The Sovereignty of the Roman Pontiffs - A.D. 775

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The pope was now a temporal prince. The long looked-for and sighed-for day was come; the fond dream of centuries was realized. The successors of St. Peter are proclaimed sovereign pontiffs and the lords of the city and territories of Rome. The last link of the shadowy vassalage and subserviency to the Greek empire is broken forever; and Rome has again become the acknowledged capital of the West.
The great Pope Hadrian at once assumes the power, privileges, and language of a temporal sovereign to whom fealty is due. Murmurs from Ravenna and the East were speedily silenced; and Rome reigned supreme. The pope's language even to Charlemagne is that of an equal: "As your men," he said, "are not allowed to come to Rome without your permission and special letter, so my men must not be allowed to appear at the court of France without the same credentials from me." He claimed the same allegiance from the Italians which the subjects of Charlemagne owed to him. "The administration of justice was in the pope's name; not only the ecclesiastical dues, and the rents of estates forming part of the patrimony of St. Peter, the civil revenue likewise came into his treasury.... Hadrian, with the power, assumed the magnificence of a great potentate.... Rome, with the increase of the papal revenues, began to resume more of her ancient splendor."