Jesus told his disciples that they should not have honorable titles, they should not wear any signs of nobility, and they should be the servants of everyone.
Our church leaders have not obeyed him entirely. Our bishops do wear special clothing, and they do hold out their rings to be kissed. There is an interesting story about how our priests put on honors round the year five hundred.
The trouble began back in the year 325 when a priest named Arius in Alexandria, Egypt began telling people that Jesus was just a good person, but not the unique Son of God. The priests in Egypt banished him, but he found help from Constantius, the son of Emperor Constantine. And after 337 when Constantius followed his father as emperor, he founded a seminary that began turning out priests who, as followers of Arius, were called Arians.
Arianism spread so that by the year 450 there were more Arians than Christians. Then, a new nation, the Franks, who were untouched by Arianism, moved in from the east. Their king married a Christian girl who convinced him tha if he and his followers became Christians, he could become as powerful as Constantine had been. So, all the nobles of the nation of the Franks were baptized by Bishop Remigius in 496.
Catholicism was saved, but the priests and bishops ran into a problem. The Franks had a very simple social structure. Those who had inheritances had title, lands, and serfs, whil those without titles slept with the pigs
Now the priests didn’t like that, so the king and Bishop Remigius cooked up a ceremony that saved them. On a set day, with all the nobles of the Franks assembled, one priest after another came before them making the same announcement. “I have an inheritance. My inheritance is the Lord.” (In my two hour long ordination ceremony when I became a priest the only words I spoke were, “My inheritance is the Lord.”)
Through that ceremony the priests became nobles; and the Frank nobles then insisted tht the priests behave like nobles. They cold no longer be addressed as Tom, Dick, or Harry. They had to be the Reverend, the Right Reverend.
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