerful personality. the papacy as a self-consciously rallying, purifying, inspiring force, calling on people to do something extraordinary for god. and it had enormous imaginative power. >> for the first time, the pope a religious leader once at the mercy of barbarians and zpent on kings for protection raises an army and commands a war. dzpent on kings for protection raises an army and commands a war. ezpe on kings for protection raises an army and commands a war. pzpet on kings for protection raises an army and commands a war. depe protection raises an army and commands a war. nzpent on kings protection raises an army and commands a war. dzpent on kings protection raises an army and commands a war. ezpent on kings protection raises an army and commands a war. nzpent on kings protection raises an army and commands a war. tzpent on kings
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in 1094 the eastern church calls upon the pope in the west to help them fight off the incoming muslim armies. pope urban ii sees this as an opportunity to reunite christians and restore the reign of the roman catholic church. >> there is a tribal aspect to it that our tribe is being attacked. just as we still do today, you
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know, 9/11, someone attacks the united states people are lined up in induction centers to go off and fight. >> when he calls for the first crusade pope urban ii solidifies his role as a world power. the pope is no longer just a spiritual guide but a commander at the helm of an army. a zealous fleet of nearly 40,000 starts the long march east towards jerusalem. >> the crusades were first and foremost an act of piety, the crew aside are the only case in human history in which you have thousands of warriors marching thousands of miles deep into enemy territory for no good strategic reason. >> the warriors begin the crusade through the ryanland in what will become modern day germany. the destruction in the name of
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christ is waged against all non-believers in their path. >> one of the terrible things this group does is they attack the juice of the rhineland. they decide the jus are responsible for the killing of christ and that if they are going to act against the enemies of the church they will do so at home before they do so abroad. >> the rhineland massacres are only the beginning of what will become a sanctuary of religious warfare at the command of the pope. >> once the first crusade gets into asia minor it's into muslim held territory. the crusaders manage to capture the town of nicea and then fight a great battle against the muim and capture antioch. >> emboldened by the string of unlikely victories, the crusaders are convinced beyond
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all doubt that god is on their side, as they prepare to deliver the crown jewel of christianity back to their pope, jerusalem. >> their lord jesus christ had had his hands taken. and it was the crusaders responsibility therefore as his servants to come to his aid to restore the lands. >> the crusaders were extremely violent. they would attack people in their homes. there were mass rapes, killing of children, set fire to entire residential neighborhoods. it was horrible. >> they succeeded in liber eighting the city of jerusalem from the hands of the muslims. and this for generations will be hailed and recognized.
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>> after 400 years as a muslim temple, the crusaders replaced the crescent across the sacred dome of the rock with a cross and turn it into a church. >> partly motivated by religious zeal partly motivated by simple desire for conquestions. >> the crusaders were exclusionary. muslims were not allowed to live in christian areas. >> jerusalem remains in christian hands until 1187 when the hero of islam draws together the muslim near east to recover the holyland. >> as the muslims close in on jerusalem once again, pope urban iii realizes that in his predecessors quest to defend christianity he may have invited its demise. eaning easy.
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attempts to unified three major religions despite of the holy war that divided them. >> the pope called for violence under the name of one world under the catholic church. pope francis is working to heal the wound almost 1,000 years earlier. >> religion varied in emotions. >> there are tragedies and crimes. there is a story of 2,000 years of such things. the pope being apart of that story right from the start. in 1197, after only 88 years after christians rule, muslim army defeats the crew skusaders
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reclaims the holy land for islam. >> some of his people suggested to destroy. he's a man much aware of the power of mercy. >> his rule was very different of crusaders. >> he believ thachristians and jews can live tether >> as symbol between christianity and islam, he chose a muslim family. even today it is a muslim's responsibility to let christian wo worshippers into the holiest church.
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>> the recognition that it is a christian space that has to be protected by its muslim rulers not the the sense of preventing people from coming in but protecting christian rights to worship. >> opening and closing the doors to the holiest christian site in jerusalem has been the responsibility of the man for eigh eight century. >> we are protecting the church since. his gesture comes to symbolize as much of what it represents, divine leadership. >> when i came every morning to opening the church, standing in front of the gate, i see my father and i see my grandfather
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and i see saladin ayyubi waiting to open the church. >> this is amazing. >> today over a thousand years after the first crusade, the temple of the city of jerusalem is still one of the most contested places on earth. >> a fragile peace holds and become a shiny example of three different believes system in the ability to coexist. >> it is not a place -- it is a holy place for everybody. we have the holy water and we have the church. we are looking for peace.
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we want to live together like brothers. >> throughout history, the pope has played an intergral role. thousands of years passed, lives have lost. calls to battle and prayers for peace still endured. >> human beings, it is a challenge to live in peace and harmony with people who are different from them. you see this throughout history. the world of urban and france are very different. both men are tasked with leading the faithful and the world dominated by conflicting believes. the tremendous way of taking on the shepardiherding of the grea tradition and retranslating it of our time, it is an impossible
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burden for us to imagine. but, is that the beauty and simplicity of the church? >> people look to him because he's a voice of conscious and it is a voice that has an authenticity to it. it does not speak for a political party or a national interest. it is a voice of integrity. he calls us to be the best that we can be. marc of 20, pope john pal the second apologized for the crusades and the violent campaigns. >> we are asking for forgiveness in the youth of violence for the name of truth hostility taken towards other religion. >> unlike pope urban the second who chose war. >> the pope is where you look towards for an example to have
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an easier life as a catholic. >> despite being a religious leader, the pope's reach extends far beyond spiritual phase. >> the pope survives because he continues to speak to the deepest needs that people have. they need to know that some one is looking out for them and you know all earthly institutions are flawed. to have an institution which is dedicated to looking out in a fath fatherly manner for people who are loss and distrayed and suffering. >> a rock does not move. it is permanent. for faithful catholics, it seems to be mysterious but real depth of appreciation of permanency.
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>> against all odds, 2,000 years after the death of st. peter, the pope remains at the head of one of the most powerful institutions on earth. one of the most powerful men on earth holds a position that existed for nearly 2,000 years. as the wld changes,nd faith evolves, his authority remains. what began with one apostle has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he's the head of

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