Image: Luther, Serra, Richelieu, Calvin, Alexander VI, Phillaret, Rasputin, Hung Hsiu Chuan
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Text: Clerics - Politicians, Reformers and Saints.

Often the power behind the throne

Most of our clerical subjects were active among the political elite of their times. A few were even devout and saintly. Until the Reformation of the 1500s, all were Roman or Greek Orthodox Catholics. The Catholic hierarchies worked closely with the secular rulers and still do. Western Europe functioned under a duel rule of Holy Roman Emperor, the secular arm; and the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the spiritual arm. The power of this union was greatly diminished following the Reformation and the rise of Protestantism of Calvin and John Knox. The Eastern Orthodox Church remained a powerful political force until the early days of the 20th century. In czarist Russia, clerics like Patriarchs Nikon and Phillaret were closely allied with the crown. Even mystics like Gregori Rasputin and Baroness Krudener had the ear of their rulers. The enormous influence wielded by these clerics in the affairs of state would be beyond the imagining of today’s citizens. For the most part, historians see this influence as conflictive if not dangerous. Of course there were exceptions where the influence was a benefit to the state (ruler) with able administrators Like Cardinals Wolsey, Richelieu and Tremblay. Among those we have included, only a minority had totally sinister influence. By and large the negativity could be attributed to a misguided view and was little worse than the secular hear of state of their time. Many clerics, like friars de las Casas, Kino and Serra were ordered to a life of outreach.

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Thumbnail color image of St. Francis Borgia, by George Stuart.
St. Francis Borgia

Thumbnail color image of Girolamo Savonarola, by George Stuart.
Girolamo Savonarola

Thumbnail color image of Tomas de Torquemada, by George Stuart.
Tomas de Torquemada

Thumbnail color image of Pope Alexander VI 1496, by George Stuart.
Pope Alexander VI 1496

Thumbnail color image of Pope Leo X, by George Stuart.
Pope Leo X

Thumbnail color image of Bartolomeo de las Casas, by George Stuart.
Bartolomeo de las Casas

Thumbnail color image of Martin Luther, by George Stuart.
Martin Luther

Thumbnail color image of Cardinal Wolsey, by George Stuart.
Cardinal Wolsey

Thumbnail color image of St. Ignatius de Loyola, by George Stuart.
St. Ignatius de Loyola

Thumbnail color image of John Calvin, by George Stuart.
John Calvin

Thumbnail color image of St. Teresa of Avila, by George Stuart.
St. Teresa of Avila

Thumbnail color image of John Knox, by George Stuart.
John Knox

Thumbnail color image of Patriarch Philaret, by George Stuart.
Patriarch Philaret

Thumbnail color image of Cardinal Richelieu, by George Stuart.
Cardinal Richelieu

Thumbnail color image of Fr. Joseph Francois du Tremblay, by George Stuart.
Fr. Joseph Francois du Tremblay

Thumbnail color image of Patriarch Nikon, by George Stuart.
Patriarch Nikon

Thumbnail color image of Father Eusebio Kino, by George Stuart.
Father Eusebio Kino

Thumbnail color image of Fr. Junipero Serra 1767, by George Stuart.
Fr. Junipero Serra 1767

Thumbnail color image of Cardinal Louis de Rohan, by George Stuart.
Cardinal Louis de Rohan

Thumbnail color image of Baroness Krudener, by George Stuart.
Baroness Krudener

Thumbnail color image of Hung Hsiu Chuan (Taiping Emperor), by George Stuart.
Hung Hsiu Chuan (Taiping Emperor)

Thumbnail color image of Gregory Rasputin, by George Stuart.
Gregory Rasputin










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