Jesus told his Apostles, “You know that among the Gentiles those who are recognized as rulers lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority felt, but it shall not be that way with you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you must be a servant to all.”
By the year 500 A.D. circumstances led our church leaders to go against Our Lord’s advice. Let me tell you how it happened.
For its first three hundred years Christianity was persecuted by the Romans, but in 315 Emperor Constantine became a Christian, and we were free, but another difficulty arose.
A great preacher, Father Arius, gathered many followers, bringing them around to seeing Jesus as just a good man, but not the Son of God. His followers came to be known as Arians, and by the year 450, Europe had more Arians than Christians.
But strong support came to us in 450 when a new race from the East. That race, the Franks, took over the valley of the Rhine, and their king married a Christian girl who convinced that king that if he became a Catholic he would become a greater king than Constantine. So, in 496 all the nation of the Franks became Christians.
We were saved, but our bishops ran into a problem. With tribal people like the Franks, it was only the nobles with inheritances who had any rights. They had land, titles, serfs, while those without titles slept with the pigs. That left the bishops with any standing, but someone thought up a way of giving them standing.
They staged a ceremony in which each of the bishops came before the nobles making the same statement, “My inheritance is the Lord.” With that, the nobles accepted them as members of their nobility.
Afterwards, however, the nobles demanded that the bishops carry themselves as men of importance. The nobles demanded that our bishops be called the Reverend, the Very Reverend, the Most Reverend. They demanded that people speaking to a bishop should address him as “My Lord.”