Nicholas I was the Roman Pontiff from 858-867. For Nicholas, the Roman Church is both
the head and the epitome of the Universal Church. It alone has all power by divine
commission. As both the sacerdotal and royal functions were conferred by Christ on St.
Peter, so they are exercised by St. Peter's successors, the popes. The sword of temporal
power is delegated to the emperor for the protection of the church. Thus the teaching of
Nicholas contained in embryonic form the complete doctrine of papal theocracy. Charlemagne
was the highest worldly authority in his empire, but when he died, the popes made
themselves the heirs of that power. Pope Nicholas I really founded the papal monarchy.
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